Can a tummy tuck decrease the pain and frequency of back aches?
Can You Get Back Pain Relief with a Tummy Tuck?
Doctor Answers 16
Your back will be better supported
After a tummy tuck with tightening of the fascia, patients literally have an "internal corset", almost like having a back brace, permanently.
We know that having strong tight abdominal muscles improves low back pain and the tendency toward lordosis (concave back and protrusion of the belly). Interestingly, after tummy tuck procedures, patients note they get full more quickly after eating, also probably a result of having a tighter abdominal fascia.
Many of our patients note much improvement in their posture and their back pain after surgery. Before surgery, they were literally fightening to tighten a ripped fascia, an impossibility.
That being said, this evidence is just anecdotal, or "in my experience", not scientific.
And of course after any plastic surgery, even if the results are impressive, it is incumbent on the patient to continue to strengthen their core, be active and physically fit. Patients should never rely on plastic surgery to substitute for good exercise and eating habits.
Can tummy tuck relieve back pain
An preliminary report published in 1990 suggested that Wide Abdominal Rectus Plication (aka the WARP abdominoplasty technique) produced some back pain relief in 24/25 patients treated.
However, this has not been substantiated and should not be the primary reason you seek abdominoplasty .
If i can explain. Your spine depends on a delicate balance between your stomach muscles and back muscles. When your stomach muscles are weak you may have an abnormal posture which creates excessive back discomfort.
Think about how it feels on your back when you have been sitting "Indian-style" for a while.
This is the reason orthopedic surgeons and spine surgeons will often prescribe a course of physical therapy to strengthen your abodminal muscles. It is also why Pilates and Yoga core strengthening exercises can improve minor back pain. I perform Pilates after a long week of surgery and I find dramatic relief from back strain.
The muscle rearrangement that occurs with abdominoplasty can enable you to use these stomach muscles in a more normal fashion and improve back pain but it should not be the sole reason you seek surgery.
In fact, in the early postoperative period, you may experience a greater degree of back pain you feel due to excessive bending forward from your tendency ot releive the pull felt by tightening the skin.
I hope this helps!
Back Pain Relief Possible, Not Promised
The reasons for this resolution in pain aren’t totally clear. In some cases it may be related to tissue removal. In this situation, an abdominal panniculus can create downward pull which can result in back pain.
In other cases tightening the abdominal muscles might add support to the lower back. This might effectively create a corset effect.
Although this procedure may occasionally help back pain, its primary purpose is to provide improved abdominal aesthetics. For this reason, resolution of back pain should be viewed as a bonus. Abdominoplasty isn’t indicated to treat back pain. Under these circumstances, an orthopedic surgery consultation is more appropriate.
If you’re considering abdominoplasty and have back pain, it’s important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon. This surgeon should be able to address your concerns.
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A tummy tuck could possibly alleviate back pain
There is some evidence to support the claim that an abdominoplasty will help with back pain. Clearly, if you have an anatomic problem with your spine or back, an abdominoplasty will not help with that type of pain.
You should see a spine specialist in that case. If your back pain seems to be mostly postural, then there may be some benefit to an abdominoplasty.
As part of an abdominoplasty, your surgeon may reposition muscles of your abdominal wall. The muscles that give you a six pack, your rectus muscles, can become misaligned or stretched away from eachother by events such as pregnancy. The muscles then may not be as effective in supporting your back.
An abdominoplasty with repair of a diastasis recti (separation or widening of the gap between your rectus abdominis muscles), may help to alleviate some types of back pain. Relief of back pain should not be your primary goal in undergoing a tummy tuck, but may be an added bonus.
Back pain can come from many causes and while there are clear clinical studies regarding back pain from large breasts, I am unaware of clinical studies demonstrating back pain improvement from correction of diastasis during abominoplasty.
That being said, it does tend to make some sense providing that pulling those muscles into a more anatomic position likely improves their mechanical advantage. This concept must be balanced with the fact that "plicating" the rectus muscles (placing stitches in them to pull them together) likely decreases the function somewhat (at least in the short term). Even if this theory is true, this, of course, would not correct other contributing causes of back pain. I hope this helps.
Steven Williams, MD
Can You Get Back Pain Relief with a Tummy Tuck?
Thank you for the question.
Part of the tummy tuck operation involves plication (re approximation) of the abdominal wall muscles that have spread with pregnancy. This reconstruction likely strengthens the core and MAY help with issues such as lower back discomfort (assuming there are no other anatomic causes of the lower back pain). I would caution you however not to assume that your lower back pain will be resolved after tummy tuck surgery.
Improving lower back pain
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.
Back pain and Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck Plastic Surgery.
An abdominoplasty procedure is performed to address the abdominal muscle wall and the lower abdominal pannus. It does not specifically change the abdominal muscles, rather, the procedure tightens the laxity of the rectus fascia.
Since the procedure does not address the back, per se, it is difficult to predict the response of the back to the abdominoplasty. If you have back pain, you should discuss the postoperative recovery so as not to worsen the back pain during this critical period of rest and recovery.
It definitely is possible.
It is definitely possible that your back aches will improve after abdominoplasty. In addition to tightening your core muscles, you will likely have better posture and balance following surgery which all would help reduce back aches.
David Shafer, MD
No clear evidence exists.
I agree with everything Dr. Williams said in his comments. It seems to make sense that by tightening the anterior abdomenal wall that the entire core structures, which includes the back, should be in better balance.