There’s no doubt that pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on your body. Some changes, such as weight gain, can be resolved with diet and exercise. But no matter how shutterstock_171343085many calories you cut, or crunches you do, you may be left with post-pregnancy paunch. Now before you put away your bikini forever, let me tell you this: A tummy tuck combined with liposuction can send that paunch packing!

Your body undergoes a variety of changes very quickly during pregnancy. Agreed? Extra weight is stored throughout the body to make sure you have enough energy stockpiled. Breasts change shape and size, both in response to weight gain and because of hormonal changes. Some women even find that their hair becomes straighter or curlier, or notice other unpredictable physical shifts.

One of the primary changes during pregnancy, of course, is the swelling of the uterus to accommodate the baby growing within. Your abdominal muscles stretch as well, to allow the expansion of the uterus. Unfortunately, this stretching can cause the abdominal muscles to separate completely in a permanent condition called diastasis recti, AKA “mummy tummy.”

Making an effort to eat right and exercise after your baby is born can help shed remaining pregnancy pounds. Yet for some women, plastic surgery may be needed to repair permanent muscle separation and laxity.

I offer two approaches to toning and sculpting the abdominal area: liposuction and abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). Liposuction involves making a few tiny incisions near the belly, through which a cannula (hollow surgical tube) is inserted. The fat cells are broken apart through one of a variety of methods, and then the cannula can be used to physically remove the excess fat cells. Bid the fat goodbye—but what about those stretched-out muscles?

A tummy tuck surgically repairs separated muscles by stitching them back in place, while removing excess skin and tissue for a smoother, firmer look.

By combining the two—liposuction and tummy tuck—you can kiss that paunch goodbye, and say “hello!” to your bikini.