What Can I Do To Help my Stomach Muscles?

What can I do to help my stomach muscles improve or is there a chance after all the surgeries I've had.. I have had 2 surgeries to correct my aorta that is way too small, a C-section, a hysterectomy, and 2 hernia surgeries. Is there any way to help the fact that I look like 6-7 months pregnant without having to have another surgery??

Doctor Answers 3

What Can I Do To Help my Stomach Muscles

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This sounds a bit too complicated to try to diagnose over the internet. If this occurred in the setting of pregnancy alone, I would suspect  a diastasis rectus, separation of the rectus muscles, which often can lead to the appearance that you have described. However, with all the abdominal surgeries you have had (and I presume the hernias were abdominal) the possibilities are much broader. 

I would suggest an evaluation by a skilled physical therapist to work on an exercise plan as a starter .If the therapist feels that strengthening won't work, of if after a trial it doesn't, that is the time to consider surgery. If I were seeing you as a plastic surgery patient, I would strongly consider that hernia might be part of the problem, and get a consult from a general surgeon. Either type of surgeon would be a good place to start. 

All the best.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Help for Stomach Musccles

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From your surgical history and description of your abdominal appearance, you probably have weak abdominal muscles and a wide separation of the mid-line muscles (diastasis recti or ventral hernia). Unfortunately, abdominal strengthening exercises will offer limited improvement for those problems. 

However, you should check with your surgeon to see what exercises  might be helpful. Core muscle strength is important for back support.

Thanks for your question and good luck!

Stephen M. Lazarus, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon

Stomach muscles and Tummy Tuck

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It is always worthwhile to strengthen stomach muscles with core strengthening exercises such as situps, leg lifts, or Pilates.   However, after pregancy in particular, the muscles separate because the fascia ( the thin tough tissue that surrounds muscles and can tear causing a hernia) gets stretched and thin. The muscle itself is not what stretches.   Exercise can help, but if the fascia is severely stretched, then the only solution is surgical repair.   It is likely in your case that surgery is necessary to bring the muscles back together by suturing  the fascia which cannot be helped by exercies.

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.