Would Stretching in Bed Cause Muscle Repair Damage 14 Days After FTT?

I'm a coupe weeks out from Full TT and I woke up stretching in bed, before I caught myself. It burned and I felt a pulling sensation. I know I still have some swelling this early on, but I'm scared I may have damaged my muscle repair. My surgeon did tell me that he couldn't get me completely flat without it bunching as there was such stretching from twin pregnancy. But I'm scared I might have harmed my muscle repair. How would I know? Here are before and pictures from today. Swelling or damage?

Doctor Answers 7

Stretching 2 week after tummy tuck

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In general listen to your body.  When you feel discomfort and burning your body is telling you not to do that.  I do not think you ruptured any of the sutures but it surely CAN happen 2 weeks after a tummy tuck.  I have my patients wear a protective abdominal binder at all times in the first 3 - 4 weeks after the surgery, and then at night for another 3-4 weeks.  The internal repair isn't really "strong" for 6 weeks.  I let my patients work out at 4 weeks but I do not allow them to do full sit-ups and crunches until 6 weeks.  I would agree that you still need to make an appointment with your plastic surgeon to have him or her evaluate you just to check.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Stretching following a tummy tuck is highly unlikely to have ruptured the muscle repair

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A pulling sensation and burning are common occurrences following a tummy tuck and clearly could have been precipitated by stretching. However, because of the way the muscle is repaired and its vector, it would be virtually impossible to rupture this repair by your actions. Given your description and the available photos, it is extremely unlikely that you did any damage.(Note: Your concern is an extremely common one that women have following a tummy tuck.)

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Stretching shouldn't cause muscle tears after tummy tuck

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It would take a significant strain to tear muscle repair sutures two weeks after tummy tuck. Stretching can cause pain, so listen to your body and relax the tummy and reduce the stress or stretch if it hurts. Likewise, sneezing and coughing can be painful, yet should not harm your result.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Hurting the muscle repair after stretching?

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Your tummy tuck muscle repair is performed in a vertical or up and down fashion.  Stretching as you have described would place tension on your horizontal incision down near your pubic line much more than on your muscle repair.  My suspision is that you are ok and have not hurt your muscle repair.  You may have stimulated additional fluid/swelling below your belly button but this should go away with wearing the abdominal binder and some careful restriction of activity.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Possible Damage to Muscle Repair after Tummy Tuck?

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Women are often afraid that they have torn apart the muscle repair of their tummy tuck early after surgery.  During the procedure, the rectus muscles are brought together in the center, usually with permanent sutures. I  do a double row of stitches to strengthen the repair.  Every time your abdominal muscles flex or strain you may feel a pulling or pain in the first few weeks until your muscles settle down.  It is unusual to disrupt the muscle repair with routine activites, but if someone ignores the advise to limit activity it may be possible.  Chances are you have done no damage to your abdominoplasty but take it up with your surgeon on your next visit.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Tummy Tuck Muscle Plication Damage?

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Thank you for the question and picture.

Based on your description it is unlikely that a good muscle plication  will have come apart.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck generally may be related to:
1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.

I hope this helps.

Swelling vs tear

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It can often be difficult to determine if there's been breakage of the sutures that hold your muscles together.  From your pictures, however, it appears to just  be swelling.  You will notice variable swelling of your abdomen (especially that beneath the belly button) over the next few months.  I would recommend that you make an appointment with your surgeon to have him/her evaluate you.  Best wishes.

Eric T. Emerson, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 29 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.