During pregnancy the rectus abdominis muscles in the abdomen spread to allow room for the growing uterus. In some women these muscles don't come back together the way that they were prior to pregnancy. This, along with loss of tone of these muscles leads to a bulging rounded appearance to the abdomen. Many women complain of still looking pregnant even after spending countless hours in the gym. Unfortunately there is no amount of diet and exercise that will completely fix this issue. Other complaints in the abdomen from postpartum women include sagging stretched excess skin and stretch marks. While this is partly related to the amount of weight gain or multiple pregnancies, genetics also does play a part in the degree of severity. Unfortunately it's not just the abdomen that is affected following pregnancy, the breasts also can change. Most women complain of droopy, deflated breasts following pregnancy and breast feeding.
While these changes are well worth it in exchange for creating a human life, it doesn't mean women are condemned to live with them forever. So, what can be done to give these women back their pre-baby bod? This is where the "Mommy Makeover" comes into play. This is a term coined to refer to the different surgeries that can done to correct the changes occurring following pregnancy.
Most classically a Mommy Makeover involves an Abdominoplasty or "Tummy Tuck". This can be either a Mini Tummy Tuck or a Full Tummy Tuck. The Mini Tummy Tuck involves correction of the diastasis recti along with a small excision of skin. Women who have a small amount of excess skin below the umbilicus (belly button) only and a diastasis recti qualify for this procedure. Most women require a Full Tummy Tuck which corrects excess skin above the umbilicus, hooding of the umbilicus, excess skin below the umbilicus and diastasis recti. Liposuction of the flanks or "love handles" is usually performed at the same time as a Tummy Tuck if there is excess fat. Usually liposuction alone is not an option, but if there is truly only excess fat in the abdomen and no excess skin or separation of the muscles, this could be an option.
Breast surgery as part of a Mommy Makeover typically includes a Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift or combination of the two. Many women coming into the office believe they need a Breast Lift as they complain of sagging droppy breasts. This may be true, but many women do not actually have true ptosis (drooping) of the breast, but have lost the volume in the breast and have that deflated balloon look. A silicone or saline implant is used to best correct this by filling up the breast to what it was prior to pregnancy or larger if the woman so desires. True ptosis involves the position of the nipple as depicted in the picture below. A Breast Lift will correct the position of the nipples bringing it back up where they should be pointing forward instead of towards the floor. This will also remove any excess skin. Sometimes the issue is both the position of the nipple and a loss of volume. For this an Augmentation and Lift could be performed together.
These procedures are typically performed in the hospital as day stay procedures under general anesthesia. If both an abdomen and breast surgery is desired, these can usually be performed at the same time. Recovery from procedures such as these is typically between 4-6 weeks. Just like any surgery, these procedures do have risks associated with them which can be discussed in detail at a consultation visit.
To learn more about the Mommy Makeover or to find out which specific surgeries would be right for you call the office to set up a consultation with Dr. Brooks. 413-565-4400