4 children in 7 years with an umbilical hernia: Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

I have had 4 children in the past 7 years. I got an umbilical hernia during one of my pregnancies. Once I finished having kids I got it repaired (stitched laproscopically, no mesh). 10 months after surgery the hernia came back. My abdominal muscles are separated pretty bad. My question is: Did the fact that my abdomen muscles are so stretched apart be a factor in my hernia returning? And should I get a tummy tuck to help prevent it from returning when I get it repaired this time?

Doctor Answers 5

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

    This is hard to assess without pictures or an exam.   The hernia repair can be performed and a plication can be performed as well to tighten the abdominal musculature.  A tummy tuck does not have to performed unless you have some loose skin that you would like removed at the same time.   Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

The fact that, judging from your description, you have severe diastasis recti (separation of the rectus abdominis muscles along the midline, usually a result of pregnancy), could theoretically increase your chance of having recurrence of your umbilical hernia.  But more importantly there are other factors that come into play, most important ones being whether you have intra-abdominal obesity placing a large amount of pressure on the anterior abdominal wall, the weakest point being the umbilical foramen, and the fact that no mesh or patch was used during the initial procedure.  So, yes a tummy tuck will help, but only if you do not have intra-abdominal obesity, because if you do it will not only jeopardize the outcome of the surgery, but it will also increase the likelihood of another recurrence of your hernia, this time probably more severe.  Such obesity will have to be first brought under control before any surgical intervention of your condition.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

No one needs a tummy tuck...

It is a cosmetic procedure and totally elective.  If you have a lot of excess skin, some form of a tuck would be beneficial for improving your contours.  If you do have this procedure and are willing to give up your belly button, your hernia can easily be repaired at the same time.  You need to be seen to determine what would be best cosmetically for you.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy Tuck Helpful after Recurrent Umbilical Hernia?

Thank you for the question. Based on your description, you may be an excellent candidate for tummy tuck surgery. This operation is best done when pregnancies have been completed and when patients have achieved a long-term stable weight.

 However, there is no literature that I am aware of that supports the idea that repair of abdominal wall diastasis will necessarily prevent recurrence of an umbilical hernia, after repair.  Intuitively however it does make sense to, if feasible, to re approximate the entire area of abdominal wall “weakness” ( hernia and diastasis).

 You may be best off seeking consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who, after direct examination and a full communication of your goals, will be able to provide you with more specific advice.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Do I Need a Tummy Tuck?

In agreement with other responders, it's impossble to recommend surgery without an examination.  From your history, it's reasonable to infer however that YES, you will look and feel much better after well conceived and executed tummy tuck.  The procedure will include umbilical hernia repair, and will bring together the abdominal muscles spread apart during third trimester of your pregnancies.  If you are like most tummy tuck patients, your clothes will fit better, you'll feel more fit, youthful, and beautiful, and even sex is better.

YOUR BODY DESERVES IT, you brought four human beings into this world!

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 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.