Attaining Six Pack Abs After Tummy Tuck?

I had a Tummy Tuck and Lipo on August 2006; I was at 197 lbs after 3 kids. I have been hitting the gym since January 2008. I can see and feel my abs strengthening, and see some definition, but I am concerned about the area directly below my sternum. I don't know if that's muscle or if I can flatten that more. Will it be possible to be as defined and flat as I would like?

Doctor Answers 3

Each tummy tuck patient is very different

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That's a pretty tough question to answer, first because I don't know what your expectations are so even if you were my patient, I would have to guess whether or not you'd say the surgical outcome was up to your expectations.

Second, I don't know what your current weight is, so even if you were doing exactly the correct exercises to strengthen and define the upper abdominal area, I don't know if your body fat is low enough to allow the muscle definition to be seen.

You have a two prong attack on this project. First you'll need to do exercises specifically for the upper abdomen. You could meet with a personal trainer to give you a list of those exercises and to show you the proper way to do them.

It's essential to concentrate on form when doing abdominal exercises to avoid developing a rounded appearance rather than a sleek, toned look. In that area particularly, lengthening the muscle will help you avoid that rounded look or "pooch". Doing the exercises incorrectly can actually make the muscles protrude more and become more prominent. I'm guessing that's probably not the look you're striving for.

The second part of the attack is to lower your body fat ratio. A nutritionist or personal trainer can also help you with that. Modifying diet is essential to reduce the fat we naturally carry around that covers up the abdominal muscles.

You may in fact already have the muscle strength and tone you need, but there's just some fat hiding it. It's a shame to do all that work and not get to reap the benefits and show it off a bit even if it's only to yourself!

Good luck! I hope you find that flat upper ab you're looking for.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

You may require additional liposuction

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This is an area (the midriff) that can have significant deposits of fat that are not addressed during a tummy tuck because it can affect the blood supply to the lower abdomen and interfere with healing. YOu may require and additional session of liposuction to achieve an improvement in this area!

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Attaining Six Pack Abs After Tummy Tuck

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Healing after a  #tummy tuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. 

As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 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.