Study: Post-pregnancy tummy tuck can help reduce back pain and urinary incontinence
Why is getting a tummy tuck after pregnancy possible a good idea?
It's a well-known secret that many mums who opt for a C-section, also request for a tummy tuck to get rid of excess excess tummy fat or skin. Also known as abdominoplasty, it's a widely-practised, popular cosmetic surgery. But a recent study points out that tummy tuck after pregnancy can help you with more than just getting rid of flab. The functional benefits of this process extend to resolving other postpartum issues as well.
Tummy tuck after pregnancy: benefits of a post-pregnancy abdominoplasty
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the official medical journal of the American Society Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Recently, this journal published a study that spoke about the benefits of a tummy tuck after pregnancy. The findings revealed that abdominoplasty can also help women in dealing with post-delivery problems like back pain and urinary incontinence.
The researchers picked 214 Australian women for this experiment from across nine plastic surgery centres.
The average age of these women was 42 years, and they had undergone 2.5 deliveries on an average. They were getting a tummy tuck after pregnancy to repair abdominal muscles and restore the shape and look of their abdominal area after childbirth.
Before they underwent the surgery, they filled out a questionnaire. The questions focused on detailing their experiences regarding back pain and incontinence after previous births.
Tummy tuck after pregnancy: the findings
Their responses indicated that 51% of the women had moderate to severe back pain problems. 42.5% of the women complained that urinary incontinence was a cause of concern. After the surgery, 9% still complained about the back pain. And only 2% said that incontinence was still an issue.
According to the researchers, this improvement may be attributed to the repairing of the abdominal muscle separation, or rectus diastasis, that is included in the surgery.
Tummy tuck after pregnancy: Here's what experts say
Dr Alistair Taylor, FRACS, of The CAPS Clinic in Deakin, Australia was the lead author for this study. According to Dr Taylor, "By reducing the problems of back pain and incontinence, abdominoplasty with rectus repair leads to a better life for women after childbearing."
He also suggests that considering the study results, health insurance plans should also recognise these functional benefits. He has appealed to Australia's Federal Health Department to review the decision of removing such surgeries from the Medicare Schedule of Benefits.
Dr Taylor told ABC News: "The operation would cost approximately half, performed in a private hospital compared to what it does currently."
Rod J. Rohrich, MD, the editor-in-chief of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery website, agreed that a tummy tuck after pregnancy has functional and cosmetic benefits. He shared: "If you are done having children, and still suffering from back pain or incontinence, you may consider an abdominoplasty as a surgical solution."
Tummy tuck after pregnancy: what to expect
Experts believe that the reasons for a protruding, loose or saggy abdomen could be:
- A previous surgery
- Major changes in weight
The process of a tummy tuck may take around two hours or even longer.
Here's what you can expect if you decide to undergo a tummy tuck after pregnancy.
- An intravenous sedation or a general anaesthetic is administered before the surgery.
- Next, a horizontal incision is made between the belly button and pubic hairline. The exact shape and length varies because it is related to the amount of excess skin.
- After this, to repair the muscles below, abdominal skin is lifted. Another incision may be created if the excess skin is in the upper abdomen.
- Once the muscles are repaired, the abdominal skin is pulled down. It is then trimmed and sutured together.
- The bellybutton is also adjusted. A new opening will be created for it, pushed to the surface and sutured in place.
- Incisions are closed and bandaged.
- A compression or elastic wrap may be used. This helps in reducing the swelling. It also provides support to your abdomen while it heals.
- Drainage tubes to drain off blood or fluid may be placed under the skin.
- Medication facilitates healing and reduces the chances of infections.
So tell us, would you consider a tummy tuck after pregnancy?