Can an Obese Person Have an Abdominoplasty with Liposuction to Help with Back Pain? (photo)

I'm 5'5 and 220lbs & 32yrs old. I've taken ssri's for depression for +10yrs, and started gaining the weight with the medication. I've been diagnosed with severe back pain which my doctor believes is due to my now enormous stomach. I was able to keep my weight down in the 150-160lbs range until I was 30 and began having symptoms of pcos. Metformin has not worked well & I've developed bad back pain, limited mobility + ^HDL & trigly. from this huge weight gain. Would abdominoplasty + lipo help me?

Doctor Answers 10

Can an Obese Person Have an Abdominoplasty with Liposuction to Help with Back Pain?

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There are high post operative complication rates in "obese" patients. This can be discussed in IN PERSON evaluations with local PSs in your city 

Weight gain and back pain

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I think that this could indeed help your back pain but it all depends on what is causing the pain.If you get rid of the excess weight it can only help and plication as well.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews


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It is true that excess weight on the front of the body can have an effect on the back which is why some women undergo breast reduction surgery to remove the weight of overly large breasts.In my experience a tummy tuck can improve posture which could help alleviate some of your back pain but there is no guarantee that your symptoms will disappear.  I would also caution you to try and reach a stable weight before having a tummy tuck.  Significant weight fluctuations after surgery could affect your results and create a need for additional procedures.  I recommend that you get your weight under control first to minimize your risks of operative and post operative complications.  Then once you have been at a stable weight for 3 months, schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon to discuss your options to help optimize your health and improve your body.

Be well and good luck!


Abdominoplasty and Obesity

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Hi Marysunshine1990

An abdominoplasty and liposuction are poor operations for weight loss. Large sections of fat can be removed with very minimal results on the scales. However if off loading the stress on your lower back is the main aim, it may be worth considering.

You appear more suitable (safest option) for an apronectomy - this is a basic tummy tuck variation that involves taking a wedge of lower abdominal skin and fat and closing the tummy under low tension. There is no liposuction or abdominal muscle stitching involved. This should off-load that abdominal weight and cause the fewest possible side effects. The removal of this extra fat also often helps with control blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

When you get closer to your ideal weight, the abdominoplasty and liposuction will be great for you.

Dr Gavin Sandercoe

Back Pain

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It is important to know if you can bend over and when you do does it improve the pain or does it increase it? I am a bit concerned performing an abdominoplasty to someone that cannot bend a little bit (for the recovery process). Of course getting and abdominoplasty plus lipo will take a lot of weight off but it's hard to tell if it will completely relieve your back pain. Best of luck to you!

Eduardo Gongora, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Obesity, Tummy Tuck, and Back Pain

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Although your condition could be helped by an abdominoplasty with liposuction, for reasons of health and safety you should deal with your overall situation with a comprehensive approach before embarking on surgery.  First, have a thorough medical evaluation to document your health status.  Then, under a doctor's guidance begin an appropriate nutrition and exercise program.  If you were able to lower your weight and body mass index, then you would have less chance of various complications from this surgery.  It would also be wise to address your underlying depression in order to improve your well-being and possibly avoid another risk for weight gain.   Although it is logical to assume that reduction of the excess weight in your abdominal wall and firming of your abdominal muscles will  reduce the strain on your  back, keep in mind that sometimes people have increased visceral fat (within the abdominal cavity around your organs) that persists and can still  put strain on your back.  The best approach is to address your obesity and all associated issues first, and then have this surgery when you are in the best "shape" possible.

Richard G. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Body Contouring Surgery while Overweight?

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Thank you for the question and pictures. Although these procedures can be performed, I would not recommend them at this point.  You may be better off seeking additional consultations with internists (weight loss "specialists”,   OB/GYN's, psychiatrists, personal trainers, nutritionists;  achieving a long-term stable way prior to proceeding with surgery will certainly decrease perioperative complications ( some of which may be fatal)  and improve the outcome of the procedures performed.

 Best wishes.

Can an Obese Person Have an Abdominoplasty with Liposuction to Help with Back Pain?

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The risks of wound complications are very high in patients with BMI's over 30 (yours is 36.6), and the chances of improvement of your back pain with this type of surgery is slim. The limited group of patients who might benefit are those with ahuge overhanging pannus ("apron"), which is clearly not evident in the photos. 

Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction or Abdominoplasty

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Thank you for your question about liposuction and abdominoplasty for your weight.

  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is unlikely to help - unless you've had children or surgery that damaged abdominal muscles.
  • Liposuction will remove the fat but fat will return if you do not lose weight afterwards.
  • Exercise helps relieve depression. I suggest if at all possible, substituting exercise like swimming for SSRIs which cause various hormone problems including PCOS.
  • Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Can an Obese Person Have an Abdominoplasty with Liposuction to Help with Back Pain?

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Greetings, academically speaking the tummy tuck and liposuction  are procedures  not intended to treat obesity or to lose weight but  they are procedures to shaping and contouring  the figure, that  way ,  it is good to note that have been  demonstrated that the decrease of fat volume in the body , mainly at the level of the abdomen may improve  some medical conditions like  glucose intolerance and diabetes because  there are a  reduction  in  insulin resistance that improve  such conditions,  also  a  reduction of  the burden or weight (lipectomy or abdominoplasty ) necessarily improve mechanical problems in the spine that are causes of pain and disability.
The problem is that obesity is a major risk factor for any surgery and we  would have to put on a balance  the risks and  benefits(based on each case); fortunately , there are other methods more appropriate and less risky for  weight  loss and  reducing  of adipose tissue mass  that  would bring the same or more  benefits such as a balanced diet and regular exercise, and bariatric surgeries.

Jose Luis Acosta Collado, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

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.