Can I tighten my loose abdominal muscles without surgery?

Can I tighten my loose abdominal muscles without surgery?

28th Nov 2017

During pregnancy, permanent and temporary changes occur in the abdomen. The abdomen is a dynamic organ subjected to permanent volume modifications with the capacity to increase and revert to the initial shape without permanent repercussions to structure and functionality. Still, the amount and extent of stretching caused by a growing fetus can determine permanent modifications of the stomach especially when right and left halves of the abdominal muscles get separated at the body’s median line. When this happens, diastasis recti occurs. Diastasis recti can be diagnosed with isometric contraction (static contractions that occur when the tension in the muscles is increased by the muscular fibers don’t change their length) of the abdominal muscles. In more severe cases, we can also notice some defects at the union line of the abdominal muscles in the shape of hernia formations.

Many women complain about loose abdominal muscles after pregnancy and childbirth. Some will try exercising and various diets but with no visible results. While there are plenty of videos and other types of online tutorials that promises help in tightening the loose muscles after pregnancy, you should know that the only effective method to do this is through plastic surgery.

When does the abdomen get back in shape after giving birth?

The variation in dimension of the abdomen is directly proportional to the variation in dimension of the uterus and it usually takes 6-9 months to get back to the size after giving birth. A determining factor would be the methods of childbirth. A natural birth will contribute to a faster recovery of the abdominal muscles whereas a C-section intervention inflicts damage to the muscular structures, which usually means delay in resuming normal routine and longer recuperation. Still, the future mothers should keep in mind that the doctor will make the final determination to perform, either a C-section or natural delivery to ensure a birth in optimal conditions. Aesthetic concerns and considerations should be held in abeyance until childbirth and recovery of the mother.

If you take a quick look online, you will notice that a lot of new mothers want to know how soon they could get back their pre-pregnancy body after childbirth. The reality is that for some, it can happen within a few months without much effort while for others, it can take as long as a few years of unceasing exercise and diets. It might even never happen unless plastic surgery is involved. If you are suffering from diastasis recti or loose abdominal muscles after pregnancy, it is essential to know that a tummy tuck is the only effective method to correct the condition and be able to get a flat, firm abdomen once again.

Can we prevent the permanent changes of the abdomen that take place during pregnancy?

It is important to keep in mind that any physiological process can be influenced in its evolution. Supervised physical exercises to help maintain abdominal muscle tone can make the recovery faster for the new mother. Proper nutrition and eating in moderation will limit development of the adipose tissue, which can in turn contribute to an easier weight loss process after giving birth. This way, the mother can regain her physical shape sooner than others. Drink enough water and use moisturizing creams to help keep the skin well hydrated, moisturized and supple.

How can we remodel the abdomen after giving birth to reduce or remove the signs of pregnancy?

We can remodel the abdomen after pregnancy by using certain plastic surgery procedures that are highly effective. Combining these procedures with non-surgical methods can lead to impressive results in a short period of time.

It is important and highly recommended for the new mothers to make concerted efforts to get back the toned, pre-pregnancy abdomen, both for aesthetic considerations and for overall well being. The non-surgical methods herein referred to are physical exercises, healthy and balanced diet, and proper hydration. Tummy tuck and liposuction would be the recommended surgical methods that could effectively address and correct the unwanted side effects of pregnancy.

The changes in the abdominal wall after giving birth become permanent after approximately 1-1.5 years. We have many new mothers coming in a few months after giving birth and asking for help to get a tighter and firmer abdomen, but it is not recommended to perform any plastic surgery procedures until the body is completely healed and the changes are permanent. A year after giving birth would be the perfect time to see a plastic surgeon if you want a tummy tuck. During the initial consultation, the plastic surgeon will be able to determine the necessity of a surgical intervention, the perfect time to do it and the procedure most suitable for you.

There are less invasive procedures to reshape and contour the abdomen such as abdominal liposuction, as well as ample interventions that range from mini tummy tuck to the full tummy tuck or other combined methods. After these procedures are performed, both the excess fat tissue and surplus skin in the abdomen can be eliminated.


Tummy tuck to tighten loose abdominal muscles after pregnancy

The tummy tuck is a plastic surgery intervention that surgically removes the excess fat and skin tissue at the inferior level of the abdomen and tightens weakened abdominal muscles. The excess skin and fat tissue can happen as a result of a considerable weight loss like after pregnancy. The surgery will remodel the body by modifying the shape of the abdomen, correcting the silhouette and the profile of the patient.

During the intervention, we can also correct defects of the abdominal wall that can occur during pregnancy such as diastasis recti or loose abdominal muscles. To be eligible for this intervention, the patient will need to follow certain conditions:

  • The patient should not be on a weight loss diet at the time of surgery. This can make the recovery period difficult and could have a negative impact on the healing of the body.
  • The patient should stop taking Aspirin in order to avoid excessive bleeding after surgery.
  • Smoking should be avoided at least two weeks before and after the procedure is performed.
  • Birth control pills should also be avoided for a month before the surgery.

Other conditions, as well as the technical details such as the repositioning of the navel, an additional vertical incision to correct excess skin at the flanks will be discussed by the plastic surgeon during the consultation. The patient should also inform the surgeon about potential allergies, complete health history as well as other chronic conditions.

Because of the complexity of the surgery, drain tubes will be attached to prevent the formation of hematomas. The drain tubes will be extracted a few days after surgery when there will be no more liquid draining through them. At the end of the surgery, the incisions will be protected with sterile bandages and an elastic compression girdle must be worn to prevent ulterior formation of hematoma and seroma and to help the skin to retract and attach to the muscles.

The tummy tuck intervention can surgically tighten loose abdominal muscles after giving birth, but you have to keep in mind that it is plastic surgery and not a weight loss method.


Other than plastic surgery, no amount of exercising can tighten weakened and loose abdominal muscles resulting from diastasis recti that occurs during pregnancy due to the overstretching of the muscles to accommodate the increasing growth of the uterus.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and proper hydration will help you lose weight that is close enough to your pre-pregnancy body shape and also help maintain muscle tone. However, to achieve near perfect results with a flatter, tighter abdomen, tinier waist and a sleeker body profile, you will need to undergo a tummy tuck surgery.

There are several available options for reshaping the abdomen such as liposuction and different types of tummy tucks that are less invasive, but only a full tummy tuck can effectively address the issue of loose abdominal muscles by tightening using sutures.

To find out if you need plastic surgery to tighten your abdominal muscles, please contact your plastic surgeon today.

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