Kids, Weight, And Surgery: How Do They Interact?

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Gaining weight seems to be an inevitable part of having kids—and it’s not something that impacts just moms. Studies have shown that a man’s risk of obesity increases 4 percent with every child he has. Though the exact reason for the weight gain is unclear (is it due to more stress? less time for planning healthy meals and exercise?), the solution is the same for anyone trying to shed pounds: dieting and physical activity. Unfortunately, even a successful slim down can leave behind visible reminders of the weight that once. These reminders can take the form of sagging skin, lax abdominal muscles, stubborn pockets of fat that seem to avoid every attempt to get rid of them, or any combination of the above. Guys struggling with these problems may find themselves considering a tummy tuck. Philadelphia-area plastic surgeon Dr. Laura Gowen frequently works with men who choose the procedure to get a flatter and more toned abdomen, so she knows that men also tend to have a lot of questions about what a tummy tuck, known technically as an abdominoplasty, can do.


First, it should be noted that a tummy tuck is not considered a weight-loss tactic. The surgery is for cosmetic contouring and tightening of lax tissues, not improving your BMI. For health reasons, nothing beats eating vegetables and lean meats, scheduling regular significant physical activity, and keeping an eye on everything cholesterol and blood pressure with help from a physician.


That said, here is a look at what an abdominoplasty can address, and how:


Sagging Skin

Have you ever seen an old balloon deflate? New balloons that are blown up, then have all the air let out of them tend to return to their original shape. But the longer the stretchy surface of a balloon stays stretched out and exposed to sunlight, the harder it is for it to go back to the way it was before. Even when deflated, the skin can appear misshapen and bulging—and the same goes for your belly.


After stretching to accommodate larger fat cells, abdominal skin might not sit flat again if those fat cells shrink. This is more common for situations where weight loss is fast, such as the result of gastric bypass surgery or something similar. The rapid deflation can mean less mass, but the same amount of skin—which, having nothing to push it out, hangs down to create a pouch or bulge.


A tummy tuck involves the removal of that redundant skin with help from a horizontal incision that can be covered by a pair of pants or underwear. The remaining skin is pulled tight so it sits flat, then is sutured so it stays in place.


Stubborn Fat

You can control your diet and exercise regimen, but not how those efforts impact fat cells around your body. Even if features from your double chin to thick thighs shrink away, you may still be left with large fat cells that do not seem to notice even your best efforts. When these cells sit on your gut, they can thwart situps and carrot sticks alike.


Liposuction, which is the physical breaking up and then suctioning out of these fat cells, is a solution for this problem. The strategy can be used virtually anywhere on the body, and it is especially effective as part of a tummy tuck, since it allows the plastic surgeon to refine the results and ensure nothing is lurking in the abdominal area to create telltale bulges once the skin is re-draped to sit flatter.


Lax Muscles

The abdominal wall is something of a guard for your belly, keeping your vital organs safe from outside impacts and holding everything in place so it stays where it should. Inactivity and a history of fat can cause the wall to bulge outward and muscles to separate, reducing their ability to do their job. This laxity can also contribute to the look of a belly bulge.


If needed, an abdominoplasty can repair the abdominal wall, bringing the muscles back together and creating more structural support for a toned tummy.


A particularly appealing aspect of a tummy tuck is that it can be customized to the patient, which means abdominal wall repair, fat removal, and skin excision happen as needed. Learn more about the surgery by contacting Dr. Laura Gowen at the Cirillo Institute, serving Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, and the Philadelphia area, by calling 610.525.0500 or sending a message online