For patients with minimal body and abdominal fat, with no muscle laxity, who are concerned primarily with excess loose abdominal skin after pregnancy, Tummy Tuck is a fantastic operation.
No amount of exercise will correct the stretched, lax skin around the central abdomen that is the result of multiple pregnancies. For patients with extensive loose skin both above and below the belly button, a full abdominoplasty is generally necessary, since a "mini" abdominoplasty only addresses the laxity of skin below the belly button and above the pubic area.
The Tummy Tuck procedure is not as painful as you fear. If there is no Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) and no muscle laxity, no muscle tightening is needed and the operation involves skin tightening only. The majority of my patients do require some muscle tightening, in some cases just below the belly button to the pubis, or in others the entire length of the abdomen from the ribs to the pubis.
Although the muscle tightening may result in somewhat greater post-operative pain, the pain is generally easily managed with mild to moderate potency oral pain medications, and generally lasts only 2-3 days. The potential pain can be minimized further by use of a "pain pump", which releases a low and steady dose of local anesthesia into the surgical area over the first few days after surgery.
Patients will have suction drains placed under the skin, and will wear a compression garment or binder, to avoid seroma or fluid accumulation under the abdominal skin. Drains are removed usually within 7-10 days, and most patients are back to full unlimited activities within 4-6 weeks.
Fit and trim patients are generally ideal surgical candidates, and this is particularly true for Tummy Tuck. Such patients generally recover faster with fewer complications. So, conquer your fear, and lose the excess skin that prevents you from fully revealing the hard body below.