Will a tummy tuck strengthen my core? Some patients ask this question in the hope of finding some relief or improvement in their back pain.
It is important to note that for most patients, tummy tuck surgery not just removes the apron-like skin hanging from their abdomen; muscle repair is also an important component to achieve a smoother, flatter appearance. To some extent this procedure also results in increased efficiency of the abdominal muscle.
While the surgery does not actually strengthen the core, it can restore the normal function of the abdominal muscle, said leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley who has performed more than 7,000 tummy tucks.
By repositioning the loose abdominal muscle, its efficiency is improved and thus for some patients the surgery not just gives cosmetic enhancements, but functional-related improvements as well, he explained.
To access and repair the abdominal muscle, the celebrity plastic surgeon uses a hip-to-hip incision made very low so the resulting scar is well concealed by the patient’s underwear. Afterwards, he will separate and lift off the skin to reveal the pair of muscle that goes from the breastbone to the pubic region.
In his recent Snapchat video post, he explained his preferred suturing technique.
“I prefer using the individual stitch technique, as opposed to one continuous stitch, to ensure that the next stitch is as strong as the previous one,” he said.
For additional strength, Dr. Smiley said he also used permanent sutures to tighten and support the separated or splayed muscle in the midline, thus it is less susceptible to aging or even unplanned pregnancy and mild to moderate weight gain.
After tying the abdominal muscle in the midline, Dr. Smiley then removed the excess skin from the lower abdomen before pulling down the skin above in order to close the wound.
The skin removal aspect of the surgery involves high precision to allow for proper wound closure and favorable scarring in which the scar is positioned very low that the patients can wear a two-piece bikini without having to worry about visible surgical stigmata, Dr. Smiley said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Smiley said that recovery after tummy tuck entails avoiding rigorous activities, particularly if they involve strengthening and resistance exercise, for 3-4 months to avoid healing problems.
However, most patients can resume light exercise (walking and other low-impact aerobics) at 2-3 weeks postop, he added.