As we kick-off the summer months and have officially reached bathing suit season, it is natural that many of us take a look in the mirror and think about how we might change our body. In addition to keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly, there are now more choices than ever in how we might achieve our goals. But with so many choices, both surgical and non-surgical options, choosing what body contouring procedure is best for you can be difficult.
During our live chat on Tuesday, March 22nd, hosted by Emory Aesthetic Center’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves, we answered your questions around body contouring options to help shape your body for summer and tighten excess or loose skin. Dr. Eaves discussed both surgical and non-surgical procedures – including liposuction, tummy tucks, and thigh lifts.
Below are just a few highlights from the chat. A full list of questions and answers can be found on our chat transcript. You can also visit emoryaesthetic.org for a full list of services and treatments offered by the Emory Aesthetic Center.
Question: How do you get rid of a stomach belly fat?
Dr. Eaves: If diet and exercise don’t get you what you want, then there are three main ways to address belly fat, non-surgical fat reduction, liposuction, or abdominoplasty. Which one is best for a patient depends on their individual circumstances.
For instance, non-surgical treatments like Coolsculping® work best in patients with smaller amounts of fat and youthful, elastic skin. Liposuction works best in similar patients, however is more aggressive in terms of fat removal. The tummy tuck is the “king” of tummy contouring – it can tighten muscles, reduce fat, and tighten skin. Tummy tucks are more common in patients that have had pregnancies or who are a bit older and have developed some skin laxity.
Question: I have 2 weeks until I have to be in a bathing suit. What are some quick fixes that can be done with belly and thigh bulges?
Dr. Eaves: That doesn’t give much time! I’m afraid that neither surgery nor non-surgical fat removal would work and get you ready in such a short period of time.
One thought, however. We often think about concentrating on getting our bodies (or faces) ready for a big event. However to get your body where you want, it really takes a sustained, consistent approach. Crash diets and hours in the gym for short periods of time doesn’t really get you anywhere . . . a good, healthy, balanced and sustainable diet coupled with a reasonable exercise routine that you can stick with is the key. Of course surgery can help a lot, but the patient gets the very best results when they get their weight and health to a good place.
Question: Is there such a thing as a “mini” tummy tuck which does not have to go all the way across the abdomen?
Dr. Eaves: Not only is there the mini-tummy tuck, but some patients are candidates for tummy tucks with even shorter scars – the endoscopic tummy tuck. However before you get excited about these options, be aware than only a very small percentage of patients are candidates for these procedures. In order to be a candidate, you need to have good, elastic skin and relatively small amounts (or not) excess fat.
These procedures are ideally suited for patients who have experienced some spreading of the muscles of the abdomen from pregnancy, which we call a diastasis recti. If you have any significant amount of loose skin, or more significant fatty deposits, you are unlikely to get a good result with a limited scar approach. That being said, we now use techniques to help the scar appear better, such as special sutures that take the tension off of the skin. There sutures also eliminate the need to have surgical drains with a tummy tuck, which is a big plus.
Question: I need help with both my tummy and my breasts. Can I have both surgeries at the same time?
Dr. Eaves: Not only can you treat both the tummy and the breasts at the same time, but this is a very common procedure. For the tummy, most often this involves a tummy tuck due to the effects of the pregnancy. What we might do in the breasts depends on how the breasts recovered after pregnancy and maybe breast feeding. For instance, if the breast lost volume but didn’t become saggy (we call that “ptosis”), then a breast augmentation is a great option.
If you like the size of the breasts but they have become too droopy, then you would likely want a mastopexy, or breast lift, but without implants. It is also quite common to do both breast augmentation with implants and a lift. If you have a consultation with a plastic surgeon, he/she can help you sort through these options and see which is best for you.
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If you have additional questions for Dr. Eaves, please feel free to leave a comment in our comments area below.