Tummy Tuck Not Just A Cosmetic Procedure: Abdominoplasty May Reduce Back Pain, Urinary Incontinence

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Women who had abdominoplasty with repair of the abdominal muscles reported major improvements in disability caused by back pain and urinary incontinence. How does tummy tuck help address these health issues?  ( Valery Hache | AFP/Getty Images )

Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck surgery, helps women restore their pre-pregnancy shape.

FIndings of a new study, however, have revealed that the procedure can also alleviate two of the most common complaints of women after child labor and delivery.

Removes Excess Fat And Skin

Figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) showed that 129,753 Of the nearly 1.8 million surgical procedures performed in in 2017 were a tummy tuck. The number of individuals who had tummy tuck increased by 2,000 from the year 2016 to 2017.

"An improved abdominal contour is something that many of us strive for, but for some patients, that may not be attainable through diet and exercise alone," said Jeffrey Janis, ASPS president.

"Tummy tucks performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon remove excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restore weakened or separated muscles to create an improved abdominal profile."

More Than Just A Cosmetic Procedure

A tummy tuck can help people achieve the figure that they want but the new research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed that there is more to abdominoplasty than aesthetics.

Researcher Alastair Taylor, of CAPS Clinic in Deakin, Australia, and colleagues found that abdominoplasty can also improve back pain and urinary incontinence after childbirth.

In a study involving 214 women who underwent abdominoplasty with repair of the abdominal muscles, Taylor and colleagues asked the participants to complete questionnaires about their disability from back pain and urinary incontinence before and after the surgery.

After six weeks, the women repeated major improvements in both problems. At six months, only 9 percent claimed they have a moderate disability from back pain, and less than two percent remains to have a significant problem with urinary incontinence.

"The results demonstrate that tummy tucks do have functional benefits, as well as cosmetic ones, particularly in the postpartum population," said Rod J. Rohrich, a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery editor-in-chief.

The findings are consistent with earlier case reports that showed improvements in back pain and urinary incontinence after a tummy tuck. These improvements could be the results of the restoration of the strength and stability of the abdominal and pelvic regions as the operation involves repair of the so-called rectus repair or abdominal muscle separation, that may happen after pregnancy.

"Abdominoplasty with rectus repair creates a significant improvement in the functional symptoms of low back pain and urinary incontinence," the researchers wrote in their study.

Taylor said that health insurance plans need to recognize that abdominoplasty offers functional benefits and not just a cosmetic improvement.

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