Low Back Pain After Pregnancy: Will Abdominoplasty help?

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Post-pregnancy lower back pain and pelvic pain is a frequent occurrence in women who have given birth by vaginal or Cesarean-Section delivery methods. Abdominoplasty can help reduce back pain in some women and treat back-related core strength problems caused by diastasis recti and poor core abdominal strength which was impeded by abdominal structure damage during pregnancy and/or delivery.

Is low back pain more prevalent in women who had a C-Section vs a vaginal delivery?

Prevalence of low back pain after pregnancy: Statistics

Studies suggest that lower back pain may persist in over 33.3% of women who delivered a baby vaginally and in up to 56.7% of women who delivered a baby via C-section.  The prevalence of low back pain may be significantly higher in women who had Cesarean section deliveries.

Could lower back pain after pregnancy relate to torn abdominal muscles or diastasis recti?

 

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Research information is available here Quality Of Life After Pregnancy in relation to lower back pain [accessed Oct 10 2018]. Publication title: PREVALENCE OF LOW BACK PAIN AND ITS IMPACT ON QUALITY OF LIFE IN POST PARTUM WOMEN; International Journal of Scientific Research7(11):14342-14348 · November 2016 – Researchers/Authors: Shweta Parikh; Joshi Suchi


Damaged abdominal muscles and reduced core strength in the abdominal area are common medical conditions of post-pregnancy; so, too, is urinary incontinence.

  • Body changes are part and parcel of having babies.
  • Yet few women fully anticipate the degree to which Pregnancy, breast feeding and weight changes change the skin and body – leaving excess folds of lax skin, a variety of stretch marks on the breast and belly, and unyielding bulges around the hips and waist.
  • Other problems after pregnancy include low back pain, weakened strength, fatigue, hormonal chnages and emotional fluctuations.

Some pregnancy related body changes may have left you feeling LESS confident, less feminine or chronically dissatisfied with your new physique. 

  • Worse yet is the fact that post-pregnancy conditions can leave your core abdominal muscles so damaged that you have a permanent belly bulge; low back pain and mild urinary incontinence.
  • So how does a Tummy Tuck help treat a sore back and reduce urinary incontinence and low back pain after pregnancy?

Having a sore back or low back pain after pregnancy is often related to the medical condition of diastasis recti.

Torn abs can wreak havoc on your core muscle strength. So damaged abdominal muscles after pregnancy is one of the functions of the abdominal region that is repaired by corrective Abdominoplasty procedures.

Not long ago, the Australian Medical Association published an article on pregnancy, back pain and urinary incontinence. They revealed study data supporting that the benefits of Abdominoplasty were worthy of it being returned to the MBS (it was removed around 2015, and many health organisations are lobbying for the return of the Medicare Benefit Schedule /MBS item code for Abdominoplasty after pregnancy to reduce women’s surgery costs).

Source: https://ama.com.au/ausmed/tummy-tuck-can-ease-back-pain-incontinence-study

Here are the Post-Pregnancy Abdominoplasty benefit RESEARCH findings excerpted from the link/source above, which lead many women and Surgeons to request a review of the Medicare codes for Tummy Tuck Surgery.

Research summary:

  • Before [Tummy tuck/Abdominoplasty surgery with diastasis recti repair], the average pain score of the 208 post-partum women was 11, which equates to a 22 per cent disability.
  • Six weeks later, it was down to four and at six months it was 1.7.
  • On the urinary incontinence scale, the results went from an average pre-op score of 6 to 1.6 at six weeks, which was maintained at six months.
  • Researcher Dr Taylor said the results showed that abdominoplasty should be reinstated on the MBS.
  • “For a standard abdominoplasty, the Government was paying about $900 or $950 for the scheduled fee,” he said. “Of course, it’s a four-hour operation with three to four days in hospital, so it’s going to cost a lot more than that, but the overall cost was about $12-13,000. [Re women health care costs], Without the Item Number, the cost has gone up to $20,000. It can’t be done in a public hospital – you can’t get your patients in – and the private hospitals charge the cosmetic rate.”

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Are you a good candidate for an Abdominoplasty or mini-Tummy Tuck?

  • If you miss your pre-baby body smoothness, firm breasts and visible waistline contours, consider exploring your options for a full Tummy Tuck, Mini Tummy Tuck, Belt Lipectomy, Breast Lift Surgery or a combination of surgical procedures.
  • You can meet with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne or Sydney to explore how to become content with your post-baby body or physique again, e.g. by getting a flatter looking, smoother belly area, more pre-baby body breast and waistline contours.

Read more:

  • Will Medicare cover my tummy tuck or breast surgery after pregnancy” is one of the most frequently asked questions about Abdominoplasty surgery in Melbourne and Sydney Australia.

Medicare covers some Abdominoplasty Procedures and Body Lifts for POST-WEIGHT loss patients who were once obese, if they meet certain criteria.

Otherwise, currently women who have had children and have low back pain or torn abs are NOT generally covered by Medicare NOR by their health insurance funds. This make’s women’s health care expensive and is the essence of current activism and lobbying to restore the Medicare code for women’s post-partum Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck procedures.

More about Medicare and Tummy Tuck Surgery

Medicare is the central program underpinning Australia’s healthcare system.   It covers various different costs for health care and is available for all Australians, but it doesn’t cover every medical expense and surgery expense.

So if you are wondering what CAN or CAN’T be covered under the Australian Medicare system, in terms of Abdominoplasty Surgery or Breast Lift/Mammoplasty or Augmentation Mammoplasty procedures, please give our Patient Care Coordinators a call on (03) 8849 1444 after reading this blog.

