Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Muscle Repair Failure After Tummy Tuck

A lot of people have been asking me lately about the muscle repair failure after tummy tuck. I’ve seen it a few times in my career, and it’s never something I want to see. But it does happen. And so in today’s post, I’m going to tell you all about what the problem is, why it happens, and how we can help you avoid it.

First, let’s talk about what muscle repair failure is: It’s when your muscles don’t fully heal after surgery. This can happen if your body doesn’t have enough protein or if you’re not eating enough calories or protein during recovery time. It can also happen if you’re not doing enough exercise during recovery time—you might not realize how much exercise is necessary!

The good news is that muscle repair failure isn’t just something that happens to people who don’t follow their doctor’s orders; it can happen even when everything has been done right! So while we’ll talk more about the causes later in this post, the best thing to do is just be aware of these things and make sure they don’t get in the way of your recovery process.

In this article, we’ll also consider muscle repair failure symptoms and warning signs after tummy tuck.

Muscle Repair Failure After Tummy Tuck

As patient counselors at our plastic surgery centers in Denver and Golden, CO, Carrie and I have listened to many tummy tuck patients. We have talked with these patients before surgery and after recovery—and helped them push through their fears.

We meet with women daily who want to eliminate sagging skin and a protruding abdomen and reduce the extent of stretch marks left behind after pregnancy or weight loss. However, many patients have become so frightened by the perceived “painful” recovery—that they end up postponing their procedure for months and sometimes years!

Listen up! Procrastination is a big mistake! Why put off the future of a sleek, flat, bikini-wearing, defined stomach for a few weeks of discomfort? Understanding the truth about pain, taking advantage of modern pain management, and setting yourself up with ample recovery time and support will make for a successful recovery.

Abdominoplasty procedures vary. What to anticipate during recovery can vary from person to person, as some procedures require less invasive surgery than others. The goal of a tummy tuck is to reduce fat and tighten the abdominal muscles, giving the patient a more toned and youthful profile and allowing them to fit into flattering new clothing.

Extensive incisions, including the repositioning of the belly button, are sometimes necessary to remove large amounts of excess skin and fat. However, whether or not a muscle repair is included in a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is one of the most significant factors affecting recovery time.

This is why there are times when muscle repair is necessary
You’ve seen the muscle we’re talking about if you’ve seen the abs on even a single superhero. The rectus abdominis is the abdominal muscle that extends vertically from the pubic bone. A dividing band of tissue known as the linea alba delineates its left and right halves.

Overstretching of the linea alba can occur for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is pregnancy, but other causes include massive weight gain or an injury sustained while lifting. This causes an outward protrusion of the belly that persists even after the excess weight (from pregnancy or otherwise) has been lost due to a separation of the two sides of the muscle. Diastasis recti is the term for the separation of the abdominal muscles.

It’s not just a cosmetic problem; this condition can weaken your core and compromise your posture. Quality of life can be severely diminished due to symptoms such as abdominal, hip, and back pain, as well as bowel and bladder dysfunction.

When repairing a muscle isn’t always necessary, and why
Because not all stomachs that could benefit from a tummy tuck have a diastasis recti, muscle repair is not a standard part of every tummy tuck. The linea alba can sometimes recover to its normal size after being stretched. Additionally, if a woman has had a cesarean section, the repair was probably finished during the procedure.

Modalities of Muscle Regeneration
Plastic surgeons frequently repair diastasis recti as part of tummy tuck procedures, but general surgeons are also capable of doing so. The surgeon will suture the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle together and then fold over the stretched linea alba tissue. The abdominal wall must be sutured all the way up and down, which is invisible from the outside.

How a muscle repair can delay your tummy tuck’s results
Recovery time from a tummy tuck with muscle repair versus without is affected by the fact that muscles contract. The abdominal muscles, among which the rectus abdominis is a major player, are not merely support structures; they are the primary movers and stabilizers of the entire trunk. As a result, they tighten every time you move. This group of muscles is used for everything from sitting up straight to rolling over in bed to coughing and sneezing, among other things.

The mended muscle requires some downtime for proper recuperation. Too much effort, too soon, can hinder your progress and likely cause some discomfort.

How the process of muscle repair affects healing
If your tummy tuck also necessitates muscle repair, you can expect your recovery time to be three to four weeks longer and to be subject to stricter requirements.

Patients who have undergone muscle repair report feeling full sooner than usual after eating and finding it difficult to take deep breaths. This is because contracting the abdominal muscles reduces the available space inside the abdominal cavity. Taking a deep breath is more difficult because there is less room for the stomach to expand and the diaphragm must move down against more resistance. If either of these problems does arise, it usually goes away after about four to six weeks.

Belt that Constricts the Abdomen
An abdominal binder will be provided to you shortly after surgery to aid in the support of the repaired muscle and to minimize general swelling. You will be shown how to put it on, and instructed to do so routinely. For the first few days, you will most likely require assistance putting it on and taking it off.

