Question: I had twins 2 years ago and my stomach never recovered. I exercise every day doing sit-ups and crunches. Even though I lost all of the weight, my belly still protrudes. The frustrating part is that people think I’m pregnant again. They even ask when the next baby is due! Can you help?
Answer: Pregnancy usually takes a toll on a woman’s abdomen. The skin and muscle layer get stretched out and after the baby is born, rarely shrinks back to the pre-pregnancy state. Some women are lucky and their genetics help them to resist these changes. But other less fortunate women have inherited a lack of elasticity in their tissues and tend to be more severely affected by pregnancy. Even after losing their weight, their abdomens remain distended and their skin is loose. Exercise, while important for everyone, is usually insufficient to correct this problem. Exercise doesn’t tighten skin. Meanwhile, the muscle layer was pushed apart by the pregnancy. Sit ups and crunches won’t push that muscle layer back together. While everyone is telling the mom to fix the problem with diet and exercise, she usually comes to the realization that despite the hours in the gym, it’s not working. Her choice becomes either surgery or living with her post-pregnancy tummy. An abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, can correct this problem. The surgery takes 2 hours, the muscles are tightened and the excess skin is removed. Recovery takes about a week and the patient is not allowed to do any heavy lifting or abdominal exercise for one month. This allows the muscles to heal in the new position. These surgeries are not for the new plastic surgeon, they require experience to know how much tension is needed during surgery to achieve the desired effect. But in the proper hands, it can be a life-changing procedure for the patient. And best of all, they don’t have to hear “when are you due?” anymore!
About Dr. Kelly. Dr, Michael Kelly is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and partner in both Miami Plastic Surgery and PPS Medspa. He has been in practice over 25 years and has been recognized by his peers both nationally and internationally as one of the best plastic surgeons in the United States. In addition to being an expert on cosmetic surgery, his practice encompasses the entire spectrum of nonevasive treatments such as Botox, fillers, CoolSculpting, ultrasound, lasers and radiofrequency. He is also a former Village of Key Biscayne Councilmember. You can email him questions at email@example.com