What Are the Benefits of Tummy Tuck Muscle Tightening?

I am 3 weeks post-op from Breast Lift and Tummy Tuck. My surgeon didnt have to tighten my abs, so I believe my healing would be faster. He said I didnt need it done. In any case, what are the benefits of having it done?

Doctor Answers 10

Muscle tightening during tummy tuck can make the tummy more flat.

If your doctor told you that the muscles did not need to be tightened I would believe him.

The most common reason to tighten the muscles during tummy tuck is when the abdominal muscles, called the Rectus Abdominus Muscles, are split and weakened by pregnancy. The split in the muscle allows the contents of the abdomen to protrude and cause a bulge. This condition is called a Diastasis Recti. When the muscles are repaired during the tummy tuck, the tummy or abdomen is flattened.

Occasionally, if the abdominal muscles are very weak and stretched by pregnancy, I plicate or tighten them just to flatten the tummy more.

If you are fit and have good abdominal muscles there was no need to surgically tighten them.

See my before and after photos #6 on RealSelf

Tummy Tuck is very popular for good reasons

Breast lift (mastopexy) and tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) are common, popular procedures, and often done together as you did.

Doctors assess a patient's abdominal wall tone and suggest, as your surgeon did, whether they would benefit from plication of the aponeurosis of the rectus abdominus muscles ("tighten the abs"). I agree that patients have less discomfort and a faster recovery to normal activities and exercise, if muscle tone is good pre-op and plication unnecessary. If you are already tight, surgeons cannot improve on that.

The benefits go to women who have stretched or relaxed fibrous and muscle layers. The plication then improves their resting abdominal wall tone.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Wait till you're healed before evaluating Tummy Tuck results

You will have to wait until you have healed to see if your tummy is flat enough without having tightened your muscles. If there is any remaining protuberance, then you will know what the benefits of muscle tightening would have been. Of course, you may be able to achieve some tightening with exercise and strengthening. Good luck!

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

Final tummy tuck results will not be seen until six months or more!

A standard tummy tuck corrects three tissue layers of the abdominal wall: loose skin, excessive fat, and separated abdominal wall muscles. Typically, the tightest and flattest abdomen is seen following a tummy tuck procedure.

Tightening (or suture plication) of the abdominal muscles is commonly performed when it is needed. If your abdominal muscle tone is adequate and examination reveals the muscles not to be separated, you probably did not need your abs tightened.

The procedure you underwent was not a full standard or formal tummy tuck but rather a shortened variation. Because you and your surgeon deemed that the muscle layer did not need tightening, the surgery was not as complex, performed faster, and was associated with a shortened downtime and recovery, and potentially with fewer complications.

It is essential that your goals and expectations be realistic understanding the shortcomings of your operation. I would strongly recommend that you continue to follow-up with your treating surgeon. After all, he/she knows you the best and understands what technique was surgically employed. Be open and direct when discussing your concerns. Be patient as your final results will not be seen until six months or more.

I hope this helps!

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Depends on the patient's anatomy and desires

Each tummy tuck should be individualized to each specific patient's anatomy and desires. In other words, the operation should provide the benefits that you expressed you wanted to your surgeon. It also seems that it is a little late to be asking this after you have already had your procedure performed.

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

Not all tummy tucks require repair of the abdominal wall.

Repair of the abdominal wall is performed when it is lax and contributes to abdominal prominence.  Occasionally, it is not a contributing factor (usually a male patient) and repair is unnecessary.  The surgeon judges this pre-op and at the time of the operation.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Skin only tummy tuck

Why are you asking after the operation? I would hope that you would see reduction of excess or lax skin in the case of a "skin only" tummy tuck.

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

Benefits of a tummy tuck

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. They can address the loose muscle in the abdominal wall that is common after woman has given birth. Tummy tucks can also remove excess fat and stretch marks below the belly button. In our practice, we always perform liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck to help contour the abdomen and create a toned appearance. Patients who receive this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process afterwards. In our practice we give our patients to compression garments to help them manage the expected swelling as well as provide additional support. Patients with these garments for up to 4 to 6 months after the surgery.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tummy tuck and diastasis repair

If you have a diastasis or weakness between the rectus muscles, then it is good to tighten this area up with sutures so that the abdomen appears flatter.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Abdominal muscle tightening is key to getting a flat abdomen

Most typical patients that seek abdominoplasty do it because they had developed excess abdominal skin due to pregnancy or weight loss. In both of these patients, there is usually significant loss of abdominal wall strenght which results in a "pouch". Therefore, it is essential to tighten the abdominal muscle, otherwise the patient would not get a flat abdomen. I can not comment about your specific case, since I have not examined you, but I suspect that if you have had pregnancies in the past, you would have benefited from tightening of your abdominal muscle.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 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.