What exactly is muscle repair?

What is muscle repair? And does it come automatically with a tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

Hello and thank you for using RealSelf.com.

A standard tummy tuck includes removal of lower tummy excess skin and fat as well as tightening the rectus muscles all the way from the end of your breast bone to your pubic bone.  For those with loose muscles from weight gain or pregnancy, it provides a dramatic change.  The scars are hidden in the bikini line and fade over several years.  At times, liposuction is added to the upper tummy if required and love handles to further contour the entire waist area.

There are some women who do not need the muscle tightening or choose not to have that part performed.  Usually, the scars are the same as the complete tummy tuck.  There is less pain, quicker healing and less costs with this technique.  It is sometimes called a mini tummy tuck or modified tuck.

Best bet is to see several experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons for their opinions as to what fits you better. 

Good luck!

Dr Spies

Paradise Valley Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews


Abdominal Muscle repair is the workhorse of the Abdominoplasty. The surgeon also addresses excesses of skin and fat if necessary, but the wow factor is imparted by the correction of the rectus diastasis. This occurs because the muscles flatten and separate to allow safe growth and expansion of the womb/fetus during pregnancy. 

Conversely, patients occasionally present to us who have tremendous laxity of the skin after significant weight loss but they do not yet have  kids, in which case they may reasonably elect to forego muscle tightening so that later pregnancy is uninhibited by the muscle repair. 

Larry C. Leverett, MD, FACS
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What exactly is muscle repair?

Hello dear, thanks for your question/. To correct this muscle separation heavy, permanent suture is used to stitch the two edges of the rectus muscles together.  Permanent suture is used because studies have shown that diastasis can return if they are not used. Muscle repair during a tummy tuck allows us to restore the abdominal wall architecture and achieve a flatter more youthful abdominal appearance.

Good luck!

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 396 reviews

What exactly is muscle repair?

Thank you for the question. The vast majority of patients who have had children and/or weight gain/loss experience separation of the abdominal wall muscles from their midline position. These patients benefit from muscle "plication" (re approximation of the abdominal wall muscles in their original midline position) during tummy tuck surgery. Muscle laxity is usually easy easily determined with physical examination prior to surgery. The separation is also easily visualized during surgery.

 In our practice, muscle confusion as part of every tummy tuck procedure;  this may not be the case in other practices. Therefore best to clarify with your chosen plastic surgeon. In my opinion, omitting this part of the procedure for the vast majority of patients who present for consultation will  likely leave them with continued abdominal wall laxity and, in my opinion, a less than optimal result.

 I hope this, and attached link, helps. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

What is muscle repair during a tummy tuck?

Thanks so much for your question.  A tummy tuck does two basic things.  It re-establishes your waist circumference and removes extra skin. The second portion is fairly self explanatory. The first is accomplished by bringing your rectus abdominus muscles back to their pre-baby position. The tissue between the muscle gets stretched during weight gain and then stays stretched so that the muscles aren't as close together. The surgery brings them closer so you loose your "pooch"  and you're waist gets smaller. Hope this helps. Have a nice holiday. 

Shaun Parson, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

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