Tummy Tuck Hernia Repair: What You Need To Know

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 surgery procedure to correct physical complications such as hernias.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia occurs when a stomach organ 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 such as incisional 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 plastic surgeon. Your surgeon may ask you to get an MRI or CT scan to determine its cause.


Can You Perform A Tummy Tuck With Hernia Repair?

The short answer is yes. A tummy tuck can be performed with hernia repair. So, much like strengthening and tightening your stomach, a tummy tuck can similarly correct an umbilical hernia or ventral hernia.

The upper and lower abdomens are tightened during surgery. An incision is made around the belly button and extends to both sides of the hip, beneath the panty line.

Once the skin and tissue are lifted, your surgeon performs the hernia repair. They will push the protruding organ back behind the abdominal wall. The abdominal muscles are tightened and excess tissue is removed.

Final results can address weakened abdominal muscles and reduce pressure and discomfort on your skin.

The First Thing You Need To Do

Before undergoing a tummy tuck, be sure to consult first with your plastic surgeon to discuss how a hernia developed. 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 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 preparations, while understanding the risks you may encounter along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions commonly asked about a tummy tuck and hernia repair:

  1. Will insurance pay for a tummy tuck if you have a hernia?
    Most insurance agencies will only cover the costs of the tummy tuck if the procedure is deemed medically necessary. In MOST cases, insurance will only cover the cost for the hernia repair. Once your surgeon has fully assessed you, a report will be sent to your provider. Your provider will then determine if your case is medically required.
  2. Is it normal to have a lump after hernia repair surgery?
    Swelling and fluid accumulation after hernia repair is completely normal.
  3. Can I have liposuction during hernia repair?
    You can possibly have liposuction during a hernia repair, but you need to discuss this with your surgeon depending on the size of hernia and area desired.