The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is calling on the government to replace abdominoplasty procedures, commonly known as a 'tummy tuck', on the Medicare rebate schedule to lower the amount of post partum women across Australia dealing with chronic pain.
It comes as new research reveals a 'tummy tuck' can reduce back pain and urinary incontinence after childbirth by up to 85 per cent. Around 1.6 million Aussie women are currently suffering with chronic back pain as a result of giving birth and more than 3 million deal with stress incontinence.
In 2016, the Department of Health reclassified tummy tucks as a cosmetic procedure, meaning Aussie women are now forced to fork out upwards of $6,000 to undergo the surgery.
The study included 214 women undergoing abdominoplasty at nine Aussie plastic surgery centres, with just over half of the women reporting medium to severe disability from back pain and 42 per cent suffering with urinary incontinence. After surgery, only 9 per cent of the patients still reported a moderate disability from back pain, while it was just 2 per cent for those dealing with urinary incontinence.
"Women should not be unfairly penalised for giving birth," said Mark Ashton, President of ASPS.
"There are many operations performed for the relief of chronic pain and instability incurred by sports injuries that are reimbursed by Medicare. Abdominoplasty should be considered in a similar light in that it is a procedure that fixes and instability and addresses pain and function issues."