Many patients seek a tummy tuck to improve their appearance, but did you know that it can also help alleviate a variety of physical conditions? In this post, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Schlesinger discusses eight lesser-known benefits of tummy tuck surgery.
Tummy tuck surgery can correct diastasis recti, an embarrassing condition in which the abdominal muscles separate, causing the stomach to protrude, even for thinner patients. Research suggests that as many as 60% of pregnant or postpartum women experience diastasis recti, thanks to the uterus pushing forward during pregnancy. These abdominal muscles rarely contract after childbirth, leading to a host of issues including incontinence, lower back pain, and reduced self-image. Men can get diastasis recti too: genetics, weight gain, and improper exercise are common contributing factors.
While physical therapy can help with strengthening the abdominal muscles, I am able to more fully correct diastasis recti during tummy tuck surgery, improving both the function and appearance of the abdomen. For women, the procedure is best done after you are finished having children to avoid causing the abdominal muscles to re-stretch.
Stress urinary incontinence is a condition in which an individual experiences uncontrollable leakage of the bladder, typically initiated by sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising. Stress urinary incontinence is caused by weak pelvic floor or sphincter muscles that don’t allow the urethra to close properly, causing urine leakage.
Men can also experience stress urinary incontinence, but it primarily affects women who have given vaginal birth. While traditional solutions such as midurethral sling surgery can successfully treat incontinence, tummy tuck surgery is also extremely effective when it comes to treating the condition (~90% improvement among my patients), with the added benefits of strengthening and shaping the abdomen.
A strong core is the foundation for a strong body—and because a tummy tuck tightens the abdominal muscles, it will also make exercise easier and more pleasurable. With reduced fat and skin post-procedure, your range of motion will also improve, allowing you to expand your workout routine after healing is complete.
A tummy tuck can also help you maintain a stable weight: having a trimmer figure motivates many patients to follow a healthier diet and regular exercise routine. With fewer fat cells, you may also find that you feel full more quickly when eating; this is because decreasing your fat cells “lowers the volume” on the hormonal hunger messages they send to your hypothalamus.
Liposuction, a standard component of most tummy tuck procedures, can decrease the risk of adult-onset type 2 diabetes by reducing a person’s body fat. When you depopulate fat cells in the body, you decrease the work that the pancreas has to do. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, a hormone that helps our body digest glucose (blood sugar), so when the pancreas can more easily produce insulin, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases.
In addition to making you appear taller and slimmer, a tummy tuck can improve and prevent lower back pain. By increasing your core strength, you’ll naturally sit and stand straighter and refrain from slouching. As a personal example, I had a female patient with scoliosis referred to me by an orthopedic surgeon to have tummy tuck surgery to strengthen her core. While the surgeon’s hope was for the patient’s scoliosis to simply stabilize, we measured her spine with a scoliometer following surgery and found that her scoliosis had actually decreased.
Ventral hernias occur when the abdominal organs break through the abdominal wall and form a sack, causing the lower belly to protrude. Ventral hernias develop when the abdominal muscles are weakened, typically from weight gain and loss, a C-section, or appendectomy. Tummy tuck surgery can repair a ventral hernia by returning the abdominal organs to their proper positions and repairing the weakened lower abdominal muscles.
Women coping with excess skin and fat following weight gain or pregnancy may find their vulva sinks lower down the body, obscuring the clitoris. A tummy tuck lifts tissues above this area and thus improves access to the clitoris, increasing friction and enhancing pleasure during sexual activities. Many of my female patients are pleasantly surprised by this added benefit of tummy tuck surgery.
Since you will be shedding extra fat & skin and gaining a stronger core, many of my patients discover that tummy tuck surgery increases their confidence and self-image. Imagine being able to wear clothes that haven’t fit in years! You may also find yourself socializing more because you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in your body.
At the Breast Implant Center of Hawaii, I offer my patients the Ultimate Silhouettplasty, an advanced tummy tuck procedure that adds aggressive liposuction to remove any residual upper abdominal fat, as well as any stubborn fat and scar tissue around the waistline, after the initial skin excision and abdominal repair. This second-stage liposuction creates a cinched waistline that could not be achieved with a traditional tummy tuck.
Performing this liposuction after I’ve removed excess skin and tightened the abdominals allows me to remove more skin because I am able to retain horizontal blood supply, providing better results and enhancing patient safety.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Schlesinger has been helping his Honolulu patients increase their health and self-esteem for over 30 years with tummy tuck surgery. To learn more about how Dr. Schlesinger can help you feel more comfortable and confident in your body, contact him online or call (808) 597-8835.