Having a child changes your life forever, emotionally, and physically. But when you first become pregnant, you may not be prepared for the changes (some are unfortunately permanent) that will occur with your body. The gain and loss of weight, the stress on abdominal skin and muscles, and the volume loss from breastfeeding combine to create sagging, stretched skin that is almost impossible to tighten back up through diet and exercise.
In recent years the term “mommy makeover” has become part of plastic surgery terminology. Many women following childbirth experience changes to their breasts and bellies. Generally, these changes are not correctable with diet and exercise alone. The term “mommy makeover” was coined to include a combination of procedures targeted at correcting these areas.
A mommy makeover is a combination of procedures that target areas affected by a pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Dr. Kressel’s mommy makeovers can include tummy tuck surgery, breast lift surgery (with or without breast augmentation), and liposuction. All the procedures are often combined into a single surgery session.
For the breasts, breast lift surgery (mastopexy) will help restore a more youthful shape. The lift can be combined with a breast implant to increase breast volume lost following pregnancy. The abdomen can be improved with tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty. Abdominal excess skin can be removed, combined with a tightening of the abdominal wall. The result will be a flatter, tighter abdomen. These procedures can be performed separately or together.
Pregnancy and childbirth are tough on a woman’s body. Because of the localized weight gain, the skin and muscles of the abdomen can be stretched to such a degree that they cannot rebound to their former tautness. Gaining two or three cup sizes along with the stress and volume loss of breastfeeding can have a similar effect on your breast skin and the underlying support muscles. Even if you’ve lost all or most of your pregnancy weight, you may still have pockets of abdominal fat that are almost impossible to eliminate. If you have stretched abdominal skin and muscle if your breasts have sagged and appear to have lost volume, and if you have pockets of abdominal fat, a mommy makeover could be a great option to regain your pre-baby body.
The term mommy makeover is just a term. While the procedures that make up a mommy makeover target areas that pregnancy and childbirth tend to affect, they are not pregnancy-specific. For instance, much of the same stretching of skin and muscle can occur with the gain and loss of substantial weight. In this case, however, Dr. Kressel may opt to consider this more of a body contouring procedure where options such as an arm lift (brachioplasty) can be included. It may seem overwhelming to consider having three procedures all at once. But that’s the advantage of a mommy makeover – you’ll have one recovery period instead of three.
Tummy tuck surgery – Targets loose skin on the abdomen. An incision is made along the bikini line, usually from hipbone to hipbone. The underlying muscles, which have been separated by the distortion of pregnancy, are pulled together and sutured for a firmer abdomen and narrower waist. The skin is then pulled down and excess is trimmed away. Depending on the degree of skin removed, your belly button may be repositioned.
Breast lift surgery – A breast lift addresses sagging skin and loss of breast volume, bringing the breasts up to a higher position on the chest. Dr. Kressel may be able to accomplish breast lift surgery with an incision around the areola of each breast. But if more skin must be trimmed, the incision could need to extend down to the breast crease and sometimes outward along that crease. If you seek to regain more volume, you may opt to have breast augmentation along with your lift.
Liposuction – Stubborn pockets of fat in your abdomen and outer thighs are the targets of the liposuction portion of your mommy makeover. This minimally invasive procedure uses a cannula inserted through a small incision to suction out pockets of unwanted fat and slim your contour. Dr. Kressel uses tumescent liposuction, where a liquid solution of saline combined with adrenaline and anesthetic is injected into the treatment areas to minimize bruising and blood loss and helps loosen the fat.
While you may be ready to get your pre-baby body back, you need to be patient. Dr. Kressel advises his patients to wait at least three months after finishing breastfeeding; this allows the breasts to return to their normal cup size.
The first week of recovery in a typical mommy makeover can be uncomfortable. Tummy tuck involves the most recovery, as muscles have been repositioned and you have a lengthy incision to deal with. Full recovery from tummy tuck surgery can take several months. Still, by combining the procedures into one recovery period, it will be far easier than you’d expect. You’ll wear compression garments to minimize swelling and to help your body adapt to its new slimmer contours. Most mommy makeover patients can return to some activity in just a week or two, but the heavy lifting is off-limits for at least four weeks if you’ve had a tummy tuck. Your results will be permanent. If you follow an exercise regimen, you can keep looking great for decades. Of course, the normal process of aging will continue, but your results are forever.