Is a Tummy Tuck OK to Have with Herniated Disks?

I am considering having a tummy tuck and am wondering if the pain will be unbearable considering I have herniated disks. I normally sleep on my side so as to not aggravate my back and won't be able to.

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy tuck and back surgery: Ouch!

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Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a very common procedure, as is back problems like herniated disks. They do not go well together since your mobility and positioning is limited after a tummy tuck, and this position (stooped) is not favorable for pre-existing back pain. This can lead to aggravation of your back pain and a very hard recovery.

Be careful and discuss this with your spine and plastic surgeon.

Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Depends on severity of discs, but tummy tuck might help back as well

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If the herniations are not symptomatic and you have clearance from your back surgeon, an abdominoplasty might actually help. By removing the extra strain on your back from redundant skin and fat on your lower abdomen and tightening the abdominal muscles, which can stabilize your back anteriorly (from the front), some patients have reported improvement in their lower back problems. This would be especially true if a weight loss -if needed - occurs as well.

David Shuter, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck OK to have with herniated disks

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Not a GOOD idea. First have the disc treated to a improved level than consider cosmetic tummy surgery. This is the ONLY way I would operate on you.

From MIAMI Dr. B

Safety of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) with Pre-Existing Lumbar Disc Herniation(s)

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It is worth remembering that a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) is a cosmetic procedure intended to improve appearance NOT improve function much less save lives. It would be regrettable if your new flat tummy was associated with worsening of your back condition.

The fact that you have NOT opted to surgically correct your herniated back disc(s) hints that either they are not operable (either too mild or too far gone/serious) or that you were deemed too much of a risk for surgery or decided not to undergo the procedure for whatever reason. Either way, I would seriously encourage you to CLEARLY have your spine surgeon advise you on the safety of doing a Tummy Tuck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Herniated discs and tummy tuck

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I would discuss this with the doctor taking care of your spine.  You will need to be on your back during surgery and in the recovery period.  It wouldn't make any sense to aggravate a back problem secondary to an elective procedure, so check on this first.  Good luck, /nsn.

It may worsen your back pain for awhile

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Definitely check with your back specialist. The tummy tuck may be beneficial in the long run for your back, but it may exacerbate your back pain during the first few weeks to months. When patients have a tummy tuck, most walk bent slightly at the waist. This places additional strain on your back. You may want to purchase a walker or cane to use for the first week or two just to minimize the stress on your back.

Tummy Tuck

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As long as you have clearance from your spine surgeon regarding your herniated disks, you should be fine with abdominoplasty. Often, patients say that their back pain improves after abdominoplasty with rectus plications since the muscles are tightened during the procedure. Good luck.

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.