Image: A new study suggests tummy tucks can reduce incontinence and back pain following delivery (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
A new study suggests that abdominoplasty significant improves functional symptoms of lower back pain (LBP) and urinary incontinence (UI) experienced by women after labor and delivery.
Researchers at the CAPS Clinic (Deakin, ACT, Australia), Sydney Children's Hospital (Australia), and other institutions conducted a multicenter prospective study involving 214 women (mean age 42.1 years, mean parity 2.5, mean body mass index (BMI) 26.3 kg/m2) presenting for abdominoplasty at nine centers, in order to examine the incidence of LBP and UI in the postpartum population and improvement following surgery. The Oswestry Disability Index and the International Consultation on Incontinence questionnaires were filled preoperatively and at six weeks and six months postoperatively.
The results showed that in the preoperative questionnaires, about 51% of women had moderate to severe disability from LBP, and UI was a significant concern for 42.5%. But at follow-up questionnaires, only 9% of patients still had moderate disability from LBP at six months, while UI remained a significant problem for less than two percent of women. Preoperative predictors of LBP were BMI greater than 25 kg/m2 and umbilical hernia; predictors of UI were age older than 40 years and vaginal deliveries. The improvements in LBP and UI were similar, regardless of abdominoplasty technique used. The study was published in the March 2108 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
“Abdominoplasty has a proven functional benefit as well as a cosmetic benefit. By reducing the problems of back pain and incontinence, abdominoplasty with rectus repair leads to a better life for women after childbearing,” said lead author D. Alastair Taylor, MD, of The CAPS Clinic. “Health insurance plans should recognize that abdominoplasty has functional benefits, beyond the cosmetic improvement offered.”
Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a “tummy tuck”, is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to make the abdomen thinner and firmer. The procedure involves removal of excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. Functional improvements in LBP and UI may result from restoring strength and stability in the abdominal and pelvic region, as the procedure includes repair of the abdominal muscle separation (rectus diastasis) that can tear after pregnancy.
Sydney Children's Hospital