The Surgeon Minute

The Mommy Makeover, Made Better for Patients

The Mommy Makeover, Made Better for Patients

There are approximately 4 million children born every year in this country – which means that there are a lot of mothers out there. As anyone who’s had a child knows, pregnancy can take a real toll on the body.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 62% of mothers are seeking some sort of plastic surgery to help restore their pre-baby figures. The most common is actually a combination of procedures dubbed the Mommy Makeover. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian K. Brzowski of Utah discusses what exactly this can entail, as well some of the new trends that are helping to make recovery faster and easier so that moms can get back to their job of being moms.

What is a Mommy Makeover?

A Mommy Makeover can be any combination of procedures, but since the breasts and the stomach are the two areas of the body that are most affected by childbirth, it typically involves a combination of the following:

  • a breast reduction to decrease volume in the breasts
  • a breast lift to make the breasts more youthful and perky
  • a breast augmentation to increase volume in the breasts
  • a tummy tuck to remove excess skin and tighten muscle in the stomach

The right cocktail of procedures is really going to depend on a mom’s individual needs. Many, thanks to breast feeding, lose volume in their chest and the skin can begin to droop or sag. This is a bad combination. A breast lift either with or without an implant is probably the most common procedure for moms as it addresses both volume loss and skin laxity.

The stomach muscles which have had to stretch, sometimes severely, to accommodate a child are restored with an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck. If the muscles do not return, then they’ll need to be tightened. The surgeon will also remove any excess skin as well as fat to give a flat and smooth pre-pregnancy abdomen.

Mommy makeover - stretch marks.

Less Pain = Faster Recovery

Any patient considering surgery wants to know a couple of things:

  • What are my results going to be like?
  • Am I going to be happy with what I see?
  • What are the risks involved with surgery?
  • Will my recovery be painful?

“Pain is one of the most discouraging negative elements of a patient’s decision to have elective cosmetic surgery,” explains Dr. Brzowski. Anything that can be done to lessen pain is always a greatthing, which is especially true for moms who don’t really have the luxury of taking time off.

One of the methods that plastic surgeons are using these days to help alleviate pain is to use Exparel, a long lasting local anesthetic. As Dr. Brzowski shares, the medicine has been “a game changer.” Exparel not only reduces the amount of pain that a patient feels in the recovery room and after surgery, which makes the first 12-24 hours much more pleasant, but it actually lessens a patient’s need for post op-pain narcotic medication. Taking fewer narcotics is beneficial on many levels, including a reduced risk of post-op nausea and constipation, as well as the very real possibility of addiction.

Drains Be Gone

Next to pain, the other biggest deterrent for moms who are considering a tummy tuck has always been the need for drains. Drain devices used to be absolutely necessary as they drained excess fluid out of the abodmen. Beyond being a hindrance to patients, they can be both uncomfortable and unsightly.

Today, surgeons like Dr. Brzowski are practicing what is called a drainless tummy tuck. This can be done in a couple of ways. One is a series of internal sutures, which has the surgeon laying the abdominal tissue back over the muscles sort of like a quilt. The other is TissuGlu, which literally glues the abdominal tissue back to the muscles.

Both allow the two layers of the abdomen, which must be separated during surgery, to re-adhere.

By making your abdominals like two sheets of velcro that are stuck together, there is no room for fluid to accumulate. This has always been the reason for drains, to help prevent the formation of a seroma, or accumulated fluid. Now that there is no space for the fluid to gather, there is no need for the drains.

Health Benefits of the Drainless Tummy Tuck

A drainless tummy tuck delivers a more comfortable recovery for the patient as it is more convenient and less annoying. It is also better for patient health! There is a reduced risk of infection since there is no longer an open wound where the drain would be. Also, no drains means that a patient is up and moving around faster. Not only is it nice to be able to take a shower and get clean following surgery, but being mobile greatly reduces your risk of developing any breathing issues such as pneumonia or bronchitis as well as blood clots. Surgeons have found that patients who don’t get up and move around have a much higher incidence of blood clots than those who do.

Mommy makeover - Dr. Brzowski before and after.

The other great thing for mothers specifically is the ability to go back to being a mom sooner than later. Yes, there will still be weight restrictions during their recovery, so you won’t be picking up your toddler. However, you can help your kids get dressed. You can make them lunch or prepare dinner for the family. You can be up and at the door when they come home from school. In some instances, you might even be able to drive a bit earlier.

Bottom line, Exparel and the drainless tummy tuck allow moms to recapture their youthful figure without having to stop being moms. It’s a win win for everyone.

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