The tummy tuck. Not only is it how Hollywood moms get their flat midsections back, but its an increasingly popular option for regular women (the number of procedures performed is up 407 percent since 1997). Wonder if youd benefit from this surgery that involves removing excess fat and skin, and tightening the fascia (the deep layer of connective tissue that covers muscles)? Try the pinch test: Hold your abdominal skin and fat between your thumb and forefinger; if you can pinch more than two inches, youre a good candidate. And dont feel bad if you make the cut. Brent Moelleken, MD, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, says, “In many women who have children, the bulge in the lower abdomen is not caused by fat, but rather by loose fascia that has ripped in childbirth and, consequently, sticks out.”
Before going under the knife, try getting toned the old-fashioned waywith diet and exercise. “The closer a patient is to her goal appearance,” Moelleken explains, “the less invasive the surgery to get her there has to be.” (And, hey, if you end up reducing ab flab through diet and exercise, congratulations; youve just saved yourself $5,000 to $10,000.)
The latest tuck technique is the hybrid. This part-tummy-tuck-part-liposuction procedure is done through a small cesarean-section-sized incision; consider this option if youre slim and notice a lower-abdominal bulge and a separation of your stomach muscles, especially when you do a sit-up, Moelleken says.
Recovery time for any tummy tuck is relatively short: After two weeks, you can walk long distances; past six, you can work out again. (Yes, you still have to work out.)