Some of the women considering a tummy tuck at my Eugene, Oregon, practice gave birth via cesarean section and the physical toll includes a puffy pouch of loose skin just above the C-section scar. This is often referred to as a “C-shelf” and, even though it often fades over time, it will never completely disappear.
A common question I hear from women in this situation is whether a tummy tuck can remove the scar that results from a C-section. In most cases, the answer is “yes.” In fact, some women with unwanted abdominal tattoos can even have those removed during a tummy tuck (depending on the specific tattoo site.)
The Purpose of a Tummy Tuck
A woman’s body experiences changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding that often can’t be reversed even if they follow a strict diet and have a rigorous exercise regimen. This is especially true for women who have more than one child. Sit-ups can strengthen core muscles, but won’t tighten the excess skin that causes many moms to be self-conscious about wearing bikinis.
A tummy tuck involves making an incision very low on the abdomen—just above the pubic area—and removing excess skin to create a flatter stomach. Liposuction is usually performed during the surgery to extract pockets of fatty tissue and produce smooth, contoured results.
Getting Rid of a C-Shelf
Even though not all women who deliver via C-section wind up with a raised scar or low-hanging belly shelf, those that do are often frustrated by their inability to do anything about it. Scar revision surgery is an option for patients who are more concerned about the appearance of a scar rather than loose skin. But most of the patients I see can benefit from either a full or mini tummy tuck. A mini (limited) tummy tuck tightens the abdominal wall and removes the skin from below the belly button, but doesn’t disturb the position of the navel. The incision needed for a mini tummy tuck is shorter than that for a full tummy tuck, but relatively few patients are good candidates for this technique.
Other Surprising Benefits of a Tummy Tuck
As I described in an earlier blog post, recent studies showed that tummy tuck surgery has some benefits that have nothing to do with removing excess skin. For example, a tummy tuck can:
- Reduce stress urinary incontinence: This often affects women who give birth vaginally.
- Decrease lower back pain: The weakened stomach muscles that often occur after having children can result in back pain.
- Improve posture: When your core muscles are strengthened during a tummy tuck, it helps you maintain a more erect posture.
You can see the transformative aesthetic results of tummy tuck surgery by browsing our gallery of before-and-after photos. To get more information about the procedure, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (541) 683-3234 to schedule an appointment.