Look Your Best after Pregnancy
Mommy Makeover Long Island
Dr. Stephen Greenberg provides mommy makeover procedures at his offices serving Long Island, Manhattan and the greater New York City area.
There is no question that children are wonderful, but also no question that they can take a lot out of you, in more ways than one! Pregnancy, and especially repeated pregnancies, stretch and distort the breasts and abdomen. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it: a combination of cosmetic surgeries we call the "Mommy Makeover." Contact our Long Island practice today to learn more.
Video: Mommy Makeover PostPregTuneup
The effects of pregnancy on the abdomen are fairly obvious. Although the uterus is usually about the size of an orange, during pregnancy, the baby grows inside the uterus, stretching the uterus and ultimately the abdominal wall. As the baby grows, the uterus presses on the inside of the muscle wall of the abdomen. At the front of the abdomen, the two vertically oriented "Rectus" muscles (the "six-pack" muscles) get pulled apart, and actually separate as the fascia elongates. Once that has happened, nothing other than surgery can bring them back together. Exercise can't do it, since there is no muscle in the midline for you to exercise.
In addition to the muscle, the skin gets stretched as the baby grows. This is especially notable in the center of the abdomen, near the belly button. Stretch marks may develop. Once the baby is delivered, the skin collapses, and may leave loose, hanging skin. Because the underlying muscle has also been stretched, a bulge may be apparent in the lower abdomen, especially when you stand up.
The effects on the breasts are no less dramatic. Due to hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy, the breasts start to grow, especially as the baby is getting ready to be born. Following delivery, breast feeding causes the breasts to repeatedly stretch. Once breast-feeding is complete, the breasts typically decrease in size, often to a size smaller than they were before the pregnancy. Again, stretch marks and loose skin result, and the breast tissue loses its substance and starts to hang.
While even a single pregnancy has these effects, repeated pregnancies do the most damage. Often, women who have had little trouble after their first and second child, find the third child causes a tremendous amount of abdominal stretching and breast tissue loss. Extra collections of fat, which might have been present but much less obvious, become apparent. The frequent combination of these problems: breast tissue loss and drooping, abdominal stretching of muscle and skin, and local collections of fat, led us to develop the Mommy Makeover. Modern surgical technology allows us to safely combine these cosmetic procedures.
Treatment of the Abdomen
For the abdomen, treatment generally requires an Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). The Abdominoplasty allows us to tighten the abdominal muscle all the way from the ribcage to the pubic bone, and allows us to tighten the skin of both the upper and lower abdomen. The tummy tuck procedure results in a scar that runs along the lower abdomen, but the scar can be hidden within the swimsuit line. Other procedures can be designed to shorten or minimize the scar, but if there is excess or loose skin, tightening the skin will require an incision. If there is excess fat of the abdomen, but you still have good skin elasticity, we may be able to address your issue with liposuction, rather than a tummy tuck.
Treatment of the Breast
For the breast, there are several options, depending on the loss of tissue, the amount of drooping, and the desire to replace the lost fullness and volume of the breast. Mild droopiness of the breast can be improved with breast implants, without a breast lift. If the nipple is not too low, the skin and breast tissue is not too soft, and the woman is willing to accept some increase in breast size, breast implants can be an excellent choice. It is very important to understand the amount of improvement that is realistic in this circumstance, but many patients have been very happy with this technique. It generally takes several months following surgery to see the final result with breast augmentation, and that is particularly true if there is some drooping before surgery.
Of course, breast lift, or "Mastopexy", can be done without placement of breast implants. Breast lift brings the nipples back up, generally along with tightening of the skin under the breasts. However, breast lift alone will not fix the loss of fullness of the breast, especially the upper breast, which occurs following pregnancy. Therefore, when breast lift is done following pregnancy, it is most often combined with breast implants, although relatively small implants may be used if desired. This allows recovery of the fullness of the upper portion of the breast. Alternatively, removal of droopy breast tissue combined with breast augmentation can allow the breast to achieve an improved shape without being enlarged (or even combined with reduction in breast size).
Fat Removal (Liposuction)
Along with abdominal and breast surgery, the Mommy Makeover often includes liposuction, to reduce the localized collections of fat that can develop. Liposuction is the permanent removal of localized fat. Although liposuction of the abdomen is not generally done at the same time as a tummy tuck, liposuction of other areas, such as the hips, thighs, and knees, can be done. Either standard or ultrasonic liposuction can be used, as appropriate.
Combining Cosmetic Procedures in a Post Pregnancy Package
Patients often ask about whether these cosmetic procedures can be combined, and the answer is: generally, yes. Anesthesia has improved significantly in the past several years, improving both safety and comfort. Better monitoring devices and better medications have combined to make longer procedures safer. Blankets that blow hot air over the patient during surgery help keep her warm. As the various cosmetic procedures are done on the various parts of the body, the blankets are moved so that the patient remains warm. State-of-the-art facilities, generally hospital-based, are used for these more complex procedures, and allow the patient to stay overnight following surgery. For an active, healthy woman, quite lengthy cosmetic procedures are reasonable, and allow her to achieve all or most of her goals with a single recovery period. Smaller procedures, such as abdominal liposuction, can be added later with very little additional recovery.
Contact our Long Island practice to learn more about mommy makeover procedures.
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