Abdominal Crunches After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair? (photo)

I am 6 weeks post op, had a Tummy Tuck with muscle repair. My doctor told me that now, at 6 weeks, to begin getting off the binder at night, put it on during the day, and totally out of it in two weeks. But, he said I should do light abdominal crunches for the next two weeks to restrengthen my muscles. They hurt! I could barely do four little ones. Is this safe for my muscle repair? I trust him and my recovery has been flawless, but this scares me! Any input would be appreciated.

Doctor Answers 11

Abdominal crunches after Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

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Dear Angeella,

I think it is a commonly held perception that if you were sucessful in getting 4 or more Plastic surgeons in one room there would have a hard time agreeing together on few little things. It is becuase we are all individualistic and perceive and process data slightly differently.

In continuing this tradition, I would RESPECTFULLY disagree from you plastic surgeon.

!st - There is NO scientific reason that I know about why you should do abdominal crunches EVEN if you did them properly protecting your lower back. Doing so needlessly strains the plication sutures used to put your six pack muscles together and may cause them to cheese wire through the fascia they were placed in. If the tummy tuck was done properly no further muscle toning needs to be done risking the repair. Just as I verify that my female patients are not planning on stretching my muscle repairs with planned pregnancies, I also warn them against damaging the repairs with sit ups or crunches.

2nd - You can ditch the binder. At this point it is really not necessary and may be much more of a nuisance than a benefit.

3rd - your scar is tad high and inexplicably not covered by your panties. Was there a specific reason for such a high placement (breast reconstruction with a TRAM flap ? previous transverse scar or personal preference)?

I agree with Dr. Soto who was more diplomatic than me. Resume your life and listen to your body. You look great.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Wait 6 months for core work

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I like the patients to refrain from all exercise for 2 months after surgery, and not to exercise their core for 6 months.  I just don't think there is any benefit.

Abdominal Crunches Post Tummy Tuck

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I would recommend you follow your surgeons orders. If it is bothersome when trying abdominal crunches I would say take it slow. You need to start strengthing your core little by little. Be patient and start slow, you don't want to over do it.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Abdominal Crunches After Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

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I don’t think there is any evidence that abdominal crunches will help your muscles specifically after an abdominoplasty.  I think walking and eating a low fat low calorie diet will do better for you.

Paul Vitenas, Jr., MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Listen to your body, but return to activity should be safe at 6 weeks

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Hi there- If your surgery was at least 6 weeks ago, you should be able to return to activity with little fear of actually hurting yourself, as human wounds have reached ~90% of their eventual strength at this point. I would be cautious in my return to activity, and listen to my body, backing off of activities that cause pain and easing back into them a few days or a week later, but slowly resuming activity should be safe for you now. I hope that helps you.

Exercise after tummy tuck

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Generally, any general answer is only a guideline.  The ultimate determination is done by you and your doctor depending on how you are doing and your examination.  After 6 weeks I ask my patients to take another 6 weeks to gradually build up their body.  Their is a lot of leeway there.  Listen to your body, take it easy, and advance slowly.  Best of luck, Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Listen to your body...

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In our practice we generally recommend that patients avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least seven to eight weeks following abdominoplasty.Even when they resume these activities, we recommend that they listen to their bodies and modify their behavior based on how they feel.No two patients are ever exactly the same and for this reason the rate of recovery can vary significantly between patients.
It’s important to realize that each surgeon has his own post-operative protocols.These protocols are often modified based on the intraoperative findings and specifics of the surgical procedure.Your surgeon has knowledge of your procedure that no one else has.For this reason, it’s important that you follow his recommendation in the post-operative period.

Abdominal crunches after a tummy tuck

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Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients who receive this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process. In our practice, we encourage patients to initiate a rigorous exercise regimen after their surgery. Patients should begin walking as much as possible right after the surgery but should wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before returning to the gym and performing strenuous exercise or lifting weights. When returning to the gym, take it slow and do not over extend yourself or begin your regimen by lifting heavy weights. Combining an exercise regimen with a low-fat diet will help you maintain your beautiful new curves.

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:

Abdominal Exercises / Crunches after Tummy Tuck

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I usually recommend patients wait 6 weeks before beginning crunches or abdominal muscle exercises after a tummy tuck. With that being said, I usually recommend starting their typical exercise routines in a graduated fashion and to listen to their body as they increase the level of activity. 

Ankit Desai, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon

Crunches after a tummy tuck

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I would trust your surgeon's advice as he/she has likely followed this regimen with success in the past. I strongly encourage women to resume a regimen of core strengthening using a Pilates regimen as this promotes a flatter contoured and concave abodominal wall in contrast to the convex bulging six pack that males generally prefer and achieve with "crunches"..

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