Is a Mommy Makeover Right for You?
“I used to wear a bikini before having kids.” “My breasts were always one of my best features.” “I hate my c-section scar.” “If I knew what breastfeeding was going to do to my body, I wouldn’t have done it.” “I used to have a six-pack, and now it looks like I’m still in the first trimester!”
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? Mothers make many sacrifices for their children – often including their own bodies. Choosing to have a “mommy makeover,” Columbus, Ohio women reclaim their pre-pregnancy bodies with help from Dr. Donaldson. A mommy makeover typically includes breast augmentation (with or without lifting), a tummy tuck and liposuction. Performed in any combination, these procedures address the areas most commonly affected by pregnancy: breasts, abdomen, flanks, hips and thighs.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause the breasts to enlarge, and breastfeeding prolongs engorgement. Afterward, the breasts deflate, lose tone, drop lower on the chest and occasionally become asymmetric. The upper pole of the breast flattens, which diminishes the cleavage line, and the lower pole of the breast may take a sagging, or hanging appearance. In some cases, the areola widens and ductal scarring can cause the nipples to invert. None of these changes will reverse naturally; however, all of them may be improved or corrected through surgery. Breast augmentation is the most popular method for restoring breast tone, size and shape. It rounds the upper breast pole and re-establishes the cleavage line. Breast implants can re-create the perkiness and “sexiness” of the breast that many moms feel they have lost. There is also an opportunity to add a cup size or two if desired. Breast lifting raises the nipple on the chest, decreases the areolar size if necessary, tightens the skin and corrects the sagging and hanging lower breast pole. This procedure entails more scar, recovery and expense than augmentation alone, but it also achieves the most dramatic effect. Inverted nipples can be released and corrected during breast surgery without further downtime or scar. Modifications can be made to any of these procedures to account for underlying asymmetry.
Babies cause three major disruptions to the mother’s abdominal wall.
- The rectus, or six-pack muscles, spread apart and may not completely realign. This “diastasis,” or separation, causes a groove when lying flat and a subtle fullness when standing that imitates early pregnancy.
- Extra “baby fat” accumulates and may not completely disappear. It usually occurs between the belly button and the pubic area, but it may appear as bulging higher on the abdomen or beneath the ribs.
- The skin stretches out. This may include stretch marks, loose hanging areas, a distorted belly button and/or a “squishy” quality. An obvious C-section scar compounds these complaints for many mothers.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) reverses these three changes by repairing the muscles, removing the fat and tightening the skin. Any stretch marks beneath the belly button and scars from c-section may be improved or eliminated as well. There are several variations of this procedure. A “full” abdominoplasty includes extensive muscle repair and repositioning of the belly button; a “mini” removes the fatty bulge with less muscle manipulation and no changes to the belly button. Dr. Donaldson makes adjustments as necessary to customize the surgical technique for each patient.
Flanks, Hips, Thighs and Genital Area
It takes nine months to grow a baby, and usually six months to a year to lose the baby weight and determine the mother’s new baseline physique. This may include rounder curves, fuller features or isolated deposits of fat. New discoveries for young mothers might include “love handles,” “saddle bags,” “muffin tops” and “banana rolls” among others. Liposuction can flatten, sculpt and contour these spots and affected areas. Variations include traditional liposuction, Vaser (ultrasonic assisted) and many more. The genital area can also stretch and protrude during delivery, causing athletic discomfort later or embarrassment during intimacy. Labiaplasty restores a tighter, more youthful contour.
Choosing the Right Combination
Mothers may decide to pursue one of these surgical options alone, or in combination. Combined surgery decreases cost and recovery time compared to separate procedures; however, it may be more difficult to heal multiple areas at the same time. A full mommy makeover requires several hours under general anesthesia at an outpatient surgery center. A healing patient should take 1-2 weeks away from work and primary responsibilities, and 4-6 weeks away from strenuous exercise. If you are interested in whether you are a candidate for mommy makeover, Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson will see you in private consultation. He will help determine your goals and expectations, and design a customized surgical approach. Please call 614-442-7610 or complete your online inquiry to the left of this page.