When you hear the words “tummy tuck,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Probably a person who wants a smaller waist or a flatter, more toned-looking stomach. While the goal of a tummy tuck is often to make the abdominal area look tight and slim, the surgery can also provide significant medical benefits to some patients. Read on to learn more about what a tummy tuck can do for you, both medically and cosmetically.
A Tummy Tuck Can Help Improve Incontinence
New moms often experience stress incontinence, which can be both annoying and embarrassing. When you have stress incontinence, “accidents” happen when pressure on the bladder causes urine leakage. You might pee a little bit when you sneeze, cough or try to pick up something heavy. Natural childbirth is the most common cause, but the condition can also develop with age. Anything that makes the muscles in the pelvic and abdominal area become weaker can trigger stress incontinence.
An abdominoplasty might be able to help reduce the signs and symptoms of stress incontinence by tightening both the abdominal muscles and the muscles of the pelvic floor. One study of post-partum women who underwent abdominoplasty surgery found that many of the participants experienced an improvement in their incontinence within six months of surgery.
A Tummy Tuck Can Repair Separated Muscles
The muscles in the abdominal area are known as the rectus abdominis muscles. When a person is toned and in shape, these muscles are what create the six- or eight-pack look. Usually, the two muscles sit right next to each other, running vertically up and down the abdomen. During pregnancy, the two muscles often separate, a condition known as diastasis recti.
In some cases, the separation can be very severe. This most often occurs in women with shorter torsos or in women who are carrying more than one child. After pregnancy, the separation between the two muscles can cause the abdominal area to look fuller and rounder than before, which can affect the way clothing fits and harm a woman’s self-esteem.
Diastasis recti can also have an adverse effect on the strength of the abdominal, or core, area. Since the muscles are pulled out of position, the core is usually weaker. Separated abdominal muscles can also increase back pain.
Since a tummy tuck helps to tighten the stomach muscles, it can be performed to repair diastasis recti and help strengthen the core while reducing lower back pain.
A Tummy Tuck Eliminates Problems Associated With Excess Skin
One of the “surprises” of extreme weight loss is that people can be left with a large amount of stretched out, loose skin. The loose skin is typically a cosmetic concern, as it can affect the fit of clothing and cause self-consciousness. But loose skin can be a medical concern as well.
Having folds of loose skin can increase the risk of developing yeast infections or skin irritation, as sweat tends to build up in the folds. It’s also often more difficult to wash and dry the skin, which can cause trouble with body odor and bacteria.
When a person is carrying extra skin after weight loss, they are still carrying some extra weight. The loose skin can impede further weight loss and fitness goals.
Fortunately, a tummy tuck can remove extra skin from the abdominal area, minimizing some of the complications of weight loss. People who have loose skin all over might also benefit from a body lift, which removes extra skin from the hips, lower back, and abdomen.
A Tummy Tuck Can Repair Certain Types of Hernia
When a ventral hernia occurs, abdominal tissue pushes through the wall of muscle, forming a little bulge. People with weakened abdominal muscles from pregnancy or weight loss are at an increased risk for a ventral hernia. Tightening the abdominal muscles can help to repair a hernia and reduce the risk of it reoccurring. For that reason, many patients choose to have an abdominoplasty at the same time as a hernia repair.
If you are considering a tummy tuck and want to learn more about what is involved with the procedure, a board-certified plastic surgeon can help. In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas has nearly 30 years of experience working with patients to help them reach their cosmetic and health goals. To learn more about what a tummy tuck can do for you, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas today.