Will I Ever Get Rid of the Pooch with Exercise or is a Tummy Tuck Necessary?

I have some stretch marks that aren't terribly noticeable from the front view. But when I lean over I have some wrinkly skin from them. And from my side view I have this "pooch". Is this pooch extra skin that needs to be tucked or fat that I can burn away?

Doctor Answers 17

Tummy Tuck for pooch

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Well technically no one "needs" a tummy tuck, but for loose skin it is the only reliable remedy we have at present. Exercise doesn't affect the skin.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

Orange Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck vs exercise

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Based on your photographs, I would maximize your diet and exercise regimen. If you still have a "pooch," a mini-abdominoplasty might be the answer with a smaller scar and upper-abdomen liposuction.

Donna Rich, MD
Webster Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy tuck necessary?

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Without knowing more history, such as age, pregnancy or weight gain/loss, I would suggest you push the diet and exercise regimen prior to making a decisions  regarding surgery. If you feel that you have already reached your weight goals, then it would behoove you to seek consultation with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon for good advice.

Best wishes.

Tummy tuck is usually the best option for loose skin

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To put it simply, if exercise and diet could tighten loose skin and reduce localized fat accumulation, then we would send our patients to the gym instead of taking them to the operating room. That isn't to say the doing what you can isn't important, but when there is loose skin then a tummy tuck is usually the most effective. Do not waste your time with a laser lipo procedure that promises to tighten the skin as it doesn't do enough to replace a tummy tuck.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

The lower abdomen my protrude from skin looseness, fat tissue, or muscle laxity.

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It is difficult to determine the contributions of these three tissues (skin, fat and muscle wall) to your abdominal appearance solely using your photos.  However. there does appear to be a slight amount of extra skin vertically.  Also, at rest, there is protrusion of your lower abdomen on the lateral view suggesting that there is muscle laxity between the inner edges of the rectus abdominis muscles.  An examination by a board certified plastic surgeon can further determine if there is extra fat padding from the belly button down to the pubis, as well as the amount of loose skin and muscle separation.  A mini-abdominoplasty may be enough to address your concerns, but you should have that one on one examination with an experienced plastic surgeon to help with your decision.


Good Luck!

David N. Hing, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Post Pregnancy stomach changes need Tummy Tuck

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Pregnancies stretch stomach muscles and skin. These changes are irreversible and no amount of exercise will reverse them.

Only Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) will restore abdomen to pre-pregnancy state.  Every mom should have Tummy Tuck and not waste valuable time in wishfull thinking about exercising it away.  

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Tummy tuck best for pouch, also tightens belly button

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The pouch will benefit from liposuction.  You may even get some skin contraction.  However, the best improvement in skin town comes from a tummy tuck.  The other reason you might wish to consider a tummy tuck is to improve the appearance of your belly button.  Presently you have a wide belly button because the muscle have been pulled apart.  A tummy tuck brings the muscles together, flattening your tummy and also providing a much more attractive, tight belly button.  You can always try liposuction and fall back on a tummy tuck, or just opt for a tummy tuck, which is likely to leave you very satisfied with the outcome.  You can see some examples on the attached link to my website.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Will my "pooch" resolve with exercise or do I need surgery?

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The "pooch" shown on the photos will not respond to exercise. The question is whether you could benefit from liposuction or be in need of a tummy tuck. From the photo it is not clear and you gave no history of prior pregnancies and/or weigh loss. You would need to be examined to see what surgery would be most appropriate. But exercise will not take care of it alone. Good luck!

Tummy Tuck Best Choice For Excess Skin

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When considering a tummy tuck procedure it is important to establish your goals at the outset.  You have clearly stated that you want to remove the 'pooch' in your lower abdomen.  If your 'pooch' is primarily excess skin, a tummy tuck is your ideal option.  No amount of exercise will improve the lax skin.  If there is also excess fat in this area, liposuction or diet may address this problem, but will not improve any loose skin that may exist.  If there is also bulging of your lower abdominal muscle wall, only a tummy tuck procedure can address this.  Remember, loose skin, stretch marks and abdominal muscle bulging DO NOT RESPOND TO EXERCISE.  These changes will be ideally treated with a tummy tuck procedure.  

Louis DeLuca, MD
Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Tummy tuck and stretch marks

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It looks like you are a great candidate for a tummy tuck.  You do not appear to be overweight in your photos so I do not think that more diet or exercise will make a difference.  I assume that you have either been pregnant or lost a substantial amount of weight already given the stretch marks.  That being said, a tummy tuck will help remove some of that skin, and tighten your abdominal wall muscles which will help make your tummy flat.  You may be a candidate for a mini tummy tuck although I wouldn't know for sure without seeing you in person. 

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.