Having a flat stomach is a popular fitness goal. A flat abdomen is not only ideal for a better physical appearance but also for better health and wellbeing. Your belly fat is usually more stubborn and harder to get rid of than fat in other areas of the body, making having a flat stomach more difficult. People usually either change their lifestyle to get a flatter tummy or opt for surgical procedures to help get rid of the fat.
Dr. Karan Chopra is a talented and experienced plastic surgeon performing a range of body procedures such as mommy makeover, tummy tuck, BBL and tummy liposuction in Minnesota. Find out how you can get a flat stomach using non-surgical and surgical methods.
Types of Belly Fat
Belly fat is classified into two types, visceral fat, and subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is visible to the eye and is found just below the skin. Its role is to provide energy storage and act as a barrier of protection between the skin, muscles, and bones. This is the fat that Dr. Chopra targets during liposuction or tummy tuck surgery.
The other type of fat is visceral fat which surrounds the internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Health experts say that this type of fat is harmful as it raises a person’s risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. This type of fat is much harder to treat and cannot be reduced with Liposuction or tummy surgery.
What Causes Belly Fat?
- An unhealthy diet
Excess amounts of calories, carbs, and especially sugars lead to increased visceral fat around the belly. Overeating these foods causes the pancreas to secrete high levels of insulin in the body. When insulin is high in the body, our cells receive a signal to store more energy as fat which contributes to belly fat.
- Too little exercise
Eating more calories than your burn is a sure way to gain body weight, including belly fat. Spending a long time without physical exercise plays the same role in the accumulation of belly fat as having an unhealthy diet. Losing weight when living an inactive lifestyle is challenging, especially when it comes to fat around the belly.
- Lack of sleep
A recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic has proven that not sleeping enough contributes to accumulation of belly fat. The researchers discovered that people who sleep less, experience an increase in belly fat and an overall increase of 11 % in unhealthy visceral fat.
Having a good diet and exercising requires consistency and discipline to get a flat stomach. The health benefits of reducing or getting rid of belly fat make the investment of time and dedication worth it.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Get a Flatter Stomach
It is true that abs are made in the kitchen. Two important ways to have a healthy diet that leads to reducing belly fat are to decrease calories and increase fiber in our meals. Also, because protein takes longer to digest than other macronutrients, eating high-protein meals can also help in losing weight by making you feel more satisfied.
Exercises that explicitly target your core can help you build a flatter tummy either at home or in the gym. Exercising normally results in overall weight loss, not just belly fat.
Some of the best exercises for a flat stomach include:
- Bicycle crunches
- Mountain climbers
- Plank and plank variations
Drinking enough water
Water plays an important role in burning belly fat. Fat is burned when water molecules interact with glucose and fatty acids; hence drinking a lot of water is necessary to burn off stored fat from your body. Being dehydrated makes it hard for the body to metabolize accumulated fat.
There are cases where stubborn fat does not go away despite these lifestyle changes. In such cases, the next best thing may be surgery. Dr. Chopra offers a range of surgical and non-surgical options for such situations.
Non-surgical procedures for a flat tummy
Coolsculpting treatment – Cryolipolysis or Fat Freezing
Coolsculpting is a fat freezing procedure (Cryolipolysis) that can help remove stubborn fat from body parts like your arms, thighs, chin, or stomach. It involves breaking down and killing fat cells using freezing temperatures.
Typically it takes one to three months after the session for results to be evident on the treated area. The fat cells are flushed slowly out of the body, and the process can take up to six months.
How to Get a Flatter Stomach with Surgery
There are several surgeries that can help you get a flatter tummy – from liposuction to a tummy tuck.
Stomach Liposuction Surgery
Liposuction, also known as lipo, is a procedure that involves the removal of fat from certain areas of the body. If you want to get a flat stomach, this procedure can be appropriate because it can also help contour the stomach.
Please note that lipo is NOT a weight loss procedure. This procedure is designed to improve contours and stubborn fat deposits but will not necessarily cause you to weigh less on the scale.
