Dr. James D. McMahan, a good friend and fellow member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, made a very interesting observation: some of his patients reported that a tummy tuck improved their back pain and urinary incontinence.
A tummy tuck is a body contouring procedure used to tighten abdominal muscles and remove excess skin. Occasionally, the tummy tuck is done with muscle repair and is also an excellent procedure to correct a hernia or light to moderate disability from back pain.
Together with Dr. Katherin Carruthers and Dr. John Hulsen, we came together to see if Dr. McManan’s observations could be supported by actual numbers.
Survey and Results
We developed a survey-oriented study to gather the data we required. This involved re-establishing contact with 250 women who had undergone a cosmetic abdominoplasty in our respective practices. These women were given a retrospective chart review to find out if they had noticed any improvements in regards to urinary incontinence.
Out of the 250 patients, 100 (about 40%) completed the questionnaires. Half of the respondents reported having experienced urinary incontinence before a tummy tuck.
Interestingly, nearly ⅔ of patients reported a significant improvement in their symptoms 3 – 6 years after the initial tummy tuck surgery. A common factor among these 30 women is the lack of having undergone a previous Caesarean section.
Conclusion and Further Research
These results suggest that tummy tuck surgery may have more than just a cosmetic benefit, but only if the abdominal wall has not been severely weakened by previous invasive surgery.
We have plans to continue investigating this interesting association between tummy tuck procedures and improvements in stress urinary incontinence by actually looking into why and how the changes are occurring. Imaging studies to look at urinary flow may help us uncover these answers.
Want to know more?
Our study was published in an issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. An abstract of our work is available on their website.
If you have additional questions or observations about tummy tuck surgery, we encourage you to email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.