It’s no secret that pregnancy and childbirth change the body.
The nine months of gestation, the birth itself, and even breastfeeding can cause changes to the way our bodies look. Growing and raising a human life leaves an impact, and while some of those changes will be temporary, others aren’t as easy to bounce back from.
For those more stubborn concerns, cosmetic surgery can help get back to a pre-pregnancy you. From stretched skin to deflated breasts to stubborn fat, the Mommy Makeover can tackle multiple areas of concern at the same time and achieve results a gym just can’t give you.
The Three Factors of a Mommy Makeover
Denver Plastic Surgeon Philippe A. Capraro, MD explains that typically, his patients are looking to address excess fat, the tummy area, and the breasts. “Mommy Makeovers for me really consist of three types of surgeries that we do all in one setting,” Dr. Capraro says. “One of them is usually liposuction, and it can be various areas, but the most common area is in the love handles.”
Liposuction addresses excess fat, but childbirth does more than just put weight on. It can also permanently weaken the abdominal muscles and change the appearance of the breasts.
“Number two is a tummy tuck,” Dr. Capraro says. “They’ve had laxity of their inner abdominal fascia, the six-pack connective tissue muscle, and they need tightening with removal of excess skin at the very least. And the third procedure is basically some sort of surgery to the breasts. It could be that the breasts have deflated and will only need an implant, or they may need an implant and a lift.”
The Benefit of Combining Procedures
For Dr. Capraro, the combination of these procedures keeps patient downtime lower while providing the most dramatic changes. “You really see a major change in these individuals because they undergo basically three procedures during a Mommy Makeover,” he explains. “And they have a major transformation right there in front of us over a period of several hours in the operating room.”
One reason why the Mommy Makeover combines multiple procedures is to streamline the process for the best results. Your surgeon can see in real time how the changes they’re making to the tummy area affect the look of the breast and pubic area.
It also optimizes the results of both procedures because the areas complement each other.
“When you lift the breast and make the breasts bigger, it’s going to make the tummy look smaller,” Dr. Capraro explains. “And then if you make the tummy look smaller, it’s going to make the breasts look bigger. They accentuate each other. Doing them together really potentiates the effects of both of those procedures.”
Restoring Abdominal Muscles
When it comes to trying to regain a pre-child body, it’s important to note that not everything can bounce back naturally. Childbirth is traumatic for the body, and some of the changes that occur are not reversable.
“I’ve had numerous patients over the past 20 years who will come to me and say they are working with a physical therapist to address diastasis recti, which is the separation of the fascia,” Dr. Capraro explains. “And they’ll say they’ve been trying for three months, six months, nine months, and it’s not getting any better.
“I have to tell them that they’ll never see a difference.”
That’s because during childbirth, your abdominal muscles are stretching like they’ve never stretched before.
“It’s very similar to taking a rubber band,” Dr. Capraro says. “When you pull it five to 10 times and you look at the rubber band and the circumference now is significantly wider than when it was first new.”
Once that rubber band has been stretched, there’s nothing you can do naturally to put it back to the original state. That’s where surgery comes in.
Addressing the Pubic Area
Additionally, Dr. Capraro focuses on proportionality by addressing the pubic area during the tummy tuck procedure.
“Patients that have had children can have their pubic area ‘drop’ in a sense, maybe a quarter of an inch up to 2 inches,” Dr. Capraro says. “So, I will actually give them a pubic lift, because you don’t want to have a tight tummy and then a pubic bulge below that.”
During a tummy tuck, Dr. Capraro makes the lower incision in the pubic area, which makes it easy to fold a pubic lift into the procedure. Like a traditional lift, this involves removing fat and lifting skin and musculature into place.
“It’s part of my tummy tuck,” Dr. Capraro says. “It’s included in my Mommy Makeovers because I think it looks better. And the patients are much happier with that as well.”
What to Expect: Before, During, After
Before you can be scheduled for cosmetic surgery, you should be healthy. That’s easy to say, but what that means is taking the time for those checkups you may have been putting off.
“We prepare patients to make sure they’re nice and healthy,” Dr. Capraro explains. “We get their medical history and physical exams and have them get labs. If they’re over the age of 30, they are required at least to get a mammogram, as incidence of breast cancer is relatively high for women, and we need to make sure that they don’t have an issue with that.”
Not everyone will be ready for this kind of surgery right away. Tummy tucks especially will require a patient to be below a certain weight threshold for positive results.
“For the tummy tuck, I have to tell you that most patients that come in know they need to lose some weight to get them to an ideal weight,” Dr. Capraro says. “Which they do. That is so they’ll get an exceptionally better result.”
Sometimes, you might need help getting to that point.
“And so, if it’s a case where the patient has not lost any weight and needed to lose weight then I’ll do one surgery before I do the Mommy Makeover,” Dr. Capraro says. “This would consist of removing the excess fat via liposuction so that then they’re ready for the actual tummy tuck.”
A Mommy Makeover itself is a several hours-long surgical procedure that will typically require you to spend at least one night in the hospital. This is followed by a return to your doctor to remove any stitches that aren’t meant to dissolve after a week or so of healing.
Typically, your surgeon will continue to see you regularly for the six months after the surgery to monitor your healing process.