Motherhood is a profound experience that affects your life and your body in many ways. The process of childbearing is nothing short of miraculous. That a woman’s body can nourish a developing baby and deliver that baby safely into this world is awe-inspiring. Add breastfeeding and nurturing to the mix and you’re faced with the true magnificence of creation.
Amidst all the wonder, however, it is not uncommon to end up feeling uncomfortable about the way your body looks after you’ve nursed and delivered your precious children. If you find yourself looking in the mirror, sadly remembering how your body used to look, it may be the ideal time to talk to Dr. Weston about a Mommy Makeover.
What is a Mommy Makeover?
A Mommy Makeover refers to a combination of procedures that aim to restore your body to its pre-pregnancy state. These makeovers combine a minimum of two procedures – one that restores the shape of your abdomen and the other that focuses the shape of your breasts. Just as every pregnancy is different, so is every mommy makeover. The goal of combining procedures is to address as many concerns as possible at one time. However, depending upon the extent of the surgery that is recommended, safety concerns may lead Dr. Weston to suggest that some procedures be performed separately to maximize results while minimizing risks.
Who Should Consider a Mommy Makeover?
The best candidates for Mommy Makeover surgery are active, healthy women who have completed their families and have no plans for future pregnancies. Although these surgeries with not prevent you from having additional children, future pregnancies are likely to compromise your surgical results. Candidates for these surgeries should be non-smokers at a stable weight. They may have any or all the following concerns:
- Drooping or deflated breasts
- Large breasts that may contribute to physical discomfort
- Nipples that point downward
- Enlarged areolas and nipples
- Loose abdominal skin (seen after pregnancies and after massive weight loss)
- Areas of bulging associated with attempts to tighten the abdominal wall
- Stretch marks that often develop in the lower portion of the abdomen
- Stubborn areas of fatty deposition that don’t respond to diet or exercise
Typical Mommy Makeover Procedures:
The plan for each mommy makeover typically consists of a unique combination of the procedures listed below:
Breasts – What goes down doesn’t always come back up
The female breast changes in unpredictable ways following pregnancy and nursing. Some breasts lose volume and look “empty” or “saggy” while others increase in size with nursing and stay large. Any of these changes may affect how your clothing fits and how you feel about your body and your sexuality.
Breast Lift: Sometimes the skin has stretched and sagged, and it is necessary to tighten the skin “brassiere” and lift the nipples back into a more youthful position. These goals can be achieved with a Breast Lift (Mastopexy). The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia although some less involved lifts may be performed under local anesthesia with sedation. Incisions are placed around the areolae with the possibility of additional incisions extending from underneath the areola to the breast crease and extending along the crease at the bottom of the breast. Mastopexy often includes reduction of the nipple and areolar size and results in a perkier, more youthful breast contour.
Breast Augmentation: Post-partum breasts often have a deflated appearance. This reflects a loss of volume which often follows nursing. Often this can be corrected by restoring volume with breast implants. This surgery is known as Breast Augmentation. There is a broad range of options to consider when undergoing breast augmentation. This gives Dr. Weston the opportunity to customize the procedure to each patient’s needs and desires. Implants (saline or silicone gel) are inserted into pockets created above (Subglandular Breast Augmentation) or below the chest muscle (Subpectoral or Submuscular Breast Augmentation). Dr. Weston performs breast augmentation under general anesthesia, and patients can return home following surgery. Incisions can be hidden in or around the nipple-areolar complex or within the fold beneath the breast.
Augmentation/Mastopexy: When the breast changes reflect both loss of breast volume and excess skin, a Breast Lift and Augmentation will be recommended to address both issues and achieve the best results.
Bigger is not always better
Breast Reduction: Women whose breasts have enlarged, often complain of back, neck or shoulder pain and seek relief with Breast Reduction, a surgery that reduces the size of the breasts while lifting the nipples back to a more youthful position. Incisions are similar to those used in Breast Lift surgery and vary in relation to the amount of reduction necessary. Reduction of the areolar diameter is often included with this surgery. Dr. Weston also performs Breast Reduction under general anesthesia and patients can return to their homes on the day of surgery.
Body – How come my workouts aren’t helping?
