Tummy Isn't Flat 3 Years Post-Op. Why?

I Had a Tummy Tuck in June 2007 my Tummy is Still Not Flat I Look Pregnant and Feels Tight. the doctor says its fat behind the muscle pushing it out, Is that true?

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy Isn't Flat 3 Years Post-Op. Why?

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Regarding: "Tummy Isn't Flat 3 Years Post-Op. Why?
I Had a Tummy Tuck in June 2007 my Tummy is Still Not Flat I Look Pregnant and Feels Tight. the doctor says its fat behind the muscle pushing it out, Is that true

Sorry to hear of your predicament. It is sad when after all the discomfort and money spent you cannot have the look you thought you paid for. Unfortunately, this happens all too commonly when the patients expectations go beyond the abilities of the operation and the surgeon performing it.

Yes. Your surgeon is correct. Our bodies store a large amount of fat INSIDE the abdomen and along the back wall. If this fat is there during the tummy tuck, the operation cannot flatten the abdomen as much it could have were the fat not there. However, surely the surgeon must have both known that and hopefully told you that before he operated on you.

It would be a different matter if you were flat after your tummy tuck and after straining or coughing the flatness went away. That would suggest a disruption of the muscle repair. But - if you were never flat after surgery and were tight, that would imply the muscle repair is intact and cannot flatten you because of a large amount of intraabdominal fat - a result which should have been expected before the surgery.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Belly fat and tummy tuck

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WIthout photos or an exam I really can't be sure. Sometimes patients have a lot intrperitoneal fat that can not be treated by a tummy tuck but contributes to fullness.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Belly still big after tummy tuck

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This is called visceral fat and the abdomen this is primarily located in the omentum. This fat is not treated by a tummy tuck. You may find that you can improve or enhance the results of your tummy tuck by performing core strenghtening exercises.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Abdominal shape after a tummy tuck

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An abdominoplasty or tummy tuck only addresses the fat that sits on top of the muscle and under the dermis.  Even after tightening of the rectus muscle, the overall shape of the abdomen is based on an individuals organs and the amount of visceral fat around those organs. It is important for your plastic surgeon to discuss the realistic expectations for every procedure you undergo.  I hope this helps.

Kindest regards,

Neil J. Zemmel

Tummy Tuck Results

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Tummy tuck is one of the most satisfying procedures in plastic surgery.  Nevertheless, there are limitations.  Intraabdominal fat (fat around your bowels and internal organs) can only be addressed by weight loss.  A tummy tuck will tighten lax skin and fascia (the tissue that encloses the muscle).  It will not flatten a protuberent abdomen due to excess intraabdominal fat.  But the flat abdomen you seek is attainable through diet and exercise.

Good luck

Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Intraabdominal Fat post tummy tuck

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It seems as though you have a problem with intra-abdominal fat.   This fat is immersed around your bowels and digestive organs.   Liposuction or Tummy tuck can do nothing to cure this.   If this type of fat is noticed during a preoperative exam, it is important to discuss that the intra-abdominal fat wil not be cured by a surgical procedure.  A tummy tuck can still be beneficial in removing extra skin and contouring the waistline.   The best recommendation for decreasing your intra-abdominal fat is a healthy diet and exericise at the discretion of your primary care doctor.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Persistent Abdominal Protuberance after Tummy Tuck

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If your belly seems bloated, protuberant, and relatively firm, then intraabdominal distention is the likely cause. This can often be recognized preoperatively, so that a patient undergoing tummy tuck surgery has realistic expectations. There is no way to flatten the muscle layer with sutures if there is a strong force pushing outward, which is seen when fat accumulates within the abdomen. Weight loss is the only way to improve this condition.

Little Change After Tummy Tuck

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This could be true but that should have been discussed in your consultation.  The limitations of any operation should be thoroughly discussed with patients prior to any operation.  This helps patients understand what is to be expected.  Visit with several other board certified plastic surgeons to get opinions.

Dr. ES

Round tummy after a tummy tuck

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If you still look round after a TT but also feel tight, I'd agree with your doctor that they have done all they can and that you have fat inside the abdomen (visceral fat, central obesity) that is pushing out on the muscles.  Only weight loss can fix this, not surgery.

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.