Fixing Post Pregnancy Belly After Hernia Repair?

I had my child 4 years ago and was left like this what can I do? No diet or exercise has worked. My belly is hard and I don't know why. What do you recommend? I'm afraid of a Tummy Tuck. I just had a hernia repair surgery 2 weeks ago. How long do I have to wait to get another surgery to fix my tummy? My hernia doctor told me my muscles tore and open and got weak that's why I still look pregnant and bloated.

Doctor Answers 14

Tummy tuck should wait six months after abdominal surgery or pregnancy

The laxity in the abdomen after pregnancy can have several causes, among which are loss of muscular tone, a stretch of the tissues, and a separation of the sit-up muscles in the abdomen, called a diastasis. We see the greatest loss of tone in our patients who have undergone infertility treatments and carry multiple babies. Generally, the abdominal tone will adjust itself as well as can be expected by six months, so we recommend the repairs and that tummy tuck wait at least this time to see the best results. Healing takes time as well after abdominal surgery, or after a hernia repair at which time the tissue can be stiff and the scar immature, and again it is best to wait six months to consider tummy tuck.

Concerning your photo in particular, it is difficult to determine if the issue is laxity alone, or a combination of abdominal fat that will respond to diet and exercise. To help sort this out you can lie perfectly flat on your back and see if your abdomen will will become flat, or at best even fall in somewhat (concave). If you remain full and round (convex) there is internal abdominal fat pushing out which will resist any repair and weight loss is the key. Also while flat you can check the 'outside' fat as well by pinching the skin as it folds below the belly button, as this will represent twice the thickness of the fat under the skin. One half inch is all you need!

If weight is an issue, the good news is that you have six months to begin on a program which will lead to better health and a more enjoyable life. Check with your doctor as to how you should progress after the hernia repair.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Find a plastic surgeon, discuss the option that fits you...

It’s not unusual for women to develop redundant saggy skin, weakened abdominal muscles, diastasis recti, stretch marks and fat accumulation following pregnancy. In many cases these problems are refractory to diet and exercise and for this reason correction usually requires abdominoplasty surgery.
Although it’s impossible to make a specific recommendation without a physical examination, your history and pictures suggest the presence of significant skin sag with associated laxity of the abdominal wall muscles. Under these circumstances, correction will usually require a full abdominoplasty with muscle tightening.
This procedure should be delayed for at least three to six months. This delay will allow adequate time for additional weight loss and further recovery from your hernia repair.
Unfortunately abdominoplasty is the only treatment option that can effectively address this problem. It’s therefore important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with experience performing this type of surgery. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses both your anatomic findings and aesthetic goals.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

The appearance of fullness or pregnant appearing has multiple causes.

The most common reason is laxity of the abdominal fascia or weakness/separation of the abdominal muscles.  Another reason is that some people store fat around internal organs and the only solution would be weight loss followed by a tummy tuck.  Without examining you it is difficult to say how much of an improvement you would get with surgery alone.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck for abdominal bulge

An abdominoplasty procedure is the gold standard for improvement of the abdominal bulge in the picture. Patients benefit from having the excess skin and muscle removed as well as tightening of the abdominal muscles and fascia that are stretched after pregnancy or with age.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Weight loss, then consider further surgery

Given the one picture, it is actually difficult to say what is right for you. The most important thing is that surgery is NOT recommended in the near future. You just had a hernia repair 2 weeks ago and need to give your tissues time to heal. I would not even consider surgery for at least 6 months and maybe even up to a year. It also appears that you may have intraabdominal fat (fat that is inside the abdomen, around your organs), which is not removable by a tummy tuck or any other operation. It looks as though you really need to lose weight first. This can be accomplished through utilizing the services of a good trainer and nutritionist. After that, you should seek the advice of a good plastic surgeon. Good luck!

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Try core strengthening with supervision by certified instructor for lax belly

Your surgeon is correct.

If surgery is out of the question, try a course of Core strengthening exercise using a Pilates or Yoga technique under the close supervision of a qualified trainer or instructor.

Surgery is likely to yield a 7-9 result on a scale of 1-10 whereas non-surgical methods are only likely to yield a result of 2-5. However, exercise is always a good idea and should you decide to proceed with surgery at a later date, it will only enhance the result.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Only a good tummy tuck will do it.


Your situation is not unusual. In New York, we see an abdominoplasty candidate maybe twice a year who actually looks 6 months pregnant.

I recommend waiting 3 months and then having a tummy tuck which will remove the redundant skin and fat and, most important, repair your muscles. but you have to be motivated. It is normal to be a little scared.

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

You should wait several months

You can be helped considerably with an abodminoplasty. However, since you just had hernia surgery, the best option is to wait several months for your body to heal from the procedure. For other people considering the procedure, if you have a hernia, it is often possible to have the procedures done at the same time. Since you have already had the hernia repaired, then the best option now is to wait.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery after hernia repair

Hi, I would recommend waiting at least six months, and possibly even a year, prior to undergoing any additional surgery on your abdomen. This will allow all of the swelling from your recent surgery to resolve. It's possible that the firmness you feel in your abdomen is related to the recent surgery, but it may also be fat within the abdomen itself. This is something that would need to be clarified by an examination. If you do decide to seek a consultation with a plastic surgeon, you should obtain the operative report of your hernia surgery from your general surgeon. This will assist your plastic surgeon in planning your surgery. Best of luck.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Hernia repair and tummy tuck


You are correct in being afraid of a tummy tuck 2 weeks after hernia repair. Are you referring to a groin hernia or an abdominal hernia? If it was an abdominal hernia, it is unfortunate that a plastic surgeon was not involved since the repair and a simultaneous tummy tuck can readily be performed in most cases. At any rate, a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon might shed some light on your condition and whether or not it can be improved. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 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.