Flat stomach: More exercise or a Tummy tuck?

Patients nowadays are bombarded with infomercials for exercise apparatus to tighten your stomach. Does it work? Will exercise alone flatten your stomach?

you can examine your own stomach muscles

– Dr. Rodriguez

Or, do you really need a tummy tuck?

The answer is…
It depends on the condition of your rectus abdominis muscle. Do you have a muscle separation?

The rectus abdominis muscle is the vertical muscle in the middle of your abdomen. It functions much the same as how shoe laces work in a shoe. If your rectus abdominis muscles are intact (tightened), congratulations!–you may only need exercise to firm your tummy.

However, if your rectus abdominis muscles are separated, you can only firm up your tummy with a repair of the muscle, or a tummy tuck. Since your muscle is separated no amount of exercise can tighten that gap in the muscle. Instead, it must be stitched together.

In today’s video blog, I tell you how to examine yourself to determine if you have separated abdominis muscles, otherwise known as a rectus diastasis. Watch my video to find out if you just need more exercise or if what you really need is a tummy tuck.

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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111 thoughts on “Flat stomach: More exercise or a Tummy tuck?”

    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Por favor mánde un email a la oficina- leeza@cosmeticsurg.net. Llame a la oficina porque estamos ofreciendo un especial durante los meses de Febrero y Marzo! Gracias.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      We have the technology to fix it!! Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net for details. You do not have to accept your condition. You can change it!
  • Gloria says:

    Dear Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez, My name is Glória and I'm all the way down Africa, Angola. I'm a 29 years old woman and a single mother of 2. After my 2 gorgeous babies, things hit rock bottom with their father so we separated. I never ever thought that I would be back, falling in love or wanting to date again but my wrinkled fat belly has left me feeling so down that I don't see how to be intimate with anyone looking like that... please help me.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Gloria: Do not despair, your situation is very correctable. I will have Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg contact you for details.
  • Liz Beaudrie says:

    Hi Dr. Rodriguez. I really enjoyed watching your video on should I get a tummy tuck or not. I am considering getting one. I had a consultation yesterday and got approved for a breast reduction surgery. I am pretty athletic for my age. I am 51 and I play hockey and am in karate. I have had two SVD ,one baby was a ten pounder. My abs are strong but I have that pouch underneath my belly button.My question iis would abdominal exercise s get rid of my pouch or should I get the surgery
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Liz: I would have to talk with you directly to know if in your particular case it is worth it. But it is likely you would benefit if you had been pregnant twice. If your skin is not stretched we can do it with a small "C-Section scar" If you are interested in a virtual consultation we can arrange for it. I'll let kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net know
  • Mia Pugh says:

    Hi, I'm a 36 year old mom of 4. I had all my kids vaginally. Two years ago I got my tubes untied hoping to have another one but it never happened. When they untied my tubes they cut me under my belly button and up top of my vagina like I guess how they do c-sections. Ever since that operation I can't get rid of my stomach and it's like an apron. Will a tummy tuck work or should I keep exercising which seems to not be working?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Mia: If you had 4 kids and a surgery, my guess is you probably need a Tummy Tuck. I will put you in contact with Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net if you want more info. The exercise will not help the split muscles or excess of skin. But Tummy Tuck is a solution!
  • Talia says:

    Hi I am a 36yo Mom of 4 with lupus. I am seriously considering breast implants, a tummy tuck with lipo and fat transfer to butt. With the lupus would i be a good candidate for the procedures. Also could it all be done in one surgery? I read about your brazillian butt lift procedure and may be willing to travel for you to perform it as i desire lasting results. Thanks
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Thanks for writing. Your case is very complex, with Lupus as a factor to take in to consideration. I don't do breast surgery together with fat injections to butt as patients have to sleep on their stomach for 3 weeks to preserve the grafts. The Tummy Tuck is OK because the abdominal cavity is not hard like the chest cage. But you will need a virtual consult if you want to address these things at appropriate length. Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net, she will be more than glad to help you.
  • Jackie Coming says:

    Hi Dr Rodriguez, I hope its not too late to ask, i have seen a lot of videos on youtube on exercises for healing diastasis recti. Is that even effective or is surgery the only option? I do think i have a little abdominal separation. I have been 2 mos postpartum with my second child. Thank you in advance for your reply! ?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Jackie: The diastasis is not repaired by exercise. What exercise and diet WILL do is decrease the bulk of intraabdominal contents. It is these contents that protrude when the abdominal muscles relax.
  • Kylie C says:

