Responses about Hernias and Tummy Tucks

Barbara,
I had gastric bypass surgery in April 2003. I did really well; until I had my tummy tuck in January 2006, after which I has some major problems and started slipping. At the time they were unsure I had a hernia. They were fairly positive, but couldn’t confirm prior to surgery. During surgery, they did indeed find a hernia, and repaired it at the same time.  The surgeon that took care of the hernia was on standby for the surgery, and came in to take care of the hernia without any problems.

My tummy tuck was done by a plastic surgeon.  I was very happy with my results until approximately 4 weeks after surgery when I sneezed and developed a “very” large hematoma that I had to have evacuated.  I ended up with a small pouch (which was filled with a fluid) that never went away.  My surgery was almost all covered by insurance, as I was able to prove “medical necessity”.

Monique

Dear Barbara,
I had a tummy tuck done about 8 years ago, and it was done by a plastic surgeon.  During the initial exam with the plastic surgeon, she discovered a sizeable hernia, and had one of her partners who was a general surgeon do the repair at the same time. I had very good outcomes for both surgeries, and I had almost 10 lbs. of excess skin removed.  I was very happy with the results, and have been very happy since. 

My insurance company paid 90% of the total bill, and I just stayed overnight in the hospital. My insurance company approved the surgery because of the hernia, the size of my “apron,” and because I was having medical issues with things like yeast infections.  We tried to get the lower body done at the same time, but the insurance company denied that, and currently we are working with a couple of my doctors to get a lower body lift approved along with a breast reconstruction. 

I would do the tummy tuck again, even though the recovery was a little uncomfortable. I had a couple of drain tubes for several weeks post-op. 

Thanks,
Jerri

Barbara,
I had my gastric bypass surgery almost 3 years ago, and had an umbilical hernia before the surgery was even scheduled. I developed the hernia after my pregnancies many years prior. My bariatric doctor tried to fix it without a screen when he did the laparoscopic bypass, but it didn't work. A year later after I had lost about 110 pounds my insurance company, Aetna, approved not only the hernia, but a tummy tuck as well due to persistent rashes I was getting from the extra skin. My plastic surgeon did both the hernia repair with a screen, and the tummy tuck, with marvelous results. The hernia was quite problematic, and stuck directly to my belly button, so she had to create a "fake" belly button for me. As all the swelling subsided the "new" belly button is slightly off center, but it was impossible to know how I would heal, and I do not fault my plastic surgeon for that.

She has offered to do another procedure to pull the belly button slightly more in the center, but because it is so minor, I truly don't care that it's a little off center. Therefore I have chosen not to do that (I've had enough surgery, thank you very much :-).

I would advise your reader to look into this, and a plastic surgeon certainly can do a hernia repair, so she should pursue that with her insurance company.

I hope this helps,

Diane

Barbara,
I developed a hernia after having the full open bariatric surgery. The bariatric surgeon did the hernia procedure and did the skin removal. The results were wonderful, no problems were encountered and almost all was covered by insurance.

Kind regards,
Deb

Barbara,
I developed a hernia in 2006 below the sternum after my gastric bypass surgery in December 2004.  I couldn’t cough without it popping out.  It was like an alien, and it hurt so much.  My bariatric surgeon, Dr. Thomas Magnuson, did the hernia repair and the bariatric plastic surgeon, Dr. Lisa Beck, did a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and a breast reduction.  This was all covered by my insurance company (BC/BS).  What a difference.  My stomach hung down on my thighs and caused so many rashes, but now I have a relatively smooth stomach.  I lost 13 lbs after surgery but they only removed 6 lbs of tissue.  The tummy tuck did not even hurt, but I have had two C sections and one hysterectomy, so the nerves were cut a long time ago. 

It was hard to stand up in the beginning because the muscles were so tight. They do a muscle repair along with removing the extra skin.  My belly button is a little low, but it is not a problem.  I only wish I would have asked for liposuction of the midriff, as well as a full-body lift to the back.  I have a roll of fat on the love handles that the plastic surgeon said she could take care of, however now there is a cost. My friend had the same surgery, the same surgeon, and I told her to ask the surgeon to cut more of the love handles, and my friend is very happy. 

The breast reduction did not go as well for me.  I was an “F” cup and wanted to be a “C” cup.  I developed a nasty infection, and it took two months to recover just from the infection.  I have so many scars that can be fixed, but I had enough. I am not going to wear a revealing bikini anytime soon.

I wanted to wait for the hernia surgery, because it was incentive for me to lose more weight, but the hernia was too bad.  It was very dangerous according to the surgeon. 

I am back on track to losing weight again, and now think about my arms and the bat wings I have developed.  I am thinking about it, but not really doing anything about it.  I keep lifting those weights.

Barbara, you give us all incentive to do better and know there is hope for all of us.

Sandi

Hi Barbara,
I had a hernia repair and tummy tuck with a lower body lift, at the same time. My bariatric surgery was laparoscopic.  My bariatric surgeon, Dr. Gregg Jossart, did the hernia repair and then my plastic surgeon, Dr. Bermudez, stepped in to finish the tummy tuck with lower body lift. The hernia repair was successful. The lower body lift, perhaps not so much, as I was left with one side bigger than the other. My plastic surgeon was on crutches for the procedure with an assistant, so I'm not sure how much that played into it. I accept my body as it is now. The plastic surgeon took no responsibility for my ‘crookedness’.

