Is Tummy Tuck After C-Section Safe And What To Expect?

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Tummy tuck after C-section, also known as abdominoplasty, is an optional surgical procedure to remove excess abdominal fat and skin and tighten abdominal muscles to flatten the belly (1). Sometimes, women may opt for this cosmetic surgery since exercise may not tone the sagging tummy and scar after a C-section. However, this procedure is not recommended as an alternative to weight loss.

Read on to learn when to use tummy tuck after a C-section, what to expect, and factors influencing recovery.

Is A Tummy Tuck Advisable Immediately After A C-Section?

Women who have fully recovered from a C-section delivery are eligible for a tummy tuck procedure. A minimum gap of six months is advisable post delivery for the C-section scar to heal and any physical swelling to reduce (2).

What To Expect During A Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a major surgery and involves risks and complications. There are mainly two types of tummy tuck surgeries (2):

  • Complete tummy tuck surgery involves the entire abdominal region.
  • Partial tummy tuck surgery involves the lower abdominal region.

The surgery may take two hours or more, depending on the extent of fat and skin deposition. Further, the procedure may need a week of hospitalization, while recovery may take two to three weeks. The following are the steps involved in the procedure (3) (4):

  1. Anesthesia: The surgery may involve general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, as recommended by the anesthesiologist.
  1. Incision: The orientation and pattern of the incision depend on the scale of the surgery.
    • Generally, a horizontal incision is made across the belly button and pubic hairline for a complete tummy tuck.
    • The abdominal skin is lifted, and the weak underlying muscles are repaired.
    • A second incision around the navel can remove extra skin in the upper abdomen.
    • The belly button may be relocated depending on the amount of skin and fat removed and stitched into its new position.
    • For a partial tummy tuck, an incision is only made below the cesarean scar.
    • A small amount of excess skin is removed, and minimal muscle repair is done.
  2. Incision closure: The incision may be closed using sutures, skin adhesives, or clips.
  1. Healing: Post-surgery, using a compression corset for several weeks is advisable to support the stitches physically.

A partial tummy tuck may be performed along with a C-section (5). However, a complete tummy tuck surgery is not recommended immediately after a C-section as the wound must first be allowed to heal (2).

Process of full tummy tuck after C-section

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What Factors Influence Tummy Tuck Recovery?

The recovery timeline for a tummy tuck varies among individuals depending on factors such as (6) (7) (8) (9)

  • Maternal age: Generally, mothers undergo this procedure in their 30s or 40s. However, age is a minor factor in planning the procedure.
  • Personal fitness and health: Good health is the top priority in tummy tuck surgery. Healthy individuals have a shorter recovery timeline.
  • The extent of the surgery: A complete tummy tuck may require a longer recovery than a partial tummy tuck.
  • Scar management: Following the postoperative care instructions, regular wound dressing, and topical ointment usage enable faster wound healing.
  • The surgeon’s skill: A well-experienced and board-certified plastic surgeon may offer better guidance for a swift recovery.

Can You Get A Tummy Tuck Along With A Cesarean Delivery?

Sometimes, a tummy tuck surgery may be combined with a C-section surgery, referred to as a C-tuck surgery. While getting done with both procedures at once may sound appealing, it is not always a good idea (2) (10).

  • The mother’s skin and muscles reorganize immediately after pregnancy. A C-tuck may not give satisfactory results since more reorganization may occur in the skin, requiring further surgery.
  • Since a C-section is a major surgery, combining it with a tummy tuck may increase the recovery time and risk of associated complications.
  • There is a higher risk of infection due to the prolonged operation time. C-tuck procedures are associated with a high incidence of distal abdominal skin necrosis despite all the care taken during the surgery.
  • Blood loss from both surgeries may lead to postoperative anemia.
  • Finding a plastic surgeon willing to perform the C-tuck surgery on your planned date may be challenging, and it is higher in the case of unplanned C-sections.

Does A Tummy Tuck Lift Your Pubic Area?

A tummy tuck does not involve lifting the pubic area but could be carried out on request (11) (12).

A tummy tuck is a major surgery that removes extra fat and saggy skin resulting from a C-section surgery. Coupling it with a C-section is not recommended and can cause serious complications. It is best to understand the risks and plan the surgery after six months when the C-section incisions have healed.

Key Pointers

  • A tummy tuck is considered safe if you have completely recovered from the C-section.
  • Factors such as the mother’s age, fitness level, and scar management may affect the recovery after a tummy tuck surgery.
  • Tummy tuck is not advisable along with C-section as it may increase the risk of infections, skin necrosis, and other complications.
  • Since some risks are associated with tummy tucks and C-sections, consult your physician before undergoing surgery.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck).
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/11017-abdominoplasty-tummy-tuck
  2. Tummy Tuck after a Caesarean Section.
    https://www.theprivateclinic.co.uk/blog/tummy-tuck-after-a-caesarean-section/
  3. What are the steps of a tummy tuck procedure?
    https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck/procedure
  4. Tummy Tuck.
    https://medicinebeauty.ch/en/leistungen/koerper/bauchdeckenstraffung/
  5. Mini Tummy Tuck procedure in Auckland New Zealand.
    https://www.drmarkgittos.co.nz/body-surgery/mini-tummy-tuck-skin-only/
  6. What you need to know about your tummy tuck recovery.
    https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-tummy-tuck-recovery
  7. 6 Things You Should Do For Your Tummy Tuck Scars.
    https://www.myplasticsurgeon.ca/cosmetic-procedures/surgery/abdominoplasty/tummy-tuck-scar-treatment.html
  8. Age as a Risk Factor in Abdominoplasty.
    https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/37/5/550/2930745
  9. What Is the Best Age for a Tummy Tuck?
    https://athenaplasticsurgery.com/what-is-the-best-age-for-a-tummy-tuck/
  10. Abdominoplasty Combined with Cesarean Delivery: Evaluation of the Practice.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00266-010-9563-1#Sec7
  11. Is cosmetic surgery good or bad?
    https://www.mvorganizing.org/is-cosmetic-surgery-good-or-bad/#Does_a_tummy_tuck_lift_your_pubic_area
  12. Abdominoplasty Before and After Real Patient Photo Gallery of Dr Mark Doyle Plastic Surgeon.
    https://goldcoastplasticsurgery.com.au/photos/abdominoplasty-tummy-tuck-before-after/
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Dr. Niraj Krishnamurthy Yanamandra

(MD)
Dr. Niraj Yanamandra has over 24 years of experience as an Ob/Gyn with special interests in minimal access surgery (Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy). Currently based out of Hyderabad, India, he previously worked as a consultant at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London.  In addition to training in minimal access surgery and pelviscopic surgery, Dr. Niraj trained in robotic surgery at North... more

Anshuman Mohapatra

Anshuman Mohapatra is a biotechnology scientist with more than six years of research experience in analytical chemistry and biotechnology. He has submitted his Ph.D thesis at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) and served as a research fellow (JRF/SRF) during his Ph.D tenure. His research interest includes analytical chemistry, neurobiology and lipid disorder diseases. Three of his research... more