Women have been turning to plastic surgery for decades to reclaim their breasts and abdomens after having babies. Today’s mommy makeover, with the addition of fat grafting, is expanding the scope of the transformation to also include a beautiful backside.
Many women who hear the words buttock augmentation initially respond with, “My butt is already too big!” But we’ll let you in on a little secret: fat grafting to the butt is not always about creating a bigger butt. Instead, it’s all about creating an attractive shape by subtracting fat from certain areas and adding it strategically, and conservatively, where it will be an asset.
“We don’t go crazy – I’m not making Kardashian butts here,” assures board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bruce Van Natta. “It’s about sculpting. Once you take away those love handles and a little bit of saddlebag, a lot of those tushes, if you look at them, are deficient on the sides.”
A Traditional Tummy Tuck is Still an Important Part of the Process
Having a baby puts a woman’s abdomen through stress and significant physical changes. On the surface, the skin is stretched out. Some women have great skin elasticity, a quality that allows their skin to stretch out during pregnancy and then shrink back after giving birth. More often than not, however, the skin remains loose and wrinkly. The solution is surgery to remove the excess skin.
Below the surface of the skin, pregnancy also wreaks havoc on the abdominal muscles. Prior to pregnancy, these muscles are tightly knit and close together, providing a firm foundation for an attractive stomach. The pressure from the growing fetus pushing on the abdominal wall stretches and separates those muscles, weakening the foundation. While exercise works great for strengthening the abdominal muscles, it will not help restore the muscles to their pre-baby position.
“It doesn’t matter what you do,” says Dr. Van Natta. “You can do Orange Theory and 8,000 crunches. You’re not going to get them back together. You really do need a surgical procedure.”
Abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is the surgical procedure that removes excess skin and tightens the position of the abdominal muscles.
Lipoabdominoplasty + Fat Grafting: A Match Made in Heaven
In his Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, Dr. Van Natta routinely combines abdominoplasty surgery with liposuction to provide the best possible contour to the abdomen during a mommy makeover. The combination of liposuction with a tummy tuck is known as lipoabdominoplasty.
- Liposuction of fat
- Removal of excess skin
- Restoration of the abdominal wall
After removing the fat, Van Natta then processes it in the operating room and re-uses it to add shape in other areas.
“I’m pretty aggressive at suctioning out fat from the tummy, love handles, and maybe from the thighs if they need it,” explains Van Natta. “I’ve got the fat. They’re already prepped, draped. They are there in the operating room. It’s so easy just to add back a little bit of fat. All of a sudden you’ve carved out the waist, maybe taken down the thighs a little bit, rounded out their tush, and it’s just beautiful.”
The addition of buttock fat transfer to mommy makeovers has become an important part of Dr. Van Natta’s practice. To date, 85-90% of his mommy makeovers now include fat grafting to the buttock.
Fat Transfer Can Also Boost the Bust
Another important aspect of the mommy makeover is restoring the breasts after pregnancy and breastfeeding; breasts are typically left both deflated and drooping. It’s often the case that a mommy makeover will include a breast lift, a breast augmentation, or a combination of the two procedures.
Sometimes, however, a woman is happy with the shape of her breasts and she simply desires a little more volume. In those cases, Van Natta may opt to use fat transfer, instead of an implant, to increase cup size.
“If somebody has got a B breast and it just needs a little more volume, fat is great for that,” adds Van Natta.
Results that Wow and Last
It’s a typical scene from a follow-up appointment after a mommy makeover procedure that included fat grafting to the buttocks: a woman in yoga pants admiring her backside in front of a full length mirror. “These moms are coming back, and they’re excited about their new body,” says Van Natta. “They say, ‘I love my butt!’ and they’re showing it off. It’s really fun, and often it’s something that they didn’t really come to me thinking about in the first place.”
Barring significant weight gain or additional pregnancies, the new shape is the patient’s to enjoy for the rest of their life. Once fat is removed from an area, it’s gone for good. Similarly, the fat cells that live after a fat transfer procedure, will continue to live with the patient.