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Tummy Tuck

More Potential Tummy Tuck Benefits

Woman in field

There may be more to like about the tummy tuck than ever.  A recent study suggests that patients who undergo abdominoplasty may gain relief from urinary incontinence symptoms after surgery as well as a smooth, flat torso.

In an article published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the clinical publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a team of researchers discussed their goal of adding to the body of evidence previously produced about abdominoplasty and incontinence.  This team of Ohio doctors reviewed surveys from 50 patients who had experienced stress incontinence prior to abdominoplasty.  Of that group, 30 reported improvement in symptoms following  tummy tuck surgery.

One of the authors explained how the process works in an ASAPS press release.  Dr. James McMahan noted that when enough soft tissue is elevated during a tummy tuck, the result can also suspend the urethra and serve to help block the inadvertent release of urine.  This effect seems most likely to occur in patients who have not undergone a cesarean section during childbirth.

This study is not the first indication that abdominoplasty has the potential to help women who struggle with incontinence.  An Australian team surveyed 59 patients in 2009 and found that 25% reported improved symptoms after electing tummy tuck surgery for aesthetic reasons.  Anecdotal reports from single patients in the 1990s also suggested that incontinence can be alleviated as a side benefit of abdominoplasty.

Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most popular and consistently highly rated cosmetic procedures.  Year after year, more than 100,000 patients undergo abdominoplasty.  95% are women, and most of them seek to restore pre-pregnancy muscle tone and taut skin.  It makes sense that some of this group of patients would also suffer from incontinence.  If the procedure can be fine-tuned to address all these issues, abdominoplasty is destined to become even more popular and satisfying.

That’s exactly what the next step should be, according to Dr. McMahan.  He advocates that detailed studies be conducted to develop specific surgical techniques that can be performed by plastic surgeons to address incontinence during tummy tuck procedures.  In addition, more investigation is needed to determine which patients have the best chance of seeing improvement in their condition.

For more information, visit the website of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.


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