It's easy to think of a tummy tuck as a purely cosmetic procedure completed for aesthetic choices, rather than medical reasons. But what if the tummy tuck — also known as an abdominoplasty, which removes excess fat and skin and aims to firm up the abdomen — actually included health benefits for women after childbirth? A recent study just might change the way we all see the surgery forever — especially those of us who have had kids.
The March 2018 findings, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, studied 214 women who got tummy tucks at nine different plastic surgery centers in Australia. The women, who were an average age of 42 years old with an average of 2.5 deliveries, completed questionnaires about their health before and after their tummy tucks.
As many women who have given birth know, back pain and urinary incontinence can be two major problems for moms after delivering a baby. In this study's pre-surgery questionnaires, about 51 percent of women reported moderate to severe back pain, and 42.5 percent of women said urinary incontinence was a "significant concern" for them. But in post-surgery questionnaires six weeks later and six months later, the women reported major improvement in both of those problems. At the six-month mark, only nine percent of women still reported back pain, and less than two percent of women still complained of urinary incontinence.
Researchers say these improvements may happen because of newly restored strength and stability in the abdominal and pelvic region — considering the operation includes repair of abdominal muscle separation that can happen after a woman gives birth.
"The results demonstrate that tummy tucks do have functional benefits, as well as cosmetic ones, particularly in the postpartum population," said Rod J. Rohrich, MD, editor-in-chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "If you are done having children, and still suffering from back pain or incontinence, you may consider an abdominoplasty as a surgical solution."
It's worth keeping in mind that a tummy tuck might not be the right choice for every woman out there — regardless of whether or not she's given birth — but this study does shed light on some possible benefits if she does choose to get the surgery. And anything that helps women in pain feel better is something we're totally on board with!
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h/t Eureka Alert