Bouncing back after pregnancy can be almost as difficult as childbirth. Some of the most common issues women face after pregnancy are excess fat around the stomach and loss of volume in the breasts. Other problems include stretch marks on the stomach, hips and thighs and pigment discoloration on the face.
For decades, women have been looking to surgery to restore their bodies, along with their confidence. Over the years, new technologies and treatments have been developed making it easier to get your pre-pregnancy body back. Every person’s situation is different. Here are some of the main issues women experience and the options to treat them.
During pregnancy, the stomach skin and muscles are stretched and separated to accommodate the growing baby. Often times, the muscles never fully tighten back to their original position, remaining separated. In addition to the muscle separation, the stretched abdominal skin may not tighten up. The one operation that can pretty much bring those things back to a pre-pregnancy condition is an abdominoplasty. Also known as a tummy tuck, this surgery brings the abdominal muscles back together, tightens loose skin and removes stretch marks in the lower abdominal region.
Some women just experience skin laxity without muscle separation. In this case, a mini-tuck may be the best option. This is a less complex surgery, with a shorter recovery time. A mini-tummy tuck removes loose abdominal skin but does not tighten the under lying muscles.
Liposuction is often done in conjunction with a tummy tuck to enhance the results. The areas often treated are the hips and waist. Liposuction alone might be able to achieve a patient’s goal of a flat stomach. If a patient has a belly bulge, but the skin isn’t loose and the stomach muscles are intact, it can be a good choice.
It is important to remember that a tummy tuck is major surgery. Recovery after a tummy tuck takes time. Usually it will be about two to three weeks before you can return to work after a full abdominoplasty. Mini-tummy tucks and liposuction have less downtime, with most patients being able to return to work within a few days after surgery. At your consultation, your doctor will thoroughly explain all of your options and the associated risks so that you can make the best decision for you and your lifestyle.
Breasts can go through some serious changes during pregnancy and over the course of breastfeeding. Postpartum breast changes go beyond just sagging. Nipples can become larger, areolas can expand and the breast can deflate. Depending on which issues a patient has, there are different avenues to fix it. For sagging, deflated breasts, a breast lift, breast implants, or both may be the answer. For women with larger nipples or areolae, a nipple reduction or areola reduction will create a more appealing look. As with abdominal surgery, your plastic surgeon will come up with a surgical plan that will give you the best final result.
If you are ready to get your pre-baby body back and want to find out what you can do, schedule a personal consultation with one of our award-winning, board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Peter Butler, Dr. Jocelyn Leveque and Dr. Nathan Patterson.