Woman Shares Life-Changing Postpartum Surgery Following Painful Hernia

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A North Texas mother's shares her life-changing surgery that every woman will want to know about.

    After having three children, 34-year-old Kathleen Pritchard said she had an abnormally large stomach that exercise wouldn't fix.

    "I was miserable, I cried myself to sleep many nights," Pritchard said.

    A sizable, and extremely painful, hernia had developed after her third pregnancy and was expanding.

    Her core muscles were destroyed.

    "I couldn't lift my baby. I physically couldn't do anything, I couldn't enjoy my family,"  said Pritchard.

    You can see in her medical pictures taken by UT Southwestern Medical Center, the skin on her stomach was stretched. What was protruding, according to doctors, wasn't fat, but organs.

    "I was very embarrassed. I would have people ask as I was pushing around my 4- or 5-month-old child, when I was due. For the first month or two, OK. But five months postpartum, no," Pritchard said.

    Dr. Ron Hoxworth, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said exercise, even a tummy tuck, wasn't enough.

    "She truly had an anatomic and functional defect that was not going to go away, it wasn't going to get better and in fact it had gotten worse over time with all of those other nonsurgical interventions," Hoxworth said.

    Hoxworth performed an abdominal wall surgery and a tummy tuck. Pritchard said it took six months to completely heal, but she went from a size 14 to a 2.

    "I was able to get back into my pants that I hadn't worn since before I had any kids. That was so exciting because I thought, 'Finally, I am healed and whole again," Pritchard said. 

    Hoxworth said it is worth waiting 9-12 months postpartum before looking into this procedure.

    Ultimately this surgery is about function, it's about restoring function, getting them to a place where they can live their life and enjoy it," Hoxworth said.

    There's no doubt Kathleen is doing that.

    "I feel like I can do things that I couldn't do 10 years ago. I really feel like I am so energized," she said.