    Hi there! I'm interested in tummy tuck procedures, but have a unique predicament... not a lot of loose skin, but separated stomach muscles from the belly button up. I believe my OBGYN told me she tightened up the muscles below the belly button... I can tell the difference! How might you address this problem?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Kylie: All of our repairs of the Rectus muscle go all the way to the xyphoid (the triangular bone at the lower end of the sternum where the ribs attach to the stomach muscles. This would solve your problem. We can do it through the same C-section scar plus another small scar around the belly button or through a classical Tummy tuck scar. Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net so we can help you. We'd be more than happy to!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Jennifer: She got a full tummy tuck because she wanted to get rid of stretch marks. A "mini tummy tuck" only takes care of the lower half of the abdomen. She had a muscle separation all the way up on her rectus muscle. We CAN do a repair of the entire muscle without the full tummy tuck scar using a mini tummy tuck scar but that isis you don't need to get rid of stretch marks or if the skin is not too loose. I'll let Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net know so you can get more info.
  • RL Taylor says:

    Hi Dr. Rodriguez, Do you perform bi-lateral biopsies for gynocomastia? It seems that's the only way my insurance will pay for the surgery. What do you suggest that I do? I don't want to haggle with them. Thanks.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      RL Taylor: I do not like to haggle with insurance companies, so I do not deal with them. I do not take insurance. If you want to take care of the problem the right way, we can do the surgery and then give you the information so you can submit to your insurance company to get reimbursed. If interested, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Angie: Kelly would be more than happy to answer all your questions regarding the mini tuck. I will forward your contact info. Kelly's email is kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
  • Yulonda Hartman says:

    I am looking for a doctor to perform a tummy tuck pro bono. I am 32 I have two children. I am unable to have anymore. When I was 5 1/2 months pregnant with my last child the doctor discovered a very large tumor growing off my right ovarie. They removed it why I was pregnant. So they stiched me bk up with all that extra skin. I have a huge scar and extra skin that won't go away on it own. And i just want to feel beautiful again please help me!!!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Yulonda: Your best bet is the nearest University Medical Center. They usually have clinics that can perform Plastic Surgery by resident physicians that are supervised by Plastic Surgery instructors.
  • rosa miramontes says:

    Dear Dr Richardo, my name is Rosa i live in california snd im currently struggling with body issues due to pregnancy. My most depressing issue is my tummy. I have a fair amount of saggy skin with a sad belly button that does not seem to go away. I've tried diet and exercise but nothing has worked. I've been very self conscious about it lately and its made me a little depressed. I'm turning 27 on may and i get so sad when I see women older than me enjoying their beautiful flat stomach wearing bathing suites and thinking that I may never get to enjoy being young because of my tummy. I've had 2 csections my most recent was in February when my son was born so I'm still struggling with my tummy. I want to feel good about myself inside and out, I want to look in the mirror and see the happy confident young woman that is inside of me not someone who is ashamed and hiding because of her stomach. I know that i will sound insane to ask you this but im in need of a miracle and if I don't try then I may never know if miracles excist. I'm not financially blessed at the moment so im not able to pay for a tummy tuck. It would mean a lot to me if you could sponser me and I know that it would change my life for the best. Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Rosa miramontes
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Rosa: Many university affiliated Plastic Surgery programs have Plastic Surgery Clinics where residents supervised by Plastic Surgeons who have already completed their training operate on patients like you. You may have to pay a small fee, but it will be nothing like what you would have to pay if you went to a surgeon in privates practice. Check out the various medical centers near you and see if there is a Plastic Surgery training program. If there is you're in luck! Best wishes to you and remember, where there is a will, there's a way.
  • Char Grove says:

    I loved the video. I found your presentation to be very comforting and knowledge able. I wish I had found your blog prior to my tummy tuck surgery.
  • ema says:

    if i need a hernia repair RUQ secondary to lap chole years ago,i would want tummy tuck to smooth it out. but i do have fat low abdomen. i was always muscled in good shape, and cannot seem to tell if linea alba is widenened or not per your video. since i need hernia repair, does that mean i would automatically need muscle plication the entire length? wouldn't i heal faster and easier if i had partial MP?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Ema: The issue of the RUQ hernia repair is separate from the midline linea alba repair. The decision to repair what part of the linea alba is made during surgery. You can see directly the medial edges of the rectus abdominus muscles and decide what needs to be brought together. I recently did one patient who had both a RUQ hernia (which was repaired at the time of tummy tuck) and a midline diastasis of the rectus, which was then repaired. If your linea alba is not separated, you are an excellent candidate for sit-ups rather than plication, which would simplify surgery and recovery period a lot. I do not think that partial repair is any easier or harder to recover from, specially since I use a pain pump, which solves the main problem of muscle repair which is that people don't breathe well because of pain.
  • Alex says:

