Muscle Repair without TT? (Photo)

Is it possible to have muscle repair/tightening done without having a tummy tuck. My stomach muscles are badly stretched but not separated, giving the fat pooch look. I have hardly any fat on my stomach due to previous Lipo. I don't have any excess skin.

Doctor Answers 1

Abdominal muscle tightening

The tummy tuck is primarily used to reduce the predictable changes in the skin, muscle, and fat that typically occur after pregnancy and/ or weight loss following weight gain. As you are probably aware, in general terms, excess and stretched skin along with the fat that is immediately beneath the skin (this is the same fatty layer that is treated with liposuction) is removed and the muscle are tightened. The fat that is below the muscle layer, that is anatomically located inside your abdominal cavity, is not removed neither with liposuction nor with tummy tuck procedure.

Your photo suggests abdominal wall laxity, as you have described. Like most women, you are probably walking around "sucking it in", you may experience bloating after you eat, clothes don't fit they you would like, and no matter how much you engage your core with specific exercises, you are not getting the results that you desire. All of these complaints  are common when there is presence of relaxation of the muscular abdominal wall +/- significant anatomic muscle separation. The most effective treatment, and the only surgical procedure, to restore the muscles to a more anatomic position is muscle tightening.

However, when you tighten the muscle layer that has laxity and/or separation, there is a visible change in its contour, many times starting from a concave shape before tightening to a flat or even convex shape after tightening. But, remember that both the overlying skin and fat layers are intimately associated with the underlying muscle layer, both before and after any tightening. It is not uncommon, therefore, to expect, and to find it necessary, to remove some portion of the overlying skin and fat that appeared not to be in excess before tightening, as they were simply covering the stretched muscles in their convex state. Stated another way, once tightened and made flatter, muscles require less skin to cover them, as compared to the amount of skin required to cover them in there stretched, untightened state, and "pooching" state.  

Ultimately, you want to get the best results. I suspect that this may very well require some skin and additional fat removal once your muscles have been tightened. Any difference in the length of the incision necessary to perform muscle tightening alone versus muscle tightening with some excess skin and fat (as in a tummy tuck), should be acceptable and should not be used as the determinant factor that, in the end, could limit the potential of your results.

I hope this this information will be helpful to you, in your effort to get the look you want.

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.