What's the Best Procedure for my Huge Stomach?

I have had only one child via c-section and she is now 2. I cannot get rid of my huge stomach. People think I am about 7 months pregnant. Someone told my I could have a split muscle problem. I am not overweight but my stomach is disproportionate against the rest of my body. Any advice would be appreciated.

Doctor Answers 14

Abdominoplasty after pregnancy

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Thanks for the question.

The situation you're describing is extremely common after pregnancy. Your rectus muscles can be stretched laterally and there may be excess skin and soft tissue over your abdomen which can be very difficult to remove.

Your guidelines to having a good result (in addition to being in general good health) include being close to your ideal bodyweight. This means that your body mass index should be in the mid-20 range. This will insure maximum benefit from the surgery.

Many doctors talk to new moms and develop a plan including reaching a good weight, finding a good time to perform surgery (new babies and toddlers can require a lot of attention) and create a good plan for surgery.

I hope this helps.

Pregnant appearing belly and NOT pregnant: what to do?

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There may be several reasons for your "full" appearing belly. After pregnancy, it could be due to lax or separated muscles. I would highly recommend undertaking a core strengthening regimen as practiced in Pilates or Yoga. Intra-abdominal fat may be one of the most difficult to control and will respond best to weight loss, Excess skin and subcutaneous fat as well as separated muscles are managed with a tummy tuck

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

Correcting a "Huge Stomach" after Pregnancy

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Your situation is extremely common.

For a pregnancy to continue to full term, your uterus needs to grow from the size of a lime to that of a large watermelon in less than 7 months. The only way an abdomen can allow this rapid expansion to happen is by the creation / evolution of a built in crumple zone / pressure release zone of the 6 pack muscles which always separate in the midline allowing this growth.

Once these Rectus Abdominus muscles are split, they WILL NOT come back together again despite any wishful diets, supplements, exercising, magic garments or electronic gadgets you may take, wear, consume or use. The ONLY way to get this now expanded abdomen back to its pre-baby volume is by surgically putting them together again with a well-done FULL Tummy Tuck.

South Africa is full of great surgeons. (I had the fortune many years ago of having one train me as a general surgery resident in New York City). I am sure they will resolve this condition for you.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Benefits of a tummy tuck

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Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. They can address the loose muscle in the abdominal wall that is common after woman has given birth. Tummy tucks can also remove excess fat and stretch marks below the belly button. In our practice, we always perform liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck to help contour the abdomen and create a toned appearance.

In your case, you already have a scar in your lower abdomen from your C-section. This scar may be replaced with a thin abdominoplasty scar. Through this incision, your muscles can be addressed and tightened as necessary. For best results, you should wait to receive your tummy tucked until you have lost weight and are at your target weight that you can maintain for at least 4 to 6 months.
Patients who receive this procedure should understand that there is a significant recovery process afterwards. In our practice we give our patients to compression garments to help them manage the expected swelling as well as provide additional support. Patients with these garments for up to 4 to 6 months after the surgery.

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:

Abdomen question

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It sounds like you have a large diastasis and weakness of the muscles. You may be an excellent candidate for a full tummy tuck. Find a good plastic surgeon in your community.

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

Abdominoplasty helps improve abdominal bulge after pregnancy

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Abdominoplasty procedures are perfect for enhancing abdominal contour and bulging after pregnancy or with normal aging. The procedure is more commonly performed in women as opposed to men because of the effects of pregnancy on the abdomen.

Abdominoplasty procedures are recommended for women who complain of abdominal bulging in the infra or supraumbilical abdominal wall.

The two goals of abdominoplasty are to remove excessive fat and skin from the lower abdomen and to tighten the abdominal wall muscles.

Patients do well after several weeks and are able to resume activity with an improved truncal contour.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

A tummy tuck would probably work great.

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The most important thing is to find a qualified plastic surgeon to examine you and give the ideal treatment. However, a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty would tighten muscle that has weakened over the years and remove excess skin to produce a dramatic improvement you should be happy with. Good luck.

Dr. Cuber

Tummy Tuck

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I would recommend a standard abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).  This operation, removes the excess skin and fat and tightens the muscle layer. 

You should make an appointment with a Plastic Surgeon to go over the surgical options, risks and benefits.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Have consultations to help decide if Tummy Tuck is for you

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Your story is a really common one among our patients. Pregnancy changes muscles, fibrous support, body fat and skin. It is true that dieting and exercise can restore some of these, but that doesn't happen for many women. If not then you can consider surgery.

Liposuction alone would be best if the other layers I mentioned are satisfactory. If deeper layers are weak or loose, or if skin is lax, then abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is likely the answer. If internal organ fat is a problem, that must improve before considering surgery. You should not consider complete abdominoplasty unless you plan no further children, although some lesser modifications are possible. Your surgeon should be best able to advise you after an in-person consultation and exam.

Tummy tuck surgery is done to address each of those layers as much as necessary. Typically we remove slack from the abdominal wall. This treats the diastasis or "muscle separation" problem. Then we tighten loose abdominal skin and remove excessive skin and its fat. Stretch marks in the lower tummy typically are gone. Most patients consider the scar well hidden and well worth it. Best wishes.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

Abdominoplasty with rectus muscle plication after weight loss can help

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Dear Lara-Michelle,

What a nice picture, your daughter is a blessing.

If you have split abdominal muscles and excess skin and fat above your C-section scar, an abdominoplasty can help reduce the size of your tummy. During the tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, the surgeon will plicate or suture the muscles together to help hold your intestines in and reduce the fullness of your abdomen.

It is extremely important, if you are going to get the best abdominoplasty or tummy tuck result, that you be at your best weight possible.

You know what weight is best for you. The more weight you lose, the tighter your sugeon will be able to make your tiummy.

The intestines inside your tummy are supported by a membrane called the mesentery. The mesentery contains a lot of fat, and the intestines and mesentery push against your abdominal wall and make the tummy area larger.

If with diet and exercise you reduce the fat inside your tummy, the doctor will be able to do a better job, and the new tightened abdominal muscles will be able to hold your insides tighter, and your tummy will be smaller.

See before and after pictures of tummy tuck.

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.