I was perusing through some of the many parenting magazines in my son’s pediatrician’s office the other day, and I happened to notice the numerous ads for creams and herbal remedies that promise to make a mom’s tummy flatter and breasts fuller. With dazzling photos of women with toned abs and fuller breasts, these ads seem to promise the impossible. But, these tantalizing ads speak to the desire of millions of moms out there who would love to have their body back to the way it looked before they had children.
As a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast and body contouring surgery and as a husband of a mom of three children, I have come to appreciate how having one or more children can change a woman’s body. The effects of nursing children and the fluctuation in breast size during and after pregnancy can cause lasting changes in the shape and volume of a woman’s breasts. The weight gain and skin stretching associated with one or more pregnancies can also have permanent effects on the appearance of the abdomen. Fat deposits in the hips and thighs, stretch marks in the lower abdomen, and loosening of the abdominal muscles characterize the typical effects of pregnancy on a woman’s body. Every woman I have come across who is unhappy about her appearance after pregnancy has tried very hard to lose weight, tone up, and exercise hoping to improve her appearance. But the changes that are made as the result of pregnancy are often structural. And these structural changes will not be repaired by weight loss alone or any amount of exercise. For example, the rectus abdominis muscles (the 6-pack muscles) which are typically seen so clear cut in body builders are permanently loosened and stretched out as the result of pregnancies. The only method of definitively repairing this laxity of these muscles is to use internal sutures as part of a tummy tuck procedure.
Plastic surgery of the breasts and tummy is the most common procedure I do as a plastic surgeon. Known as the “mommy makeover”, such a procedure to reshape and firm up the breasts and tummy creates dramatic changes. The changes typically seen are not subtle. It is truly dramatic and can be life changing.
In moms who have had multiple pregnancies and have nursed children, the breasts typically sag due to the loss of volume. This loss of volume is typically addressed by the use of breast implants. Most women who come in to see me do not want to appear “top-heavy” or out of proportion to the rest of their figure. They simply want to fill out their dress size and look flattering in a bathing suit. The two types of implants that are used are saline and silicone. Silicone implants typically feel more natural than saline implants, and the new cohesive gel implants that are used today are the latest generation of silicone implants which are semi-solid in their content and have been approved for general public use by the FDA.
Depending on the amount of sagginess to the breasts, an implant may or may not be enough to reshape the breasts. Often, a breast lift is performed together with the placement of breast implants to reshape the breasts to a more youthful appearance. Breast augmentation combined with a breast lift typically takes about 2-3 hours in surgery and is performed under general anesthesia. It can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
A tummy tuck is performed thru an incision in the lower abdominal region just above the hair bearing area of the pubic area. Typically, all of the loose skin, fat, and stretch marks below the level of the belly button are removed in a tummy tuck and the skin over the belly button is typically stretched to resurface the entire abdomen for a much more tight and youthful appearance. The belly button is preserved and relocated in a new place on the abdomen. In addition, loose abdominal muscles are tightened with internal sutures which flatten the abdomen and narrow the waistline.
The finishing touches of a mommy makeover are usually done with liposculpture. Suctioning away those stubborn areas of fat in the love handle areas and the thighs create a slimmer appearance to the torso and the thighs for a whole new contour of the body.
The complete mommy makeover typically takes about 5 hours of surgery and an overnight stay in recovery is usually recommended.
Are you ready to take your figure back?
Call today for your complimentary consultation with Dr. Richard Lee, Newport Beach and Orange County Mommy Makeover Plastic Surgeon at (949) 548-9312.