A tummy tuck is one of the 6 most popular cosmetic surgeries. In 2019, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that there were more than 123,000 abdominoplasty procedures. Most people who pursue this cosmetic treatment are individuals (both men and women) who have lost significant weight or are looking to alleviate a protruding belly. Women who have been through childbearing also undergo this treatment in order to regain abdominal firmness that was lost as a result of pregnancy. When contemplating a tummy tuck, women who have been through a caesarian birth will try to understand the recovery process of this cosmetic surgery by weighing it against the C-section.

Reasons for having a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is typically performed to achieve cosmetic goals. However, the procedure may also be carried out in order to achieve medical objectives such as correction of abdominal wall hernia and reduction of urinary continence.

  • Removal of excess skin – many people get a tummy tuck in order to alleviate skin that is stretched out as a result of significant weight loss, aging, or genetics. Plastic surgeons will remove the excess skin to address stretch marks, wrinkling, rippling, rubbing, or irritation.
  • Removal of excess fat – pockets of stubborn fat may remain that do not respond to exercise and dieting. Abdominoplasty addresses this concern in order to reveal a firmer and flatter abdominal contour in line with your aesthetic goals.
  • Tightening loose muscles – lose abdominal muscles are a key reason why many people have abdominoplasty. These may be caused by pregnancy, weight gain, or genetics. Plastic surgeons work to pull loosened muscles together and strengthen them to reveal a better abdominal contour.
  • Repair abdominal hernia – a hernia is a hole through which internal tissues protrude. Some plastic surgeons will tactfully use a tummy tuck for hernia repair. This addresses the hernia as well as results in a bonus benefit of an enhanced abdominal profile.
  • Removal of prior scars – prior surgeries and traumas such as c-sections and hysterectomies can leave scars in your lower abdomen. These usually result in a ‘stuck down’ appearance with a ‘shelf’ of overhanging skin. Plastic surgeons use abdominoplasty to loosen and get rid of old scar tissue in the abdominal region.

Tummy tuck vs C-section

If you have had children through a cesarean section, then you understand that this procedure is no walk in the park, particularly when it comes to recovery. In a C-section, an incision is made transecting the abdominal muscles. While a tummy tuck incision is similar to a C-section, the intra abdominal component of the operation is not there. This essentially means that a tummy tuck is less invasive procedure compared to the cesarean section.

Combining a tummy tuck with cesarean delivery?

Some mothers who are scheduled to have a baby wonder whether it is possible to combine the cesarean delivery with a tummy tuck. The idea is to have just one round of anesthetic, one period of delivery, and one operating room. The reality of the matter is that most surgeons will not go along with this. Having a C-section birth together with an abdominoplasty is not recommended, due to the following reasons:

  • Disappointing results – a tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that is performed in order to enhance your physique and appearance. Before carrying out this procedure, plastic surgeons will require that you are in good health (emotionally and physically). The nine months of pregnancy usually lead to stretching of the uterus and abdominal skin. This makes it almost impossible for the plastic surgeon to assess how much abdominal skin tightening needs to be carried out, and this could lead to disappointing results after recovery.
  • Difficult recovery – recovering from either a tummy tuck or a cesarean delivery is hard. Combining the recovery burden of both surgeries, while also caring for the newborn baby, can be both exhausting and complicated. This is not something any plastic surgeon would want to put you through.
  • Surgeon logistics – it is improbable that you will find a plastic surgeon who agrees to perform your abdominoplasty immediately after your C-section. This is more so true given that anything can happen during labor and delivery.
  • Complications – just like with any surgical procedure, a tummy tuck and C-section come with their risks. These include complications such as infection, bleeding, fluid retention, and blood clots. There is a greater chance of complication if the risks of both procedures are combined.

Combining a tummy tuck with C-section is out of the question. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot still benefit from a tummy tuck after you have had enough time to fully recover from the C-section.

Recovery from tummy tuck vs C-section

Both a tummy tuck and cesarean section are comparable in terms of mobility and rehabilitation. However, recovery after a tummy tuck is often said to be easier compared to recovery after C-section. The reasoning behind this is that a C-section is a more invasive treatment that entails cutting through the uterus and abdominal muscles. In a tummy tuck, these abdominal muscles are only tightened, repaired, and strengthened. Furthermore, most abdominoplasty patients only have to worry about their well being and recovery. They can sleep and move at their own convenience. The opposite is true to C-section patients who have to be concerned about tending to their own wounds as well as caring for a newborn baby. Another thing to take into consideration when comparing a tummy tuck with C-section is the scarring. A tummy tuck scar tends to be longer. This cosmetic surgery may also need to be combined with liposuction of the back, waste, or other areas, effectively raising its pain threshold. Keep in mind also that not all muscle repair and tightening procedures are the same. Patients who have been through multiple pregnancies, twins, and those with hernias may require more intensive work during the abdominoplasty treatment. Drains may also be left in place following a tummy tuck, slowing down recovery and even adding to the inconvenience. Despite this comparison, it is important to understand that recovery is often an individualized process that can vary from one person to another.

Tummy tuck after C-section

If you are determined to benefit from a tummy tuck following a C-section delivery, talk to a plastic surgeon about it. Most surgeons recommend that you wait at least 6 months (or up to a year) before undergoing cosmetic surgery. This is so as to ensure that you are in a good physical shape for this treatment. If you are planning to get pregnant, your plastic surgeon may recommend that you wait until after you have completed childbearing to have a tummy tuck. Many women will have their tummy tuck as part of a comprehensive mommy makeover treatment.