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Is Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair Possible for Weight Loss Patients?

I've lost over 100 lbs. and want to get rid of this extra skin. I also want children. I've read about women who've gotten pregnant after a Tummy Tuck experiencing sharp abdominal pain and stretching because of the muscle repair.

I want my pregnancy experiences to be as normal as possible. Is having the Tummy Tuck without muscle repair an option? How much say does a patient have in this procedure?

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Doctor Answers (20)

Tummy tuck without muscle repair

+2

If you have not had children then the need for muscle repair is somewhat unlikely.  It would be perfectly acceptable for you to request no muscle repair with your abdominoplasty in anticipation of becoming pregnant some time in the future.

Wishing you all the best.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tummy Tuck without muscle repair

+2

Yes, one is able to perform a a full abdominoplasty without repair or your muscles (rectus diastasis). However, the surgeon would only be treatinng the soft tissues effects of post weight loss (skin and fat). In specific indivduals this leads to very good results. The muscle repair helps sculpt your waistline and help makes your abdomen appear "more flat".

Arthur Cambeiro, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy Tuck without muscle repair

+2

First, congratulations on loosing 100 lbs...that is equivalent to 360,000 lost calories!

You will certainly see a great improvement with just removing the skin. If your abdominal muscle tone is good, you may not even require muscle repair at this time.

I have had patients who have had successful pregnancies after muscle repair, so the choice is ultimately yours.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Tucked but not tightened

+2

Mittsy,

It is possible to reduce the overhang of skin without tightening the muscles. The procedure is called a panniculectomy. It does nothing to recontour the abdomen except remove the overhanging skin. This may be an option. After child bearing, if your abdomen does not have the contour that you desire then a formal abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) can be done. The best thing to do would be to see several board certified plastic surgeons for evaluation and recommendations on possible treatments.

Good Luck.

Dr. ES

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tummy tuck after weight loss

+2

You can certainly have a tummy tuck without muscle repair. Most of your benefit would come from removing all the extra skin that remains after your weight loss. We have had patients go on to have successful pregnancies after repair of the muscle, but certainly leaving the muscle unrepaired is a perfectly fine alternative. Congratulations on losing the weight!

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Panniculectomy vs. full tummy tuck

+2

If you are contemplating children, you may be best off with a panniculectomy (skin only) and have a full TT later on after children. A skin only operation would be an excellent option as well. We don't like to tighten the fascia in women who plan to have children because it is possible that premature labor, etc. might occur in a troubled pregnancy.

Most surgeons on RealSelf have seen patients who had previously undergone TT have successful pregnancies, but the pregnancy might undo otherwise god results.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Is tummy tuck without muscle repair possible?

+2

Hi there-

A more simple procedure, in which only the excess skin and fat are removed, with or without a bit of liposuction IS possible.

I would find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon you like and feel you can trust and discuss your goals and options with them.

If you need help on finding one, please read this:

In a previous entry, I described how common it is for patients who contact my Orlando plastic surgery center to make the mistake of thinking that:

Anyone offering a plastic surgery procedure MUST be appropriately trained and certified to perform that procedure; this is, unfortunately, not the case.

All plastic surgery training is equal, and so shopping for the best price is the best way to choose a surgeon

In that previous entry, I explained how not all people offering plastic surgery are Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, and in fact, many are not even plastic surgeons! There are now many doctors in other specialties offering to perform plastic surgery procedures without the benefit of the years of training a plastic surgeon receives, convincing their patients that a few weeks of training is sufficient for them to learn what we learn in YEARS.

I explained the potentially dangerous error of choosing based on price.

Finally, I explained how to properly choose not only a surgeon, but also the importance of choosing the facility in which the procedure will be performed and also the anesthesia provider.

For today's entry, we'll assume a healthy understanding of these issues. Having done your homework, and ascertained that the surgeons you are considering are all plastic surgeons Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, the facilities in which they operate are all certified by the AAAASF or JCAHO, and the anesthesia providers are all well-qualified, how do you make the final decision?

Here are my recommendations:

Consider the relative quality of the surgeon's medical school educations. While it is true that most medical educations will cover the basics, there is a reason that some institutions grow international reputations and perpetually fight for the best students.

A medical school education among these "Best and Brightest" students and educators could reasonably be expected to produce (and historically has produced) America's finest doctors and surgeons. Ranking lists of medical schools take these things into consideration and are a useful resource. The most respected list, from US News and World Report, can be found here:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools/research-rankings

Find out where the surgeon completed his/her Plastic Surgery Residency. This is the critical and years long process of going from a medical student to a qualified plastic surgeon, where we learn to do plastic surgery by gradually taking on more responsibility under the watchful eyes of other, already trained and experienced surgeons. Just like medical schools, not all training programs are equal in the breadth, intensity and quality of training offered.

