Will Tummy Tuck Help Give Me a Strong Core? I Want to Be STRONG! (photo)

I have two hernias and severe diastasis recti. I have gone to a general surgeon and thee PS for consultations. I do not care about loose skin or scarring. I want a toned tummy. I want a strong core! I can't even suck my stomach in because I have no ab muscles in the center. I am 120 pounds and the doctors said I have very little fat in my stomach - it is all skin! Can I hope to get visible ab muscles after surgery? I know I will have to put work in!

Doctor Answers 13

Abdominal Muscles after Tummy Tuck

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   Abdominal muscles can be brought back into anatomic position if they have been separated as a result of trauma.  The loose skin can be removed as well.  With additional exercise and body fat loss, you may be able to achieve a well defined core.

Will Tummy Tuck Help Give Me a Strong Core

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You should expect a nice result from a TT. It will not in itself give you a strong core, but will allow your abdominal muscles to function in the direction for which they have been designed, and will give you the opportunity to develop stronger core muscles. 

Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Loose abdominal muscles

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Your photos do indeed suggest considerable laxity of your abdominal muscles as well as a possible hernia.  Repair of the muscle should provide more strength to your abdomen and you appear to be an excellent candidate for the procedure!  Good luck!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy tuck

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You are a great candidate for surgical reconstuction of your abdominal wall. Once your muscles are realigned you will be able to exercise and regain strength.

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Core strength after tummy tuck

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Thanks for your pictures and question.  You appear to be a great candidate for a tummy tuck.  The tissue that surrounds the muscles of your abdomen are likely stretched out.  This can be repaired during a tummy tuck.  This repair will return your muscles to a normal position to help give you a stronger core.  However, to really get visible and defined ab muscles, you will need to do a lot of work after the tummy tuck.  Good luck!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Repair of severe diastasis could improve core muscle strength

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The oblique muscles which are attached to the lateral edge of the rectus muscles of the abdomen are used to tighten the core.  When the rectus muscle fascia is loosened from pregnancy, the oblique muscles are unable to deliver enough contraction against the loose rectus muscle fascia to tighten the core.   The abdominoplasty procedure tightens the loose rectus fascia which in turn decreases the distance the oblique muscles need to contract to tighten the core, resulting in a strengthening of the core.  

Dev Wali, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Muscle Tone

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You are a good cosmetic candidate for a TT procedure. You could expect a tighter, firmer tummy with the usual skin removal and diastasis repair. Even with the best result, a "six-pack" is not expected without an aggressive post-op exercise program.

Repairing the diastasis and hernias will give you the structural support you need to achieve your goals. However, it is exercise and not the surgery itself that produces a strong core and toned tummy.

Thanks for your question, and good luck!


Stephen M. Lazarus, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon

Improving muscular core following abdominoplasty and repair of diastasis recti

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From your photos it appears that you are a good candidate for an abdominoplasty.  It is important to note that during an abdominoplasty the muscles are not strengthened, only the resting tone of the abdomen is improved by a plication or tightening of the anterior abdominal fascia.  After your recovery there is no reason that you should not be able to improve the strength of your central core with exercise.  If you have a wide diastasis then the rectus muscles are out of position and the procedure will place them back in the midline and in an anatomically ergonomic position for toning by exercise.   

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Will Tummy Tuck Result in Strong Core Abdominal Muscle?

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Your photos indicate that you should be a good candidate for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). The strong tissue that envelopes your abdominal muscles, also known as fascia, appears to be significantly stretched out, resulting in rectus diastasis (widening of the space between the rectus muscles). In some areas the fascia make have gotten so thinned out that there is now a hole or gap in the fascia, also known as a hernia. 

When a tummy tuck is performed, the abdominal skin is lifted off the underlying muscle and fascia. This provides excellent exposure of the muscle wall to allow for a hernia repair to be done at the time of your tummy tuck. If the hernias are large, and the fascia significantly weakened, some reinforcement of the fascia with an alloplastic material might also be needed. Most tummy tucks also include a rectus plication, or pulling the rectus muscles back together. This plication acts as a reinforcement of the hernia repair, making for a very strong overall reconstruction of you abdominal wall. 

Once you have had time to heal, you can gradually resume strengthening your abdominal muscles. Whether or not you have visible abdominal muscles depends much more on the thickess of the fat layer in the overlying skin. Of course doing a tummy tuck also includes removing the excess skin, so your abdomen will look much better overall. You would need to get very lean before you can see significant muscle definition, however your core can still be quite strong without having distinct muscle definition.

Core strengthening with a tummy tuck

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You have incurred severe damage of the fascia with childbirth.

In my experience, it is necessary to tighten the fascia and repair the hernias before any significant results can be expected.  The fascia is simply too weak to allow for a tight abdomen.

You could expect an excellent result from an abdominoplasty, but would not receive a good result from a hernia repair alone.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 191 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.