Posted January 23, 2012 in Body, Breast Augmentation, Home, Liposuction, Plastic Surgery

There are three possible reasons for the abdomen to protrude:

1.   Excessive abdominal wall fat

This is best addressed by dieting, exercise, and weight loss and/ or abdominal liposuction.

2.   Excessive laxity of the abdominal wall

Pregnancy, significant weight loss, and aging loosen the abdominal wall.  Full tummy tuck entails permanent sutures used to tighten the weak, protruding abdominal wall in the midline from the rib cage to the pubic region.  If a hernia (hole in the abdominal wall) is present, it may also be repaired.

3.   Excessive intra-abdominal fat

This is best addressed by dieting, exercise, and weight loss.  Plastic surgery will not help.

How can I tell which one is causing my protrusion?

It is best to be evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon, although you can certainly get an idea of what is causing your protrusion by answering a few questions and looking carefully at your abdomen.

  1. Have you lost a significant amount of weight?  If so, you probably have excessive laxity of the abdominal wall and may benefit from tummy tuck.
  2. How many children (if any) do you have?  In general, women with more children have more laxity of the abdominal wall.   In the absence of children and weight loss, you probably do not have major abdominal wall laxity.
  3. Can you “pinch more than an inch?”  If you can pinch more than an inch of abdominal fat, you may have excessive abdominal wall fat.  If you are unable to get rid of this with diet and exercise, then liposuction may be helpful.
  4. Do you have a hard, round abdomen (“beer gut”)?  If so, you probably have excessive intra-abdominal fat.  Since the fat is inside the abdominal cavity, plastic surgery will not help.

There are many surgical options for excessive abdominal protrusion.  These include liposuction, mini-tummy tuck, extended mini-tummy tuck, and full tummy tuck.  Remember that you should be within 5 to 10 pounds of your desired weight before considering cosmetic surgery of the abdomen.  If diet and exercise aren’t helping, liposuction or tummy tuck may be worthwhile considerations.

Diagram of layers of skin

Side view of abdominal wall layers(fat inside tummy, abdominal wall muscle and fat)

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For more information, including before / after photos, please click here.

To schedule an appointment, please call us at (469) 467-0100 or email us at drfriedman@

Ronald M. Friedman, M.D.

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

Director, West Plano Plastic Surgery Center

Former Chief of Plastic Surgery, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas