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In the NewsPlastic Surgery

Surgeons Combine Tummy Tuck With Bladder Surgery After Pregnancy

New mothers have to deal with many changes to their bodies. A new surgical combination gives them the option to take care of two post-pregnancy problems one medical and one cosmetic at once.

ABC News in San Francisco reported on an ob-gyn and a plastic surgeon who teamed up to perform a pelvic sling procedure to correct bladder issues that arise after pregnancy and a tummy tuck to remove excess skin from the abdomen and to tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall.

One mother, whom ABC interviewed, said her two pregnancies took an embarrassing toll on her body. “Every day you have to wear these thick pads so that you stay dry. Going down the steps, picking up your child from the car seat, a little bit of exertion you get wet,” she said, explaining her bladder problem.

Rather than having her bladder issue fixed with conventional surgery, she decided on the combination procedure. “I know I’ll never be the same as before I had the children, but I think it will be spirit lifting,” she said.

Plastic surgeon Carolyn Chang, MD, FACS, who has performed tummy tucks after the pelvic sling procedure at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, said, “I like to call this the ultimate mommy makeover.”

The bladder procedure takes about a half hour, after which Dr. Chang performs the abdominoplasty.

Potential Risks vs. Benefits

There are always risks to surgery, and one of the downsides of combining procedures is a longer time in the operating room and a potentially more complicated recovery if there are problems with either surgery.

However, there are some possible benefits to combining the procedures. The costs could be lower, because while the tummy tuck isn’t covered by insurance, some shared expenses such as anesthesia and the recovery room may be. Another possible advantage is that the patient will have a single recovery time for the two procedures.

Psychologically it could make going under the knife easier as well. “You’re doing a surgery that you want with a surgery that you medically need and that makes having surgery in general much more palatable,” said Dr. Chang.