Everyone has parts of their body where they seem to lose or gain weight more easily. This is perfectly normal, since your body fat distribution is determined by genetics and hormones. If your midsection is your “problem area” where you find it more difficult to lose fat, it’s not just your imagination. Scientists have proven that this is one of the most difficult places from which to lose weight via diet and exercise. Some people choose to have a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) from our Milwaukee-area practice, which is an effective strategy for slimming down the stomach area for cosmetic reasons—but not for weight loss.
There are two types of fat on your abdominal area: the hard, visceral fat that surrounds your internal organs and the soft, subcutaneous fat you can see and feel directly below the skin. Liposuction and tummy tucks focus on the subcutaneous fat. Reducing stomach fat for health reasons (a wider waistline increases the risk of serious diseases like diabetes, for example) is a good idea, but focuses on the visceral fat.
Unfortunately, the stomach area has a higher percentage of beta fat cells that don’t respond as favorably to lipolysis, which is the process our bodies use to break down fat. That means it can be more challenging to lose fat here than elsewhere on the body. Consumption of too much sugar, chronic stress, and out-of-balance hormones are other factors that make us more likely to have belly bulge.
Of course, it’s not only fat that contributes to a larger belly area. Sagging skin and separated ab muscles can also contribute to the look of a bulge.
With all of this in mind, it should be noted that tummy tucks can have some medical and functional benefits. An abdominoplasty strengthens weak ab muscles that have become spread apart due to multiple pregnancies or significant weight gain. By removing excess fat and stabilizing these abdominal muscles, a tummy tuck improves your posture, since there is more support for your spine. The surgery can also provide relief from back pain by helping you to stand straighter and getting rid of weight on your front.
In addition to being embarrassing, stretched and baggy skin left behind after significant weight loss can also increase a person’s risk of infections or rashes. A tummy tuck removes this excess skin, solving those problems as well.