    Hi doctor. I'm 15 days post op after a tummy tuck and lipo. How long would u recommend wearing the compression garment to your patients? It is necessary to also wear an additional "faja" type over the compression garment? And do I need to wear both 24/7!? Thanks You! Alex
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Alex: These are things you should consult with your doctor as he knows how much compression is best for what he did. My patients wear compression constantly 24/7 for 2 weeks then for the next 2 weeks they wear compression during the day, while they are active.
  • Marcela says:

    thx very very much for this video,its a really something new to know,i had no idea about this m separation,thx again
  • Takilae says:

    I really like that you have an open communication ( i.e., your blogs, website posts, various other communications, etc.) with people of all races, ages, etc. No importa! That shows me that you genuinely care about the welfare of all those that are getting surgeries performed. Even though that are not your patients. You answer anyone's questions. WOW! I have not read one negative thing about you. Why do you do this? Why do you care so much? I have an appt. to see you next week and I am looking forward to talking to you and what you think I will need. Exercise is not working for me anymore. To maintain my weight it is, but not to lose. I'm just trying to lose 20 pounds but at 40, it's taking way too long to do it. I appreciate the video above because finally someone has explained why my stomach expands so much when I drink water and eat even the smallest of portions. See you soon.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Takilae: Thanks, that is a really flattering post! I do this because I love it, love it, love it. Looking forward to seeing you!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Selena: Of course! It is called a Brazilian Butt Lift. We love doing it and we do a lot of it. Check out our blog posts on fat grafting, and butt enhancement. Give us a call, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net, she'd love to help you!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Selena: Usually that can be handled by a simple procedure called a "dermatolipectomy," which is greek for "taking off skin and fat." You might want to check up this blogpost for more info on what's available. Hope this helps! Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net if you want to set up a virtual consult.
  • julia says:

    hello can you tell me hoy much is the but augmentation and also flat stomach and do i get any discount if i recomended my cousin she is doing breast implants thanks
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Julia: For all pricing info, you can contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net We're looking forward to hearing from you and get the body you deserve!
  • martha soler says:

    hi .am hard hearing . need my stomach flat tummy tuck. just ask you much cost for my stomach faly tummy tuck . ask you can midcare insurance pay for it or not . my phone 786- 369-0589 call me ok- thank you . will want meet you . am live flordia ok. thank you. martha.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Martha: You can contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net for all your questions about pricing. Insurance will not pay for a tummy tuck. If you want a consult, it can be arranged, and if you are spanish speaking we can do it in spanish. We are looking forward to hearing form you!
  • tamara bryan says:

    Great explanation on whether you are a tummy tuck candidate or not...makes perfect sense! Thanks!
  • perfit training says:

    Very informative! Good to share this info to women so that they would not waste anymore efforts doing something that won't produce results.
  • Alex says:

    Interesting read. I've been debating this one for a while. Do tummy tucks go hand in hand with liposuction?
  • Martha says:

    Hi. I have been considering a tummy tuck for the last 2 years but fear has stopped me. I had 2 babies 10 months apart and went from 115 pounds to 222 whithin that timeframe. (I had toxemia and was on bed rest most of the pregnancies). I am now145 pounds with the help of a personal trainer and want to go down about 15 pounds more. I am 5-2. During a pregnany about 3 years ago I was given Lovenox for deep vein thrombosis. I had 3 concurrent miscarriages after my two live births so I went through a lot of infertility testing to determine the cause. The fertility doctor came up with deep vein thrombosis and prescribed me Lovenox on my next pregnancy, which ofcourse ended up in a miscarriage again. I have consulted several plastic surgeons and half don't seem to care about the thrombosis. My question is, do you think that was just a trial and error in part of the fertility doctor or could I have some sort of clotting problem? In reality , that is the only issue holding me back. I have worked so hard at shedding of the weight and now I have tons of sagging skin.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Martha: First of all, the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis is very specific and is made with some form of imaging test. Was a specific test done to diagnose you? The clotting problem is a separate one. You could have surgery done with adequate precautions and the risk would be minimal. If you were my patient I would first make sure of the diagnosis, then I would take adequate precautions in surgery. These include the use of sedation anesthesia instead of general anesthesia and use of intermittent compression devices during surgery. In the 3 years since we have been doing sedation analgesia instead of general anesthesia, we have not had a single case of deep vein thrombosis. Give us a call, we'd love tohear from you!
  • Giovanna says:

