Childbirth is a magical experience for most women, but it can do a number on the body. All of the muscles and tissues that have expanded to make room for your child don’t always shrink back to where they were before you got pregnant. Even when you lose that baby weight and get back into shape, you may find your body isn’t what it once was.
Thankfully, there is the mommy makeover, a combination of procedures specifically designed to restore the female figure to its pre-pregnancy state. Through a tummy tuck, liposuction, and/or breast augmentation, a restorative solution can be found – and not just for moms. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Watterson of Charlotte discusses the mommy makeover and why it is one of his favorite procedures.
The Joy of Childbirth
“I love mommy makeovers because a woman’s body has gone through a lot with the miracle of child birth,” shares Dr. Watterson. It is a huge physical transformation, and though the outcome is beyond joyful, a “woman pays a heavy price for that beautiful baby.”
After pregnancies, mothers find themselves with sagging beasts and a pouchy stomach, even though they may have returned to their pre-pregnancy weight. It makes them feel self-conscious, particularly naked. They often complain about feeling frumpy and not like themselves. One of the great things about being a plastic surgeon for Dr. Watterson is his having the skills, tools and experience to help mothers restore their bodies to their pre-pregnancy state, customized to every unique patient.
A Mommy Makeover Can Be Many Things
A mommy makeover is really just a marketing term to describe a combination of plastic surgery procedures. In general, the mommy makeover works to solve the two areas of the body most affected by childbirth – the breast and the abdomen. A common mommy makeover usually involves a breast surgery, such as a breast lift, breast reduction or breast augmentation, and a tummy tuck and/or liposuction.
The abdomen is specifically targeted as it’s issue is function. When a woman undergoes a pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch to make room for the growing child. After childbirth, the muscles contract back – but not always do they do so as they once did. Many times they are now more loose, an issue that cannot be corrected by exercise and weightlifting. The only true fix to stretched abdominals is to suture them back together, the main purpose of a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. Usually the skin in the area has been stretched and will likewise not return to it’s former state, leading to some of it’s removal for a flatter stomach over the now-corrected muscles.
A great mommy makeover is customized to each individual patient’s needs, goals and anatomy. Thanks to the latest advancements in surgical techniques, and the invention of long-lasting pain medications used during the procedures, such as Exparel, surgeons today are more capable than ever before of providing a wonderful result with:
- less nausea & vomiting
- less pain
- a faster recovery
Who is an Ideal Mommy Makeover Candidate?
An ideal candidate for a mommy makeover is a patient who is realistic. Plastic surgery can restore and rejuvenate the face and body, but it can’t change your genetics. It’s also paramount to know what you want and to convey this to your surgeon. Photos are extremely helpful in this regard.
It’s also important to be in good physical health and at a maintainable weight. Eating right and exercising are an integral part of good health and will go a long way towards making your recovery seamless and your outcome successful. And last, it is always smart to wait until you are done having children before pursuing any kind of body contouring. Otherwise, you may adversely affect your results.
Realistic expectations are part of the art of plastic surgery. The beauty of the consultation is that it is not only a chance for the patient to get to know the surgeon, but for the surgeon to get to know the patient. It’s about understanding the patient’s goals and whether or not they are truly achievable. It is the job of the plastic surgeon to set the expectation appropriately. “I would rather set the expectation low so that my patient will be thrilled with the outcome rather than set it too high and have them be disappointed,” explains Dr. Watterson.
A surgeon can tell pretty quickly from talking with a patient whether her expectations are realistic, and if they aren’t, then it is up to he or she to suggest those alternatives that are actually attainable. Dr. Watterson will say, “I don’t think we can do that,” because a good plastic surgeon is always upfront. No one wins if the surgeon can’t deliver.
Dr. Watterson uses 3D imaging to help his patients visualize their outcomes. This is especially helpful with something like a breast augmentation where there may be more than one implant size and/or shape that can deliver the desired result. Even so, his favorite communication tool is one of the simplest: a mirror. “I love the use of a mirror. I use a mirror in all my consultations.” It allows him to show the patient, on her own body, what they are capable of achieving.
Watterson loves helping moms to feel better about themselves and restart their lives with a mommy makeover. “It’s the best antioxidant in the world!”