Are Back Muscles Tightened During a Lower Body Lift?

One week ago I had a lower body lift. Everything is going well, but I am curious. My question is about my back. 2.5 years into dropping 200lbs I threw my back out. The chiropractor told me my lower back had no muscle tone. Fwd to now. The back pain is very similar to my stomach. A burning tightness in the muscle.

Is it possible the surgeon also tightened my back muscles during the procedure? If so, is that routine?

Doctor Answers 20

Are Back Muscles Tightened in a Lower Body Lift?

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No back muscleas are modified in the buttock/flank lift of a lower body lift.  In the front portion, the tummy tuck the muscles are brought closer together by stitches that close the gap between the rectus (sit up ) muscles.  The stitches are in the lining of the muscles, rather than in the muscle bellies.  This narrowing of the gap is what makes the abdomen appear flatter.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Back Muscle Sutures

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It's not unusual for plastic surgeons to tighten the abdominal muscles when they perform a lower body lift. During this procedure, the back muscles are left alone. This difference in approach is due to the underlying anatomy of the back and abdomen.

The muscles in the back are attached to the midline vertebral column. This attachment is firm and for this reason, there's no potential for separation. In contrast, the abdominal muscles areĀ attached to each other in the midline. During pregnancy, the expansion of the abdominal cavity causes these muscles to separate causing a condition called a diastasis.

It's virtually impossible to obtain a flat abdomen without tightening these midline muscles. For this reason, muscle repair is a routine part of abdominoplasty. Tightening of the back muscles would have no functional or aesthetic purpose.

Although your back pain isn't caused by muscle tightening, it still should be evaluated. It's, therefore, important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.

Feeling may come from operating on or around muscle...

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The anatomy of the back muscles and the pressure applied on them during pregnancy and weight gain are very different than those that the abdominal wall muscles experience. The rectus muscles on the front of the abdomen run from top to bottom in the center of the tummy and are held together by fibrous connective tissue that stretched out with pregnancy and weight gain. When that happens the muscles separate. When the pregnancy is over or weight is lost there is less pressure on that tissue, but it does not shrink back up again. The muscles remain separated and do not function like they should to support the abdomen. To correct this, the muscles are brought back together with stitches during a tummy tuck to strengthen the abdominal wall again. On the back, the muscles attach on either side of the spine from top to bottom and that bone obviously does not stretch out no matter what pressure is applied on it, so there is not a separation that needs to be repaired. When your chiropractor told you that your back has no muscle tone he was probably referring to the strength or quality of the muscles and not their position. The burning tightness you feel comes from operating on or around any muscle. The muscles tend to spasm and the nerves in the area give a burning sensation until they begin to recuperate.

Back Muscles Tightened during Lower Body Lift?

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Thank you for the question.

No, the back muscles are not  tightened or even exposed during the procedure. The “burning tightness” you're experiencing may be  related to the suture line or pressure  from lying on the back ( very common after this procedure).  I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon to adjust questions and concerns.

I hope this helps.

Lower body lift & back muscles

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No, back muscles or muscle fascia are not tightened with this approach.  The operation just removes excess skin and fat.

The burning symptoms that you feel are common post-op sensations....sometimes they are more common if you had liposuction as part of the procedure.


All the best,

Lower body lift muscle tightening

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Your back muscles are not tightened in a lower body lift.  The muscles that are tightened are part of the tummy tuck portion of your body lift.  These are the rectus muscles in your anterior abdomen.

Back muscles and lower body lift

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The lower back muscles are not tightened in a lower body lift; I am curious did your chiropractor offer you some strengthening exercises to help with decrease muscle strength? Lower body lifts address excess skin and fat only. I generally will not do circumferential body lifts, as I feel it leaves you with no place to recover and the procedure can be very easily staged and will be much safer than doing front and back at the same time.

Thomas B. Lintner, MD, FACS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Back muscles and lower body lift

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The back muscles are not tightened during a lower body lift. Usually just the msucle in the abdomen are tightened. This may help the core and back a bit.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Back muscles not touched.

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The back muscles are not touched during a lower body lift. The abdominal muscles are routinely tightened.

Bernard A. Shuster, MD, FACS
Hollywood Plastic Surgeon

Lower body lift does not tighten back muscles

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A lower body lift is essentially a circumferential or 360 degree tummy tuck. It is a wrap-around skin removal around the waistline. While the front tummy part may include plication or tightening of the rectus (stomach) muscles, it does not include tightening any of the back muscles. That is not physically possible (due to the bony spine) nor is ever needed. The lower body lift is only ever done in patients who have had extreme weight loss, most commonly after bariatric surgery.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.