Plastic surgery performed to restore a woman’s body to it’s pre-pregnancy shape is commonly referred to as a mommy makeover. The catch-all term isn’t defined by any set group of procedures, but is instead a unique plan tailored to the woman’s unique body, desires and goals.
Many moms notice changes in their bodies after having children. While tummies and breasts are often the primary focus, that doesn’t mean other body parts aren’t affected by pregnancy, too. Today’s modern mommy makeover gives women new options to address so much more than just the tummy and the breasts.
It’s no surprise to anyone that the abdomen takes a beating during pregnancy. The skin and muscles stretch for nine months under the pressure of the expanding uterus. Even when women successfully shed the additional baby weight gained during pregnancy, there can be visible changes remaining. Loose skin is one; loose muscles is even worse.
Flabby skin after pregnancy can be the result of excess skin, loss of skin elasticity, and the stretching of the fascia and muscles below. Changes below the skin of the abdomen in the muscle layers are often not as visible as excess skin, but can nonetheless cause discomfort, or even pain. Things like getting out of bed or abdominal exercises become very difficult for women whose abdominal muscles are separated after pregnancy.
The tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes the excess skin of the abdomen and restores the muscular layers to their pre-baby position. “We’ve got to help them with stretch marks, with the looseness in the muscle, maybe the bellybutton has some issues,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Luis Rios. “The tummy is a big area. We might throw in a little bit of liposuction to help the love-handles and get the waist a little thinner.”
“The second issue that we deal with a lot is the breasts,” continues Rios. “Sometimes the breasts don’t have as much volume on the top, or maybe they’re sagging a little bit and we might have to consider a breast implant or a breast lift.”
In the same way that a mommy makeover varies from woman to woman, breast surgery is unique to the patient’s goals and desires. When the goal is to restore lost volume, breast augmentation with implants is often the best option. In other cases, women simply want their breasts lifted to improve the shape. Sometimes a combination lift and implant provides the best solution.
Weight gain with pregnancy is not limited to the abdomen. Unwanted fat can accumulate in the thighs, hips, arms or back. Fortunately, liposuction can be added at the time of the mommy makeover to address areas that bother women the most.
Areas treated with Liposuction include:
The Brazilian Butt Lift
A sagging buttocks is another frequent complaint among aging mothers. “Something very popular right now is taking the fat and doing the Brazilian Butt Lift,” says Rios. “We add the fat back in a safe fashion.”
Once fat has been removed through liposuction from an area of the body where it is not wanted, it is processed and then transferred to the buttocks, creating a more rounded, youthful behind. Since no implants are used in a Brazilian Butt Lift, it is a very natural way of improving the body’s overall shape – all with a patient’s own tissue, or fat.
While changes to the breasts, buttock and abdomen are often discussed openly among women, more intimate changes in the body after pregnancy are less often the topic of conversation: vaginal childbirth may result in relaxation and separation of the vaginal muscles. Symptoms resulting from this separation vary from urinary incontinence to decreased pleasure during sex. While these changes are not unusual, they can be embarrassing.
“If we’re going to do a mommy makeover and make people look really good on the outside, there’s also another area they might want to consider, vaginal rejuvenation,” says Rios. “We’re actually developing new technologies to help women with that.”
Votiva is a non-invasive radiofrequency device Dr. Rios offers in his practice to gently tighten the muscles in the pelvic floor. Most patients reach optimal results after three in-office treatments. Since the device is non-invasive and has little downtime, women can quickly return to regular daily activities.
Making a Game Plan
Getting the most out of your mommy makeover means taking the time to discuss all of your desires with your plastic surgeon. Together, you will prioritize the procedures, as there is a limit to how much surgery can safely be done in one day.
“When I see you in my office, I’m going to listen to the areas that concern you, and then we’re going to develop a game plan,” says Rios. “If we have to do it in more than one stage, we’ll talk about that. We’ll put a timeline together, we’ll put a plan together, and then we’ll execute that plan.”