The miracle of creation is truly one of the most wonderful events of our lives, and to experience it is a dream of almost every woman. Although pregnancy and childbirth are a very special time, they do take a toll on a woman’s body. Hormonal surges commonly increase appetite and lead to cravings accompanied by weight gain. As the baby grows, it stretches the skin and the musculo-fascial system of the abdomen. The breasts enlarge in preparation for nursing, and will subsequently shrink once the breast feeding stops.
It is a challenge for most women to return to their pre-pregnancy weight and size after the baby is born. Even if they succeed, the loose skin on their breasts and tummy is unlikely to retract. The breasts become droopy and look “deflated” and often change in size compared to pre-pregnancy. The tummy is left with a typical skin roll and a bulge. Anatomically, the Rectus Abdominis muscles, which form the coveted “six pack”, are enclosed and interconnected by fascia. During pregnancy, the increasing pressure within the tummy stretches this fascia, resulting in separation of the rectus muscles – rectus diastasis, or even defects in the fascia – hernias. The latter are common around the belly button or at previous scar sites. Weight gain during pregnancy may cause diet-resistant fat deposits on the tummy, thighs and hips, resulting in the much hated “love handles”, “muffin tops” and “saddle bags”.
Mommy makeover is a combination of procedures aimed at returning the woman’s body as close as possible to her pre-child birth condition. It is invariably a combination of breast and abdominal surgery, commonly with added liposuction. The procedure is tailored to the specific patient’s concerns and desires.
Breast Enlargement (Augmentation)
Many women notice that their breasts became “deflated” after breast feeding. The breasts appear lower on the chest wall and have no upper pole projection (cleavage). Commonly, women complain that they can not fill their pre-pregnancy bra anymore and desire more volume. Placing a breast implant offers an excellent solution for both adding volume and restoring a more pleasant shape of the breasts. If the breasts are not too droopy, an implant may be all that is required. The scars are normally small and are placed either in the crease under the breasts or around the areola. Recovery time is about a week.
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Some women are still happy with the volume of their breasts after pregnancy and are concerned more about the shape of their breasts. They notice that their nipples and areolae have descended to the lower pole of the breasts which makes their breasts look droopy. In these cases, a breast lift is required. During a breast lift the stretched skin excess is removed and breast tissue is reshaped. The scars are placed around the areola extending vertically down (lollipop) and sometimes extending into the crease below the breasts (inverted T). Recovery time is usually ten days to two weeks.
Breast Lift + Implant (Mastopexy Augmentation)
If a woman is concerned about droopy breasts but also would like to go bigger, it may be necessary to combine a breast lift with implant placement. The scars are the same as in breast lift and recovery time is normally two weeks.
Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)
Other women may have had moderate to large breasts prior to their pregnancy and their breasts may have enlarged further. Large breasts commonly cause both physical discomfort – from back, neck and shoulder pain, to headaches and skin rashes under the breasts, and psychological embarrassment, difficulty staying active and even finding well-fitting bras and clothes. Such women may greatly benefit from a breast reduction. The excess breast tissue and skin are removed, breasts are lifted and reshaped. The scars are similar to those of breast lift. Recovery time is two to three weeks.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Almost every woman requires this procedure after pregnancy. It is designed to repair the muscles of the abdominal wall and take out excess skin and fat. Depending on the type of abdominal deformity, tummy tucks range from “mini” where only the lower abdominal bulge is repaired and lower abdominal skin roll is taken out, to “full” where the skin is lifted, belly button is repositioned and the full length of rectus diastasis is repaired. Abdominal hernias may be repaired at the same time. The resultant scar is placed in the lower abdomen and is designed to be hidden by underwear or bikini. Recovery time is three weeks.
Liposuction alone may be used for contouring the abdomen, however it will not address excess skin. Therefore, it is more commonly used in combination with a tummy tuck to sculpt the waist and get rid of “love handles”, “muffin tops” and “saddle bags”. It is an excellent modality to contour the hips and thighs and eliminate the “diet resistant” fat deposits. The scars are almost invisible – 5mm in size. Recovery time is minimal – some swelling and bruising is all that is expected.
The beauty of Mommy Makeover is that it is a combination procedure specifically tailored to address your concerns and desires and to restore the body and self confidence that you may have lost in the process of growing your family.
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