When you gain weight, the fat cells in your body multiply and increase in size. Liposuction works by spot reducing the number of fat cells that accumulate in certain parts of the body.
The first step is administering anesthesia for comfort. Your surgeon will recommend either local anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
The incisions made during Liposuction tiny and just small enough to fit a hollow tube known as a cannula. This tube is used to loosen and extract excess fat in the targeted area using a back-and-forth motion. After the fat has been loosened and removed, Dr Chopra uses a high-pressure surgical vacuum attached to the cannula to suction the fat out of the body.
Unlike cryolipolysis, Liposuction requires recovery time, and you will have to spend a few hours at the medical facility for your recovery to be monitored. You also have to wait a few weeks before getting back into your regular routines.
After the surgery, the treated area will be swollen for a few weeks. Final results can be expected several months post-surgery.
Lipo works better for people who have good skin tone and elasticity. If your skin is not elastic enough, you might end up having loose skin after the procedure. In this case, a tummy tuck procedure with additional liposuction may be a better option to get rid of the excess loose skin.
Tummy tuck Surgery – Abdominoplasty
An abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgical treatment that improves the shape of the abdomen. This procedure is fundamentally performed to target the problem of excess skin as opposed to excess fat. Additional Liposuction can also help.
The procedure can also work for people who lost a lot of weight and are left with extra fat deposits and drooping skin around their tummies. After the fat and skin are removed, the muscles surrounding the abdominal wall are tightened. Women who have future plans for pregnancy are advised to wait until after having children to get a tummy tuck.
Tummy Tuck Procedure
There are different surgical approaches when it comes to an abdominoplasty. Depending on how much skin needs to be eliminated, one or more incisions might be needed. For a mini tummy tuck, a small incision on the lower part of the tummy is enough. However, for a traditional tummy tuck, a longer incision (sometimes from one hip bone to the other) might be necessary.
After the tummy tuck
After a tummy tuck, you will need to have someone drive you home. To prevent fluid buildup, you will need to be on a supportive abdominal binder for about six weeks as you heal. During this time, practice caution when you move around because certain positions, like bending too much, might cause the wound to reopen. The surgeon will instruct you on how to treat your wound at home, and you will need to go back for regular follow-up visits.
Sustaining results post-surgery
These procedures are an investment of both time and money which makes it essential to protect the results you get from them. If you wish to protect your results, it is critical that you maintain the weight you have post-operation. Losing or gaining 10 pounds or more can affect your results.
To keep your core strong and the tummy flat, you should exercise consistently. Vigorous exercise is not advised for the first few months following the surgery in order to heal correctly. A consistent exercise routine mixed with aerobic exercises like jogging or swimming will provide the most benefit.
Exercising combined with a healthy diet is needed if the goal is to have visible, recognizable results. Following a balanced healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will help in reducing or maintaining weight and fat. If it is possible, completely remove sugar from your diet and reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates and saturated fat from your diet.
FAQs about Surgical and Non-Surgical Procedures to Get a Flat Stomach
How long does it take to recover after surgery to get a flat stomach?
- It takes about five to seven days to recover following Liposuction, but a tummy tuck requires longer time – around two to three weeks. The scars from the surgery only become less visible after 12 to 18 months – scar minimization treatments can help.
Is a tummy tuck the same as Liposuction?
- This is a question that a lot of patients ask. These two procedures are different. Liposuction is for removing excess fat, while a tummy tuck is good for getting rid of excess skin and reconstructing the muscles that are below excess skin. Liposuction, unlike a tummy tuck, does not remove or reduce loose skin. A Tummy Tuck can be combined with Liposuction for best results.
How much pain should be expected after tummy surgery?
- The pain post-surgery will be mild to moderate. Discomfort will last for a couple of days after lipo and a tummy tuck, but any pain can easily be managed with medication.
Are the tummy procedures safe?
- Surgical procedures are associated with certain risks, and the procedures mentioned above are no exceptions. During your consultation, your surgeon will give a detailed layout of the risks associated with the procedure you wish to do but generally speaking, and these procedures are considered to be safe. If the post-operation instructions are followed, there are rarely ever any severe complications.