Being a mom can be one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have, yet pregnancy certainly can wreck havoc on her body. Our ab muscles sometimes separate, and our skin stretches and stretches to accommodate our growing bundle of joy. What we are left with is a lot of sagging skin and no matter how many crunches we do, we will never regain that flat abdomen. To make matters worse, our breasts seem to deflate after nursing. While we may beam with pride over our beautiful children, the woman we see in the mirror when we step out of the shower is a far cry from the one we used to see before we had those children. Let’s face it; even with a strict exercise regimen and healthy diet, many of the physical changes resulting from childbirth simply cannot be reversed without the help of a Mommy Makeover. A Mommy Makeover refers to a combination of procedures including:
- Tummy tuck (full or mini)
- Breast augmentation and/or breast lift
- May include some liposuction or a labiaplasty for some mothers
The advantage of the Mommy Makeover is that it is typically packaged together and done in one surgery, depending on the number of procedures needed. This helps to reduce costs and reduces the number of times a person is under anesthesia. There is no need to feel guilty about doing something to make yourself feel better about the way you look, after all mothers do so much for others and little for themselves. If you are bothered by the changes in your physical appearance after having children, the Mommy Makeover, may be perfect for you!
Am I a Good Candidate?
Do you long for your pre-pregnancy shape? Are your breasts sagging and seemingly non-existent? Do you have a “pooch” of skin and loose muscles for a stomach? Do you have a C-section scar that you would rather not see? Have you exercised and dieted to lose your pregnancy weight, but still don’t see the body you want when you look in the mirror? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, it’s likely you are a great candidate for a Mommy Makeover. Of course you have to have realistic expectations, have a full understanding of the procedure and recovery, and absolutely cannot be a smoker. For newer mothers, you are not a candidate until you have finished breast feeding, and you will need someone at home helping take care of your little one at the beginning of your recovery. If you are still considering having more babies, then it would be best to have any of the procures until you are done having children. Not everyone seeking a Mommy Makeover will need all of the procedures discussed. Our doctor will help you determine how to achieve your goals, and what procedures are necessary to accomplish those goals. In addition, in some cases it is not possible to perform all of the procedures at one time, due the complexity of an individual case. We work with our patients to try to make this as an affordable solution under varying circumstances. Now is the time to book a complimentary consultation with our doctor to see if you are a good candidate for the Mommy Makeover and make plans to fit it into your busy schedule!
A Mommy Makeover targets the tummy and the breasts and often involves three surgical procedures at once, the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), the breast augmentation, and/or the breast lift (mastopexy). In approximately four hours, this combination of procedures can restore not only a woman’s pre-pregnancy body, but also can restore her body confidence.
The abdominoplasty with rectus plication entails the removal of the excess, stretched skin and fat from the lower abdomen, and the repair of the separated abdominal muscles. Good-bye, Mommy “pooch.” Hello, flat tummy! In addition stretch marks found below the below the belly button, are often removed when the excess skin from the stomach is excised. For many, the procedure may also involve either moving their belly button, or remaking one completely, if it is significantly deformed. The incision is low in the abdominal region, and the doctor often removes or incorporates an existing C-section incision. The length of the incision varies depending on the size of the patient and the amount of skin being removed. Our surgeon extends the incision towards the hips as long as necessary to avoid “Dog Ears”, or a redundancy of the skin. The doctor may perform some liposuction, but will not treat the area near or around the stomach, as it is best to not disrupt the newly formed flap from the Tummy Tuck. When indicated a patient may have liposuction once everything has healed properly, however more often than not the patients end up slimming down following the Mommy Makeover, and not needing the liposuction.
Breast augmentation will restore the volume lost during the post-partum period. With the many options in profiles of silicone gel and saline implants, a woman can recreate her pre-pregnancy silhouette or opt for a whole new look. The breast skin is stretched both during pregnancy and during breast feeding. Once breast feeding has ceased the breasts often shrink and sag. In some women, an implant is adequate to restore the shape and provide the lift needed to achieve the pre-pregnancy look of their breasts. The placement of the implant over the muscle rather than under the muscle also helps provide additional lift with the implant.
In many cases the Mastopexy or breast lift is incorporated in the Mommy Makeover because of the rapid increase and decrease in breast size during and after pregnancy, the skin stretches and loses elasticity. Even with the increase in volume with the implant, there is most likely the issue of sagging skin that can only be resolved with a breast lift. There are a few different types of lift options that the doctor will discuss with you at the consultation. The position of the nipple on the breast has a lot to do with whether or not you need a lift, and if so which type of lift would work best. With a traditional breast lift, there is an incision around the areola, down the front of the breast and under the breast in the area called the inframmary crease. The scar is often referred to as an anchor formation, and is dreaded unnecessarily by many women. With proper scar management and some time, most of these scars heal well and fade to be barely noticeable. If the scar were to spread, we have options for scar revision to help minimize the appearance as much as possible. Some women do not require the full traditional lift and may be a candidate for a Vertical Lift. This is the same as a traditional lift, but without the incision under the breast. This is referred to a Lollipop incision. A Circumareolar Mastopexy, a less involved type of breast lift is sometimes adequate for women needing a breast lift. This involves the incision being placed around the areola, so that once the implants are in place the nipples and areola are centered properly. An even less invasive lift, called a crescent lift involves making a small incision at the top of the areola allowing the surgeon to lift up on the area for better nipple position over the implant. Our doctor will go over the type of lift, if any, is needed for your Mommy Makeover results to be optimal.
