Can Sit Ups Strengthen my Stomach Muscles and Make my Stomach Flatter 3 Months After Tummy Tuck and Lipo of Abs? (photo)

I am not satisfied with my stomach after my tummy tuck and lipo 3 months ago. I feel as if it should be flatter. I was told that my stomach muscles are week and that i can do situps to make it flatter. Is this possible?

Doctor Answers 11

Not satisfied with my stomach after my tummy tuck 3 months ago

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Thanks for the question with good pictures. This should be considered as good result since you have uniform shape of tummy and good symmetrical scar at 3 months. It's our own over expectation by seeing some of the results of other surgeons when a morbidly obese person is shown as a model after surgery .This does not happen in 90 % of patients and is an illusion created by net. It happens in those 10 % of patients who work them  self up for several months with Gym and diet regimen and these results are achieved at least after 2 years of surgery. You should be happy at this stage and work your self now to get into shape. Sorry that my answer is not very encouraging.

Enhancing Tummy Tuck Results

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Stomach exercises can definitely help tone your stomach at this time. I recommend waiting at least 6 weeks before doing any strenuous physical activity, and since you are already 3 months into your recovery, it should be safe. However, you should talk to your surgeon to make sure before you start any rigorous exercise program.

A healthy diet can also help give you a leaner look.

Can Sit Ups Strengthen my Stomach Muscles and Make my Stomach Flatter 3 Months After Tummy Tuck and Lipo of Abs?

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Yes it is possible but weight loss would also benefit the flattening of the abdomen. Best to discuss with your surgeon. 

Reasons for abdominal bulge following an abdominoplasty

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There are four components that make up the abdominal bulge.

1.  Loose skin

2.  Subcutaneous fat

3.  anterior abdominal wall laxity

4. Intra-abdominal fat

The first three items can be corrected with an abdominoplasty.  An abdominoplasty however can not correct intra-abdominal or visceral fat.  This is reduced by diet and exercise.  By your appearance it would seem that if you lost 5 - 10 pounds you would see a significant change in your abdominal contour.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Sit-ups after tummy tuck will help

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Provided that you wait 6 weeks or so to allow healing, resuming abdominal strengtheing exercises such as sit-ups can be very helpful. There is also the question of internal fat, which cannot be removed with a tummy tuck or liposuction but does respond to diet and exercise.

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

Intra-Abdominal Fat, Not Weak Muscles

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Thank you for your question and photos. The reason you have not achieved the degree of flattening that you desire is that you have a significant of intra-abdominal fat around your organs.  This fat is not treated by a tummy tuck. The tummy tuck only addresses the skin, muscles and fat just under the skin.  Diet and exercise are the best way to get rid of this fat, to improve your health and cosmetic result. While sit ups will help strengthen your core muscles, it is not the main cause of you findings. When discussing tummy tuck procedures with patients, it is imperative that the degree of intra-abdominal fat be assessed and its impact on the results discussed with patients. All the best.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Exercise to tighten muscles?

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If you had a full tummy tuck, more than likely your surgeon would have plicated your fascia over the muscles.  Sometimes it is not made tight enough, and sometimes patients have intra-abdominal fat that limit the ability to flatten the abdomen.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Strengthening your Abs after tummy tuck

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Strengthening your abdominal muscles after tummy tuck will definitely make your tummy flatter.  Only your surgeon can answer if this was an issue in your case or not, but some patients have a large amount of "visceral" fat which is the fat around the intestines.  This fat is not removed with a tummy tuck and can only be treated with weight loss.  If this was an issue in your case, weight loss will significantly improve your result.

Sit Ups for Flatter Abdomen after Tummy Tuck

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Without your preop picture and information on your height and weight, it is hard to give specific advice. However, while sit ups may help, I think you may have a bit of fat inside the abdomen which will not improve with surgery or sit ups, but may improve with weight loss using diet and exercise. Discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Can Sit Ups Strengthen my Stomach Muscles and Make my Stomach Flatter

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Thank you for your question and for the photos. Incisions are nicely healed. Without seeing photos of the pre-op situation it is hard to comment further. 

There are a number of possibilities that could explain a less than desired flatness of the abdomen. 

  • Intra-abdominal contents, which cannot be addressed by TT surgery or liposuction
  • fluid collection blood (hematoma) or serum (seroma)
  • incomplete tightening of the abdominal muscles
  • thick abdominal skin flap
  • weakness of the abdominal muscles. 

I would assume your surgeon feels there are no fluid collections, or they would have been addressed. When the abdominal flap is too thick, there is usually a "step-off" above and below the scar, which is not visible here. The other possibilities are hard to comment on without an exam, and they may overlap some.

I would work on strengthening exercises to see how much improvement is possible. Continue to follow up with your surgeon. Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle 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.