Tummy Tuck: A woman’s abdominal wall is under a great deal of stress during pregnancy. The muscles of the abdominal wall stretch to accommodate the growing uterus, and they often don’t return to their original state once the pregnancy is over. With assisted fertility and the increased frequency of twin births, women are experiencing more significant degrees of abdominal wall compromise and stretching than ever before.
When the muscles don’t return to their pre-pregnancy position, a midline bulge may develop. As the abdomen expands during pregnancy, the body makes more skin to accommodate the expansion. Add to that the rapid weight gain and loss in your belly, and you can be left with loose skin that hangs in unflattering and uncomfortable ways. It is common to see stretch marks and skin laxity in the lower abdomen after one or more pregnancies. Discomfort with the appearance of the abdomen leads many women to change clothing styles to camouflage these areas of concern.
The benefits of a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) may be more than cosmetic for some patients. Research has shown that the realigning of the abdominal wall muscles and tightening of the abdomen during a Tummy Tuck can have beneficial effects on core strength, which will guard against lower back pain in later years.
During Tummy Tucks, which are performed under general anesthesia, Dr. Weston tightens the abdominal muscles and removes loose abdominal skin to create a smoother, flatter and stronger abdominal wall. Tummy Tuck incisions often extend from hip to hip. The exact location and curve of the incision are customized to each patient’s preference and anatomy. The incision is carefully planned, and every attempt is made to hide the resulting scar beneath a patient’s favorite panties or bathing suit.
Liposuction: Women who have difficulty shedding their pregnancy weight may find Liposuction to be helpful in eliminating stubborn fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. Liposuction is a technique of fat reduction which involves insertion of a hollow tube that has several holes at one end and one large hole at the other end. The tube is attached to suction and tunnels of fat are removed from the areas being treated. As the fat is removed, the bulk of the area decreases and the contour improves. Common treatment areas include the abdomen, thighs, flanks and arms.
Dr. Weston performs Tumescent Liposuction and Ultrasonic Liposuction depending on the needs of the patient. Non-surgical CoolSculpting may also be an option for reducing these localized areas of fat. Dr. Weston will make her recommendations depending upon the size and number of areas to be addressed, and the amount of correction desired.
Recovery – so much to do, so little time
Your recovery from your Mommy Makeover surgery will depend significantly on the specific combination of procedures that are performed. The more extensive the surgery, the more downtime you will need to schedule. Breast Augmentation surgery usually takes one to two weeks of recovery time with most patients returning to non-strenuous daily activities within one week.
A Tummy Tuck will require more recovery time. Most patients can take on a scaled-down version of their daily routine within two to three weeks but may need a total of six weeks to feel back to normal. Strenuous and vigorous exercise will be restricted for up to six weeks to give your body time to heal.
Dr. Weston will monitor the progress of your recovery and will advise you as to when you can safely resume activities. As with most breast and body contouring procedures, it will take approximately six months to one year to fully appreciate your final results. The results that you see should be long-lasting as long as you maintain a healthy stable weight post-operatively.
LOVE YOUR BABY, LOVE YOURSELF
When you become a mother, your life often becomes wrapped up in caring for your children. This is very natural. Unfortunately, this may mean that you start to neglect your own needs and appearance, which can have an impact on how you look and feel. When you decide to pursue a Mommy Makeover, you are taking time out of your busy schedule to do something for yourself. What some may consider an indulgence may be a much-needed change of focus that can have a positive influence on your self-esteem and well-being.
Once you decide to move forward with our surgery, it is essential that you take the time necessary to allow your body to heal from your procedure. As you begin to plan for your surgery, it is important to prepare for childcare and home support so that you can rest and optimize your recovery. A Mommy Makeover can be a significant investment of time and expense, but the benefits of the surgery are far-reaching, indeed. Results of this combination of procedures will help to restore confidence in your appearance during a time in your life when your focus seems to be on everyone but yourself.
If you are considering a Mommy Makeover, it is essential to choose an experienced plastic surgeon to ensure the safest and most successful results. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Weston offers extensive experience in Mommy Makeover procedures. To hear more about the advantages of a Mommy Makeover or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Weston, contact us today at 650-363-0300.