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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Moraitis

While becoming a mother is an incredible experience for many women, the bodily changes that accompany pregnancy are certainly something that those women would prefer to do without. Although it is possible to reverse many of these changes through diet and exercise, some changes are extremely difficult to resolve. One of the most common issues that women face after pregnancy is a significant paunch in their abdominal area. However, there is a surgical solution to this problem. More and more women are undergoing abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, in combination with liposuction to successfully eliminate their post-pregnancy belly.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Body

When you become pregnant, your body is forced to change in numerous ways at a very fast rate. Because you will require significantly more energy during pregnancy and childbirth, your body responds by storing extra weight in many different areas. For example, many women experience changes in the size and shape of their breasts as well as swelling in the feet.

However, the most important change to occur during pregnancy is the expansion of the uterus, which of course creates a space for the baby to grow and develop. To allow for this enlargement, the muscles in your abdominal area also need to expand and stretch. Unfortunately, many women experience a potentially permanent condition known as diastasis recti, which occurs when the abdominal muscles undergo a complete separation. Although some women can address this change with the right diet and regular exercise, others require plastic surgery to fix permanent laxity and separation of the abdominal muscles.

Combining Liposuction & Abdominoplasty

Two of the most common procedures that women undergo following pregnancy are liposuction and abdominoplasty (also referred to as a tummy tuck). While a Tummy tuck alone can repair the damage caused by diastasis recti,  many board certified plastic surgeons are beginning to use a combination of both procedures to ensure the best results in eliminating the post-pregnancy belly and restoring the abdominal muscles.

With liposuction, the surgeon will create incisions in the abdominal area, which are used to insert surgical tubes. Next, the surgeon will break down fat cells in the area using either a solution of saline, epinephrine, and a painkiller (tumescent liposuction), or utilizing an ultrasound technique. Finally, the excess fat cells are removed. While this procedure allows for improved appearance, the tummy tuck is used to tighten abdominal muscles that have separated. The surgeon will stitch the muscles back into their proper place while eliminating excess skin, fat, and tissue.