    Dr. Rodriguez, Thank you for your prompt reply. After reading the link that you gave and looking into the different types of scars I believe that it may be a hypertrophic scar as it is small and only within the incision site. When I finally decide to get my surgery done I will most definately set up an in person consultation at your office. I may consider getting a breast augmentation as well but I was wondering do you have to replace the implants at any point after getting them and what is the likelyhood of the implant bursting or what would cause that to happen?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Giovanna: Implant rupture is an infrequent occurrence. A saline implant has to be replaced because it deflates and it looks like you have a "flat tire", the newer type of silicone implant rupture may go unnoticed. The FDA has found through an extensive review of the evidence, that there is little reason to worry about the newer type of silicon implant. These questions really need a fuller explanation, and if you are interested in a consultation, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net. We'd love to hear from you.
  • Giovanna says:

    Dr. Rodriguez, Im interested in getting a tummy tuck and was wondering can you remove or minimize the scarring that comes with the tummy tuck procedure? Also if someone Is prone to getting keloids in that area can you prevent them from forming or successfully remove them without them occurring again? I ask because I had twins and they performed a c section at the bikini line and i have a small keloid that formed where they put the staples. Thanks.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Giovanna: The best way to prevent scars is to make sure healing conditions are optimal. Read this blogpost to understand why I think the Lockwood technique is the best way to avoid complications. If a person is a keloid former they will do so anyways, but most people who think they have keloids don't. They just have hypertrophic scars, which can be corrected when the underlying factors that led to the scar hypertrophy are corrected. For the record, the Lockwood technique, because of its excellent blood supply rarely, if ever, results in hypertrophic scar.
  • Stacey Bemelman says:

    Thank you so much for your comment. It is nice to be able to go online and get some questions answered with out a charge. After your comment I have decided to wait until next year to get the procedure done. I know by then I will be at my goal weight, and gives me much time to save, due to its costly price, which will be much worth it. Thank you again, and I hope that your practice strives with patients and business. Have a wonderful day. Stacey Bemelman
  • Stacey Bemelman says:

    Dr. Rodriguez, I am planning on getting a tummy tuck next year. I have had three children and been heavy since their births. I am 5 foot 4 inches tall. I have lost a lot of weight but still not at my goal weight. My highest weight was 218lbs, now I am at 161lbs. I would like to get down to about 140lbs. The weight I have lost and the children I have had has left me with extremely bad sagging skin in my lower part of my stomach and a pooch above my belly button. What I am writing to ask is it best for me to lose the rest of my weight and to tighten my abdominal muscle the best that I can before the procedure? Any comment would be greatly appriciated.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Stacey: First, let me congratulate you on your weight loss, as I know it must have been hard and not many people are as succesful as you are. You are fine and ready now if you want to proceed. I find that on many patients the tummy tuck gives them the incentive to try that much harder. On the other hand, some patients relax after the tummy tuck and don't improve. How can I know the difference about you? Because you have the track record! You are the dream patient as you have shown motivation and the will power to transform yourself. I would love to have you as my patient. Go ahead and have the surgery as soon as time and finances permit, and continue going as you have. P.S. If you are interested, contact us by emailing Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
  • MATRESE says:

    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Matrese: If your muscles are separated, they need to be knit together. That is surgery. If the muscles are not separated, then it all depends on the appearance of the scar. To be able to give you a better opinion I have to know a few more things. If you are interested in a virtual consult, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net. We'd be happy to hear from you!
  • Alexandra Nunez says:

    I have 3 children, my youngest just born Aug 12. I've always been 5'5 with a fluctuating weight of no more than 115lbs. I have had 2 c-sections. After my first, back in 2008, my stomach went flat shortly after. With my 3rd child(2nd c-section) my stomach has not gone flat. in fact, i still cannot fit into anything and i'm surprised since 2 yrs ago I fit back in my clothes less than 2 months later. Anyhow, I am very interested in a tummy tuck. I'd like to believe I am done having children, but am afraid of the surgeries. Which brings me to this question. Would getting a tummy tuck cause problems if I had unexpectedly gotten pregnant again? I know it would pretty much be a waste of money to get the surgery and then get pregnant (which I don't plan on), but I would just like to take all precautions. I'm pretty sure my stomach muscles are cut since I cannot feel a lower portion of my stomach.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Alexandra: First of all, an apology for having missed your comment on this post. It sometimes happens that when I am answering a lot of comments, some go to the next page, then I miss them. Yours was one of those, and I am sorry we did not catch the mistake. We pride ourselves in answering comments promptly. Your stomach muscles may not necessarily be cut. The loss of sensation in the lower abdomen is due to nerves going to the skin being cut or trapped in scar at the time of the C-section. This may or may not be permanent, it is too early to tell. As far as it all being a waste if you get pregnant again, that is difficult to say. I have seen patients who get pregnant after a tummy tuck and then come back to normal, then I have also seen patients who need a touch up tightening of the tummy tuck after pregnancy. It is difficult to predict, but i would not call it a waste. By the way, how's the new baby? Aug 12, so s/he must be 5 months! God bless your family!
  • 8 minte abs says:

