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Can a Tummy Tuck after Pregnancy Reduce Back Pain?

Most women who are pregnant can expect to have some level of lower back pain, due to how the extra weight of the growing baby will change posture and shift the spine out of alignment. However, this back pain may not go away once they have delivered their baby. This is usually a result of abdominal muscles and pelvic and lower spine ligaments and joints that were stretched during pregnancy but are still loose.

Interestingly, a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), which is one of the more common plastic surgery procedures that Dr. Mark Deuber performs to help new mothers get back into their pre-pregnancy shape, may also relieve their back pain. Why do women still have back pain following delivery, and how might a tummy tuck help relieve this pain?

What Causes Back Pain Following Pregnancy and Delivery?

The weight of the growing baby will cause significant changes in a woman’s posture, particularly as she heads into the eighth and ninth month of pregnancy. However, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of women may continue to have lower back pain after delivering their baby.

This is often the result of the abdominal muscles becoming over-stretched as they expand to accommodate the fetus. Once the baby is born, the abdominal muscles may not conform back to their pre-pregnancy shape.

How Can a Tummy Tuck Reduce Back Pain after Pregnancy and Delivery?

A tummy tuck surgical procedure is designed to tighten up loose abdominal muscles and remove excess loose skin that has been stretched out from pregnancy. For this procedure, Dr. Deuber will first make a horizontal incision from one hip across to the other, following the panty line. He will then gently lift up the skin, tighten up the underlying muscles by suturing them together, and then re-drape the skin and underlying tissue. Finally, he will remove the excess skin and suture everything back into place. This procedure can reduce back pain because it actually helps strengthen the abdominal muscles and the entire body core, which will also support the pelvis and spine.

In fact, a recent article in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that women who underwent a tummy tuck procedure when they were done having children also reported a significant reduction in back pain.

A total of 214 women who underwent a tummy tuck procedure were asked to rate the level of their disability from back pain, both before and after the surgery. Before surgery, 51 percent of the women surveyed said that their back pain was moderate to severe. At both six weeks and six months after surgery, there was significant improvement. By six months, only 9 percent of the women reported moderate disability from back pain. Because the tummy tuck tightens up loose abdominal muscles, it allows for a stronger core, which will provide better posture, thereby relieving back pain.

Many women come to see Dr. Deuber about having a tummy tuck procedure done as part of a mommy makeover package to restore their body to its pre-pregnancy shape. Now they may get an added bonus of relief from back pain due to pregnancy and delivery that may linger for months afterward.

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