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Abdominal Crunches After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair? (photo)

I am 6 weeks post op, had a Tummy Tuck with muscle repair. My doctor told me that now, at 6 weeks, to begin getting off the binder at night, put it on during the day, and totally out of it in two weeks. But, he said I should do light abdominal crunches for the next two weeks to restrengthen my muscles. They hurt! I could barely do four little ones. Is this safe for my muscle repair? I trust him and my recovery has been flawless, but this scares me! Any input would be appreciated.

Doctor Answers (9)

Abdominal crunches after Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

+10

Dear Angeella,

I think it is a commonly held perception that if you were sucessful in getting 4 or more Plastic surgeons in one room there would have a hard time agreeing together on few little things. It is becuase we are all individualistic and perceive and process data slightly differently.

In continuing this tradition, I would RESPECTFULLY disagree from you plastic surgeon.

!st - There is NO scientific reason that I know about why you should do abdominal crunches EVEN if you did them properly protecting your lower back. Doing so needlessly strains the plication sutures used to put your six pack muscles together and may cause them to cheese wire through the fascia they were placed in. If the tummy tuck was done properly no further muscle toning needs to be done risking the repair. Just as I verify that my female patients are not planning on stretching my muscle repairs with planned pregnancies, I also warn them against damaging the repairs with sit ups or crunches.

2nd - You can ditch the binder. At this point it is really not necessary and may be much more of a nuisance than a benefit.

3rd - your scar is tad high and inexplicably not covered by your panties. Was there a specific reason for such a high placement (breast reconstruction with a TRAM flap ? previous transverse scar or personal preference)?

I agree with Dr. Soto who was more diplomatic than me. Resume your life and listen to your body. You look great.


Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Abdominal Crunches Post Tummy Tuck

+3

I would recommend you follow your surgeons orders. If it is bothersome when trying abdominal crunches I would say take it slow. You need to start strengthing your core little by little. Be patient and start slow, you don't want to over do it.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Listen to your body, but return to activity should be safe at 6 weeks

+2

Hi there- If your surgery was at least 6 weeks ago, you should be able to return to activity with little fear of actually hurting yourself, as human wounds have reached ~90% of their eventual strength at this point. I would be cautious in my return to activity, and listen to my body, backing off of activities that cause pain and easing back into them a few days or a week later, but slowly resuming activity should be safe for you now. I hope that helps you.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

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Wait 6 months for core work

+1
I like the patients to refrain from all exercise for 2 months after surgery, and not to exercise their core for 6 months.  I just don't think there is any benefit.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
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Abdominal Crunches After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

+1

I don’t think there is any evidence that abdominal crunches will help your muscles specifically after an abdominoplasty.  I think walking and eating a low fat low calorie diet will do better for you.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
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Abdominal Exercises / Crunches after Tummy Tuck

+1

I usually recommend patients wait 6 weeks before beginning crunches or abdominal muscle exercises after a tummy tuck. With that being said, I usually recommend starting their typical exercise routines in a graduated fashion and to listen to their body as they increase the level of activity. 

Ankit Desai, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
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Crunches after a tummy tuck

+1

I would trust your surgeon's advice as he/she has likely followed this regimen with success in the past. I strongly encourage women to resume a regimen of core strengthening using a Pilates regimen as this promotes a flatter contoured and concave abodominal wall in contrast to the convex bulging six pack that males generally prefer and achieve with "crunches"..

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Abdominal crunches after a tummy tuck

+1

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients who receive this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process. In our practice, we encourage patients to initiate a rigorous exercise regimen after their surgery. Patients should begin walking as much as possible right after the surgery but should wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before returning to the gym and performing strenuous exercise or lifting weights. When returning to the gym, take it slow and do not over extend yourself or begin your regimen by lifting heavy weights. Combining an exercise regimen with a low-fat diet will help you maintain your beautiful new curves.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Abdominal exercises after a tummy tuck

+1

Every surgeon's post-op instructions are a bit different.  I usually allow patients to return to sit-ups or weight lifting by about 6-8 weeks.  Some surgeons may differ in their opinion. I would follow with your doctor. If it hurts too much, you may want to back off a bit.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.