Generally speaking, those programs associated with the best medical schools also provide the best training, as they will be able to attract and retain the best, most experienced and reputable professors of plastic surgery- and the quality of our training will depend on the quality of those training us. For example, I completed my own Plastic Surgery training at Washington University in St. Louis, one of the top 5 medical schools in the United States- and it also happens to be the birthplace of American Plastic Surgery.

It bears repeating that you should be absolutely sure that the surgeon you are considering is Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is easily done at the Board's site:

https://www.abplsurg.org/ModDefault.aspx?section=PubFind

Know that surgeons who claim to be "Board Eligible" in plastic surgery are NOT board certified. This may be because they simply have not taken the examinations- but this is doubtfully the true explanation, as The American Board of Plastic Surgery specifically prohibits claiming ANY status with The Board until and unless you have passed all examinations. Much more likely is that they were unable to pass the examinations (or simply never took them), but realize they may lose patients if they don't find a way to fool them into thinking they have status with The Board. Are you starting so understand that not all doctors have integrity?

Spend some time thinking about the interactions you have had with the surgeon and his/her staff. You should realize that having a plastic surgery procedure is NOT a singular interaction, like buying a new handbag, in which once the bag is purchased (or the surgery completed) the interaction can be considered to be complete. Rather, you are choosing to enter into a very important relationship with your surgeon, the critical portions of which should be expected to last at least a few months beyond the date of your surgery, as you recover and heal. This very important relationship should therefore be approached with the same care you would give any other... think about whether you think the surgeon will be responsive to your needs and concerns, whether your personalities will allow healthy interaction, the approachability of his/her staff, etc...

Remember- you don't only want to have achieved a great outcome when all is said and done... you want to have had an uplifting and positive experience you can look back on and smile! You can have this in the best practices.

Finally, never forget that what you are really looking for is the very best OUTCOME you can achieve. Sometimes when I'm asked by friends and family how to sort through all the claims some surgeons make of being the best choice because they (the surgeon in question) were voted "the best" by some magazine, or because the surgeon simply says they are "the best", I am reminded of the first Clinton presidential campaign, in which the slogan "It's the economy, stupid" helped Mr. Clinton win the White House. Once you've done the homework outlined above, it's all about the OUTCOME...

Ask to see photos of the surgeon's previous work- and ask yourself if you would be pleased if you looked like the photos they show you. Think about how many good photos they show you. Do most of the outcomes just look funny, with only a few that you think are attractive and natural, or are all of their results pleasing and attractive, even if every one may not be what you specifically want? If the surgeon can't show you at least a few outcomes you find attractive and pleasing, you should look elsewhere.

Be sure to ask directly whether the photos you are being shown are the surgeon's own work (believe it or not, some actually do try to attract patients by showing them the work of others!)

I also always recommend communicating with a few of the surgeon's prior patients who have had the same procedure they are recommending for you. You can ask the surgeon's staff for a list of patients who may have agreed to be called, or find testimonials online at one of the many plastic surgery websites now available. My favorite, because it is objective, free (surgeons cannot pay to be listed higher, so more credibility exists), and allows you to get a feel for the surgeon's manner and personality, is RealSelf:

www.RealSelf.com

I know it seems like a huge amount of work, but after you've read this (as well as my prior post) a few times, you'll have a great understanding of the best way to proceed, and it will feel very comfortable and natural to you. Use the resources I've outlined, and use your gut- there are many great surgeons out there- with these guidelines you should be able to attain the outcome and experience you desire.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Finish having children before tummy tuck

+1

Thank you for your question. You will likely not need muscle repair if you have not had children yet.

However most plastic surgeons agree that you should finish having children before having your tummy tuck. If you have children after your tummy tuck you may lose the benefits of your tummy tuck.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy Tuck vs Panniculectomy

+1

Tummy tuck is mainly to improve shape and contour by plicating your core tight then redraping the skin. Without the core thightening (muscle repair), its not a tummy tuck, but a panniculectomy (skin and fat resection).

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Muscle Tightening Not Necessary for Tummy Tuck after Weight Loss

+1

I usually do not do muscle tightening in patients who have an abdominal pannus removal if they have not had children.  Even if you have had children, the choice is yours as whether you want muscle tightening or not.  If your surgeon refuses, find another surgeon.

Mark A. Schusterman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 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.