A Tummy Tuck, or Abdominoplasty, is a common cosmetic procedure involving the removal of excess fat and reshaping of the abdomen area. The procedure also includes tightening of the abdominal wall muscles, which can become weak after pregnancy. Studies have shown that tightening these wall muscles has helped patients improve their core strength and ultimately reduced their chronic back pain.
We thought it was important to revisit this blog in 2022 to inform patients that their ongoing back pain could be connected to pregnancy or in some cases, aging. Most people blame their back issues on their lifestyle or working conditions but there may be an underlying issue that hasn’t been diagnosed.
If you feel any of the issues raised in this blog are familiar to you and you’d like to discuss it further with a surgeon, contact Dr Goldman to book an appointment.
What it means to be a long-term sufferer of back pain
Reduced mobility and near constant pain can make the most trivial of tasks a chore. Long-term medication use means recurring trips to the doctor and pharmacy and potentially living life through a haze. An inability to rest or sleep makes you sluggish and unresponsive at times when you should or need to be at your most alert. Irritability and lost capacity to handle stress have put a strain on not just you, but your relationships. These are just a few of the daily challenges you might face. As time goes on, with little in the way of relief, these and other side effects of your back pain are only going to increase.
The prospect of continued misery can be overwhelming. What if there was a way to ease the constant suffering and never-ending doses of ineffective medicines? What if that remedy was a commonly performed procedure better known for its cosmetic benefits instead of medical advantages?
What if that procedure was a tummy tuck?
Does a Tummy Tuck create an Internal Back Brace?
Abdominoplasty surgery, better known as a tummy tuck, has long been used to remove excess skin and fat from a patient’s abdomen. The operation also helps to re-establish weak or separated muscles caused by pregnancy, aging and other factors.
The procedure is predominately used to repair the abdominal wall in women who were once pregnant, often as part of so-called “mommy makeovers.” The surgery is frequently cited as a confidence booster from the improved physical appearance of the patient’s mid-section.
Other individuals that have benefited from the surgery include people who’ve experienced significant weight loss or have had previous surgery. Aging and heredity factors, though less common, can also weaken muscles and draw patients to the tummy tuck procedure.
What is often lesser known is that, in tightening the connective tissues in and around your abdomen, your spine becomes more stable. This effectively tightens your core and helps to correct poor posture and solidify your upper body.
Can a Tummy Tuck Really Improve Back Pain?
One study into the benefits of an abdominoplasty procedure followed eight female patients with chronic lower back pain and loose abdominal muscle tissue. After undergoing the tummy tuck procedure, each one reported immediate improvement of their back pain.
Another study of 208 female patients, completed in Australia in 2016, showed a significant number of female patients experienced reduced pain in their backs and considerable improvement in urinary incontinence.
Although both studies represent a small sample, they do give real hope to long-term back pain sufferers that alternatives do exist. It is important though to understand who can benefit most by having this procedure.
Not All Back Pain is Created Equal
There are many types of back pain. A tummy tuck and the tightening of your core is not a guaranteed method in curing all back pain.
Nerve problems, disc complication or even more severe spinal damage, will be unaffected by the abdominal surgery with pain potentially increasing. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with your physician to fully determine the source of pain.
More traditional methods, including ones that do not involve surgery, may be available to better treat your back.
More Than Just Pain Relief
While we’ve discussed the health benefits, Tummy Tucks are also continuing to grow as a popular cosmetic procedure in Australia for the aesthetic benefits. Many people find it hard to eliminate the loose skin that can result after pregnancy or from excessive weight loss. Choosing a cosmetic procedure like a tummy tuck can help create a body you’ll feel confident about.
It is important to point out that a tummy tuck is still invasive surgery and may not be for everyone. However, if you do want to explore an alternative solution to solve your chronic back pain, talk to Dr Goldman. During your consultation, Dr Goldman will determine if you are a viable candidate for abdominoplasty surgery and whether it could provide you with a remedy for your back pain problems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Robert Goldman
Dr Goldman is a specialised fully-qualified surgeon (FRACS, MB,ChB, B.Sc (hons)) cosmetic surgeon with over 35 years of experience.
Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons