How to Flatten and Strengthen Weak Abdominal Muscles?

I had my baby 4 years ago and I still look 6 months pregnant. I just had an umbilical hernia surgery a few days ago and my doctor told me its all cause of my weak stomach muscles. What can I do to fix it? I'm afraid of a tummy tuck because the cut looks extremely painful.

Doctor Answers 2

Abdominal bulging after pregnancy

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What you are describing is a very common concern for women following pregnancy. Briefly, the abdominal wall, consisting of both muscle and fascia (which is tissue that connects and covers the muscle) can be stretched out following weight gain, pregnancy or progressively with aging. In many instances, the abdominal wall cannot 'snap back' to its original contour due to the excess stretching and you are left with a bulge. This bulge is primarily a weakness in the fascia (see above) and is not responsive to abdominal exercises. Many patients maintain excellent fitness with very strong abdominal muscles yet still have the tummy bulge. To fully address the bulging and restore a more sleek abdominal contour usually requires surgical intervention to repair and strengthen the abdominal fascia.

The hernia you described is a weakness in the fascia and is corrected with sutures to close and strengthen the weakend area.The cause of your abdominal bulging can be determined with a thorough evaluation by a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews


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Unfortunately, the abdominal stretching of pregnancy can frequently weaken the integrity of the abdominal wall. Once so weakened, it is difficult to flatten. Part of the tummy tuck procedure is to try to restore the strength and integrity by placing strong sutures. You should have a consultation with an American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeon in your area.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco 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.