Will a TT with Muscle Repair Help Strengthen Stomach Muscles After C Section?

I have had two C-sections and since my second c-section I have had great difficulty building the strength back up in my abs. I have a large separation down the middle of my stomach and excess skin. I am a very active person and I am very frustrated that I cannot strengthen my core. I am considering a tummy tuck to correct the stomach muscles. Will this make a difference in me being able to strengthen my stomach msucles?

Doctor Answers 10

Tummy Tuck - Will a TT with MR Help Strengthen Stomach Muscles?

Not really...but sort of.  The muscle repair is, more strictly, a repair of the separation between the paired, vertically-oriented abdominal muscles (the "abs") and is actually called a repair of the diastasis (ie, the space between the muscles).  So it does not directly tighten the muscles but, instead, the fascia (envelope) around them.  That being said, the MR certainly helps flatten your stomach and, for that reason, it is performed as part of most TTs.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Muscle Repair with Tummy Tuck

With excess skin and a diastasis rectus (the separation in yoru muscles down the middle) you sound like an excellent candidate for abdominoplasty.  Yes, not only will the abdominoplasty improve your apearance, but by placing the muscles back where they should be, it will strengthen your core.  Good Luck.

Kari L. Colen, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

MR with TT has benefits

Thank you for your question.  A tummy tuck doesn't help strengthen the tummy muscles. It simply tightens them by bringing them back to the center where they belong. This does have the effect of helping them work better because they are back in the correct location.  I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Muscle Plication with Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

As you know, the tummy tuck operation usually involves plication of the abdominal wall muscles in the midline. This part of the operation serves to restore the normal anatomy of the abdominal wall;  replacing the rectus muscles back to the midline after they have spread because of pregnancy and/or weight gain.

Although plastic surgeons should not promise that you will necessarily be able to “strengthen your stomach muscles” better after tummy tuck surgery,  you should be aware that the anatomy will be restored and that your core should be more stable,  strong and functional.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,486 reviews

By Returning Muscles to Their Normal Anatomy, Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Improves Their Function

Hi there-

All muscles work by moving joints, and the  muscle-joint pair can be thought of like a pulley (the joint) and cable (the muscle) system.

In order for a cable to move the pulley with the least amount of energy, the axis of the cable should be perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the pulley, right? In other words, if a cable is pulling kind of sideways on a pulley, the cable will have to be pulled harder to move the pulley, and it won't work as well.

This is similar to what happens when women, after pregnancy, develop a significant separation of the abdominal muscles (a rectus diastasis). By returning the muscles to their normal anatomic positions, they are better able to perform the functions they are designed to.

I have even had a few professional athletes as patients who have told me that after their tummy tucks they felt stronger and able to do things with their bodies they had not been able to do since having babies.

I can't let you believe that you'll be able to become a professional athlete if you have a tummy tuck, or that this will necessarily be your experience- nor should you believe that the muscles will actually be stronger after surgery.

But it is very true that all muscles work best when they are in their healthy position relative to the joint on which they are supposed to work, and many patients perceive this as improved function after tummy tuck surgery.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Muscle tightening in tummy tuck

Caesarean sections, together with the stretching effects of pregnancy on the rectus musculature, will produce the separation, called a diastasis rectus.  An abdominoplasty will tighten the musculature as well as to excise the excess skin.  You should be able to obtain a significant improvement in your appearance from the procedure.  Please see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation to explore your options.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy Tuck- restoring your abdominal muscles and sexy waist

The tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is a safe and very successful surgery to improve the shape, contours and sensuality of the waist and abdomen.  The procedure involves two parts:

1. The abdominal muscles and walls are tightened, like an internal corset, to return the rectus abdominus muscles to the midline.

2. The excess skin is removed to create a smooth, tight, and defined look. 

Combining these two major aesthetic results will accentuate the breasts and hips and legs by restoring balance to the body.  A detailed consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will help you create the perfect surgical plan to give you the sexy, balanced, and sensual results you desire.


John G. Apostolides, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Regaining Muscle Strength After a Tummy Tuck

Dear lee2012,

Every muscle in the body has an optimal position to be in to obtain its maximal function.  When a muscle is displaced or malpositioned, even with maximum contraction, there will not be maximum function.  For many women after childbearing there is an inability to regain the full strength to their abdominal muscles despite aggressively working out, dieting, and nutritional efforts because their abdominal muscles are displaced and therefore cannot produce the maximum function.  This can occur with or without a C-section.  This malposition is called a diastasis.

Re-positioning the muscles back into their previous location will often allow a significant return of function for these patients.  However, sometimes with a C-section, there has been damage to the muscles or the nerves that will not allow the complete return of maximum function even if the muscle seperation is repaired.  Still even in these patients, they often will experience a significant increase in abdominal core strength after a tummy tuck and a diastasis repair.

Please consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can perform a detailed examination and recommend the treatment that is best for you.  Best of luck.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Muscle strengthening and tummy tuck

After C-sections, the rectus abdominus muscle are frequently splayed apart (i.e. diastasis) and possible weaken intrinsically. The muscles do not work efficiently when they are widely separated. Repairing the diastasis will help the mechanical advantage but may not repair intrinsic weakness caused by possible injury to the muscle fibers. However, any recover will be greatly helped by muscle repair.

Robin Yuan. M.D.


Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Tummy tuck makes muscles tighter, not stronger

The seperated part of the muscle is called a diastasis recti which generally happens in two populations, Newborn (because the midline has not fused yet) and Mothers (the midline strechtes during pregnancy).  During a tummy tuck we usually tie the seperated muscles together and eliminate the separation and therfore the "bulge".  So simply put, we essentialy tighten the abdomen.  Strenght is the result of working the abdominal muscle which I permit my patients to do one year after a tummy tuck.  Albeit, after a tummy tuck, you should not have to "suck it in " anymore.

Robert Morgan Davoudi, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 130 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.