Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) patients frequently ask, “Will my stomach be flat after abdominoplasty?” Several factors can affect the contour of the abdomen. This includes the patient’s extra-muscular fat (fat on the abdomen that you can pinch with your fingers), visceral fat (the fat inside the abdomen around the organs), and integrity and tone of the abdominal muscles (sit-up muscles). These three factors vary from patient to patient and, in combination, determine how much the abdomen (stomach) will protrude after abdominoplasty.

For most patients, the extra-muscular fat can be reduced to a significant degree with abdominoplasty. The position of the abdominal muscles can also be improved for some patients. The third factor, which is the volume of visceral fat, cannot be reduced with tummy tuck surgery. Visceral fat can only be improved by weight loss. The amount of visceral fat in part determines how flat the abdomen will be after surgery. The more visceral fat that exists, the more the abdomen will protrude after abdominoplasty.

Below are images of patients in profile. The images on the right diagrammatically illustrate the variability of the amount of visceral fat from patient to patient. The visceral fat is represented in yellow. The more visceral fat that exists, the more the abdomen will stick out after tummy tuck surgery.

In patients with larger frames, more visceral fat can appear more in proportion. The images below diagrammatically illustrate the variety of volumes of visceral fat from the same patients pictured above. The qualitative estimate of visceral fat is an important part of the evaluation of patients seeking abdominoplasty.

Even in most normal weight and extremely fit women, the abdomen may not be completely flat following abdominoplasty. It is realistic for patients to expect improvement in the flatness of the stomach, but should not immediately assume that their abdomen will be entirely flat. All patients’ anatomy is unique, and the procedure best suited for each individual is discussed at the in-person consultation.

If you would like to learn more about abdominoplasty or liposuction, please contact Herring Plastic Surgery. Our team can answer your questions and help you schedule a consultation with Dr. Herring. Whether you are in the local Fayetteville community or from out of town, our practice welcomes you. Get in touch with us today!