The article below appears in the August edition of  Vogue Magazine Australia.

Bounce Back

Doctor Alastair Taylor had been performing his unique technique for tummy tucks, or abdominoplasties, for some years before he discovered a welcome side– or, rather, back – effect.

Dr Taylor, a plastic surgeon and the founder and director of the CAPS Clinic in Canberra, learned of the unexpected benefits one day when a physiotherapist rang to tell him that all of her patients who had previously experienced back pain reported their symptoms were alleviated after undergoing an abdominoplasty procedure with him.

For many of these women, the back pain they had experienced was the result of the separation of stomach muscles during pregnancy. This can cause problems, as it leads to a lack of support for muscles in the back.

Recognising how common post-pregnancy back problems are, Dr Taylor now works closely with an osteopath and a physiotherapist to offer a unique solution for some forms of back pain through abdominoplasty. Dr Taylor notes, however, that not all abdominoplasties will achieve the same results. In contrast to traditional abdominoplasties, which are designed to simply aid weight loss and help improve a patient’s physical appearance, Dr Taylor’s procedure also aims to repair and restructure damaged stomach muscles. A tummy tuck procedure where fat and loose skin is removed but the muscles are not treated will do nothing to alleviate back pain, he says.

Dr Taylor also ensures that patients remain in hospital for three days after their surgery and are seen by either an osteopath or a physiotherapist, who can offer additional support and guidance during this recovery phase. In addition to seeing an improvement in the appearance of their stomach area, most patients experience reduced back pain within just one month of their surgery, according to Dr Taylor.

While his procedure has achieved some impressive results, Dr Taylor cautions that there are some caveats. A small weight gain should not lessen the back pain-related benefts of procedures that restructure the stomach muscles, but significant increases in weight, or a subsequent pregnancy, could make it less effective. Despite some doctors’ suggestions to the contrary, Dr Taylor also warns against having a tummy tuck performed at the same time as a caesarean section. This is because of the rapid physical changes that women experience post-pregnancy, therefore Dr Taylor advises waiting at least six months after giving birth before undergoing an abdominoplasty.