Is a Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair Cheaper?

I'm a 27 yr old mother of 4 boys, the last 3 being within 3.5yrs. I had my first child at 16yrs old and I gained almost 60lbs. My other pregnancies were normal weight gain and I lost all of it. Since then I've always had loose skin directly in the center of my stomach (around my belly button.) I only want the skin to be tightened (and possibly a small amount of fat removed). I don't believe I need (nor do I want) the muscle repair. Can I do this and will it cost less than having the repair done?

Doctor Answers 17

Muscle repair is an important step in tummy tuck

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The overall contour of the your stomach after tummy tuck does not depend on the skin alone. True skin excess is key when considering tummy tuck. However, if your abdomen protrudes and is difficult to hold in while standing, muscle repair is very important to the end result. Your photo shows such a situation which will do very well with muscle repair, and the cost should not be any different.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Costs of Surgery

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Thank you for your post.
In considering the cost of a Tummy Tuck, you should look at the components of the cost:
1. Surgeons Fee. This is usually the greatest part of the overall cost and can vary immensly from location to location (just like the cost of living varies in each location) as well as in the same location, it can vary from surgeon to surgeon. Usually, a surgeon commanding a higher price is very experienced and has very good results reliably, and is very busy due to the above.  This also depends on if a circumferential, tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, mini tummy tuck, and skin only tummy tuck is performed.  These are usually less expensive in decreasing order.
2. Anesthesia Fee. This can vary depending on if a board certified MD anesthesiologist is used, vs. a nurse anesthetist, vs. a non-certified nurse, vs. only local anesthesia (an awake procedure). Obviously, the further you go down the line, the cheaper the price. You do get what you pay for.
3. Facility Fee. This can vary if it is a a state/medicare certified facility, vs. the back of a doc's office.
4. Accessories. This includes things like a pain pump, Exparol injections (72 hour long lasting numbing), garments, tissue glues, etc. These are not necessary for a great result, just add to the comfort of a result.
5. Revision. Usually a revision such as dog ears or lowering the scar, or a seroma, is much less that the original surgery, but this depends entirely on what exactly is being done.
6. Add on surgeries are usually discounted, as in a mommy makeover.
7. Insurance. If an insurance based surgery, such as a hernia repair is done at the same time, the tummy tuck may be discounted.
As with anything in life, buyer beware of risks of cutting corners in surgery.
Real Self has average costs of every operations in your location that you can peruse before seeing a surgeon, but keep in mind that the above quality can change from office to office. Choose a surgeon that you are very comfortable with and is board certified.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tighten the Muscle for Your Best Result

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From looking at your pictures, it would seem that you have a significant amount of muscle separation about the belly button as well as lax skin above and below the belly button. To do a tummy tuck with skin tightening but no muscle tightening is indeed possible, but you would not achieve an excellent result.

George Sanders, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Muscle Tightening: Is it necessary ?

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Thanks for the question.

Although muscle tightening is not "necessary" to complete a tummy tuck, I would strongly advise to undergo this portion of the surgery as it will considerably add to the overall result. Considering that you've had multiple pregnancies, the amount of diastasis your abdomen has must be considerable. Simply performing a "skin only" tummy tuck would rid you of excess skin, but the abdominal protrusion would remain. Additionally, if you have adiposity (fat) in the central abdominal region, you may require liposuction as a secondary procedure to obtain optimal results. 

Best of luck,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S. 

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tummy Tuck Can be Done Without Muscle Repair

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A tummy tuck definitely can be performed without a muscle repair.  However, I do not think you will be happy if you elect that option.  Your photo shows a good bit of central abdominal bulging which is not going to be affected by a tummy tuck without tightening your muscle.  I am unaware of any plastic surgeons who charge less for a tummy tuck without muscle repair.  Although this is a very important part of a TT, it does not require a lot of time to perform.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair

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The price is dependent on many factors - is it a mini, full or extended abdominoplasty such as a fleur de lis pattern where redundant skin is removed from the center as well as the bottom of the abdomen? Is it skin only (in your case yes) or does it include tightening of the muscles? Will Liposuction also be necessary? Will it be performed in a hospital with an overnight stay or in an independent out-patient facility? Will a surgical assistant be needed? Will a board-certified anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist be used? Will an (anti) pain pump be used?

All of these factors influence the cost. Although you can get a tummy tuck without muscle repair, the results would not be as ideal. The price differs depending on what area you are in, but for reference, in Orange County, California the estimated range is $7000- $15,000 depending on the variables above.

Tummy tuck without muscle tightening

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Although it would be cheaper because it would take less time, you need it so you'll be pretty unlucky to find someone who would do this for you.  Visit your board certified plastic surgeon to understand why.  On physical examination he can e much more explicit about how tightening the muscle fascia improves your contour.

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Tummty tuck

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I can  not recall the last tummy tuck that I did not also repair the muscles. From your lateral photo, it looks like you  need msucle tightening as well.

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

Tummy tuck without a muscle repair

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A tummy tuck is a safe and effective procedure to contour the abdomen, create a tight waist, and remove extra skin, fat, and stretch marks.

In our practice, we feel that as every patient is different so should be every tummy tuck. In our initial consult we spent a great deal of time talking to the patient to understand their concerns to learn their aesthetic priorities and to evaluate their abdomen. By doing this the patient can create a surgical plan that will address their concerns and help them meet their aesthetic goals. We have many patients that can get excellent results by addressing the extra skin and fat and not repairing the muscle layer. This may often be done through a mini tummy tuck. Your best bet is to only work with a plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of plastic surgery and has a great deal of experience in tummy tucks, liposuction, and body contouring. This surgeon will be able to evaluate your abdomen and help you determine what components of body contouring will help you meet your aesthetic goals.
Without a muscle repair, the procedure may take less time and could potentially be cheaper.

Muscle seperations require repair during a tummy tuck.

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If your muscles are in good condition than you can easily undergo a tummy tuck without muscle repair. If, however, your muscles are separated, I would highly recommend that you repair these at the time of the tummy tuck.

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.