What Kind of Loss of Muscle Strength/control is Normal After Tummy Tuck?

I had a full tummy tuck with muscle repair 3 months ago. I just realized that when lying on my back with legs bent, feet on floor, I cannot lift my feet off the floor. I simply cannot engage my muscles at all. I have been doing yoga for 10yrs, so this is normally a piece-of-cake for me. Now I'm worried that I have some permanent muscle or neurological damage...please tell me that this is normal and probably temporary. If temporary, should I keep trying, or give it time before I try again?

Doctor Answers 7

Abdominal muscle strength after tummy tuck

SEE VIDEO BELOW. Women who have tummy tucks commonly have their muscles displaced to the outside (rectus muscle diastasis). They learn to compensate by using their muscles in an ineffective way. This typically results in a muscle imbalance, postural changes and back pain. A Diasstais repair performed at the time of tummy tuck will reposition the muscles which may seem entirely new to you body mechanics. Some individuals need to "retrain" thier muscles. While it is concieveably possible to denervate your muscles, it is highly unlikely. You may need a physical therapist to help you in your recover and to undergo muscle re-education.  

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Muscle strength should improve after a tummy tuck

After a tummy tuck in which the muscles are tightened and not cut or weakened, they should be stronger after surgery. You are probably just deconditioned at this point and need to start up slowly with isometric contractions of the muscles followed by fuller ab exercises. It should come back stronger than before the surgery.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Muscle strength after a tummy tuck. Six week recovery

Great question. Your muscle strength or lack thereof is likely related to deconditioning more than any permanent injury. In a tummy tuck, all that is usually done is bring the envelope of the stomach muscle called abdominal wall fascia together in the midline. It should not effect the innervation or blood supply, so permanent effects should be rare. I have had patients feel like there is a pulling with initial activity which relates to scarring, and with increased use this gets better. You should improve and I tell my patients to refrain from any straining/lifting for 6 weeks to allow things to heal. Ease into things and hopefully you will be better than ever!

Dr. Trussler

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

You should be stronger after muscle repair

By repairing the separation between your rectus muscles, your abdominal muscles should perform more efficiently than their pre-op separated state.  In addition, many patients report improvement in the lower back due to the anterior stabilization of the abdominal repair.  Patients also can exercise better after this surgery with less effort because of the tissue removal.  Perhaps the 3 months of inactivity since your TT has caused some weakening- exercise may lead to the improvement  you seek.  Good luck.

David Shuter, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

None, once the healing process is complete

Tummy tuck with muscle repair should have no impact on your ability to use your rectus muscles..... aside from due to pain early after the surgery. I would keep on trying and give it more time. It should return to normal with time and many women find that they have better function of their muscles if they were previously widely separated. I have never seen anyone who had weaker muscles after healing than they had prior to surgery.

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

No decrease in muscle strength after tummy tuck

Abdominoplasty is a procedure that shold not be associated with decrease in strength. After an adequate time of healing which should be determined by your surgeon, an exercise program can be restarted.

Abdominal muscle control should be better after tummy tuck.


I really don't understand your symptoms, I am afraid. When we do tummy tuck in NYC, we let patients exercise freely after six weeks, and they typically report improved abdominal muscle function. So go see your surgeon.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.