NATIONAL - Flat abs are often considered a sign of youth, and last year, almost two hundred thousand people had tummy tucks in the United States alone.
But it might not be too late to bring back a more youthful tummy without major surgery.
Nancy Bunt is a vivacious 40-something who wishes her abs matched her youthful outlook.
"To wear something more fitted, I just wasn't, I wasn't comfortable. So I decided to do something about it," said Bunt.
She's enlisted reconstructive surgeon Gerald H. Pitman to revive her abs using a procedure called lower abdominoplasty, or a mini tummy tuck.
Dr. Pitman says, "Only the skin and the attached fat are removed, there's no muscle tightening. It's much less painful. It can be done under a local anesthesia and the recovery is five days."
This procedure focuses only on stretched-out skin in the lower abdomen, closer to the bikini line.
"It's just simply a removal of this area of skin and fat, and then the skin from here is brought to there and you have a single line closure," said Dr. Pitman.
Liposuction also figures into this tummy trimming equation.
Dr Pitman says "99 percent of women who have this operation also have liposuction, usually to remove fat from the upper tummy and to remove fat from around the waist and give them a better waistline."
And while this is less extensive than a full abdominoplasty, the mini tummy tuck packs a punch.
"The operation rejuvenates the abdomen, it 'youthifies' it, so indeed you end up with a more youthful abdomen," Dr. pitman said.
Nancy's ready to see the results in her mirror.
Dr. Pitman says exercise is an important aspect of keeping a trim physique, but it can't un-sag stretched-out skin.
That's where a procedure like the mini tummy tuck fits in.