Exercise or Tummy tuck?

Some patients come in almost deciding between a personal trainer and a plastic surgeon in an effort to get the flat tummy they’re after. Some have already been working with a personal trainer for years, but haven’t been able to get the results they’re really looking for. Some people will not be able to reduce the size of their abdomen to their satisfaction despite very rigorous exercise routines. These people have a separated rectus abdominis muscle and it can only be closed with surgery.

In this video I use photos, illustrations, and a high tech teaching aid to help explain how the “six pack” works and how the status of the stomach muscles, the rectus abdominis, and the linea alba contribute to the look of your abdomen. If the muscles are not separated, you’re lucky – it’ll only take a lot of diligent exercising to get results. But, when the muscles are separated, whether congenitally or following a pregnancy, a Tummy tuck is needed to get the results your after.

After watching this video you’ll be able to do a self-examination to see if you can detect a separated rectus abdominis muscle. If you do, you might be a candidate for a tummy tuck. If you don’t, exercise might be the right thing for you.

For more information about the tummy tuck, see the abdominoplasty information page and to see more before and after photos from actual patients, see our abdominoplasty photo gallery.

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I’m dr. Ricardo Rodriguez and today we’re going to talk about how to get a flat tummy.

Many people come to me for a consultation after having been to their personal trainer, or they may be considering going to the personal trainer – they’re sort of, you know, weighing in between me the personal trainer – and usually the personal trainer they’ve been with will tell them, “oh, you’ve got to do more exercise, more abdominals etc. etc.”

But really? The answer depends on the status of your stomach muscles. They’re called the rectus abdominis muscles and if your rectus abdominis muscles are separated, then you need surgery.

Now, the rectus abdominis muscles are what people call the six-pack. They’re really an eight pack, it’s more muscles – although with today’s economy, by next month we’ll probably be calling them the four packs – but anyways, the six-pack muscles are joined at the center by this line called a Linea Alba and it’s connective tissue.

It’s not dynamic, it’s not like muscle, you can get in shape, once you get stretched, it gets stretched now, that is congenital in some cases; for example, this guy, he works like a dog. That’s his profession, he happens to be a model, he shows off his abs, but look, he’s got a space in here. His Linea Alba has been separated, and he hasn’t had a baby, just, you know born that way. I’m that way, too. I work out a lot, you know, I drink a soda and I look I’m like I’m six months pregnant. You know, tough luck, that’s the way it is.

Now, some women, like her, she’s a mother. She’s that Olympic swimmer and she didn’t get stretched. Well, she’s lucky and a person like this will benefit from exercise; but, if your linea alba is separated, the only answer is surgery.

Let me explain to you with my new high-tech teaching aid. It’s my shoe, okay, and the leather is hard – this is what I call rock-hard abdomen muscles. Okay? Unyielding, flat. But if the Linea Alba is loose, you put your foot in there and the minute you try to walk; and boom, everything comes out.

Why? Because this is loose. This has to be tight in order for the shoe to act like a shoe. And essentially that’s what the tummy tuck surgery does, the repair of the muscles.

Now, you see this patient here, okay, she was skinny, she doesn’t have a lot of fat, she worked out a lot; okay, but the minute she relaxed, the muscle just hung and it’s because these muscles just sort of open up and they let the abdominal contents out.

Now, the only way to fix that, obviously, is by fixing the muscle. Okay, so you actually just sew it, like a shoelace, like that, you’re just going with your sutures back and forth and tighten it really tight.

Now, lo and behold, after surgery look; boom, flat as a board. Okay, she was a great candidate for this procedure.

How do you know if you are a candidate or not? Well, just lay back, okay, easy, on a flat surface, and you’re just going to sort of feel along the mid-line of your abdomen. Okay, and then slowly lift up your legs, both ankles and knees, and you will feel the edges of your muscle. If the edges of the muscles feel separated to you, like you can put your fingers right in between, you’ve got a muscle separation, you need surgery.

Okay, now, if your muscles are tight; well, then, you know, congratulations! You know, exercise may be the thing for you!

Anyways, I hope this helped you. I had fun doing it. I have fun looking at the pictures and keep the pictures coming, okay? I’m going to try to do this blog as often as I can. And give me feedback. Alright, thank you very much.

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