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Tummy Tuck with Shortest Recovery Time?

I have a 3-4" diastasis recti from a very large pregnancy. I'm petite with good skin tone and am looking to have the tummy tuck for muscle repair only, no skin/fat removal (I'm okay with a little "leftover" skin). I'm not concerned about scarring but am very concerned about recovery time because I care for two young children. Would an endoscopic tummy tuck lessen recovery time compared to a full tummy tuck? If not, are there any other good options? Thank you!

Doctor Answers (21)

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If you are tightening your muscles of your abdomen, why not also tighten the skin?

+2

I have to agree with Dr Rand. It is the muscle repair that causes the majority of the pain with a tummy tuck, not the skin removal. I find Endoscopic diastasis repair to not be as reliable or as aesthetically rewarding as the standard tummy tuck scar approach. It is also somewhat limited as far as how much tightening you can obtain due to the loose skin.
Surgically tightening your separated abdominal muscles without tightening or removing the loose skin is like having a dent in your car's fender popped out without smoothing out the wrinkles in the metal and applying a fresh coat of paint while it's in the shop. The skin tightening part of the procedure is the more minor part of the procedure, but it is the part of the procedure which provides the most cosmetic improvement.

Web reference: http://www.discoverthebeauty.com

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Endoscopic Repair of a Wide Tummy Muscle Separation WITHOUT a Tummy Tuck

+4

Regarding: "Tummy Tuck with Shortest Recovery Time?
I have a 3-4" diastasis recti from a very large pregnancy. I'm petite with good skin tone and am looking to have the tummy tuck for muscle repair only, no skin/fat removal (I'm okay with a little "leftover" skin). I'm not concerned about scarring but am very concerned about recovery time because I care for two young children. Would an endoscopic tummy tuck lessen recovery time compared to a full tummy tuck? If not, are there any other good options? Thank you
!"

I sympathize with your request but I have no miracle advice for you. If you would allow me, I DO have some thoughts I would like to share with you and the RealSelf readership.

It does NOT take much of a surgeon to take your money and do as YOU order him, even if it against your better interests. We see this everyday - women having huge implants put in without understanding the consequences. Women having around the nipple (periareolar) breast lift with advanced breast sagging to avoid a scar down the breast with pitiful bizarre flattened breasts with stretched out, sun-burst areolas. Women Having Mini- Tummy Tucks and realizing the pooching over the belly button and wide waist could have been totally corrected with a Full Tummy Tuck. And the list goes on.

It takes a good and ethical surgeons to properly examine you, listen to your concerns and wishes and to educate you on what each procedure can and cannot do.

The welfare of our patients is very important to most of us. Many of us are perfectionists and artistic individuals who love transforming our patients' lives for the better. We LOVE producing great results and not only because we make people happy - the prime reason most of us went into this field of Medicine, but because it is a living artistic demonstration of our surgical vision and talent. No Plastic surgeon that I know is content producing mediocre or downright poor results.

Respectfully, what you are asking is rescuing defeat out of the jaws of victory.
- You may not be concerned with a residual pooch - but most of us would be.
- You may not be concerned by the quality, extent and visibility of your scarring - but most of us are.
- We are as concerned about your smooth recovery as you may be. But, we equally realize that a potentially slightly longer recovery in exchange for a great result MAY be worth the price for most of our patients.

A 4 inch rectus muscle separation in a petite woman requires separation of a significant amount of the abdominal skin to allow its repair. The forces that split these muscles widely stretched and split the skin as well. Leaving excess skin behind and just putting stretched, split muscles together is NOT likely to result in an attractive tummy. This operation was tried many times in the early and mid 1990's only to be abandoned. It is arguably applicable in a very small number of women.

In my opinion you should see several good Tummy Tuck surgeons in your area and see what they have to offer before you tell them the operation you want. When you ask for their honest opinion, you will get your answer.

Good Luck.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tummy tuck recovery

+3

You have to figure 2-4 weeks for recovery.  There are no shortcuts.  Don't forsake the best result for a slightly shorter recovery

Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery

+3

Megan

I would recommend a standard abdominoplasty with repair of the rectus muscle.  The endoscopic approach really does not decrease the recovery much. So go with the "gold standard" open approach and consider a Pain Pump which helps reduce the pain during the initial recovery period.  I also recommend a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for the best results.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

How to reduce your recovery time after a tummy tuck

+2

In our practice, we perform this procedure in patients of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. Our patients are interested in receiving a dramatic and beautiful result with a very short downtime. We inform our patients that after the surgery there is a significant recovery process. We ask all our patients to take at least two weeks off after the surgery before returning to work with minimal physical requirements such as a desk job. We recommend that the patient weight for six weeks before returning to the gym and to start their exercise regimen carefully and slowly. If you have a significant diastasis as you describe, it is likely that your plastic surgeon will recommend a muscle repair and plication. This will require a longer recovery process than just liposuction or a skin excision. At this stage, be sure that you inform your plastic surgeon of your concerns and let them know of the limitations of your schedule and the level of activity that you need to return to. The most important thing is having an honest discussion so that both of your expectations are met.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

+2

Thanks for the question.

In general, the muscle repair is responsible for a large propensity of the pain in a tummy tuck. Thus, whether you choose to have a traditional tummy tuck or an endoscopic diastasis repair, your pain will be comparable. I would therefore recommend a traditional tummy tuck to guarantee the best results.  In my practice I place patients on a lifting restriction of no more than 10 lbs for a period of 8 weeks. This ensures the patient will have ample time to heal.  Early ambulation and low-impact exercise is encouraged once the drains are removed.  Picking up 2 young children would definitely be  out of the question for the first 2 months.

Best of luck,

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Tips for faster recovery with tummy tuck

+2

From your description it sounds like a mini-tummy tuck with diastasis repair will be the way to go. That's the good news; the not as good news is that the biggest factor in recovery is the diastasis repair, not the skin or fat removal. It is analagous to a hernia repair, which we know from extensive experience takes about 6 weeks before it has healed enough to be stressed. You should be able to do most routine activities after 2 weeks but no heavy lifting for 6 weeks or you will set everything back.

Another factor in recovery time is the drain tube. If your surgeon uses a progressive tension suture technique, the drain can come out much sooner or may not be needed at all.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Endo tummy tuck

+2

An endoscopic repair of the diastasis recti muscles is reserved for a very small number of patients. Most patients also require skin removal as well.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy Tuck with Shortest Recovery Time?

+2

With that large of a diastasis  of 3 to 4 inches the average recovery whether using excisional tummy tuck or endoscopic will be 3 weeks. It is the healing time of the muscle repair that will take that time. From MIAMI Dr. Darryl J. Blinski

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Recovery Time for Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

+2

The muscle repair is the part of the tummy tuck that requires the longest recovery time.  The technique used to perform it (endoscopic or open) won't significantly change that.

For success, plan your tummy tuck when you can recover properly. With young children, you will need assistance for about 1 week post-op, but discuss this in detail with your surgeon.

Web reference: http://www.drzwiebel.com

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.

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