For some women following pregnancy, diet and exercise alone will make little difference to the abdominal muscles and skin that have been overstretched by a growing baby. The abdominal muscle separation that results from some pregnancies can lead to back pain or other discomfort due to loss of core stability, and persistent loose skin and a rounded belly that some onlookers even mistake for another pregnancy can be very disheartening or distressing for women.How does pregnancy affect the abdominal muscles?
Pregnancy stretches all of the abdominal wall layers, but in particular results in the separation of the rectus abdominus (commonly known as the six pack) muscles that run up and down the centre of the abdomen. This separation is known as a 'divarication'. With time and targeted exercises this muscle separation can be reduced, but in many women, particularly those with large or multiple pregnancies, the stretch has been so significant that the divarication cannot be corrected without surgery
What is an abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is a reconstructive surgical procedure usually undertaken to repair the divarication of the abdominal muscles and then remove the loose skin associated with pregnancy.
In some cases abdominoplasty is undertaken after massive weight loss, where there are residual folds of skin around the lower abdomen.
Who is suitable for abdominoplasty?Women in otherwise good health with a divarication, or separation, of the rectus abdominus muscles and/or significant skin excess maybe suitable for abdominoplasty surgery.
If the surgery is following pregnancy women should have completed their family and their youngest child should be over 12 months old.
Abdominoplasty is not a weight loss procedure. The best results, and the lowest rates of complications occur in women who are in a healthy weight range.
Will my Health Fund cover the cost of surgery?
Unfortunately as of January 2016, Medicare no longer recognises Abdominoplasty surgery to repair the muscle separation and skin excess after pregnancy as a reconstructive procedure.
Abdominoplasty after large weight loss (of 5 BMI points or greater) is still recognised by Medicare and therefore unless there are exclusions on your policy this should mean that Health Funds would also recognise the procedure and make a contribution to costs. Unfortunately some Health Funds have recently indicated they may no longer recognise such reconstructive procedures despite Medicare's recognition. You would need to confirm this with your individual Health Fund.
If you are considering Abdominoplasty Surgery and would like to consult with Dr O'Mahony please contact the office for an appointment on 3831 6983.Dr O'Mahony's office will provide a written quote for surgery following your consultation, and where appropriate can supply paperwork for you to present to your Health Fund explaining the clinical need for surgery to assist in your discussions with them.
If you have any questions about this procedure, please do not hesitate to ask Dr O'Mahony via our contact us page.