In my practice, it is not uncommon for mothers to say, “I have had my kids and the school fees are handled. It’s now time for me. I want my body back!”
A tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) can restore the tummy to the pre-pregnancy state by tightening loose or flabby skin , improving the shape by removing bulges and flattening the abdominal profile. A flatter tummy is primarily achieved by repairing the gap between the rectus muscle.
The rectus muscle runs in the midline from the breast-bone down to the pubic bone. During pregnancy the rectus muscle separates to make room for the growing baby. After one child the muscle may come back to the midline however after 2 or more children, the muscle usually stays split permanently. This weakness in the abdominal wall means the tummy has a constant bulge, consequently women try to hold it in or wear loose clothing to disguise it.
Repairing the gap in the rectus muscle helps to flatten the tummy and restores the ability to perform a sit-up. I mentioned this to a Pilates instructor as I was watching him at work. He acknowledged the benefit this procedure can make and he felt he could further improve the appearance and strength of a woman’s tummy by working with her core muscles.
One of my patients, a mum with 3 children, confirmed this. Before she came to me, she had been doing Pilates for about a year, however was unable to do a sit up. Following a tummy tuck procedure (which included repairing the gap in the rectus muscle and removing bulges using liposculpture) she was able to do sit-ups for the first time in years. She felt like her “body was more taught” and that her “mechanics work differently”. Furthermore, her shape has continued to improve as her tummy has become more sculptured and her daughter recently said, “Mum, your tummy is better than my tummy.” She doesn’t have a 6-pack yet but she is working on it.