Tummy Tuck Did Not Work? (photo)

I am 13 weeks post full tummy tuck with muscle repair and lipo. I see some improvement but, I am still looking 3 months pregnant. Skin is not as flax but, I can still pinch a good two inches all over my stomach, side, upper, lower. I still have a muffin top with tight pants. I feel thick. I have not gain any weight since the surgery. I have talked to my doctor about my concerns feeling thick, he told me surgery won't get all the fat and that I should exercise. I am NOT happy but depress!

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck Did Not Work?

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From the photos, there is clearly improvement over the pre-op appearance. From photos alone, we cannot tell much else. The post op bulge could be from not doing enough tightening of the abdominal muscles. but from the pre-op photos alone I would guess that is is due to the volume of intra-abdominal contents, about which the surgeon has no control. 

A tummy tuck will not remove extra skin from the sides unless the incision is carried out all or most of the way around the back (belt lipectomy). Although you can pinch the skin, I see no visual component indicating that that would have be a good recommendation. 

Thank you for your question, all the best. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Several options are available

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Thank your for the question and photos.  Although a physical examination would be important to provide accurate recommendations it appears that additional thinning of your abdominal soft tissue through liposuction could be of benefit.  Additional tightening might also be possible and helpful but this would require a tummy tuck revision which would necessitate re-doing the entire tummy tuck or at the lower half.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

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

Tummy Tuck did not work?

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It's difficult to tell without a physical examination what is causing the overall shape. Also pre-operative photos are needed to see how you looked before surgery and the operative report to see what was done and where. Usually with a tummy tuck, I tighten the muscles (plication) and additionally perform liposuction of the abdomen, waist and flanks (muffin top or love handles). Even with these procedures, there are some patients who carry excess INTRAabdominal fat, that is, fat that is inside your belly surrounding your internal organs like your liver and intestines. This fat can ONLY be reduced by diet and exercise. Also, if the pants are tight enough, most people will have a muffin top bulge. If your current surgeon does not think that anything else can be done then you may wish to seek another consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. There may or may not be additional procedures to improve your appearance but this can only be determined in person. Best of luck to you.

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck Did Not Work?

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Did you have lipo on the "muffin top"? Otherwise the photos posted demonstrate a possible poor muscle repair. Only in person evaluation can aide in determining this. 

Residual contour deformity after tummy tuck

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Without an actual physical examination, it's hard to pin down exactly what's contributing to your post operative shape. It looks like you had an adequate skin resection. If you really able to pinch 2 inches then you may have residual subcutaneous fat that needs to be removed. This revision can be done with either traditional lipo or laser lipo about 6 months after your tummy tuck surgery. You may have residual poor abdominal muscle tone and excessive intrabdominal fat that can contribute to the bulge even after your tummy tuck. It's important to separate out the contributing factors so you can address them directly.

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Unhappy with tummy tuck

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There a few reasons patients might not be happy with the results from their tummy tucks. Some of these can be technique related, others are due to the body type that the individual has.  In your case, it looks like you tend to carry more of your weight intra-abdominally.  By that I mean that you have "core" fat that is not treatable by surgery.  Diet and exercise are the answer there, and they do work.

 The other possibility is that your surgeon did not tighten the muscles to the fullest extent possible.  This is a difficult thing to judge from pictures alone.  

There might be something to gain by undergoing more liposuction but I really believe that the problem lies with the underlying abdominal musculature.  Fixing that, either by reducing the contents inside or by tightening the wall, are the answers that are going to make the biggest difference. 

Less than ideal tummy tuck results

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Thanks for your question and photos.  I recommend laser lipo to treat the excess fat on your abdomen, flanks and muffin top areas.  During a tummy tuck, your surgeon can only do a limited amount of liposuction since this can compromise the viability of your skin and cause wound healing problems.  I recommend waiting another 3 months and get some SLIM lipo done for more fine tuning of your results.

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.