Only Get 3 Weeks Off Work, Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair? (photo)

I'm a liric singer, and I cannot stay away from work more than three weeks! And I use my abdominal muscles to sing, so I NEED THEM totally healed when I go back to work. My doc says I don't have a huge separation between my belly muscles... But even so he suggested muscle repair. Well, that would elongate the healing time... and I really can't stay out of work for more than three weeks (at the most four weeks). Do you think I should do the tt even without mr? Thank you all in advance, rose

Doctor Answers 13

Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair?

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Dear Rose93,

A tummy tuck is a wonderful way to flatten the tummy by removing extra skin and fat and tightening the stomach muscles. It is also often combined with liposuction for best results.

For most patients, tightening the stomach muscles is an important part of the procedure in order to produce optimal results. After having the muscles tightened, most patients are required to refrain from any strenuous activities including lifting for about six weeks after surgery.

As a singer (and having a strong need to use your abdominal muscles), it sounds like you have two options: (1) Wait to have the tummy tuck until you are able to take more time off (4-6 weeks), or (2) Have the tummy tuck without the muscle tightening, and be willing to accept the tradeoff of having a quicker recovery for a somewhat lesser result. I would discuss the tradeoffs of option 2 with your surgeon.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck - Only Get 3 Weeks Off Work, Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair?

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You may be a candidate, but I don't think you'll be happy.

First of all, it is overwhelmingly likely that you would benefit from a muscle repair (MR).  Then, you indicate that that's what your PS recommended.  Put the two together, and I think you'll regret leaving that portion of the procedure out.  And, even without that, there is no guarantee that you'll have perfect healing in three weeks.

Three weeks should be enough time for most people to return to most activities, even with a MR.  But those who have very physical jobs (lifting) or strenuous (such as yours) need to understand that in the event of any difficulties healing or anything unforeseen, you may not be back at full strength in three weeks.  Unless you can accommodate that situation you may be better advised to postpone your TT.  It should be okay, but if it's that critical an issue - and in this day and age that's more than understandable - then you may want to reconsider your surgery date.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Only Get 3 Wks Off Wrk, Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck W/out Muscle Repair?Answer:

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I perform a muscle repair on almost every TT I do and I think it really completes the surgery and gives a much better result. Most patients are back to work at 3 weeks, albeit a little sore….And even if you use your abdominals at work, like it seems you do, you may be a bit uncomfortable but still be able to perform…

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Tummy tuck without muscle.

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As you can see, in this format, we can not really evaluate your specific situation.  I suggest seeking a second opinion.  Part of providing a reasonable result is meeting the patient expectations.  If you have a limited time for healing, perhaps the improvement with out a muscle repair will be just fine for YOU.  Perhaps, we doctors need to remember that what we do is not about our expectations only.  We are here to advise and give alternatives.

H. Michael Roark, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tummy tuck with or without muscle tightening

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Thank you for your question.  If you skip the muscle repair portion of the tummy tuck, you may get back to work on time, but you may end up not getting the best result you could have gotten.  You may then be disappointed that you spent all that money, and the result is only partial improvement. I would follow your plastic surgeon's advice. However, if it doesn't bother you that it is only going to be partly better, then choose the limited operation knowing that it will be "okay" but not the best result you could have gotten.

Question: If you didn't get the result you wanted, would you want the surgeon to go back and redo it again?  If the answer is yes, then follow his/her advice and get it all done the first time.

I hope this helps. Good Luck and best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery!

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Singers and tummy tuck

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I have had one singer on whom I performed a tummy tuck with muscle plication. She did well and told me her singing was as good as or better after the procedure. Now, this might not be the case with your outcome. Generally if muscle tightening is done, the appearance is better for lax abdominal walls. It is unusual for full abdominoplasties to do without the muscle plication. No surgeon can guarantee that the procedure will not affect your singing. The down time is certainly something to consider. I believe my patient started back singing at the 3 to 4 week mark.

Victor Au, MD (retired)
Chapel Hill Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck without Muscle Plication

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

I would agree with the plastic surgeon you have seen.  Muscle plication will likely give you a superior result  after your tummy tuck surgery.

I would suggest that you postpone surgery until you have enough time for recovery  and do an operation that will give you the best results possible.  Keep in mind that muscle plication may temporarily change the dynamics of your singing (will change the abdominal wall muscle  distention ability after plication). 

Heed the age-old advice: if you are going to do it do it right!

I hope this helps.

Recovery for Tummy Tuck without muscle Repair

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Each surgeon has his or her own guidelines for postoperative care. Patients generally can return to light activity 7 to 10 post surgery. More strenuous activity can generally begin 2 to 6 months post surgery. Without physical examination, it will not be possible to guide you regarding the muscle repair. Trust your surgeon's guidance has he or she understands the scope of the surgery and the specifics about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Return to work after TT/MR

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If your surgeon recommends a muscle repair along with the tummy tuck, you should do both to get the best possible result.  You should be able to perform in 3-4 weeks.  Suggest that he/she uses a pain pump because that can help break the pain cycle and get you back to your activities more quickly.

Kenneth L. Stein, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Only Get 3 Weeks Off Work, Am I a Candidate for Tummy Tuck Without Muscle Repair? (photo)

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Thanks for the photos posted! I recommend a full tummy tuck with muscle repair. 3 weeks should be enough healing time but there are always unforseen risks no matter what. 

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.