Tania

Hi Barbara,
I had a hernia two years following my open gastric bypass surgery in 2001.  I underwent a hernia repair, tummy tuck, and hysterectomy all in one operation.  Of course my surgeon who did my gastric bypass surgery, also is the one that did my tummy tuck and hernia repair.  I had another surgeon who was a urologist, come in and do the hysterectomy.  I am so glad that I did it that way to minimize recovery time, as I only had to recover from one surgery instead of going in for three different surgeries.  

The one thing about having my bariatric surgeon do my tummy tuck is that he did not use mesh when repairing the hernia, as this causes problems within the intestines.  

Thank you.
Tina

Hi Barbara,
I had my laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery in March 2004, after which I developed five hernias.  Seeing the last hernia, the surgeon suggested that I see a plastic surgeon to tighten the fascia and muscles.  The surgeon said that because I was so obese, almost 400 pounds, the mesh for the repair would not hold.  I had both the surgeon and plastic surgeon do the surgery in 2005, and have not had another hernia.  I had surgery this year to remove scar tissue in the abdominal area because of acute pain.  I am still experiencing some pain, but not as intense.  I have a hard time eating and have lost more weight. 

If asked would I do it all over again.........damn right!

Barbara

Hi Barbara,
I had gastric bypass surgery done laparoscopically. The surgeon told me hernias were still a problem with this type of surgery.  A year later I had hernia surgery, covered by insurance, of course, and I paid the doctor some cash on the side, and he did a tummy tuck.   He was not a plastic surgeon, obviously, but did a fantastic job!  It was the best money I ever spent. 

The tummy tuck was a big job. I had lost 170 lbs so there was a lot of hanging excess skin. The recovery was quick and easy, much easier than when I had excess skin taken off my arms by a plastic surgeon. I suppose the tummy tuck was not all ethical paying the Dr on the side when insurance covered the other parts, but for me it was worth every penny!  Thank God for weight loss surgery!  It has changed my life. I love your monthly newsletter. 

Sheryl

Hi Barbara,
Before I respond to the issue, I just wanted to say thank you for your informative book and newsletters.  I am 6 years out from my bypass surgery, though now struggling greatly with weight regain.

I had a lower body lift and hernia surgery at the same time.  My insurance covered the majority of the cost and hospitalization.  The medical group  referred me to a plastic surgeon who did both procedures.  Due to a 120 lb weight loss, the doctor was able to justify the tummy tuck/hernia procedure and I paid the difference for the rear part of the procedure, hence the lower body lift. 

If you require anything else please let me know.

Debby

Hi Barbara,
Let me first start out by telling you how much I enjoy getting your newsletters.

In 2002 I had my bariatric surgery.  It was a complete success; I lost 135 pounds and am proud to say I have kept off the weight.  However, I did get a hernia.  The surgeon that did my bariatric surgery did the hernia repair, and a plastic surgeon did the tummy tuck.  My health insurance took care of the hernia surgery, operating room and anesthesia.  I had to pay obviously for the tummy tuck and then the insurance figured out an additional cost for how long it would take for my tummy tuck in the operating room and the additional cost of the anesthesiologist.  I was extremely happy that I was able to coordinate both.  When I went to my bariatric surgeon for planning my hernia surgery I spoke with him regarding a tummy tuck at the same time.  He put me in contact with the plastic surgeon and told me that they often do these surgeries together.  First the hernia repair and then when he’s finished the plastic surgeon comes in and does his part.  Both went very smoothly, and I am very happy with the outcome. The nice thing was only having to be put to sleep once.

Linda

I had both hernia repair and tummy tuck without any problems. The plastic surgeon did the tummy tuck and a lower body lift, and a general surgeon came in to do the hernia repair. The procedures took about 10 hours. I was in the hospital for 3 days. I ended up with another hernia as a result of the tummy tuck, and had it repaired in 2006. That was an outpatient procedure. I had a $3,000.00 deductable through for both episodes.

Don't be afraid! They are doing great things these days that can help you live a happier life!

Betty

Hi Barbara:
I had a tummy tuck done about 8 years ago and it was done by a plastic surgeon.  During the initial exam with the plastic surgeon, she discovered a sizeable hernia and had one of her partners do the repair at the same time (he was a general surgeon).  Both had very good outcomes, and I had almost 10 lbs. of excess skin removed.  I was very happy with the results and have been very happy since.  My insurance company paid 90% of the total bill and I just stayed overnight in the hospital.  My insurance company approved the surgery because of the hernia, the size of my “apron.” and because I was having medical issues (yeast infections, etc.).  We tried to get the lower body done at the same time, but the insurance company denied that and currently we are working with a couple of my doctors to get a lower body lift approved along with a breast reconstruction. 

I would do the tummy tuck again, even though the recovery was a little uncomfortable. 

Thanks,
Jerri