How soon after giving birth for tummy tuck or lipo? Would I look noticeably better with only lipo? (photo)

I gave birth to my third and last child 3.5 months ago. I'm 37 and not seeking a perfectly flat stomach, but a noticeable improvement. I'm nervous about the pain and recovery involved with a tummy tuck. My questions are: how soon is it advisable to get the procedure done (trying to lose 5 lbs) and does it appear I need a full abdominoplasty?

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck of Liposuction Suirgery?

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Six weeks is the minimum that I would wait, based on that was the minimum time a famous OBGyn surgeon wanted to have his wife wait after giving birth to her second child. I prefer to wait at least three months where possible, and you must be done with nursing. In my practice, that usually is about 6 mo to 1 year.

I come from Utah where there are very big families. One of my patients had delivered 14 kids. I know full-tummy tucks very well and for the most part have abandoned their use, except where there is excessive muscular laxity or separation (diastasis), or in post-bariatric patients where there is massive weight loss. In general full-tummy tucks have a very long rand painful recovery, there is an unsightly scar around the belly button, the scar is very hight and can hardly be covered by "grannie pants", and only a little lipo can be done because of the danger of skin loss, and the already lengthy anesthesia.

I now do very aggressive liposculpture, removing up to 90% of the fat, from the breasts to and including the pubis, circumferentially. With this I can get up to a 25% skin tightening and can many times avoid a scar all together. The belly button doesn't need to be relocated. Where skin tightening is indicated, we remove about 1/2 the skin from the belly button to the hair bearing area of the pubis, and about 1-11/2" of the hair bearing area itself. This actually give a lift to the female genetalia, and keeps the scar very low in the bikini line. The scar goes out to the lateral hip area in the bikini line and is about as long as a normal full-tummy tuck scar, but is usually very thin and easily hidden.

Because of the extensive and agressive lipo, the skin moves easily and stretches to its new low position without undermining the skin, or cutting nerves, vessels and lymphatics that can cause more pain, swelling and longer recovery. We do this all under awake anesthesia, so risks, expense and longer and troublesome recovery from of general anesthesia are avoided. This one stage procedure has been a great advance to my practice and I highly recommend its consideration

Tummy Tuck After Childbirth #tummytuck

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I did not see if you are nursing or not, but if you are planning on exercising and losing weight then it is always best to maximize that first. If you have gotten to a point where you feel that you have maximized any exercise or weight loss then you can have a tummy tuck with liposuction of the areas you mentioned whenever you are ready. Things to consider are that you will need a few weeks of recovery and it will be hard for you to lift your baby, in fact I limit patients to less than 15 pounds for 6 weeks. At the point you are after delivery I do not see any limitations other than if you are going to try to lose weight via exercise. As I said that always gives the best result.

How soon after a baby can I have liposuction vs a tummy tuck?

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Thanks so much for your question. It is safe to move forward with things after the three month mark from the time you had your baby. However, you want to be close to your goal weight prior to having the procedure if possible. If you have a procedure done then loose a significant amount of weight, you might not have as ideal a final result. In terms of the types of procedure, I tell patients that liposuction will generally make a significant improvement but maybe only 60% as much as a full tummy tuck. However, like you mention in your question, this might be a realistic result for some patients. Also, many patients can take the off to recover from a tummy tuck procedure so liposuction may make more sense for them. Hope this helps.

Recommended time for tummy tuck after final pregnancy

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In my professional opinion it is better to wait until your body fully recovers the last pregnancy and that means that your body has completely healed and that you are no longer breast feeding. i think it is best to wait at least 9 months to a year after the pregnancy. I feel you need a full tummy tuck because your stomache muscles are open and need to be closed.

Alfonso Gonzalez Cepeda, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

After Pregnancy

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I would suggest waiting 6 months to a year. Your body will change significantly during that time. In addition you would need to be examined at that time to determine what the issues are and what the options are. In the meantime diet and exercise are your best friends. (with three children I'm sure you get plenty of the exercise part)

How soon after giving birth for tummy tuck or lipo? Would I look noticeably better with only lipo?

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I think that a tummy tuck would address skin, fat, and muscle laxity.

Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tuck procedures each year. Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Tummy Tuck or Liposuction Surgery?

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Thank you for the question and pictures. You should be proud of what you have accomplished as far as abdominal wall appearance only 3.5 months after pregnancy. Given that you are close to your long-term stable weights, proceeding with surgery is an option at any point, assuming you are otherwise ready.

Given your history, it is very likely that you will be better off with a full tummy tuck operation as opposed to a lesser operation such as mini tummy tuck or liposuction surgery. Although your concerns regarding recovery time etc are understandable, I would not advise that you undergo any procedure that will likely leave you dissatisfied, and potentially seeking additional surgery.

The concern with liposuction surgery alone for patients in your situation is the potential for loose and/or irregular skin, along with the abdominal wall laxity that has resulted after 3 pregnancies.

You are correct in that “mommy makeover” operations are associated with a significant physical and sometimes emotional recovery. A few words of advice may be helpful:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.
2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.
3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.
4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers.
6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.
7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.
8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).
9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience.
10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.
11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.

I hope this, and the attached link, helps.

Tummy tuck

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Without examining you and/or seeing photos with you bent over to determine the amount of laxity present it is difficult to say though. Either way though I would get down to your desired weight prior to contemplating surgery

Timing After Delivery for a Tummy Tuck?

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It is generally suggested to wait a minimum of 3-6 months following a
delivery in order to lose the weight associated with pregnancy and allow your
body and hormones to return to a more normal state. If you are currently breast
feeding, you should wait until you are no longer doing that. Following
these guidelines will maximize the probability of a good outcome and minimize
potential complications.

It appears that the best cosmetic improvement would be with a full
abdominoplasty. But keep in mind that following advice from a surgeon on this
or any other website who proposes to tell you what to do based on two
dimensional photos without examining you, physically feeling your tissue,
assessing your desired outcome, taking a full medical history and discussing
the pros and cons of each operative procedure would not be in your best
surgery. I would suggest that you find a surgeon certified by the American
Board of American Plastic Surgery and one who is ideally a member of The
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are
comfortable with. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.

Robert Singer, M.D., FACS

La Jolla, California

Tummy tuck or lipo

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Liposuction will not help you at all. You need a full tummy tuck with muscle tightening. Yes, it is painful, but it is really the only worthwhile option.

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.