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What's Up Magazine

Nip, Tuck and Heal

Aug 22, 2018 12:00AM

By Kelsey Casselbury

The biggest benefit of an abdominoplasty—better known by its colloquial name, a tummy tuck—has long been thought to be purely cosmetic. After all, that pooch probably resulted from a pregnancy, significant weight loss with excess skin left behind or even bad genetics. Certainly, none of those are considered a medical emergency.

However, along with those aesthetic benefits, an abdominoplasty surgical procedure with muscle repair can actually improve post-childbirth back pain and urinary incontinence, the top two complaints of women who have delivered a baby. In other words, this tummy tuck isn’t just cosmetic—it’s functional, reports a study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

The study involved more than 200 women who had delivered at least one child. Prior to the procedure, 51 percent of participating women noted moderate to severe back pain, while 42.5 percent were significantly concerned about urinary incontinence. After undergoing a tummy tuck, though, just 9 percent still experienced back pain and less than 2 percent still had issues with urinary incontinence.  

“By reducing the problems of back pain and incontinence, abdominoplasty with rectus repair leads to a better life for women after childbearing,” lead study author D. Alastair Taylor noted in a press release. 

Taylor also said he believes that insurance plans should recognize the functional benefits of the procedure, which costs an average of $5,798, according to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons—and it’s presently not covered by the vast majority of insurance plans.