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.