Is There an Alternative to a Tummy Tuck for Ab Separation and an Umbilical Hernia?

I am 5'5" and weigh 100lbs. I definitely do not need liposuction. I do not have stretch marks. I do not have excessive loose skin. I just want the unsightly bulge from my umbilical hernia and the ridge under my belly button from my ab separation fixed. I really want to minimize the scar.

Doctor Answers 8

Endoscopic or limited incision tummy tuck for hernia and diastasis only

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Gven your description, it is my impression that you could undergo Endoscopic or limited incision tummy tuck for hernia and diastasis only

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Alternative to a tummy tuck for ab separation and an umbilical hernia

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Yes there is but it is a very difficult operation - Endoscopic recti repair + umbilical hernia repair. Using very small incisions - up to 5- this can be accomplished. It is an in hospital operation because of the specialized equipment needed.

From MIAMI Dr. B

Tightening separated Tummy Muscles and an Umbilical Hernia

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The operation that should be done on you should be the one most likely to benefit you - not to save you money or sooth your surgeon's fragile ego.

The vast majority of women who walk into our offices daily asking for a flat tummy have : muscle separation and excess skin both above and below the belly button. The only operation that can give women the best results is a Full Tummy Tuck. In women who have minimal to no separation and who have minimal excess skin confined below the belly button (especially a high located umbilicus), the answer is - a MINI Tummy Tuck.

In your case, you MAY very well be a candidate for a Mini Tummy Tuck (with or without an umbilical Float - ask your surgeon to explain). The muscle separation would be more challenging to repair through this access but it can definitely be done.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Diastasis and umbilical hernias can be repaired without an abdominoplasty

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You can have correction of a diastasis or separation of the sit-up muscles, and repair of an umbilical hernia without an abdominoplasty. It is very common to approach repair of an umbilical hernia through a small incision in the lower part of the umbilicus. The scar can be small and heal nicely. A small diastasis can also be closed with this approach, and if there is indeed no skin excess or stretch marks this would be my choice. If the diastasis is longer and wider, it may also be repaired through a short pubic incision line much like a c-section and reach top to bottom. Again, skin need not be removed, only the diastasis repaired.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Options for muscle and hernia repair other than tummy tuck

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Really your options are quite limited, since some degree of surgical access is required to do the repairs. There is a procedure called an endoscopic abdominoplasty, which is designed to go in and repair the muscles through a minimal access incision, but it never gained any popularity. Part of the reason might be that even if there is minimal skin laxity, when the muscles are pulled together the skin could bunch up externally and would need to be undermined and "redraped." So most of the time a mini-abdominoplasty is the best choice, since it could address all of the issues while leaving only a short and low scar.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

You may be a candidate for a mini-tummy tuck

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Muscle repair only, and hernia repair, can be done using either a mini tummy tuck approach (with a small scar over the pubic area) or possibly using an endoscopic approach using several small incisions.  A belly button-only approach will fix the hernia but won't allow much access to fully fix any muscle separation.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Mini tummy tuck with full fascia plication is an alternative for a few pts

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If you truly have no skin laxity at all, but loose and bulging abdominal wall tissues- then a solution would be to do a mini tummy tuck incision (about the length of c section scar and same position) detach the belly button and do complete tightening of the abdominal muscles from rib cage to pubic bone. The belly button is then reattached into normal position. The wound is then closed. In my experience, very few patients are good candidates for this approach- seek out a board certified plastic surgeon for an expert opinion.

Repair of hernia and diastasis

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Yes, you can have an umbilical hernia repair and plication or suturing of the separated muscles without undergoing a complete abdominoplasty. Depending on the nature and degree of these problems, you have them performed through a scar around the belly button or at the pubic in the pantyline.  However, your surgeon will need to be careful. to minimize the bunching of soft tissue that might occur when the muscles are tightened. This may need to be undermined to allow the soft tissue to redistribute over the tightened muscles.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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.