Post Op Tummy Tuck Hernia Repair?

I had an umbilical hernia repaired 3.5 years ago and now am pregnant. My belly gets very large with my pregnancies. I am 5'8" and weigh 125 when not pregnant. I have excess muscle laxity around my waist when not pregnant. 1) I want a tummy tuck. How long do I have to wait after breastfeeding before I can have the procedure? 2) If my mesh tears, is it best to wait until I have the TT to repair it again or can I have the hernia repaired and then come in at a later time for the tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers 5

Umbilical hernia repair during a Tummy Tuck

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

Hi Manda

Good luck with your pregnancy!

Repairing an umbilical hernia is part of a full abdominoplasty, as certified Plastic Surgeons will stitch the abdominal muscles back together as part of the procedure. There is no need to have this performed as an additional or earlier procedure.

The mesh is unlikely to tear during your pregnancy as your abdominal muscles will loosen off to provide the room for your baby to grow.

Generally, it takes about 6 months after any life changing event (pregnancy or bariatric surgery for instance) for the body to stabilise. Leaping into a body contouring operation too early may lead to results that change on you and your surgeon. So ideally, you should wait 6 months after you finish breast feeding and use that time to really work hard to get to your pre-pregnancy weight, as this will provide you with the best base for a good long term result.


Post Op Tummy Tuck Hernia Repair?

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

   You may either have the hernia repaired at the same as the tummy tuck or repaired separately.  If you are finished with children, the procedures can be performed together.  If you are going to have additional pregnancies and would like to wait on the tummy tuck, the hernia repair can be performed first.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Tummy Tuck with Hernia Repair

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

Obviously, you must be finished breast feeding before considering any surgery...I prefer that my patients return to as close to their pre-pregnancy weight as they can which usually requires at least several months.  It is routine to repair umbilical hernias during tummy tucks...there is no reason to subject yourself and your family to surgical procedures when it can all be done together...that's the case even if the mesh tears...god luck!

Eric Sadeh, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Post Op Tummy Tuck Hernia Repair?

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


Best wishes for the pregnancy. Once concluded, and you have completed nursing, you can have your tummy tuck whenever you wish, provided some time has passed since the delivery. It is too unpredictable as to how much skin recovery will occur, so as a rule it is not appropriate to do a TT before 3 to 6  months after delivery. 

The hernia can be repaired at the same time if needed. If you are having symptoms from the hernia, it certainly is possible to have that fixed earlier if need be.l

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Old umbilical hernia repair (mesh); now pregnant! What to do.

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

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Cheers! Also, kudos to you for asking pertinent and appropriate questions. Assuming this is your last child, tummy tuck is certainly an option if you wait a minimum of 3 menstrual cycles after completion of breast feeding, and when your post-baby weight has stabilized and your own health is good to allow optimal healing, not only of your tummy tuck, but your hernia repair.

The hernia repair is reconstructive surgery, and "covered" by most insurance carriers and HMOs, so it is tempting to have this done before-hand, and then get a tummy tuck later, especially if you're not planing on proceeding with the tummy tuck as soon as possible after completion of breast-feeding. If indeed your prior repair "tears" and causes a potentially dangerous hernia recurrence, it may NEED to be repaired before consideration of any elective surgery. You'll have to wait and see how things go with your later stages of pregnancy.

From a plastic surgical perspective, many of us are also fully-trained and American Board of Surgery-certified in general surgery, and not only willing but capable of repairing your hernia at the same time as tummy tuck. This scenario also avoids having to operate through a scarred area of previous surgery, and may decrease the risk of umbilical ischemia or poor circulation to the belly button skin. Your ABPS-certified plastic surgeon can tell you if billing the hernia repair part of surgery to your insurance company is possible, but beware doing an elective cosmetic surgery (plus hernia repair) at the hospital or hospital-run surgicenter--the costs of the elective portion of the procedure may FAR exceed what a tummy tuck in an accredited office surgical facility (plastic surgeon-owned) PLUS the additional cost of a hernia repair.

Get firm cost quotes for the various scenarios, and be sure you know who is paying for what. All too often the patient "assumes" that having the hernia repair done as "part of" the tummy tuck will decrease the overall cost, when in fact it inflates it beyond belief! Check this out and be sure before you make your decisions; you have plenty of time to see several ABPS-certified plastic surgeons who are capable of doing both hernia repair and tummy tuck at the same time, and who can discuss the pros and cons of mesh use or not at this operation. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

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.