    I have found that body builders also experience the same problem of the separated rectus abdominis. It always pays to see your local GP before you make any exercise decision also.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Dear Admin: Thanks for commenting on our blog. As far as rectus muscle diastasis and body builders, I guess I had never thought of it that way. I know that my Dad had it, I have it, and my son has it. Being conscious of it I feel for it on many of my patients that come in for different reasons. The condition is more common than you might think. My guess is that we see it on some weight lifters as they lose most of their body fat and the muscle increases definition, so the underlying defect becomes exposed. Nevertheless, I think you may be on to something here.
  • Priscilla says:

    Hello Dr. Rodriguez, And yes your video was very helpful. Obviously I need surgery:( Three kids, three c-sections..go figure. I have a question..Can having a seperated muscle contribute to poor posture, buttocks spasms, buttocks pain, neck and back pain.. etc? Is that covered by my insurance? Can part of it be covered by my insurance and I finance the balance? Can I qualify for a study, or a probono case? So many questions...Please reply if you can. I would really like us to communicate.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Priscilla: I do not think a muscle repair can alleviate all those pains you mention, but I have had some patients with low back pain who reported improvement. I would not, however, say that that is to be expected. If it happens, we are happy, but we cannot count on it. Unfortunately, this surgery is not covered by insurance. If you are interested in in a study, or a pro bono case, you can contact the nearest university affiliated medical center near you. If they have a Plastic Surgery section, they will probably have a Plastic Surgery Clinic where they do these cases at very low cost. You may also be interested in some companies that do financing for these procedures. If you are truly motivated, your best bet is to go to a Plastic Surgery Clinic at a University Medical Center.
  • julie says:

    I've done lots of work outs and exercise just to achieve that flat stomach.But after reading this article I began to ponder on things if do my stomach need more exercise or do i need a tummy tuck of an age of 21.Just curious if I'll do the kind of shaping.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Dear Julie: The separation of the muscles is not correctable by excercise or diet. Although it can be the result of pregnancy, in some cases it is there from birth. To give you an example, both my son and I have a rectus muscle separation. If I diet a lot and do sit ups, it is not noticeable, but if I drink a soda, I get a bulge in the upper part of my abdomen. If you want to correct it, your only option may be a muscle repair. If your skin is not stretched, we might be able to do the whole repair through a belly button incision. Contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net, we'd love to be able to help you.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Sandra: It is very hard for me to know what you need unless I know more details about your condition. Talk to Kelly at Kelly@cosmeticsurg.net, she can find out more and give you some details and options. If you decide this is something you want, then we could have a virtual consultation to hammer down the details. If you are healthy, and you want to look better, there is always something we can do to help you.
  • Phebe says:

    I had a tummy tuck years ago and my belly button is quite off center and looks strange. I think that maybe they did not have me lying straight on the table, before I was put out. It definitely felt like a rush job. It was done at a teaching hospital and i never saw the surgeon that I had signed up with. I don't know if he even was there, for the operation. Then I got a huge infection where the new incision crossed an old gall bladder removal scar. The doctor took before pictures, but not after pictures. I guess that I know why! It is not a pretty sight. And this was done in the US. Dr. Rodriguez sounds like he really cares about the quality of his work. I plan to see him soon, for a consult.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Phebe: Thank you! I hope to see you soon. In the meantime, here is a blog post I made recently about what to ask the doctor before surgery so your type of situation can be avoided.
  • Michele says:

    I can't tell if my muscles are separated above the belly button. Not much skin is there, approx. 1 1/2" to pinch. I've been told a mini tuck would be the way to go but again, I wouldn't want to go through the procedure and not be happy with the finished product. Thanks for your response. MH
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Michele: Be sure to get more than one consult before you make your mind up. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is a good online resource to find board certified Plastic Surgeons in your area. Good Luck!
  • Michele says:

