Q: I just have a question about tummy tucks. I have wondered whether it is important to have the stomach muscles tightened. I met a surgeon and he said it is not necessary for me, as I am young (23) and have not had any children. He did assess me. In your opinion (without examining me), could you agree with his statement?
A: Tummy tuck surgery has the capability to address all three components of the abdominal wall, skin, fat and muscle. While it may be fairly routinue to perform muscle tightening as part of tummy tuck surgery, it is not always necessary. The important question is whether muscle laxity or midline rectus separation is making any significant contribution to the protruding shape of the stomach area…or whether an umbilical or ventral hernia is present. If a woman has never been pregnant and does not a hernia then it is unlikely that muscle plication will be of any benefit. Interestingly, tummy tucks done in men do not usually involve muscle tightening as those muscles have never been stretched out due to pregnancy. Muscle manipulation is what causes the greatest amount of pain in a tummy tuck and should only be done if there is a compelling reason to do so. Skin and fat removal is always done and is the backbone of tummy tuck surgery. At 23 years of age and having never been pregnant, I would agree with your plastic surgeon that it is not necessary for your tummy tuck to include muscle manipulation.
Dr. Barry Eppley