Torn Stomach Muscles After Hernia Repair

A year after my second child, I discovered I had an 2 hernias and had them repaired. I was still having trouble getting my stomach back into shape. After complaining several times to the doctor over the next few years, she admitted that I had torn stomach muscles. I was told by a plastic surgeon I would need a full tummy tuck. My stomach sticks out the size of a melon. Since this procedure is not covered by my insurance and I am not able to afford the surgery, what can I do?

Doctor Answers 2

Sometimes It Pays To Pay For Healthcare

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Okay I totally understand your financial situation. In fact I can even visualize what is wrong with your abdomen. So I agree with Dr. Yuan that you could get the tummy tuck you need by going to the resident or fellow's clinic at a teaching hospital.

The way this work is that the residents/fellows will evaluate you and take the case to their attending physician (the boss). He will quiz them on what they should do and how they plan to do it. Usually the chief resident or the fellow is in charge. A chief resident is in his last year of residency and firming up his skills. A fellow finished his residency but is doing extra training usually because the extra training is in an area that was not emphasized in his/her residency.

I did many cases in the residents clinic with good results. It's not free but should be considerably less than the attending's clinic. See several resident clinics before you decide on one. UCSF has a great plastic surgery program. So does Stanford.

Local teaching hospitals

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If you do not have true hernias that insurance might cover but merely weak abdominal muscles that they will not, you might try to see what you local teaching hospital residency program might charge,perhaps at UCDavis. I teach plastic surgery residents at UCLA and we have a cosmetic clinic where private local plastic surgeons assist and teach the residents cosmetic procedures. The price is usually more affordable than in private offices in Beverly Hills but you would have to compare services as well.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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