    Dear Dr. Rodriguez, How can I tell if I need a mini tuck or a full tuck? I am 5'2 and weigh 106 lbs. I am a Pilates Instructor who exercises 5 days a week. I can't seem to get rid of the some extra skin from the belly button down. What options are available to me? Thank you. MH
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Michelle: Read this post about the difference between a mini and a full tummy tuck. First of all, are your muscles separated above the belly button? Secondly, how much excess skin is there? Once skin has been stretched out by pregnancy, it is very hard to regain elasticity, and the best answer to get tight skin is removal. Muscle separation above the belly button usually means full tummy tuck, if your skin is loose. A mini tummy tuck will not tighten skin lateral to the pubic mound. The best way to tell, of course, is to get the opinion of an expert- the plastic surgeon. We do offer virtual consultations, if you are interested, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
  • Jen says:

    Thanks for your comment. I hope Im not asking too much of you :s Its just soo expensive here in Canada but their prices I can afford so its soo hard to say no and get it done out here. I wish I could find some legit cheaper places?? Where are you located? Do people ever travel to come to you? How do people know who is professional when going abroad? I just cant really afford the $$$ tag. I was told that a mini tummy tuck might make my stomach "uneven" but I only really have a little bit of loose skin in the middle under belly button. Old stretchmarks across my tummy is what bothers me the most and Im hoping that with a mini tuck it will tighten my stomach enough to make them look better? Thanks alot for your time :)
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Jen: People do travel to see me and get surgery done by me. About 30% of my clientele is from out of town. I am located in Baltimore. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know the quality of other surgeons. Call their office and ask for names of previous patients, then call those patients and see what their experience was like. Don't just call one patient, ask for 3 names. As far as what may help you, there is no way I can say anything meaningful unless I see pictures and talk to you personally. That is a virtual consult, and if you are interested, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net.
  • Jen says:

    Thank you, I dont think I would be okay with having someone learning to do it, its already a little nerve racking. Is the tummy tuck considered dangerous? Whats your opinion on traveling from Canada to Mexico for this? I found a few somewhat affordable places but how do I know if they are what they seem? Ive talked to a few over the phone and email. If you dont mind answering these questions that would be very appreciated. Thank you. Jen
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Jen: Travelling from Canada to Mexico to get surgery done- bad idea. Just do a google search on it. What if you get a complication? Do you trust their hospitals to take care of you in the first world standard you are used to? Will the surgeon be as responsive to your calls? Be careful. In a University program in the US or Canada you are supervised by an experienced surgeon. If you get a complication you'll be treated at a first rate university hospital. I have just heard too many horror stories of medical tourism in Mexico and South America to recommend it.
  • Jen says:

    Hi, Im 20 years old and had two children. With my first (who is 3) I got REALLY bad stretch marks. Now they are no longer colored but they are really deep and noticable. They go from above the pubic area to my belly button across the front of my stomach. They bother me so much being only 20 years old and Im only 5'5 and 110 pounds. I also have a little bit of saggy looking skin to go along with it. Ive worked out a little bit and it seems to be getting harder underneath but I think thats about it. Does that mean it would eventually tighten and make the stretch marks look better or do you think I would need surgary to ever get rid of the skin and stretch marks?? I do not want to live with this forever but I cannot afford to get this done and I do not want a very noticable scar I wear my pants pretty low. What would my options be? Ive been very blessed with my children but have a unnattractive stomach and also lost my breast do to breast feeding. I cannot afford to get these done but really want to do something about it. Also, do you have an opinion on which one would give me better results? If its one or the other, which one would be more "worth it", would the tummy tuck get rid of these stretchmarks and skin without a bug ugly scar?? I hope you can help me with some adivice! Thanks.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Jen: Unfortunately, stretch marks are permanent. Surgery is the only answer so far. No lasers or creams will get rid of them, and don't waste your money on treatments that don't work. As far as affordability, most Medical Schools with a plastic surgery program have plastic surgery clinics where residents do cosmetic surgery supervised by attending physicians. You should try this near where you live.
  • Rudy says:

    My wife had a laparoscopic plication of the abd red muscles on nov/09 but her problems have not been fully resolved, still has some separation and bulging, though improved. She is small and likes to work out. Has had 3 c/sections for her preg. and was recomended to do the proced laparoscopically to avoid the big incision and because she didn't have any need for the abdominoplasty, as she doesn't have any lose skin. She just wants this fixed and wants to know if should go laparoscopic again or open. Txs
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Rudy: It is possible to do a full plication under direct vision, and I mean a solid job, using just the C-section incision and a small incision around the belly button. Check out the video here where a patient had the plication using only the belly button incision. The patient is the second one, near the end of the video. Good luck! If you have any questions, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net. Have a good week!
  • Caron Ellis says:

