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Making Sense of the Mommy Makeover

Apr 04, 2013 12:46PM ● Published by Dia

Before considering a surgical intervention to regain a prebaby shape, mothers should first decide if they are done having children

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Family Health by Michael Bogdan, MD, FACS

Recently, the term mommy makeover has received a lot of media attention. While it sounds straightforward, most people aren’t even sure what it refers to. The confusion comes from the fact that the term doesn’t describe one surgical procedure, but rather loosely describes a combination of operations tailored to reverse body changes that result from childbearing. Childbearing affects every woman differently — some lucky mothers regain their body shape after having children while others experience major changes that are more difficult to reverse. The individual operations that go into a mommy makeover have been mainstays of plastic surgery for years — procedures such as breast-lifts, breast-augmentations, liposuction and tummy-tucks. Today physicians feel it is safe and effective to combine several procedures into one surgical operation. This allows women to address both the breasts and the stomach at the same time, hence the arrival of the mommy makeover.

Most women want to return to their prebaby body, and cosmetic surgery has become much more socially acceptable solution. Childbearing tends to cause changes to both the breasts (with deflation or droop) and abdomen (with laxity and sometimes stretch marks). Occasionally, fat distribution is altered after having children. Because of this, a common combination is a tummy tuck with flank liposuction and breast implants to restore volume. Breast-lift or breast-reduction procedures are also possibilities for patients.

Before considering surgical intervention to regain a prebaby shape, mothers should decide if they are done having children and then start healthy diet and exercise programs. This is the first step in the effort to return to a prebaby body, but it’s also important for undergoing a safe operation with a smooth recovery. Some mothers may find that their skin has maintained its elastic properties and will snap back to normal proportions after losing baby fat. Rigorous core exercises can overcome some of the muscular weakness that results from childbearing. Once these options have been tried, moms can then assess their results and decide if surgical assistance is needed. If the skin still hangs loose with stretch marks, the abdomen bulges from muscle weakness, or the breasts are droopy or deflated, then it is the appropriate time to consider surgical options.

A breast-lift can be performed to restore a perky youthful breast shape, while a breast-augmentation can restore lost volume. In some cases, women with overly large droopy breasts may desire a combination of breast-lift and breast-reduction. For most moms, an abdominoplasty (a.k.a. tummy tuck) is the best operation to return their stomachs to prebaby condition. The operation can remove excess skin and allows the surgeon to tighten up the muscles that have been overly stretched. Results can be dramatic for some patients. There are modifications of the operation with shorter or lower scars that better fit today’s clothing swimwear preferences. Liposuction can be utilized to slim the waistline and accentuate the hourglass shape of the hips and buttocks by removing common love-handle fat deposits.

Surgery is best reserved for women who have reached stable plateaus with a maintainable diet and exercise regimes that fits their lifestyles. The results will be most impressive and longest-lasting when surgery is performed at stable baseline weights. Additionally, the speed of recovery from operations and the safety of operations are maximized when they are preformed on healthy individuals with good exercise tolerances.

Dr. Michael Bogdan is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in plastic surgery.  He studied medicine at Stanford University where he also completed his residency.  He has two offices to serve area patients, one in Southlake and the other in Dallas.

Health+Beauty, In Print family health michael bogdan md mommy makeover

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