Can you tighten your abs naturally to avoid Tummy Tuck? (photo)

Just had a baby 7 months ago,and I'm being told I need tummy tuck to achieve small waist,is there a way I can avoid tummy tuck and still achieve the small waist and big butt just by going to the gym and work on tightni g my ands back together?

Doctor Answers 10

Can you tighten your abs naturally to avoid Tummy Tuck?

If the appearance of your abdomen concerns you enough, it can be cosmetically improved with a tummy tuck.

There are a variety of surgical procedures or combinations that can produce good results in patients with abdominal laxity, depending on multiple factors including their anatomy and degree of desired improvement: A mini tummy tuck, an umbilical float modified tummy tuck, a full abdominoplasty. Each of these can be performed with or without liposuction and with or without abdominal muscle repair. They produce different degrees of improvement. While diet, exercise and a healthy life style are important overall they will not achieve want you desire. There is no reliable replacement for the surgical procedures.

Following the advice of anyone who would presume to tell you what to do based on two dimensional photos without taking a full medical history, examining you, feeling and assessing your tissue tone, discussing your desired outcome and fully informing you about the pros and cons of each option would not be in your best interest. Find a plastic surgeon that you are comfortable with and one that you trust and listen to his or her advice. The surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Exercise and tummy tuck together to restore figure after pregnancy

If exercise could accomplish what a tummy tuck does, plastic surgeons would recommend a gym membership instead of taking patients to the operating room! There are 3 things that a tummy tuck does that exercise and diet alone cannot: 1. Exercise cannot "spot reduce" fat. If your body has decided to place extra around the middle, there are no exercises that specifically target that fat. 2. Exercise cannot tighten skin, especially after it has been stretched from pregnancy. 3. If there is a separation of the abdominal muscles (called a diastasis) then exercise does not change that because the muscles are not oriented in a direction that pulls the separation together. What the tummy tuck does not do is overall weight loss, especially for internal fat, so do what you can with exercise and then do the tummy tuck.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Can Exercise Help Me Avoid a Tummy Tuck?

  • During pregnancy your abdominal muscles are stretched quite a bit.  We call this myosfascial laxity. 
  • Additionally, it is very common to develop diastasis as well.  This refers to a gap between the two vertically oriented rectus abdominis muscles of your abdomen.  
  • No matter how many situps you do, you will not be able to correct the diastasis (gap between the muscles) that you may have. 
  • Additionally, although exercise may help you lose some weight and strengthen your abdominal muscles, the laxity will also remain. 
  • Definitely meet with a board certified plastic surgeon to find out more!
  • Thanks for sharing!

Joshua Cooper, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Exercise will help

Exercise will only help you. You will still likely need a full tummy tuck to get your ideal figure back. Good luck. 

Gaurav Bharti, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Can you tighten your abs naturally to avoid Tummy Tuck?

NO! You need a full Tummy Tuck with MR repair + liposuction. Best to seek IN PERSON opinions...Good Luck.  

Exercise will not obviate the need for an abdominoplasty.

After pregnancy there is nothing wrong with the abdominal musculature. The connective tissue housing the muscles can become stretched. Exercise will not remedy this.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Can you tighten your abs naturally to avoid Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question and picture. With a strict diet and exercise program, it is likely that you will be able to improve your situation significantly. However, do not be surprised (despite best efforts) if some amount of “excess” skin and/or abdominal wall laxity remains. The excess/redundant skin and abdominal wall muscle laxity (diastasis recti) are best addressed the tummy tuck surgery, if they remain a concern long-term. You may find the attached link helpful to you as you learn more about options. Best wishes.

Postpartum exercise

You can certainly accomplish a lot with diet and exercise. You can tighten your abdominal muscles and develop your gluteal muscles among other to give you a better shape. The part that is difficult to improve with exercise is the skin. If you have significant stretch marks and excess skin, it is very difficult to improve this with exercise. This is where surgery is beneficial. 

Moises Salama, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 1,545 reviews

What does a tummy tuck accomplish?


A tummy tuck has the ability to correct several potential issues:
-remove excess skin
-tighten abdominal wall
-reduce fat

Through diet and exercise fat can be lost and muscles can be strengthened.  The abdominal wall however becomes loose secondary to connective tissue which cannot be exercised.  The same is also true for abdominal skin.  At this time I would definitely do your best in terms of diet and exercise and once you have plateaued you can determine what if any plastic surgery procedures you may want/need.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Exercise vs. tummy tuck

A commitment to exercise and subsequent weight loss can sometimes reshape a woman's body following childbirth.  Exercise, however, cannot reverse stretch marks, excessive loose skin, or diastasis of the rectus muscle.  Most women who schedule consultations for tummy tuck are bothered by a combination of loose skin, stretch marks and muscle separation that require surgical correction.

I would advise you to begin by exercising and lose as much weight as possible. If you desire further changes to your shape then schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the Aesthetic Society.

Best of luck,

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.