Few things in life bring as much joy as having children. As parents, we lovingly sacrifice for our children. These sacrifices may come in the form of lack of sleep, crazy carpool schedules, and financial investments for their future.
Pregnancy, however, can take a toll on a mother’s body during the growing, nurturing and feeding of a baby. A woman’s body changes in a multitude of ways during pregnancy – the hips become wider to allow the passage of a baby through the birth canal; the skin of the abdomen stretches and grows to accommodate a growing fetus, soon to be an infant child.
Add to this breastfeeding. A woman’s breasts not only go through the enlargement that pregnancy brings but also the changes that providing sustenance and nourishment for a child brings.
Some of these changes, thankfully, are reversible. The average weight gain during pregnancy should be about 30-35 pounds. The majority of this weight can be safely lost during the baby’s first year with a healthy regimen of good eating and exercise. Breastfeeding can assist in this weight loss by helping the body burn calories that have been stored during pregnancy.
But what about the changes associated with pregnancy that does not respond to weight loss? What about excess skin on the abdomen? What about stretch marks? What about the now sagging breasts? These problem areas do not always respond to dieting and exercise. This is where the “Mommy Makeover” comes in.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation or breast enhancement surgery, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the U.S. The number of women having breast augmentations has increased by over 50 percent since 2000. Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tuck,” is also a commonly performed procedure, with a 133 percent rise during the last decade. The increasing popularity of these procedures mirrors the increasing popularity of plastic surgery in the general population.
A “Mommy Makeover” is a combination of procedures that restore a woman’s body to its natural, pre-pregnancy state. The goal is to bring back to form what was stretched-out during the growing and nurturing of a child. For many women, this may start with an abdominoplasty, which tightens the excess skin of the lower abdomen, leaving a scar that can be hidden low in the bikini line. Often, many of the stretch marks of the abdomen can be removed with this procedure. The muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened to improve the “tone” of the abdomen. Liposuction is often performed to additionally contour the abdomen.
The changes in a woman’s breasts are the next area to be addressed, many times during the same operative procedure as abdominal contouring. Often, women complain that they are “empty” or “deflated” and “droopy” or “low.” Breast implants can be used to replace the volume of the breasts, and a breast lift might be recommended to tighten the skin of the breasts to a more natural, youthful position.
Breast implants come in a variety of sizes and shapes, not to mention materials. Although saline implants are still more commonly used, some women prefer silicone implants for its ability to mimic the “feel” of a natural breast. We will discuss in detail the risks, benefits and difference between the two styles of implants to help you make a choice that is best for you and your lifestyle.
Other concerns may be addressed during a “Mommy Makeover” such as unwanted fullness in the hips, thighs, and arms. These areas can be contoured with lipo-sculpture, or liposuction to improve your overall proportion.
A “Mommy Makeover” may be performed in a single operation or in staged procedures, depending on your general health and of the complexity of the operation. Also, depending on the length of the procedure, an overnight hospital stay may be recommended as well. Safety should be the guiding principle of any elective surgery.
Nothing should overshadow the joy that pregnancy and raising a family brings. As a mother and surgeon, I understand that the changes you see in your body with pregnancy are simply that. Changes. These changes associated with pregnancy, motherhood and aging affect each woman differently and can be improved upon with new advances in surgical techniques. A consultation and examination is your first step toward a “Mommy Makeover”. We will listen to your concerns, assess your problem areas and discuss which options will help you achieve your desired results.