From one mom to another: All about the “Mommy Makeover”
Today on the blog, a little education about a topic near and dear to my heart: the “mommy makeover.” As a plastic surgeon, I try not to show favoritism to any one operation, but I have to admit that I’m a bit partial to this one. “Mommy makeover” is a generic term used to describe surgery on the breasts and belly to address the changes of pregnancy. These are changes that exercise and diet alone can’t fix, because they are usually due, at least in part, to excess skin.
So, let’s spend a few minutes talking about what happens in a mommy makeover…
- You actually make it to the office for a consultation! Most of you moms spend all your time focused on the family, the kids, the job, and everything else except yourself. You never get to think about your own needs, your body, and what might make you feel good about yourself again.
- We figure out exactly what pregnancy did to YOUR body starting from the top down.
- Almost everyone, whether you breastfed or not, has droopy, saggy breasts after having a baby. You have lots of extra skin and your nipples might point down instead of out. If this is you, then you might need a MASTOPEXY or breast lift.
- If you breastfed, you probably lost a lot of breast volume in addition to the stretching of your skin. So, the full breasts you had while you were nursing went away and somehow took your old breasts with them. What you’re left with is flat on top and loose on the bottom. When you bend over in front of the mirror, your breasts look like socks filled with sand. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, lucky you! If this sounds familiar, you might need a BREAST AUGMENTATION with or without a MASTOPEXY.
- Every so often, a woman’s breasts get huge during pregnancy and never really go back. This might sound like a good thing to those of you in category i or ii, but extremely large breasts are just as big a nuisance as small, droopy breasts. If this is you, then a BREAST REDUCTION might be in order.
- Your belly stretched like crazy to accommodate your baby, and after the baby got out, it didn’t quite go back to normal. For most women, the extra skin shrinks back down some of the way, but not all the way. There’s a little pooch of skin and fat below your belly button that never seems to go away. An ABDOMINOPLASTY or tummy tuck takes away all that extra skin and fat and replaces it with a scar. The scar is long and low from hip to hip. It’s a tradeoff that most mommies are willing to make.
- Your six-pack (rectus) muscles stretched out and split apart in the midline as the baby grew. For some women, the muscles never go back together completely, and instead stay a little split apart. This is called rectus diastasis, and it makes the upper abdomen stick out. In extreme cases, you still look a little pregnant even after your baby’s not a baby anymore. When you make the rectus muscle tight like you’re doing a sit-up, you can feel a gap between the muscles in the midline. That split can be fixed during a tummy tuck with a RECTUS PLICATION, or suturing together of the muscles in the midline. The added benefit of this part of the operation is that it nips in your waist and brings a little shape back to your midsection.
- You can’t blame this one entirely on the baby, but some women have stubborn pockets of fat in the flanks (muffin-top) that don’t respond easily to diet and exercise. LIPOSUCTION can address these pockets.
- Every woman’s body responds to pregnancy in a different way. Some women want to address other parts of their body, like the butt or thighs, at the same time. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Bottom line? The operations are different, but the goal is always the same: to restore your body so you can feel good about yourself again. It can be very hard to take a step back from everyone else’s needs and focus on your own. But let’s be honest, nobody deserves to do that more than hardworking moms!