Having a Tummy Tuck to Tighten the Abdominal Muscle. Will This Help with Back Pain?

Scoliosis Causes back pain. After having children there is muscle loss in the abdominal region. Would having a tummy tuck to tighten these muscle help with the back pain? Do most insurance carriers cover this procedure when back pain is involved?

Doctor Answers 12

Insurance and Tt

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Unfortunately, insurance does not cover a tummy tuck. Occasionally with documentation of recurrent infection they will pay for a panniculectomy (simply removing loose skin).

Back pain relief after an abdominoplasty

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The abdominal wall forms a cinch around the lower abdomen giving some support to the lower back.  Clinically I see many patients who report that their back pain is improved following an abdominoplasty.  There is really no way to tell if an insurance company would consider this medically necessary.   You could always call your insurance company and speak with a claims representative and ask if there is a coverage for this problems.  In today's world you just do not know for sure.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Abdominoplasty to ease back pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Tightening the rectus abdominus muscle (rectus plication) during a tummy tuck surgery can in fact stabilize the abdominal wall and improve back pain in some patients. I have seen this in may practice on a few occassions. However, this is a rare beneficial side effect for select few patients and not something that is routinely seen. Insurance companies do not recognize an abdominoplasty as a method to improve back pain. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Back Pain and Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Back pain can go away after a tummy tuck but is not an expected outcome.  In other words this can be a side benefit.  Insurance, in my experience never covers a tummy tuck. 



Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Tummy tuck and back pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear yassie,

   The answer to your question is - yes , as long as you do not have spinal problems like sliped disk or some degenerative disease. By tighteng the muscle , your posture changes . Consequently, the strain on you back changes significantly. Also, many patients lose weight due to the increaed intra abdominal pressure that reduces hunger and limit the amount of food that you can eat. Loss of weight , clearly reduces the strain on the back. Obviously, abdominal and back strengthening excersizes , 6 weeks after tummy tuck will help too. In regard to your insurance coverage, unfortunately, unless you have a significant panniculus (significant hanging skin and fat) most insurance companies will not cover it despite the history of back pain. In any event, make sure to select an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.

                    Best of luck,

                                              Dr Widder

Tummy tuck helping back pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. Back pain is multifactorial, with a variety of different contributing factors and causes. While it is possible to have have some improvement of back pain after a tummy tuck, likely due to an improvement of core strength from the muscle tightening, this is unpredictable at best. I have had some patients who have reported this, but it is the minority of patients.

Most insurance companies do not consider a tummy tuck to be an appropriate treatment for back pain. As such, they do not cover it. If back pain is the prime issue, I would recommend an evaluation with a back specialist. The tummy tuck will, however, make your belly flat, your clothes fit better, and your midsection look better.

Good luck with your back.

Jeff Rockmore

Tummy Tuck to Tighten the Abdominal Muscle. Will This Help with Back Pain?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Those of us who do a large volume of abdominoplasties do hear from occasional patients that their back pain has decreased in intensity, but most do not have any such improvement. To the best of my knowledge there are no accepted studies documenting improvement. 

This is an aesthetic procedure, with occasional other benefits. As such I believe that no insurers would cover the procedure.

Thanks for your question, best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Back Pain and Tummy Tucks

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Yassie,  While there have been some studies that showed improvement in back back in some abdominoplasty patients, there are other studies that showed no significant improvement in back pain also.  Still, every plastic surgeon who has performed an large number of tummy tucks has had patients report to them improvement in back pain discomfort.  The tightening and repositioning of the abdominal rectus muscles seems in some patients to bring additional support to the overworked muscles of the back but clearly this is not true for every TT patient.  Due to the lack of clear data supporting abdominoplasty as a treatment for back pain, insurance carriers do not cover this procedure which is considered elective.

Hope this helps.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

A Flatter Tummy May Help Back Pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Given your diagnosis of scoliosis, you probably already know that back pain has many different causes including skeletal problems, muscle injury, nerve impingement and postural problems associated with loss of muscle strength or weight gain.  The core abdominal and para-spinal muscles that maintain a normal posture and skeletal position are very important in any rehabilitation or prevention program.  The correction of the six pack muscle stretching that occurs with childbearing can contribute to the improvement of your core muscle position but cannot be expected to alleviate back pain alone. Improvement of the strength of all core muscles and treatment of any other contributing factors is far more likely to be effective. The problem is far more complex than it may seem on the surface.  Additionally, insurance companies would not consider a tummy tuck with muscle tightening medically necessary for treatment of your back pain.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Tummy tuck might improve back pain

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The improved posture and abdominal tone might contribute to reducing back pain, and many years ago there were indeed studies which offered evidence in support. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover tummy tuck, even if back pain is involved.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

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.