If you were to ask any woman which area of the body they are most self-conscious of, then the tummy is likely to crop up as their chief concern. Belly fat is hard to shift and spare skin post-childbirth or through weight loss or as a consequence of the ageing process so difficult to camouflage, so it’s no surprise that the leading American plastic surgery organisation nominated 2019 the Year of the Body. Both here and in the US, demand for surgical procedures, such as the tummy tuck or liposuction, and non-surgical fat reduction treatments, continues to grow apace.
The battle of the bulge
The tummy is not purely a female problem area, as we see many men in the clinic that are conscious of their ‘beer belly’, but women can find it harder to shift fat in the tummy area. The abdomen has more beta fat cells than alpha ones and, unfortunately, beta cells respond more slowly to lipolysis, the body process that breaks down fat.
This is why you can lose weight and quickly see the results in your face or arms, for example, but fail to see an immediate difference in the hips, thighs or tummy. Also, many women – even when they are very slim – will start to a change in where fat is distributed around the body due to decreasing levels of oestrogen, resulting in the menopausal middle spread.
At Karidis Clinic, we listen closely to our patients’ concerns and offer a range of both surgical and non-surgical procedures that can target the tummy area. As a consultant plastic surgeon-led clinic, we also ensure that any minimally invasive procedures we offer can produce effective, predictable results.
Body contouring procedure #1: Tummy tuck
If you’ve experienced pregnancy or weight fluctuations, then the impact on the abdominal muscles and skin can be significant. Even the ageing process can affect the tightness of the skin and muscles and make it impossible to ‘tone up’ this area, however many crunches or planks you do.
The tummy tuck will result in an extensive scar as an incision is typically made from hip to hip, above the pubic area in a slightly curved but horizontal line. However, the surgeon will then be able to tighten up the abdominal muscles, remove any excess skin and fat and create a much tauter, flatter abdomen.
Body contouring procedure #2: Liposuction
A tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction which remains the most effective procedure for removing fat from any area of the body. It can be used to complement the results of the tummy tuck by sculpting the abdomen, but can also be used as a standalone procedure if you are near to or at your ideal body weight, have good skin elasticity and wish to just eradicate stubborn pockets of fat that are preventing you achieving a more youthful, toned tummy.
Body contouring procedure #3: CoolSculpting
For patients that are aren’t ready to go down the surgical route, we do offer the gold standard of non-surgical fat reduction in the form of CoolSculpting. It uses a process of cryolipolysis where fat cells are frozen, causing them to die off and be safely eliminated from the body, with no need for incisions or any damage to the surrounding tissue.
There are some limitations though that our medical director Mr Alex Karidis believes patients must be aware of: “CoolSculpting is much slower to work than lipo – for every target area you treat, you’ll only get a 20% improvement in the area in one session, so you’ll require a follow-up session a few weeks later to get another 20% improvement. But you don’t have the same downtime as you would after a liposuction procedure.
“Skin quality is an essential part of our assessment – if you have very poor skin quality with stretch marks and loose skin, your result will always be slightly compromised when you remove the underlying fat cells. Skin with good collagen levels will snap back to the new contours of the body, but a lack of collagen means you may get a deflation effect across the whole treated area. An experienced surgeon will assess your skin quality and give you an honest appraisal of the results you can expect from treatment.”
Body contouring procedure #4: Body Ballancer
Tummy bloating is a common premenstrual symptom affecting women and Body Ballancer is an exciting new therapy that can drastically reduce fluid retention. It utilises pressotherapy to stimulate lymphatic drainage, which can help to alleviate a number of body issues. As well as improving cellulite and skin tone and having a positive impact on your immune and digestive system, Body Ballancer produces an all-over slimming and body contouring effect by reducing volume in the areas of the body that are affected by fluid retention. An added benefit is that a lot of our patients are finding that it helps them to sleep more soundly.
Meeting patient expectations
This is an essential part of what we do at the Karidis Clinic. As Alex explains: “As long as the patient is fully aware of all the limitations as well as the benefits of each procedure option, they can make the decision that’s best for them. Non-surgical and surgical approaches to fat reduction will deliver very different results but beware of places that can only offer non-surgical procedures as this will often colour the advice that they give you.
“It’s important that a patient is clear on what is the issue that is bothering them and what they are hoping to achieve, but it’s also important that they keep an open mind. Then it’s our job to guide them to the most appropriate treatment option.”
To find out which tummy treatment is best for you, call us on 020 3811 5982 to book your consultation.