    I appreciate the comments. I have had had two children and I work out every day. I bike, run, ski, weights and despite what I do my stomache will not tighten up. As a matter of fact the loose skin becomes more obvious. I am not prepared for any major surgery to correct this. I just wish there was some exercise that could help to repair the muscle.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Caron: The reason exercise cannot solve the problem is that it is the ligament between the muscles that gets stretched, not the muscle itself. There is a surgery where we go through the belly button to fix the diastasis, so there is no major scar. I love doing it and one of our surgical techs signed up for it after seein me do it. She had thought about it for years but, like you, she wanted to avoid the large scar. She loves the result and if patients want to hear about the procedure, I will have them contact her.
  • A says:

    Dr. Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez & a writter named Craig. Dr. Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez, I too had surgery 8 months ago and my stomach has come back giving me the prego look again. I did not gain really any weight (1-2pds.). I also work out and was told before surgery and now, that I am not carry a ton of fat. My PS is semi stumped by my problem and clame's he has never had this happen to him. He does not feel that my stiches came loose, he feels that I might have fat around my organs. Could he have known this before my surgery? Would I have had to be fat all my life? My stomach was flat after the sugrery and slowly got this way again. He mentioned before surgery, that I did not even need my lipo really that I did not have a lot of fat, that my stomach was out truly because of mussels being seperated. I am 128, 5' 2. I have being reading on "mesh", but my PS does not want to use it. He is mentioning some sort of barbed wire stiches. I am will to have the surgery again, I just want to make sure it is going to work. Any advice? Craig, What did your wife do? does she still have the problem? Any advice or help by anyone would be helpful. I feel lost with no answers at this point. You think having a tummy tuck is a last resort because diet and working out do not work. You never think the surgery wont work either. I mean wow, what a blow... Thank you, A
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Angie: I am so sorry you are having this problem. I will tell you that surgeons are not God, that the body sometimes heals in unpredictable ways, but luckily, in the US, the vast majority of Plastic Surgeons want their patients to be happy. It looks like your surgeon is on the right track. I have used those barbed sutures and I love them. They redistribute the wound tension really well. I also would advise against a mesh at this point. They are really more appropriate for people who have had a major ventral hernia.
  • Catrina Adams says:

    Belly fat is a big problem within my entire family and in my African-American culture its unheard of to surgically remove anything they feel God intended U to have.... I'm not a small girl nor have I ever been, but Im too small to have the belly that I have; which has come in the last 10 years. I'm hoping to have the surgery and the rest of my family and some friends will follow because belly fat is our problem no matter if wear a 5 or 16 everyone should have a nice figure!!!
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Catrina: About 40% of our patients are African American. A large part of our practice is body contouring and we love doing it, so come on down! We'd love to help you! Call Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
  • Kimberly Dixon says:

    I am considering having my stomach muscles sewn.. I got muscle seperation during my second pregnancy. What is the average cost for the procedure? Also, how much healing time should one expect? Thank you for your time. Kim
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Kimberly: Healing time should be 4 weeks. Otherwise you risk disrupting the muscle repair. As for cost, contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net We'd be delighted to hear from you, we get a lot of out of town patients.
  • CRAIG says:

    Hi Dr. Rodriguez, my wife had a tummy tuck by what we believe to be a very good surgeon. She had excellent results at first, but now 9-10 months later, her stomach seems to protrude a little too much. She is petite and in good shape (works out) and this does not appear to be weight gain. The doctor said to try pilates or abdominal exercises to strengthen her core, or he might recommend another surgery with adding a mesh on top of the muscle? Any insight as to why this might be happening? The Doctor says the muscles still feel tight. Thanks so much, Craig.
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Craig: If the muscle feels solid, it may be that she needs to work her abs more. The second possibility is that she has had a buildup of fat tissue. This happens because even though you take out fat, as long as calories in is greater than calories out, patients drift back up to their presurgical weight. If this is the case, she might respond to lipo. Her weight will come back, but in another area. The third possibility is that she may have separated the muscle after surgery if she coughed too much or something else stressed the sutures. I'd get a second opinion before trying a mesh.
  • EDITH SUBIA says:

