Can Something else Be Done with the Ab Muscles in a Tummy Tuck if There is No Muscle Separation?

Doctor Answers 8

Tummy Tuck can tighten loose ab muscles without muscle separation.

Repair of split abdominal muscles, also called a Diastasis Recti, during a Tummy Tuck is an effective procedure for tightening the ABS or Abdominal Muscles.

Patients who have lax ABS or Abdominal Muscles but do not have a split or Diastasis Recti can also be improved with muscle tightening sutures.

Occasionally the Oblique Abdominal Muscles along the sides of the lower Abdomen can also be tightened an can help narrow the lower waist. This later procedure must be very judiciously and carefully done as these muscles are very thin and injury to the underlying structures must be avoided

Only if abdominal muscles are loose

There are essentially two reasons to tighten the muscles.  Either separation of muscles (as in after pregnancy) or laxity of abdominal muscles (as in after large volume weight gain).  So if there is no muscle separation and you have good muscle tone (i.e. you don't find yourself sucking it in all the time), you can have a skin only TT, which has a much quicker recovery time and much less associated postoperative pain.  After a complete physical examination of the abdominal muscle, your plastic surgeon can make the right recommendation.

Robert Morgan Davoudi, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 132 reviews

Can Something else Be Done with the Ab Muscles in a Tummy Tuck if There is No Muscle Separation?

Yes! Sometimes the muscles get stretched out and are not necessarily separated. That means you can still have a stretched out abdominal wall, but just not have "Diastasis" or split muscles....I see this all the time and they can still be tightened. Then occasionally I see women who have really good tone and really dont need anything done to the muscle...

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Muscle tightening even if the muscles are not separated during tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.  It is possible to have laxity of the muscles even if the muscles are not separated, so in that sense, the muscles can still be tightened during tummy tuck.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 183 reviews

Can Something else Be Done with the Ab Muscles in a Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question.  If your abdominal muscles are not separated then nothing further needs to be done during a tummy tuck.  Having said that I do not believe that I have ever seen a patient in need of a tummy tuck that would also benefit from tightening of the abdominal muscles. This is because the factors that affect the abdominal skin usually affect the abdominal muscles as well.  The need for any muscle work  can best be determined by physical examination by a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Donald M. Brown, MD (retired)
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Do you have to tighten the muscle with tummy tuck?

If your problem is one of skin laxity only and you don't have significant muscle laxity, you  do not have to do anything with the muscles during the procedure.  Recovery time as it relates to moving around is a little easier since most of the soreness after abdominoplasty is related to the muscle plication.

Don W. Griffin, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

No Muscle Separation during Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

Most patients who have had pregnancies and/or wait gain/loss have some degree of rectus muscle separation,  even if it is not visible or palpable during physical examination.  This muscle separation can be “repaired” during tummy tuck  surgery. Occasionally, when residual laxity is present the external oblique muscles can also be pli cated to improve contour of the waistline area.

If during the tummy tuck procedure,  no separation of the rectus muscles or abdominal wall laxity is noted,  then there is no indication to manipulate the muscle layer.

I hope this  accurately addresses your question.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Tummy Tuck

If your muscles are okay, they do not necessarily need to be tightened.  During the surgery, you may just need the excess skin removed and the remaining skin tightened.  However, a physical exam would be required to know for sure.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 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.