Children are awesome, but they can create havoc on a body. Pregnancy can cause weight gain and expansion of the abdominal wall tissue. Breasts enlarge in some women to the point of stretching this skin as well, especially with breast feeding. Even after the pregnancy is over, many of these changes are irreversible. When skin loses its elasticity, it cannot be restored to normal. Furthermore, the vertical muscles of the abdomen (abdominal recti/ “six pack”) can become separated in the middle by stretching of the tissue that usually holds them together tightly.
Surgery is the usual solution and addresses the problem in a very predictable way in all but rare occasions. Abdominoplasty or “Tummy Tuck” tightens the abdomen by restoring the muscles to their normal position. This procedure also removes the excess stretched skin as well. The result therefore improves contour and skin tone.
The breasts are affected primarily by skin stretching, but can also be accompanied by loss of breast volume as well. This issue is addressed with a skin tightening breast lift. If the patient wants more volume, the breast lift can be accompanied by a breast augmentation. Many times loss of volume is the primary issue. In this instance, breast augmentation alone will suffice to restore the breast to a more youthful and perky appearance.
Potential Side Effects
Unfortunately, it is impossible to remove significant amounts of skin without scarring. Therefore scars on the abdomen will occur with abdominoplasty, but can be hidden beneath most underwear and bathing suits and bikinis. Breast augmentation scars are minimal and are well hidden. If a breast lift is needed then the scars are more visible but can still be hidden beneath swim tops and bras. Scar placement options exist and should be individualized according to each patient’s wishes. Rare complications can occur such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus, but these potential risks can be minimized by proper use of intraperative techniques of compression and early ambulation post operatively.
A major breakthrough is the great improvement in recovery due to minimizing pain. An intraperative injection is now available which greatly reduces pain in almost all patients undergoing tummy tucks. These techniques can and should be discussed in detail with your surgeon.
Most women want to restore their figures after child birth. They want to be wear the same bras as before pregnancy and to wear sun dresses. Some women are fortunate enough to restore their figures with diet and exercise alone. That option is always the first and best approach. However, if the skin stretched and the abdominal muscles are displaced then no exercise alone will achieve these goals. Surgery is not for everyone, however “Mommy Makeovers” achieve great results and are met with high patient satisfaction in the overwhelming majority of patients.