The Surgeon Minute

Getting Mom Back in a Bikini

Getting Mom Back in a Bikini

Moms would like to wear a bikini again, there’s no doubt. Many young moms turn to plastic surgery for a mommy makeover to correct the physical imperfections caused by pregnancy that exercise can’t fix. After breastfeeding, once full and perky breasts are often left droopy and deflated. Below the breasts, the abdominal muscles and skin that grew to accommodate baby do not always return to their pre-pregnancy state. Instead, loose muscles, wrinkled skin, and stretch marks keep self-conscious moms from reaching for their bikini when they head to the beach or the pool.

In her Boston practice, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christine Hamori restores confidence through surgery to moms who have become fed up with the toll pregnancy has taken on their bodies. “People in their 30’s, maybe early 40’s that have had a couple kids – they come in in tears. They’re really frustrated,” shares Hamori. “They’re very upset that they have ‘lost’ their body; they’re fit, they work out, they do CrossFit, and it doesn’t work. They want to look more like themselves and feel sexy again.”

The Best Time for a Mommy Makeover

According to Dr. Hamori, it’s best to wait until you are finished having children before undergoing surgery to address the breasts or abdomen. “With another pregnancy, things could be stretched out again,” clarifies Hamori.  “It doesn’t mean you can’t have children, it’s just that you might need to go address the muscle and skin laxity again.”

The term “Mommy Makeover” refers to a combination of surgical procedures that address both the breasts and the abdomen. Usually, the procedures can be done together at the same time. In some cases, however, Dr. Hamori will decide to separate the surgeries into different stages for the patient’s safety. For example, if the patient is overweight or if the length of each procedure combined would extend the time in the operating room to a level that would be too long, the surgeries would be separated instead.

What is a mommy makeover?

Restoring Beauty to Tired Breasts

Breast surgery varies from patient to patient. For some, Dr. Hamori can restore a more desirable shape through breast lift surgery alone. More commonly, she will combine breast lift surgery with an augmentation to achieve the best result. “You get a little bit more volume, a better shape, and people feel a little bit more perky again, because of the volume loss that usually comes with nursing,” Hamori explains.

Mini vs. Full Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck addresses two main issues with the abdomen: stretched out skin and stretched out muscles. In order to achieve a nice contour to the waistline, Dr. Hamori must restore the muscles to their pre-baby position, stitching them back into proper position.

“A lot of women think, ;Oh, I can just get a mini tummy tuck,; says Hamori. “They think it’s going to be less downtime, less scar, and look just as good as a full.” The truth is, a mini tummy tuck does not address anything above the belly button, and most women who want a tummy tuck have excess skin and loose muscles above the belly button, too.

When a woman who needs a full tummy tuck only has a mini tummy tuck, an unusually shaped abdomen can be the result. “They kind of have a fullness in the upper abdomen and a flatness on the bottom. They don’t really understand that that’s what it’s going to look like after,” points out Hamori.

The trade-off for a slightly longer scar with a full tummy tuck is a smooth, flat stomach both below and above the belly button. The base of the belly button is left in the same position, but the skin below and above are lifted.  “I tell patients we pull everything up, like a window shade, address the muscles, and then the window shade gets pulled back down,” Hamori explains. “We remove as much skin as we possibly can, plant that belly button back, and then you have good waist contour.”

Mommy makeover patient - Dr. Hamori.

Back to the Bikini Body

Dr. Hamori uses a drainless technique to help reduce discomfort during the recovery period. This means patients don’t need to keep track of multiple drainage tubes clipped to their underwear in the days following surgery, which can be a nuisance.  “I also use Exparel, which is a long lasting numbing medication,” says Hamori. “That really helps recovery. The women don’t need narcotics very much for the first few days, if at all.”

Ways to Reduce Discomfort During Recovery:

  • Drainless Tummy Tuck Technique
  • Exparel Long Lasting Numbing Medication

Mom's back in the bikini.

The change in self confidence is evident to Hamori during follow up visits with her mommy makeover patients. “They’re just so happy,” she shares. “They’re wearing different clothing in the office. They talk about how they wore a bikini. I can see the tan lines, after the summer. They’re in prettier bras when they come in, and they’re just really excited.”

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