Children are truly one of life's greatest joys. However when you have a baby, weight gain and changes in your body occur that can be very distressing and often impossible to correct with diet and exercise alone. While controlling weight gain and working out can improve your body after having children, some body changes do not recover no matter how hard you try. Fortunately a modern Plastic Surgery procedure called the Mommy Makeover can help you get in shape after pregnancy and recover your original body. The Mommy Makeover is designed to restore the shape of your Breasts and Tummy after changes that have occurred during and after having a baby.
How Your Body Changes after Having Children.
There are a host of normal physiological changes that occur in your body when you have a baby. The most frustrating changes for many mothers however occur in the Breasts and Abdomen or Tummy. Following the cessation of breast feeding the Breast Gland (Mammary Gland) atrophies and becomes smaller and sags down on the chest wall. In addition, the skin of the abdomen becomes loose and sags downward and can develop stretch marks. In addition, in many people there is excess fat under the Tummy skin and Flank area. These changes can persist even after weight loss and conditioning through diet, exercise and working out.
Mammary Ptosis is the formal word for Sagging Breast when the Nipple Aereola is below the Inframammary Fold, the fold beneath your breast. When the Nipple Areola is above the Inframammary Fold but the Breast Gland sags below the fold the condition is called Glandular Ptosis.
Abdominal laxity is the term used to describe sagging of the lower Abdomen or Tummy. In some people the two Abdominal Muscles that form the "six pack" split or separate, a condition called Diastasis Recti, which is a separation of the two muscles named Rectus Abdominus.
Stretch marks, red or pink areas of thin skin on the Tummy, are formally called Abdominal Striae.
Muffin Top or Excess Flank Fat is the fullness and your sides above your hips, which can protrude over a belt or tight fitting pants. Flank fat is often very difficult to lose after having a baby.
What Causes Breast, Tummy and Body Changes after Having a Baby.
· Breast Atrophy-Loss-During pregnancy a portion of your Brain called the Pituitary Gland secretes Hormones which stimulate your Breast Gland to enlarge and begin producing milk. After the cessation of Breast Feeding hormonal stimulation stops and the Mammary Gland involutes or atrophies and becomes smaller. The loss of Breast Fullness is called Post-Partum Mammary Atrophy.
· Mammary Ptosis-The skin around the Mammary Gland is stretched by the enlargement during pregnancy. However the skin does not tighten in many people after Post-Partum Mammary Atrophy has occurred. With less Breast Tissue inside an enlarged skin envelope the Gland sags, not unlike letting air out of a balloon.
· Abdominal Laxity-The Abdominal Skin is stretched to make room for the baby. After delivery the skin does shrink and tighten but often not back to the original shape of the Tummy. When adequate shrinkage has not occurred the remaining loose skin sags down onto the lower Tummy.
· Excess Flank Fat- The Fat around the waist or flank area is one of the most difficult to lose after pregnancy. This area called the "muffin top" is very frustrating when you want to wear clothing that reveals the midriff or waist area.
· Stretch marks-Stretch marks or Striae are caused by rupture or breakage of deep skin collagen which is caused by the stretching of the abdominal skin during pregnancy. This damage to the deep skin layer called the Dermis results in redness and thinning of the skin in the area.
What Is A Mommy Makeover?
The term Mommy Makeover can be applied to a variety of different Plastic Surgery procedures designed to get your shape back after pregnancy. However, most commonly Mommy Makeover refers to procedures done to restore the Breast and Tummy to their pre pregnancy appearance. Most commonly a Breast Lift and or Breast Augmentation with Implants and some form of Tummy Tuck are done.
· Breast Lift-Dermal Mastopexy-This procedure is designed to correct sagging.There are many different varieties including the Anchor, Lollipop, Periareolar, Crescent, Circumareolar, Donut, and Benelli Lifts. Check my January 2013 Blog for a complete discussion of the different types.
· Breast Augmentation with Implants-Breast Implants can be used to restore the fullness and cleavage lost after Post-Partum Mammary Atrophy. For a thorough discussion of Breast Augmentation see my website.
· Tummy Tuck- Tummy Tuck can restore the Abdomen to a nice flat shape. Full Tummy Tuck requires moving the "belly button", while a Mini Tummy Tuck or Bikini Tuck only requires skin excision below the Navel and a scar hidden below the underwear or Bikini.
· Liposuction- When necessary Liposuction can be performed as part of a Mommy Makeover to remove the "muffin top" or excess fat above the Navel in patients who are candidates for a Mini Tummy Tuck.
· Laser Treatment of Stretch Marks-Recently a new Laser Treatment for Stretch Marks that actually helps has been developed. It involves the use of a specific laser called a Non ablative 1540 Fractional Erbium laser. Stretch marks are made smaller and white but do not disappear entirely. See my website for more details.
What Is the Recovery Time after Mommy Makeover?
· Week one-During the first week after Mommy Makeover you will be sore. The tightening of the abdomen can cause discomfort if you straighten up your posture, so you will be walking bent over for a few days. You may have drains which are usually removed day one or two after which you can shower. We encourage you to walk to prevent blood clots in the legs.
· Week two- You will feel much better the second week and can usually return to work that does not require lifting by the end of the second week.
· Week three- At three weeks most patients are back at work and many can start exercising again. If you had the repair of a Diastasis Recti you cannot do sit ups until six weeks and only if cleared to do so by your Doctor.
· Week Six- By six weeks you should be enjoying your new body and your surgery should becoming a distant memory.
· Three Months- By three months the nearly final results of Liposuction should be seen.
· Six months- By six months any incisions should be matured and white.
Who Should Do Your Mommy Makeover?
In my opinion only a Plastic Surgeon Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery should perform this complex procedure. Experience is very important, especially when multiple procedures are done at the same operation.
Seek out the opinion of friends whom you know have had the procedure. Search websites like Realself and Loveyourlook for reviews on doctors that you plan to consult. Ask your doctor specifically how comfortable he/she is doing this type of surgery and multiple procedures. Ask to see photos of his/her results and if possible to speak to patients who have had the procedure.
With an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, the Mommy Makeover can be a very satisfying procedure and help you regain your shape after pregnancy.
By Brooke R. Seckel, M.D., FACS
By Brooke R. Seckel, M.D., FACS