Can a Tummy Tuck Help with Postpartum Back Pain?

Women belly with the drawing arrows
Dr. Phillip Chang

Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of SUBURBIA
Best of Loudoun 2019
real self top doctor virginia

Becoming a parent can mean an entire lifestyle change.  Your time is no longer your own, your nights are no longer blissfully uninterrupted, and your body is no longer one you recognize. After having children, many women accept that their bodies are not the same as before and no longer work as efficiently. Back pain and urinary incontinence are very common problems that many women post pregnancy write off as something they need to learn to live with. Did you know there may be a solution? A recent study found that a back and tummy tuck is no longer just a “cosmetic” surgery and has been helping women reverse some of the negative effects of pregnancy.  Yet, how can a cosmetic surgery help fix actual medical issues?

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Postpartum Symptoms That Last

Two of the biggest physical problems women experience after childbirth are back pain and urinary incontinence, particularly with multiples pregnancies and bigger babies. Between 5 – 21% of women claim to have back pain two or more years after giving birth and 25 – 38% still suffer from urinary incontinence 10-12 years after giving birth. 

Pregnancy causes the abdominal muscles to separate to accommodate the growing uterus. Most of the time the muscles come back together within a year after giving birth, but sometimes they never return. The lack of abdominal strength puts pressure on the lower back to provide core stability. In addition, the back muscles must also account for the additional weight leftover from pregnancy.

Urinary incontinence is often due to weakening of the internal pelvic floor muscles, which are different than the abdominal muscles. Typically, a tummy tuck alone will not fix these internal pelvic floor muscles, but the study did show marked improvement in the vast majority of patients who claimed to have urinary issues. Doctors are still not entirely sure what mechanism causes the improvement, but they think it has something to do with the redistribution of tension once the abdominal muscles are tightened. 

Postpartum image preview

Additional Benefits To A Tummy And Back Tuck

The tummy and back tuck originated to help return a woman’s body to its original shape. Pregnancy can leave extra lumps and saggy skin where they didn’t used to be. Additional stubborn fat also tends to stick around. A tummy and back tuck often involves fat removal (via liposuction), excess skin removal, and tightening of the abdominal muscles to make the stomach flat again. Muscles that pull apart to accommodate a growing belly don’t always fall back into place: this is called diastasis. During a tummy tuck the muscles are sewn back together.

Tucks And Insurance

Unfortunately, because research into how a tummy and back tuck can cure medical issues is still in research and development, most insurances will not cover the cost of the procedure. It is still listed as a purely cosmetic procedure and therefore the financial responsibility of the patient. For many patients, the procedure can be the difference between living with instability and pain issues that can worsen over time, or getting back to a pain free day-to-day. As research progresses, there is potential for insurance companies to begin to cover at least portions of the procedure in the future. Until then, it may be worth it for some to try and pay out of pocket in order to experience relief.

FAQs About A Tummy Tuck Procedure

The goals of tummy tuck surgery are to remove the stretched and sagging skin, fat, and stretch marks on the lower abdomen. It also helps tighten up the abdominal muscles helping to create a flatter stomach. The procedure is performed at the hospital or surgery center under general anesthesia.

As with any surgery, there are associated risks.  Only you can decide whether a tummy tuck can achieve your goals and whether the recovery and risk profile are acceptable to you.  Fortunately, significant complications from tummy tuck surgeries are relatively infrequent.  The most common complications are problems with delayed healing, infection from the stitches, minor tissue loss in areas of delayed healing, and widened or thickened scars

Although infrequent, the risks and complications of tummy tuck can include

  • Bleeding, hematoma, or bruising
  • Infection particularly from the absorbable sutures
  • Loss of sensation below the belly button
  • Widened or thickened scar especially in patients of color
  • Delayed wound healing with skin or tissue necrosis
  • Dog-ears or residual fullness on the sides is common
  • Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures.  Patients will generally be responsible for any associated facility fees.  

Dr. Chang is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has gained a national reputation for providing his patients with natural and sensually feminine results.  His work has been featured in national publications such as New Beauty magazine, his YouTube channel that has highlighted his surgical techniques has attracted thousands of followers, and he has been voted Top Plastic Surgeon year after year. 

Costs depend on what you have done. A mini tummy tuck would cost around $8,000 and a full tummy tuck would cost around $10,000. Costs also vary depending on the region, hospital costs and surgeon costs. It is important to find the right surgeon for your surgery and not decide on price alone.

 As it is a surgical procedure, there will be some discomfort after the surgery. Pain medication will be provided and it is important to take time to recover and not do anything strenuous straight away to protect the area. Your doctor will work with you to ensure your pain is managed. The pain should be mild to moderate.

A tummy tuck takes excess skin and fat away and is a surgical procedure. Liposuction only takes fat away. Sometimes the procedures can be done together. If you think this is something you would like, talk it over with your surgeon at your consultation. 

If you plan to become pregnant, we would advise you wait to have a tummy tuck until after you have had your babies. Your stomach muscles are tightened during surgery and pregnancy can stretch them out again. There should be no health risks involved once your incision area is healed.

Invitation

For those wondering whether a back and tummy tuck might be the best cosmetic solution for you, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

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