A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that tightens loose skin around the abdomen, and can remove loose skin, fat, and soft tissue from the love handle areas as well. The muscles under and around the belly button can also be tightened as needed. These are the muscles that can only be tightened with surgery.
The rectus abdominis muscles are muscles that go up and down, next to the belly button. They are also the “six pack” muscles that you may see on very thin and fit men and women. When you’re born, these muscles are next to each other, and meet in the middle of your tummy.
If you gain and then lose a lot of weight, or if you become pregnant and have the muscles slightly separate, you may notice that your tummy bulges out slightly in the middle despite diet and exercise. This slight separation is called a diastasis. If you are relatively fit and thin, and you still have loose tummy skin and loose abdominal muscles in that area, then you may need your rectus abdominis muscles tightened during your tummy tuck procedure to prevent any laxity at that area.
During your tummy tuck operation, the right and left rectus abdominis muscles are sutured together, resulting in putting the muscles back into their original positions. Not all patients need this maneuver, and each case is individual and different. Some patients have very little separation despite many children, and some individuals have wide separation of their muscles despite having only 1 child and no weight gain and loss in their lifetime.
The suture used during this muscle tightening is typically permanent and strong material. There are usually at least 2 sutures to close this diastasis, to ensure that even if 1 suture fails, another one is ready to hold it together.
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