Mr Nigel Horlock

Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon


Is a tummy tuck more than just a cosmetic procedure?

Abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck is primarily regarded as a cosmetic procedure. It’s commonly performed on women who’ve struggled to regain their shape post childbirth (although not exclusively). According to a recent study though, the procedure has functional benefits beyond the cosmetic ones which could have a life-changing effect for some women post-partum. The Australian study, published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) focused on two common complaints from women who’d given birth: back pain and urinary incontinence. The results were fairly clear cut with less than 2% of the 214 women studied reporting either of the conditions as still being significant six months after the surgery. Some common post-partum conditions During pregnancy, the stomach muscles effectively separate by stretching the seam in the middle to make space for the growing baby. Dependent on body shape and fitness levels the problem can be exacerbated but it affects nearly all pregnant women to some extent. The condition known as rectus diastasis doesn’t just leave the stomach looking flabby and out of shape. If the muscles are no longer where they should be there can be other side effects. Poor posture is common amongst many post-partum women. Weakened muscles and a layer of flabby skin can result in ‘sway back’ (lordosis) which in turn can lead to chronic back pain. The weakened state of the stomach muscles can also leave the body more prone to ventral hernias where tissue begins to force its way through the wall of the abdomen. Stress urinary incontinence is another common condition for women who’ve undergone a vaginal birth. The lack of muscle definition and excess skin can also lead to a general dip in fitness levels as women find it more difficult to adhere to pre-pregnancy workouts and exercise regimes. What’s involved in a tummy tuck Whilst the procedure is relatively straightforward it is still major surgery with up to five hours in the operating theatre and several weeks’ recuperation. Mr Horlock will have sutured the abdominal tissue into place and removed any excess skin and fatty tissue. By re-strengthening the body’s core everything should start to improve from lifting and sitting up straight to just simply breathing. To further alleviate stress incontinence, a small obstruction can be created to stop leakage from the bladder or the tummy tuck can...
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New figures from the US show cosmetic surgery still in good shape

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) have recently released their annual statistics and as the organisation is the largest of its type in the world and has more than 7,000 members with over 94% of all certified cosmetic surgeons in the US, the annual report can often give an early indication of global cosmetic surgery developments. It’s a pretty positive picture too, on the whole given the rapid technological changes. Whilst the growth in the total US number of procedures was a modest 2% from 2016 there were some individual trends that stood out. Tummy tucks make a comeback Tummy tucks, which had been on the decline and hadn’t even featured in the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for 2016 made a surprising rebound in 2017 with an increase of over 2,000 procedures. Possible reasons could be that more post-partum women are recognising the additional benefits of a procedure that can deliver functional benefits beyond the cosmetic results. There was also a staggering 20% growth in body sculpting and non-invasive fat procedures which would include ultrasound, radio frequency, vacuum massage, fat freezing and injectable medications. Non -surgical laser treatment for cellulite has also seen a 55% increase since 2000 with a 19% increase last year alone. The picture in the UK isn’t that different according to UK statistics produced in February by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), of which Mr Horlock is a member of. Unlike the US, though, there is a general decline in surgical procedures (around 8% year on year). The statistics from BAAPS only covers surgical procedures and do not include treatments that are deemed ‘non-surgical’ or ‘minimally invasive’ unlike the US figures. According to the BAAPS President Simon Withey, the downturn represents a ‘normalisation’ as there’s a growing awareness in the UK of the serious impact of surgical procedures and that surgery isn’t a ‘quick fix’ but is a longer-term commitment. Growth of non-invasive aesthetic options There are one or two major divergences though. Whilst liposuction has increased by 5% in the US the UK has seen a 28% reduction year on year, again this is almost certainly due to the variety of non-invasive options available now to combat fatty tissue. Although surgery has seen a general decline in the UK the tummy tuck continues to hold its own and whilst the procedure hasn’t seen the same growth as...
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Mr Horlock's NHS practice is based in the regional plastics unit at Salisbury District Hospital. He covers Salisbury, Southampton and Dorchester. He sees patients in his private practice at Southampton, Salisbury, Dorchester.



CONTACT MR HORLOCK
Spire Southampton Hospital
Chalybeate Close,
Southampton,
Hampshire
S016 6UY
02380 764 969
info@nigelhorlock.co.uk