I am considering a full tummy tuck. Due to the fact that I am athletic, no children with low body fat, except in the abdominal area, I do not feel I need muscle tightening. My main concern is skin tightening and removing excess hereditary fat. Laxity in the skin is caused from weight fluxuation because if weight is gained it tends to gravitate in the abs and I am 43. What would the difference in recovery and cost be for the tuck without muscle repair?
What is Recovery for a Full Tummy Tuck if Muscle Wall Tightening is Not Needed?
Doctor Answers (12)
Healing after abdominoplasty
healing is similar for the incision:
strong at 2-3 weeks
well healed at 6 wks
the healing period is much easier with early return to work and activitites, possibly within days rather than weeks
Tummy Tuck Recovery without muscle tightening
Recovery after tummy tuck without muscle tightening is much shorter. The average recovery for my patients after this procedure is about 1 to 2 weeks. This options is not for everyone. If your muscle is separated (rectus distasis), it is worth tightening to improve your shape. You and your Plastic surgeon should make that decision prior to surgery.
Tummy tuck without muscle tightening vs liposuction
The recovery from a skin only abdominoplasty is much less compared to the abdominoplasty with muscle tightening. The recovery is centered around the necessary skin tightness created by the surgery. This takes a while to lessen and for you to get used to it. Patients have to be bent over in most cases in order to tighten the abdominal skin appropriately. It usually takes a few days for the patient to be able to become upright. There are exceptions to every rule, but I quote recovery based on what 95% of my patients experience. (2 standard deviations from the norm) With that in mind, most of my patients are doing well in 10 days although they are probably not back to full energy for 4 to 6 weeks. That is true for regular tummy tucks with muscle tightening as well except with muscle tightening the pain is much more intense the first 3 days and return to work is more like 3 weeks on average instead of 10 days to 2 weeks with skin only surgery.
Finally, you may find that if you are athletic and your only issue is fat removal then liposuction may be a good option for you. Tummy tucks are indicated for skin excess and looseness primarily. It usually takes liposuction in addition or primarily to address the fat excess.
A consult with a board certified Plastic Surgeon should answer these questions for you.
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The pain is in the muscle with tummy tucks
Most of the pain with tummy tuck surgery is due to the muscle plication. Patients who have not had children and are diligent about working out their abdominal muscles can get great results from tummy tuck surgery without having the muscle repaired. Those who have muscle stretching from multiple pregnancies and patients who do not exercise their abdominal muscles get a significant benefit from the muscle sutures.
You should have significantly less pain without the muscle repair and you will probably also do better than most patients as those who work out tend to do better than couch potatoes. One other thing that can be done by your surgeon at the time of surgery to reduce you pain is to inject tumescent fluid into the area. This contains dilute local anesthetic which numbs the area and can dramatically reduce you pain when you wake up from surgery.
You cost should be a few hundred dollars cheaper.
Tummy tuck recovery without muscle tightening
There are a few fortunate individuals such as yourself who do not need muscle tightening during tummy tuck. Without, the recovery certainly is much easier with a quicker return to exercise and lifting. Still you will need to let the abdomen heal well enough to protect the incision line and prevent a fluid collection, about two weeks should do, though return to work after one with support may be possible.
Best of luck,
Tummy tuck recovery
If no muscle work is done then a 2 to 3 week recovery may be sufficient, as this is where more discomfort is created with surgery.
Tummy Tuck Recovery: with and without muscle repair
Without muscle repair, the ability to do resistance and core exercises will shorten
somewhat but will depend on activity. In my practice you can start these activities
after a month vs 6 weeks with muscle repair. Here are some general guidelines of
what to expect:
Within a few hours following surgery, abdominoplasty patients will walk in a slightly
bent-over position. Strenuous activity and lifting of more than 10 pounds should be
avoided for six weeks after surgery. Most patients are able to return to work and
daily activities within two weeks of surgery.
It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation
to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of
extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take
longer. Our expert surgeons can tell you specifically how long your recovery will take.
for specific exercises and activities you have in mind
Recovery without muscle tightening might be about one week
The primary role of a tummy tuck is to remove excess skin and soft tissue laxity. Muscle tightening and liposuction performed at the same time as a tummy tuck have been shown to improve the overall results fro most patients since most patients also need abdominal wall tightening and thinning of the fat layer. If you do not need muscle tightening than just the tummy tuck portion of the procedure alone with removal of excess laxity will require about 1 week of recovery time especially if you are not closed particularly tight. Upload some photos since I have sinking suspicion that you may not need a full tummy tuck.
All the best,
Much quicker recovery
I believe your recovery will be significantly faster without a muscle repair. You will probably be allowed to return to routine activities quicker and should have less pain. Good luck.