    Well i have skin and fat that is mainly around my belly button area and it hangs off to the sides.......i have tried swimming,running in the mornings and eating smaller meals for about a month now but no dice i still look the same........i dont have any illnesses like blood pressure or diabetes i'm perfectly healthy except for my belly situation.......so what would you recommend? what exercise or operation?
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Well, as you well have said, you have tried excercise and it doesn't work. Sometimes, the muscle can be intact, but the skin is loose. Once skin has stretched beyond a certain point it is very hard to get it back to where it was. In those cases a procedure where only the skin is excised can help a lot. This is called a dermatolipectomy. Let Kelly know if we can be of more help to you, and thanks for reading our blog! You can contact Kelly at kelly@cosmeticsurg.net
  • EDITH SUBIA says:

    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Yes, it is possible to have a partial separation. I myself have a partial separation. It can be very effectively fixed. We'd love to hear from you!
  • Colleen says:

    If you are looking for an awesome belly button please go see Dr. Rodriguez. He did my TT and I totally love my cute, perfect belly button. He knows his stuff!
  • Carol says:

    Doctor Rodriquez, thank you so much for all the support you gave us on tummytucktalk.ning.com You truly helped so many ladies with all their tummytuck questions and even though we are a wonderful support group for tummy tuckers. Their is nothing like a wonderful doctor like yourself to advice as you can. I do have a question for you, I dont like my bellybutton after the tuck I had with another ps... and I read that you actually do belly button repairs. I know that I would like to come see you myself to see if you can revise my belly button with internal bb stiching as opposed to the ring around my bb I have now. I hate it absolutely hate it !!! It has almost been two years since my abdominioplasty and would like to know if this is just a simple in house procedure.. with lidocane?, if their is much down time? and do you do only internal stiching so their isnt a ring outside of the belly button? Thanks so much, The belly button is so far important then one realizes until they have a tuck.. and then see others with normal belly buttons .. and want one like theres.. Thanks again Dr. R
    • Dr. Ricardo L Rodriguez says:

      Private reply done thru your email. That's great work you ladies do at tummytucktalk!
  • Lissa says:

    Thank you for your funny and informative video. While I do not have a separation in my rectus abdominis, I do have pouches of loose skin - one on the right side, one on the left - as well as some fat tissue mostly below my navel. I've been doing weight training and deep water fitness workouts for 18 months with good results generally but I despair of losing the pouches and lower belly fat. Is mine a tummy tuck situation?
    • admin says:

      If your muscles are not separated, you may be a candidate for just the skin part of the procedure. This is called a dermatolipectomy, and it is a shorter, less painful procedure than the full tummy tuck. It also has a much shorter recovery time. For the right patient, and it seems you are, Dermatolipectomy is a great choice.
  • Alex says:

    It kinds of convinced me on going for a Tummy Tuck. The problem now is to find a good one in Britain.
    • admin says:

      Sorry, wish I could help you, but I just don't know any surgeons there. If you do price comparisons, you may find coming to the US may be an alternative to consider.
  • Laura says:

    Can you please answer some questions about scar care? What is the best way to care for a scar? What products do you recommend using? What kind of "massage" do you recommend and how do you do this "massage"? What do you think of silicone strips/bandages?
    • admin says:

      Scar care depends on the cause of the scar. If the scar is due to excessive tension on the skin, no massage or cream will improve it. Treatment of the scar depends on where it is located, what the cause of it is, how old is the scar., etc. Some scars do better than others depending on location, for example, a scar near a joint is always difficult to treat. Scars that are along skin flexion lines do very well. Although massage may help in some cases, it may aggravate conditions in other cases. If you are very concerned about a particular scar, the "Best way to Care for a scar" is to go see a plastic surgeon near you who has experience in treating scars and is able to individualize your treatment. It is extremely hard to make recommendations, not having seen the scar or knowing how it originated, or to give any meaningful advice until I know more information. Thanks for the interest!
  • Margaret says:

    Thanks for the video. I do have abdominal separation; no amount of exercise has helped; I also have a small umbilical hernia (according to an xray I recently had to assess my tummy situation). I am very interested in a tummy tuck but I am concerned about the scar. I have had 3 c-sections, so I have a small scar. How long does the tummy tuck scar need to be? How long was the scar on the woman in the video (she and I are built the same).
    • admin says:

      The length of the scar depends on how much loose skin you have. If your skin has relatively good tone I might be able to do all the work from your previous scars, plus a scar hidden in the belly button. The patient in the video had a lot of very loose skin so her scar is from hip bone to hip bone. Even if you are built like her, the most important factor is skin laxity. Thanx for visiting our blog!