Can I Exercise My Abdominal Pooch Away Or Do I Need A Tummy Tuck?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting rid of  my lower abdominal pooch. The skin has some stretch marks which become really apparent when I lean over. The wrinkly skin really sags when I do this and it is very unattractive. I am wondering if I can just exercise this area away (my husband says I can) or whether this needs liposuction to make it better. (which I think it does) What are your thoughts?

A: Many women, who are not overweight, have developed a little pooch in their lower abdomen between their belly button and their pubis. Its relatively small size suggests that it is a non-surgical problem that can be exercised away. Usually I see women who come in after they have proven to themselves that they can not get rid of it on their own. Your wrinkled skin that sags when you bend over is the key in answering the question of whether this is a surgical or non-surgical problem. This tells you that there is too much skin and it will not shrink down on its own. Excess skin most certainly can not be exercised away. The only real solution is that of some form of a tummy tuck, particularly if you are using the criteria of how it looks when you bend over. Stretch marks are a sign that the elasticity of the skin has been destroyed and no recoil or shrinkage of it can occur. Only surgical removal will solve this loose saggy skin condition.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana