The new year is a time when many people make resolutions to get in shape. For motivation, some turn to social media to follow fitness gurus and find other sources of inspiration, such as before and after photos.
However, you should critically look at the images of flat, firm abs you see on Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media channels. Often, there is more to these transformations than meets the eye. If you see jaw-dropping results from something as simple as a “detox tea,” it’s very likely that a plastic surgery procedure was involved–such as abdominoplasty.
Are You Actually Looking at Tummy Tuck Before and After Photos?
You don’t have to be a plastic surgeon to identify when a before and after ‘weight loss’ photo is fake. Here are a few things to look for:
1. Excess skin has been removed or tightened.
If the before photo shows someone with a large degree of loose, hanging skin, but their after photo looks smooth and toned, you can bet that person had a tummy tuck.
Even though it is possible to tone the stomach without surgery, only a tummy tuck can eliminate excess skin caused by weight loss, pregnancy, or aging. That’s because tummy tuck surgery removes sagging skin and reshapes your body contours. It also tightens the abdominal wall muscles so that your stomach is flat and sculpted.
The removal of extra skin can also eliminate stretch marks in some people. So, if you see stretch marks in one photo but not the other, that’s another clue that plastic surgery was at play.
2. The belly button has changed or has a scar around it.
If the belly button changes shape, size, or location from one photo to the other, then it’s likely the person in the photo has had a tummy tuck. Look for abnormally large, small, or misshapen belly buttons. You can learn more about how a tummy tuck reshapes the opening around the belly button in our related blog post.
Tummy tuck surgery can sometimes be performed through an incision in the belly button. So if you see a small scar around or under the belly button, this also may indicate surgery has occurred.
3. You see a lower abdominal scar in the “after” photo.
The most obvious sign of a tummy tuck is a lower abdominal scar that runs from hip bone to hip bone. However, this scar is easily camouflaged under clothing and may not be visible in pictures. Additionally, scarring can be improved with laser skin resurfacing, which makes the incision even less noticeable.
If you do see this scar, it’s a clear indicator of tummy tuck surgery. If not, there’s still a chance that the scar is hidden under clothing or the photo has been digitally manipulated. Use your best judgment: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Before and After Tummy Tuck Photos
Take a look at some of our patients’ tummy tuck transformations to get an idea of the procedure’s real results—not the product of weight loss. (Although many people do have a tummy tuck after they’ve lost weight to remove excess skin and tighten abdominal muscles.)
You can see more tummy tuck before and after photos in our gallery.
Tummy Tuck and Weight Loss
A tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure, but it can be a life-changing procedure. Some studies have shown that in addition to transforming their bodies, people who have a tummy tuck tend to keep the weight off for the long term. This could be because people are more motivated to maintain their results after they see their new, improved contours after surgery.
As long as you eat right, exercise, and maintain your weight, your new figure can last for many years. It’s much easier to do this if you are at or near your ideal weight before your surgery and already live a healthy, active lifestyle.