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Many of us know all about the benefits of tummy tuck surgery. Also known as an abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that tightens your stomach muscles. It removes excess skin and creases on your abdomen, which are the result of rapid weight loss, pregnancy, or aging. It is a hugely popular cosmetic procedure with the numbers to prove it. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of tummy tuck surgeries increased by 87% between 2000 and 2014.

As much as an abdominoplasty can improve your physique, many have begun to turn to this cosmetic procedure to correct physical complications such as hernias.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia develops when a stomach organ, like the intestines, pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue holding it in place. This usually happens when muscles in the stomach have weakened, often appearing in and around the belly button (navel). When left untreated, it can lead to significant discomfort, made worse by everyday actions such as sneezing, coughing, urinating or lifting heavy objects. More critically, this can even lead to severe damage, and perhaps the death of affected tissue.

Based on data from a 2015 study published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association, there were approximately 2.3 million in-patient abdominal hernia repairs between 2001 and 2010, roughly 567,000 of which were emergencies. Furthermore, such emergent hernia rates were most prevalent among adults 65 years and older.

Can a Tummy Tuck Cause a Hernia?

In short, there’s a chance that a tummy tuck causes a hernia. Developing a hernia is one of the usual risks, albeit an uncommon one, associated with undergoing an abdominoplasty. And because of this, many are left with the perception that the procedure causes hernias to develop.

Common hernias are located in the abdomen and can develop during or after an abdominoplasty. For instance, the sutures used to tighten the stomach muscles may accidentally damage the surrounding muscles. Conversely, it’s also possible it was already present before the tummy tuck procedure. It only became prevalent after removing the excess skin and fat surrounding it.

If you detect an abdominal bulge after undergoing a tummy tuck, be sure to inform your surgeon. Your surgeon may ask you to get an MRI or CT scan to determine its cause.

tummy tuck hernia repair

Can a Tummy Tuck Repair a Hernia?

The short answer is yes. Abdominoplasty can repair a hernia. So, much like strengthening and tightening your stomach, a tummy tuck can similarly correct a ventral or an umbilical hernia. It can address weakened abdominal muscles and reduce pressure and discomfort on your skin along the way.

The First Thing You Need To Do

Before opting for an abdominoplasty, be sure to consult with your physician or plastic surgeon to discuss how a hernia develops in the first place. Again, an MRI or CT scan can help pinpoint the cause.

You also need to look at the size of a hernia and whether your surgeon is comfortable treating it through abdominoplasty. If not, a general surgeon can perform the hernia repair during the tummy tuck procedure. Either way, acquiring the insights and guidance from a specialist will go a long way in treating your condition. Under their care, you will learn about the right pre-surgical preparations, while understanding the risks you may encounter along the way.

Tummy Tuck Hernia Repair FAQ

  1. Can a tummy tuck be medically necessary?
    Yes, there are a few select instances when the procedure is medically necessary. This includes the correction of hernias, stress urinary incontinence and back pain.
  2. How painful is a tummy tuck with hernia repair?
    Discomfort is expected and is treated with pain medication as prescribed by your board-certified plastic surgeon.
  3. How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck?
    It can take up to three months before swelling subsides and final results manifest.

About The Author

Cara Downey, MD

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Cara Downey provides cosmetic surgery procedures to Houston and the surrounding areas.

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