When diet and exercise don’t work, surgery may be an option to obtain a flat stomach. In previous posts I’ve talked about abdominoplasty and combining abdominoplasty with liposuction. But how do you know which is right for you? It depends on what is causing the problem. And there are several possible culprits:
Stretched abdominal muscles.
The rectus abdominus muscles are your six pack muscles which extend down the front of the stomach, as you can see in the diagram below (left). The two strips of muscle spread apart during pregnancy or with significant weight gain, and they don’t always rebound back into place when the pregnancy ends or the weight is lost. This widening is called a rectus diastasis (diastasis means separation). If you look at the photo below (right) you can see the space between the muscles. Surgery is the only way to fix a rectus diastasis; the separated muscles are brought back together in the midline using suture, recreating a flat stomach. This is one of the main components of an abdominoplasty surgery.
Extra skin can also prevent you from having a flat stomach. Excess skin is another common side effect of weight loss or pregnancy. And like a rectus diastasis, the only way to remove excess skin is surgery. Skin removal is the other main component of an abdominoplasty.
This is where liposuction comes in. Liposuction removes fat over a focused area, which can be perfect if you want a flat stomach. But most people don’t realize that there are two types of abdominal fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat right under the skin, and this fat can be removed using liposuction. While you’re reading this, go ahead and pinch the skin of your stomach between your finger and thumb. The thickness of this pinched skin is determined by how much subcutanous fat you have. If it’s a big, wide fold of skin, then there is lots of fat under the skin, so liposuction will go a long way toward giving you a flat stomach. Compare a pinch of skin over your abdomen or hips with a pinch of skin over your forearms or neck and you’ll see what I mean.
The second type of fat is called visceral fat. This is the fat which surrounds your internal organs. It is inside the abdominal cavity, below your abdominal muscles, and liposuction cannot remove this fat. If you have a lot of visceral fat, the only way to get a flat stomach is to lose weight. Read more on weight loss in other blog posts.
Surgery can in many cases give you a flatter stomach. But what type of surgery you need depends on what is causing the problem. Seeing a plastic surgeon for an consultation is the best way to find out. You can find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area by checking the American Society of Plastic Surgery website.
Want to learn more about liposuction? Check out my website to learn about how liposuction is done, what areas of the body can be treated, and what the recovery is like.
Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.