“I used to wear a bikini before having kids.”
“My breasts were always one of my best features.”
“I hate my c-section scar.”
“Breastfeeding was wonderful for my kids, but it ruined my breasts.”
“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. After living through the changes that pregnancy, breast-feeding, and multiple births have on your physical appearance, you may no longer recognize certain features and simply long for a fresh start. Many women opt to restore their former physiques through the increasingly popular Mommy Makeover. Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Donaldson addresses the parts of the body most affected by pregnancy and childbirth, aiming to restore the youthful contours and perkiness of your body.
With a combination of procedures often involving breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction and labiaplasty, among others, you can accomplish many goals with only one surgery date. By lifting or adding volume to the breasts, removing the common belly “pooch,” and tightening or sculpting the lower body, women emerge with increased confidence and a renewed physique.
Is a Mommy Makeover Right for You?
If you’ve noticed any of the following effects of childbirth, you may be a good candidate for a combination of procedures:
- Breast asymmetry, sagging, volume loss or flattening, cleavage absence.
- Enlarged or puffy nipples, drooping nipples, stretched areolae.
- Need to pad your bras, “arrange” your breasts in dresses or bathing suits.
- Loose belly skin, visible stretch marks, “frowny-face” or “outy” belly button.
- Thick waistline, “FUPA”, paunch or roundness.
- Visible, hanging or protruding labia minora with pinching or folding.
- Stubborn fatty areas such as “love handles,” “saddle bags,” or “banana rolls.”
- Unsatisfactory c-section surgical scar with step-off, or high visibility.
Prerequisites include good general health, realistic expectations and well-focused goals. Patients must clearly demonstrate their motivation and desire to actively participate in decision-making. Patients must also be willing to share responsibility for aftercare and follow instructions for optimizing their own results.
About the Procedure(s)
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 asymmetrical. 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 scarring, 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.
Nipple reduction can be performed to downsize protruding, drooping or puffy nipples. Dr. Donaldson utilizes a minimally-invasive technique that preserves sensation, coloration, ductal function and circularity, while decreasing the width and projection.
Developing babies cause three major disruptions to the mother’s abdominal wall.
- The rectus abdominus, 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 around the stomach 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 “loose” quality. An obvious C-section scar compounds these complaints for many mothers.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) reverses these three changes by repairing the abdominal 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 usually takes six months to a year after delivery for a mother to lose the baby weight and determine the new baseline physique. This may include rounder curves, fuller features or isolated deposits of fat. New discoveries for young mothers might include “love handles,” “saddlebags,” “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 other techniques. The labia minora can also stretch and protrude after delivery, ultimately causing discomfort 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; 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. If you are interested in whether you are a candidate for the procedure, Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson will see you in private consultation.
Click the links below to learn more about individual procedures.
- Breast Augmentation
- Breast Lift
- Tummy Tuck
- Inverted Nipple Repair
- Nipple Reduction
What should I expect during my consultation?
Your consultation is an opportunity to express your goals and concerns, learn about potential procedures and ask any pertinent questions. Dr. Donaldson will then help you design a customized surgical approach based upon your specifications. You will discuss each procedure in detail and review your medical history to maximize safety.
Dr. Donaldson may explore questions regarding:
- Past medical and surgical history, current medications and allergies.
- Social history including occupation and family support, alcohol and tobacco use.
- Cosmetic treatment history.
- Psychological and emotional status.
What questions should I ask my surgeon?
Dr. Donaldson encourages patients to play an active role in the peri-operative process, asking questions along the way and raising any concerns. Information helps to set expectations and eliminate surprises, and Dr. Donaldson and his staff strive to fully prepare you. Before your surgery, keep these questions in mind and don’t hesitate to bring them up in your consultation:
- Is the Mommy Makeover right for me?
- Are my expectations realistic?
- Can you provide before-and-after photos so I can see your previous work?
- Where will the scars be located? Will they be noticeable?
- What’s the best anesthesia plan for me?
- What costs are involved in this procedure? Does this include everything from the surgery to recovery?
- What is my role in ensuring the best results?
- How long is my recovery period and when can I get back to normal life?
- What are the major risks or possible complications?
- What if I become pregnant after all of this?
How should I prepare for my Mommy Makeover?
On the day of your surgery, Dr. Donaldson will meet with you in the pre-operative holding area to answer last-minute questions, review the procedural plan, and place anatomic markings on your surgical sites. There are several ways in which you can prepare before this moment:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight with balanced nutrition.
- Exercise in moderation.
- Ensure adequate sleep patterns and rest.
- Limit alcohol consumption and avoid tobacco.
- Optimize medical conditions and medications with primary physicians.
- Establish recovery environment and arrange for support.
- Avoid blood-thinning medications and supplements, such as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Vitamin E and fish oil.
Are there any risks?
Yes, though they are rare. Bleeding and infection can occur with any operation. Asymmetry, changes in sensation, inability to breastfeed, capsular contracture, seroma, prominent scarring, poor wound healing, recurrence, contour abnormalities, need for revision in the future – just to name a few.
Risks and complications should be recognized and considered before any surgical intervention; however, these risks can be mitigated by Dr. Donaldson’s intra-operative skill and your pre- and post-operative compliance and common sense. Strict adherence to Dr. Donaldson’s guidelines and his staff’s instructions will encourage success and improve your outcome. More specific risks will be outlined during your personal consultation.
What will recovery be like?
You can expect to leave the surgical center with bandages, compression garments and in some tummy tucks, a surgical drain. Almost all sutures are dissolvable and don’t need to be removed, and you may also have surgical-grade glue or steri-strips covering your incisions.
Arrange to have a support system in place for the beginning phase of recovery, including childcare, coverage at work, errands, bills, etc. so that you can focus on healing. Consider taking one to two weeks away from work and primary responsibilities, and four to six weeks away from strenuous exercise. Full recovery takes about six weeks. It is important to rest initially, and then gradually regain activity in order to ensure ideal results and promote proper healing.
Why choose Dr. Donaldson?
Dr. Donaldson is an accomplished, board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience. Patients consistently rave about his care and their results. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Donaldson has been awarded 2014 Columbus Business First Forty-Under-40, 2013 America’s Top Plastic Surgeons, and 2013 – America’s Most Compassionate Doctors – Patients’ Choice Award.
With a comfortable office environment and comprehensive medi-spa services, his professional staff treats patients like family from beginning to end. Dr. Donaldson gives back to the local community through DPS Cares – an innovative charitable extension of his practice that supports charities, hospitals, school programs, and more.
Schedule a Consultation
If you’re interested in improving your overall appearance and confidence, we invite you to schedule a consultation to determine your options for a Mommy Makeover. Columbus, Ohio plastic surgeon Dr. Donaldson will kindly and skillfully guide you through the evaluation and treatment process. Contact our office at 614-442-7610 to schedule an appointment. Browse our various pages and listen to actual patients describe their experience at Donaldson Plastic Surgery.