The Mommy Makeover is performed under IV sedation in the privacy of our accredited in office surgical suite, which allows for maximum privacy. During the Abdominoplasty procedure most patients elect to have a pain medication injected into the abdominal tissues prior to the end of the procedure, which is a time released local anesthetic, Exparel, that provides reduction in discomfort for up to 72 hours following the tummy tuck surgery. Upon completion of the tummy tuck you will be wearing an abdominal compression binder that has been gently placed and have a small drainage tube placed under your skin to remove any drainage by removing excess fluid from the area where the tissues were dissected. For your augmentation and lift, you will be wearing a light support, front closure bra. Your post-op instructions along with our cosmetic coordinators and frequent visits with the surgeon will guide you through the days and weeks ahead. The tummy tuck is more uncomfortable in the recovery phase for most of the patients. The Exparel along with oral pain medication have really cut down on the level of discomfort previously experienced with this procedure. You should be prepared to have a friend or family member stay with you for the first few days so that you can take it easy rather than returning to full time mothering. It is very important for you not to over exert yourself after your surgery, while at the same time in those first few days making sure to get up and walk around frequently. The more you rest those first few days and weeks, the better you will heal. Most Mommy Makeover patients return to normal activities after two weeks, and once given the go ahead from the doctor can return to workouts within six weeks. We have never had a Mommy Makeover patient regret the decision to do something for herself, and as with childbirth the discomfort after the procedure becomes a distant memory, and you are left with something wonderful from the experience…Your Body Back!
Will I still have stretch marks after the tummy tuck?
In a word, maybe. A tummy tuck will remove many of the stretch marks in the lower abdominal areas, but the upper abdominal skin may have stretch marks that are still visible. Every woman is different, but the doctor’s goal is to remove as many of the stretch marks and loose skin as possible, which will result in a flat smooth stomach with a markedly reduced amount of stretch marks.
Will I be in a lot of pain after the Mommy Makeover?
There is definitely discomfort associated with the triple shot, tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and breast lift. The tummy tuck typically results in the most discomfort. Luckily, our practice offers Exparel, a 72-hour time released analgesic that is injected into the soft tissue of the abdomen before closing the tissues. Many of our patients who opt to have this pain medication tell us that they experience very little pain, if any when coupled with the pain medication prescribed. After the first few days, the discomfort subsides and it is just a matter of allowing time for the body to heal. The goal is to have the abdomen as tight as possible, as the surgeon knows the skin will relax over time. As a result, initially it may be uncomfortable to stand up straight the first few days until the skin begins to relax.
Can I have more children after my Mommy Makeover?
Of course, but do you really want to go through the expense of the surgery only to have another pregnancy take its toll on your restored body? Truly, you should be sure that you are finished having children before considering a Mommy Makeover.
Terms to Know
Exparel – a time released pain medication that is injected into the soft tissue during the tummy tuck, with the goal of minimizing the discomfort from the procedure. If you have friends that had a tummy tuck without Exparel they probably described it as extremely painful. We find that with the Exparel our patients are far more comfortable following the tummy tuck surgery.
Rectus Plication – During pregnancy when the uterus enlarges, the 2 abdominal muscles in the front of the abdomen are pushed apart, and the result may be an abdominal bulge. Many patients almost look somewhat pregnant despite diet and exercise, because of the abdominal wall muscle spreading and laxity. During a tummy tuck, the surgeon will tighten the abdominal wall. Loose underlying tissue and muscles are sewn together to give the patient that flatter stomach she had pre-pregnancy. The suturing of the abdominal wall is called a rectus plication. Not all patients can have or need this part of the tummy tuck. The surgeon will determine the necessity for the plication. It is not recommended for women with certain previous abdominal surgery and other medical conditions. This is just another reason you need to be in the hands of a skilled board-certified plastic surgeon.
Seroma – A seroma is literally a collection of fluid, and is one of the sequale of the tummy tuck procedure. It is important to follow the post-op instructions and not be in a rush to have the drain removed prematurely, because you are at greater risk for seroma formation. We closely monitor all tummy tuck patients, to minimize the risk of developing a seroma. The good news is that if one does develop it can be treated by draining the area, or reinserting the drains.