Is a 'Mommy Makeover' Right for You?
Childbirth is often described as life's greatest miracle. Unfortunately, women's bodies after pregnancy do not always miraculously revert to their pre-pregnancy dimensions.
For women frustrated with these unwanted changes in the abdomen and breasts, Dr. Krishna S. Dash, co-partner at the Institute of Plastic Surgery, Colorado Springs, Colo. offers a solution: the Mommy Makeover.
After a woman gives birth, "Sometimes breasts go back to smaller than prepregnancy volume," says Dr. Dash. "There's an excess of skin. Breasts can droop, and the nipples may sag or point down toward the ground."
At the abdomen, a woman may notice excess skin, stretch marks and a protuberance in the abdomen.
A Mommy Makeover addresses both problem areas efficiently, in one surgery. The procedure can include, depending on an individual's preference and needs:
• a mastopexy, or breast lift, to remove excess skin, raise and tighten the breasts, correcting stretch marks and asymmetry and creating a new breast contour
• breast augmentation to restore breast volume
• abdominoplasty, or a "tummy tuck," to remove excess fat and skin from the abdomen and to tighten the abdominal muscles that were loosened during pregnancy, creating a flat abdomen
• on occasion, a patient's thighs may also receive treatment
Different patients have different needs, so the procedure varies depending on the mother.
"My patients find the mommy makeover to be a very gratifying surgery," says Dr. Dash. "They get an immediate improvement in the contour and shape of their breasts and abdomen.
"They often tell me they can fit into smaller clothing and that they fill out the upper part of their clothing in a way they hadn't since they had children," she says.
Recovery time is minimal: most patients return to work after two weeks.
The best candidates for the Mommy Makeover, says Dr. Dash, are women who have decided their families are complete. She recommends that patients who have the procedure have finsihed having children. She also recommends that these patients finish nursing a newborn four to six months before their surgery takes place.
Although a Mommy Makeover is an effective method of correcting unwanted bodily changes after pregnancy, it is not a substitute for diet and exercise. Before performing the procedure, Dr. Dash encourages patients to try to lose weight on their own. This could reduce the need for a second surgery, or for any surgery at all. Most women do try to lose the weight on their own, though, but can't quite get the same results as a procedure can.
"They've tried diet and exercise and some of them have done a fantastic job," Dr. Dash says. "They are down to their ideal body weight, but they still have extra skin and sagging breasts and that cannot be fixed with diet and exercise."