They’ll be able to answer some common questions about these cosmetic surgery procedures and help you choose which of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons will best suit your needs.

And if you come to our Clinic for a non-obligation medical consultation, you’ll be able to find out what these procedures CAN and CANNOT do to help you get your body back into a shape that you’ll be pleased with for years to come (so long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid weight changes or future pregnancies, all of which can impact your specialist plastic surgery results).

Medicare rebates for Abdominoplasty or Breast Lift Surgery after Pregnancy – what’s covered?

Will medicare cover tummy tuck abdominoplasty breast lift surgery after pregnancy? Medicare criteria. medicare-rebates-abdominoplasty-tummy-tuck-breast-lift-pregnancy Will medicare reimburse me for surgery after pregnancy?

If not Abdominoplasty, DOES Medicare cover Breast Surgery after Pregnancy?

Aesthetic vs Medical Reasons – the Medicare divide.

Before looking into what Medicare may or may not cover, which only Medicare and/or your GP can decide or tell you firmly, let’s look at why women have these types of surgeries after giving birth by the vaginal canal or via C-Section delivery  methods.

There are obviously numerous benefits to having breast lift surgery or tummy tuck surgery to get your body to where you are pleased with your physique again, in or out of clothing, lingerie, gym gear or swimsuits.

Please note: there are different versions of ptosis (breast drooping) as well as back and neck pain associated with large, heavy or drooping breasts.

Check with your GP to see if there are non-surgical means before you consider having breast surgery; however, for most women, a breast lift or breast reduction is required to restore the breast position to where posture is no longer impacted and neck, back pain and shoulder discomfort can be reduced.

breast surgery after pregnancy , saggy breasts, top breast lift surgeon melbourne

These Medical Benefits for getting plastic surgery of the breast area or abdominal area contours include:

  • being able to exercise comfortably without undue pain or ‘flapping’ saggy skin folds
  • reparation of abdominal muscle damage that might have occurred with pregnancy or child delivery or c-section deliveries
  • reduction of low back pain and improvement in quality of life by reducing low back pain and/or urinary incontinence problems
  • for breast lifts or breast reduction, having breasts that sit on the chest where they were before pregnancy

Cosmetic benefits may also include:

  • having breasts that sit on the chest where they were before pregnancy
  • being able to get back into your favourite outfits or swim wear (not relegating yourself to baggy clothing to cover up the bulges)
  • not feeling embarrassed by a ‘muffin top’ that limits what jeans or tops you feel comfortable wearing
  • being able to sculpt your body so that your waistline is once again visible or smooth

There are also surgery risks, many of a minor nature but including some which are very serious.

Fortunately, serious or life-threatening complications occur far more rarely than common surgical complications, most of which are readily or easily treated by a good Surgeon team where there is good communication between the Patient and the Specialist Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeon.

Look for FRACS qualifications PLUS ASAPS, ASPS, ISAPS or similar to get a Plastic Surgery Specialist with Australian hospital operating privileges.


Surgery is a serious endeavour, however, and whilst it has many benefits for body contouring, surgery should NOT be considered in lieu of losing weight and getting in shape via non-surgical means.  It should only be considered where exercise and eating healthily cannot remedy the body changes related to pregnancy, childbirth or weight changes.


Breast Surgery: Breast related plastic or cosmetic surgeries

Breast reduction mammoplasty (with or without the relocation of the nipple) for medical reasons, is currently on the MBS list (But MBS codes and criteria are changing effective 1 November 2018).  So, if you are a fuller breasted woman looking for a reduction because you’ve been experiencing health issues, you may currently be covered by Medicare.

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Breast augmentation (mammoplasty) is also on the MBS, but only under certain conditions:

  • Where breast asymmetry exists;
  • Following mastectomy; or
  • Where there is malformation of breast tissue, disease or trauma to the breast (excluding trauma from prior elective cosmetic surgery)

Breast reconstruction following mastectomy or trauma is on the list, but that again excludes any trauma caused from previous elective cosmetic surgery.   (Yet another reason to avoid going overseas for discounted breast surgery in Thailand from an unknown practitioner you’ll never see again!)

Nipple Surgery & Nipple changes after Pregnancy

Do your nipples look enlarged, stretched or asymmetrical after pregnancy or breastfeeding?

  • Removal and/or replacement of breast prosthesis and reconstruction of the nipple or areola (or both) may also be covered by MBS/Medicare rebates or private health insurance.
  • There needs to be a medical reason for the surgery.

The Medicare rebate you may qualify for, however, may only be a partial rebate compared to your total surgery costs.

If you choose a highly qualified Plastic Surgeon or very experienced team, and whether or not you have Medicare eligibility or even private Health Fund coverage, you are likely to find you will still have out-of-pocket surgery or hospitalisation costs.   There are payment methods you can investigate or save up for your surgery, but planning can really help (so long as you don’t miss the time-related eligibility criteria for post-pregnancy tummy or breast surgery procedures).

Mummy Makeover Surgeons in Melbourne: Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons in Melbourne and/or Sydney can help you with your Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) or Breast Lift and Reduction procedures.

Plastic Surgeons Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men

Phone today on 03 8849 1444 (Melbourne) or 1800033333 (Sydney/Double Bay).

Further articles recommended by the Plastic Surgery teams for ‘mummy makeover’ surgery:

Will Medicare Still Pay for Plastic Surgery after 1 November 2018?

Will Medicare Cover my Breast Reduction Surgery?

Dealing with Medicare when you’re having Plastic Surgery