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How Can I Tell If I Need A Tummy Tuck?

Six Signs That You May Need A Tummy Tuck


Updated July 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Liposuction can solve a great many body shape problems due to excess fat. Saddlebags, love handles, banana rolls, muffin tops, kissing thighs, buffalo humps, double chins, cankles and much, much more can be removed with liposuction.

What liposuction can NOT do, however, is fix body shape problems caused by skin that is loose or hanging. This distinction is often not clear to the patient looking for rejuvenation of his her abdomen. People often come to a plastic surgeon thinking "just a little bit of lipo" will do the job. It can be quite jarring to a woman who thinks she only needs liposuction to hear that it will not be enough to get a flat abdomen, and that a tummy tuck is a more appropriate procedure.

How can you tell if you need a tummy tuck? Of course, a final determination can only be made in person by a plastic surgeon evaluating your abdomen. In general, if you have one or more of the following issues and you truly want a flat abdomen, not just a less fat version of what you currently have, a tummy tuck will likely be the necessary corrective procedure.

1. Loose Skin

Loose Abdominal Skin
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
Skin that has been stretched out by pregnancy or by weight gain and has not gone back to its original shape.

2. Crease

Abdominal Crease
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
A fold in the abdominal skin caused by excess skin on either side of the fold.

3. Overhang

Abdominal Overhang
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
Occurs when the skin of the abdomen hangs down. The skin may end up covering the top portion of a person’s underwear or pants.

4. Frowning Belly Button

Frowning Belly Button
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
A belly button normally takes on a circular or oval shape. If the belly button appears to be "frowning," it can be an indicator of loose or excess skin and fat.

5. Wrinkled Skin

Wrinkled Abdominal Skin
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
Skin that has been stretched out and has not returned to its original form may be crinkled or wrinkled in appearance.

6. Double-Bubble

Abdominal Double Bubble
Photo © Millicent Odunze, M.D., M.P.H.
If you have two bulges of skin, usually one above the belly button and one below, this can signal that your skin is indeed loose and excessive.

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