Dr. Michael Kelly is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and partner in both Miami Plastic Surgery and MPS 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 non-invasive treatments such as Botox, fillers, CoolSculpting, ultrasound, lasers and radiofrequency. He also believes in giving back to our community, having served on the Village Council for eight years and volunteering as a coach for our youth sports programs.

You can email him questions at mkelly@miamiplasticsurgery.com.

Question:

Hi Dr. Kelly, I am really skinny, but people always ask me if I am pregnant because my belly sticks out. It has been this way since my kids were born. I am working out like crazy but my belly doesn’t change. Can you make my tummy flat again? 

Answer:

This is actually a pretty common problem, especially on Key Biscayne where women tend to take good care of themselves. After their pregnancies, they diet and work out, but can’t get their tummies back to their pre-pregnancy shape.

The reason for this is that the vertical abdominal rectus muscles, which are located very closely together before pregnancy, naturally separate and distend to accommodate the baby in the tummy. After the baby is born, the skin will shrink to some degree, but the muscles never move back to the center again. That is why you can work out and make your muscles very strong but still have a protuberant abdomen.

The solution is an abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck. While most people think of a tummy tuck as a treatment for heavier patients, it works just as well in the thin patient with muscle weakness. The procedure itself takes about two hours under general anesthesia.

The operation uses an incision under the bathing suit line to lift up the skin, tighten the muscle layer all the way to the rib cage, and remove the excess skin. If there is excess fat, that can be removed at the same time. In my office, we administer a long-acting pain medicine during surgery and we don’t use drains, so patients are up and walking the same night as surgery. 

These advanced techniques have made the operation a much easier experience for patients, and most can resume their normal activities within a week after surgery. The only restriction is no heavy lifting for one month. Don’t spend this summer answering that annoying pregnancy question, let’s get the problem fixed so you can enjoy your bikini again.

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