Taking Down Barriers
After surgery, you will likely be instructed not to lift more than 10 to 15 pounds. Until six to eight weeks have passed since surgery, you should not attempt any heavy lifting. To prevent further damage to the repair, you also can’t do things like sit-ups or other core exercises.

Posture It is normal for patients to slouch a little bit after a tummy tuck. It’s normal, and you shouldn’t put too much pressure on your incision by trying to sit up straight. After a muscle repair, this is even more crucial. The first week following surgery, you may even be provided with a walker to help you get around.

You must still rise and shine.
Your surgeon will want you to start moving around the day after surgery, even if you had muscle repair. For example, you can get up to use the restroom or, with some limitations, take a shower. This will aid in your recovery and help keep blood from clotting. Many people who need to get up frequently during the night find that sleeping in a recliner is most comfortable for them. Help will be needed, especially in the first week or two, so make sure someone is home to assist you.


Many patients considering a tummy tuck may be anxious about what to expect during the recovery process. It is important to note that although the thought of undergoing major surgery and dealing with post-operative pain can be intimidating, the actual experience of tummy tuck recovery is often much milder than anticipated.

According to, men and women who have undergone tummy tuck procedures give it a 96% Worth It rating. This high satisfaction rate speaks to the transformative results that can be achieved through abdominoplasty, outweighing any temporary discomfort during recovery.

It is common for individuals to anticipate a significant amount of pain following a tummy tuck due to the invasive nature of the procedure. However, it is important to remember that advancements in surgical techniques and post-operative care have significantly minimized discomfort during recovery. Patients are typically prescribed pain medication to manage any discomfort, and most describe the sensation as more of a soreness or tightness rather than severe pain.

During the initial days following surgery, patients are advised to take it easy and avoid strenuous activities. They may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the abdominal area, but these symptoms are temporary and will gradually improve as the body heals. It is important to follow the post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth recovery process.

In terms of timeline, most patients can expect to return to work and normal daily activities within 1-2 weeks after their tummy tuck surgery. It is recommended to refrain from strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for several weeks to allow the body to fully heal. Your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and address any concerns during the recovery period.

Overall, while it is natural to feel apprehensive about tummy tuck recovery, it is important to remember that the pain is manageable and temporary. The results of a tummy tuck can be truly transformative, providing patients with a slimmer, more contoured abdomen and increased confidence in their appearance. Trust in the expertise of your surgeon and the support of your medical team to guide you through a successful and comfortable recovery process.

| Patient Concern | Recovery Process |
| Expect pain and discomfort| Mild soreness and tightness- managed with medication|
| Swelling and bruising | Temporary symptoms that will improve over time |
| Return to normal activities | 1-2 weeks after surgery |
| Follow post-operative care instructions | Essential for a smooth recovery |

Overall, while it is natural to feel apprehensive about tummy tuck recovery, it is important to remember that the pain is manageable and temporary. The results of a tummy tuck can be truly transformative, providing patients with a slimmer, more contoured abdomen and increased confidence in their appearance. Trust in the expertise of your surgeon and the support of your medical team to guide you through a successful and comfortable recovery process.


The discomfort after a tummy tuck comes not from the incision, which will actually be numb for some time, but from the muscle tightening. Patients find normal activities such as standing up straight, walking up stairs, and getting out of a seated position or bed uncomfortable because the core muscles are sore after being sewn together from the breast bone to the pubic bone.

Think about it this way: A tummy tuck is basically military boot camp for the abdominal muscles. Those stubborn muscles loved the roominess of your loose abdomen. For about a week, they retaliate by acting sore and tired. Those muscles quickly become angry and fatigued from the layers of sutures placed to keep them tight. The soreness diminishes after a week and you start to think less and less about it. Most women are walking upright and going about daily activities after just 2 weeks.

Patients go back to working out at 4 to 6 weeks post-tummy tuck. Some report small muscle “zingers” with workouts or yoga, which is completely normal. However, we advise patients to go back to working out slowly and back off if it hurts. Many of our extremely active patients get back to working out sooner and report stronger core strength as an added benefit.

Tummy Tuck Muscle Repair Failure Symptoms

It looks like an amateur repositioned your navel.
Poor repositioning of the belly button is a common indicator of a botched tummy tuck.

If your belly button appears too high or too low, it may be because the skin around it has been pulled and tightened, distorting the original shape and position.

Tummy tuck revision surgery can sometimes correct an unnaturally high or low navel. Navel augmentation is a relatively simple surgical procedure that can drastically change how your belly button looks.

Warning Signs After Tummy Tuck

A high body temperature (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit), extreme nausea and vomiting, persistent dizziness, or incoherent behavior (including hallucinations) are all symptoms of a serious illness.
A very badly misshapen part of your abdomen, or a bruise concentrated in one area of your belly.

Leave a Comment