Helping Mums to Fix the Separation of the Abdominal Muscles after Childbirth
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has submitted an application to request Medicare reinstate public funding for a procedure to fix separation of the abdominal muscles after pregnancy, a condition known as Rectus Diastasis or Rectus Divarication (RD).
The ASPS have worked hard to put this application together because they believe it is in the community’s best interest to have this surgery publicly funded. These women, through no fault of their own are experiencing functional impairments post-partum as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.
Some women who have given birth are left with RD which fails to resolve on its own or with non-surgical treatment like physiotherapy. A small number of women with RD have significant low back pain and trunk weakness, such as urinary incontinence. These health problems can severely impact on these women’s quality of life and their health.
Why Take this Procedure Away from Women?
Prior to 2016 this particular group of women were able to access the surgery through Medicare. But in 2016 this help was removed for this group of women, but the procedure remained publicly funded for other patient groups, such as for those who have undergone massive weight loss or the removal of a tumour.
The ASPS are asking the Government to reinstate the Medicare rebate for post-partum women with functional impairment who meet a stringent set of criteria regarding severity. We are not asking Medicare to provide rebates for cosmetic operations.
How You Can Help the ASPS to Help Women
If patients, concerned women or medical practitioners have a view on whether this operation should be funded by Medicare, the ASPS would like you to send in one of the completed Consultation Surveys.
Even if you have sent a letter of support or signed a petition previously, it is vital to complete and send these surveys if the ASPS is to be successful, as they offer more targeted feedback.
This is the ASPS second attempt. The Government did not support the initial application but the ASPS are hoping new clinical evidence and the addition of public voices to show the level of public support and patient need will help.
If you would like to know more about this application and the history of abdominoplasty and the MBS, please see the ASPS Information Sheet.
Share with your networks of friends, family and colleagues so the ASPS can be sure to capture as many perspectives as possible. The Department of Health take patient contributions and feedback seriously and the ASPS hope to highlight how important this procedure was and is for many mothers and their families.
If you have any questions, email email@example.com and we can put you in touch with Kerrie Edwards the patient who organised the latest survey.