American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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TillieC
3 years ago
Answered

I need help to relieve back strain

I have lost more than 100 pounds and have loose skin especially around my stomach. I have had back surgery and the loose skin is putting strain on my posture. I have been treating for Lupus since 2009 without any real complaints. I have had lung cancer surgery in 2013. All is going well and no complications from any earlier surgeries. Could I be a candidate for a tummy tuck?

Procedure: Tummy Tuck

Replies 5

Dallas Buchanan
ASPS Surgeon

Congrats on your weight loss! Sounds like you have a fair amount of other things going on as well but things are stable. The thing you need to know up front is that insurance will not cover a tummy tuck no matter what the circumstances. What they will sometimes cover is called a panniculectomy and this involves removal of excess skin below the waistline but does not take into account the cosmetic outcome. To understand the difference and find out what is best for you, I would suggest you get a consultation with a local board certified plastic surgeon. You should be able to obtain a referral from your primary doctor. Hope this helps!

Dallas R. Buchanan, MD, FACS

VIVIFY plastic surgery

www.vivifyps.com

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Jason Petrungaro
ASPS Surgeon
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The best suggestion I can make for you right now is to find a board certified Plastic Surgeon (or a few if you like) and go in for a formal consultation. Let the surgeon evaluate you and your body and he/she can give you recommendations on what procedure is right for you. Furthermore, your lupus will need to be addressed. This will require clearance from your primary care doctor and your rheumatologist (and any other treating docs) because big surgeries can stress out your body/immune system and cause a dangerous flare-up. Autoimmune disease can be a tricky one to deal with in terms of balancing the risks and rewards with elective cosmetic surgery. Your lung cancer surgery shouldn't be an issue as long as the cancer is gone and you didn't have a significant loss of lung from the surgery which could prohibit you going under anesthesia. Hope this helps and best wishes!

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Bahram Ghaderi
ASPS Surgeon
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Hello and thank you for your question. It would be best to meet with a board certified Plastic Surgeon for a consultation to get a personalized opinion on whether you'd be a candidate for a tummy tuck or possibly a panniculectomy. Due to your health history that was mentioned, I would also suggest scheduling an appointment to meet with your Primary Care Physician to receive clearance for the possible procedure. I hope this gives you some guidance in your decision making.

Dr. Ghaderi

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Jonathan Zelken
ASPS Surgeon
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Wow! You've been through so much. This has been a HUGE decade for you. With pressing medical issues, "elective" surgery that is not designed to save your life needs to be thoughtfully planned. I understand that the extra tissue adds strain to your back, and its elimination is expected to markedly enhance your quality of life. However, the amount of tissue removed after 100 pounds of weight loss may only amount to 10 pounds or less, total. The benefits of offloading your back by this amount may be significant, but ongoing physical therapy and training could also help strengthen your core. I think you need to find a board certified plastic surgeon from this ASPS group (lots of plastic surgeons are "board certified" in something other than plastic surgery) and have a good chat with them. A multidisciplinary approach will promise an excellent result that you will enjoy for many years to come. Hope this helps!

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Jon Ver Halen
ASPS Surgeon
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Dear TillieC,

Hello and thank you for your excellent question. Your medical problems are not an absolute contraindication for a tummy tuck, but you will very likely need preoperative lab work and medical clearance before have the procedure. It is essential that you have an in-person consultation to develop a treatment plan that specifically addresses your personal surgical goals, and your body’s anatomy. I recommend that you find a board-certified, or board-eligible plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable. Be sure to have all of your questions answered during a face-to-face meeting with your surgeon, and review before and after pictures of similar patients whom have had this procedure. If you have any questions, call our office for assistance. Good luck!

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