COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF PREGNANCY AND MORE IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Having a baby can radically alter a woman's life—with many changes starting before the child is even born! Altered hormone levels, fat storage changes, milk production, and a growing fetus all combine to create new contours. Unfortunately, stretched-out tissues do not always go back to the way they looked before, and pockets of large fat cells can appear to have settled in for good. A "Mommy Makeover" at St. Louis-based West County Plastic Surgeons can help moms regain the lines and proportions associated with their pre-pregnancy shape. Along with these contours can come a renewed self confidence.
It should be noted that a Mommy Makeover is not actually a single surgical procedure. Instead, it is a blanket term that can include any combination of procedures intended to address the physical changes frequently facing (and frustrating) women who have undergone one or more pregnancies. While most Mommy Makeover procedures tend to share common elements, they are truly shaped by the individual patient and her unique needs and goals.
At West County Plastic Surgeons, board-certified plastic surgeons Marissa Tenenbaum, MD, and Terry Myckatyn, MD, have the training and experience to help women regain the look of their pre-pregnancy shape through the use of the select group of procedures that can make up a Mommy Makeover.
The surgical procedures typically included in a Mommy Makeover to help women achieve their unique goals are:
Breasts that swell with new glands for milk production—as well as the milk itself, eventually—are typically noticeably larger throughout a woman's pregnancy and the child's early life. Once the milk supply dwindles, however, breast tissue can go with it. In a Mommy Makeover, breast augmentation restores volume and makes the breasts larger for a look desired by many women—not just mothers. Breast enlargement can also be used to balance the chest, since volume changes do not always impact both sides equally. One breast may benefit from an implant to make it as large as the other.
Augmentation may involve the insertion of implants, fat grafting, or both. Implants are FDA-approved devices that are made up of either silicone gel or saline inside a silicone shell. They are inserted into the breasts via strategically placed incisions to add self-contained volume. Grafting involves collecting fat from the thighs, buttocks, or elsewhere on the body where it is plentiful, then processing the living cells and injecting them into the breasts for a natural-looking increase. Fat transfer can be used for Mommy Makeover patients who want a modest increase, or to refine the details of an implant-based procedure.
A Mommy Makeover can be used to correct sagging and drooping breasts. When breasts grow in size, the skin and other tissues stretch and grow to accommodate the increase in volume. Picture a fairly full beach ball filling with even more air. Now picture a deflating beach ball, with a once-taut surface now appearing deflated and misshapen. Young, healthy, pliant skin is more likely to settle back into its original state once that volume goes away, but a return to the way things were is far from guaranteed. Women whose skin is older, more sun damaged, or less elastic for any reason tend to find that while the volume goes away, the skin remains. A breast lift, in a Mommy Makeover, addresses this by removing the excess tissue and repositioning the nipple as necessary for a perkier look.
What goes up does not always come down. Some women find that breasts stay "supersized," even after the milk dries up. Breast reduction can bring them back down to a desired volume, helping clothes to fit better and providing relief from what can become two weights always hanging from the chest. This can also be used to restore symmetry as part of a Mommy Makeover or alone. The larger of two breasts can be reduced so that the pair is properly proportioned.
Women who choose reduction typically are seeking comfort—whether physical, emotional, or both. Larger breasts can cause muscles to work harder than they would otherwise, leading to soreness, fatigue, and strain. Their size can also lead to wardrobe-related frustrations, as clothes may no longer fit properly. In our society, large breasts also tend to draw attention in unwelcome ways. The choice for reduction in a Mommy Makeover surgery can relieve significant burdens, both literal and metaphorical.
Liposuction, a common part of a Mommy Makeover, is the surgical removal of unwanted fat, and it can target virtually anywhere on the body. Contrary to some popular beliefs, weight gain does not add fat cells to the body. It does, however, cause existing fat cells to grow larger. If these cells refuse to shrink—which is a frequent post-pregnancy problem—they can be separated and loosened, then suctioned out through a small incision during a Mommy Makeover. CoolSculpting® is a nonsurgical treatment that offers more subtle, gradual results for women who would prefer that option. There is even an injectable, Kybella®, that focuses the small, localized pocket of fat that creates the annoying bulge of a double chin.
Hormones and physical trauma can alter the size and shape of the labia, which are the lips at the opening of the vaginal canal. Some women are no longer happy with the look of their labia, which can also protrude to the point that they cause chafing—and may even be visible if tight clothing is worn. A Mommy Makeover can correct this.
Often included in a Mommy Makeover, labiaplasty can surgically alter the size and shape of this area. Nonsurgical is also available, using carefully directed energy to stimulate collagen production to tighten tissues for a visual change. Nonsurgical rejuvenation can also help to restore moisture to the area that can become drier over time as hormones fluctuate.
The belly is the primary area where signs of pregnancy can be seen. The classic "baby bump" soon grows into a baby bulge, with many women complaining when that once-cute bulge outstays its welcome and fails to leave in the months (or years!) after a delivery. Even in cases where the bulk goes away with diet and exercise, loose skin can be left to sag and droop.
A tummy tuck addresses this flabby look by removing the sagging skin so the entire abdomen has a firmer, sleeker, more toned appearance. This element of a Mommy Makeover also often involves the surgical repair of separated abdominal muscles. After being pushed apart by a growing baby, the abdominal wall may no longer be able to hold everything behind it in place, causing a "pooch" to appear. Finally, abdominoplasty surgery may include fat removal (lipo) to get rid of stubborn cells in the midsection.
Lower Body Lift / Butt Augmentation
During pregnancy, extra fat often accumulates in the butt, thighs, and hips. While this can lead to some new curves, pregnancy or post-baby weight loss can cause women to lose the natural shape of the butt. This is a result of how the muscles and posture adapt to growing another human being for nine months. Some women seeking a Mommy Makeover feel that the area looks flattened in the aftermath of childbirth, or that their body is less proportionate. Sagging is also a problem due to loose skin.
Buttock enhancement, sometimes referred to as a gluteal augmentation and lift, tones the contours of the buttock area by trimming unwanted fat and skin, correcting sagginess and smoothing out dimpled areas.
A Brazilian butt lift is used in a Mommy Makeover to improve the buttocks’ size and curve while at the same time sculpting a more contoured appearance by removing stubborn fat deposits from places like the hips, thighs, and abdomen. The fat taken in this step is purified and re-injected into the buttocks to improve their shape. This contouring process also helps to make the overall body proportions appear more balanced.
When it comes to excess skin on the hips and thighs, the sagging tissue can be removed for a clean, trim look. When multiple features on the lower half of the body are addressed at once, whether in a Mommy Makeover or alone, the procedure is known as a lower body lift.
Nonsurgical treatments are available to complement and enhance the look of any Mommy Makeover procedure. Talk to the West County Plastic Surgeons team to create a customized Mommy Makeover plan of transformation from head to toe (or focus only on the parts that need a little attention). Minimally invasive skin treatments can generate a beautiful radiance that may be the perfect accompaniment to new body contours. They can also smooth out wrinkles and tighten loose skin on the face, décolletage, arms, and elsewhere.
How Can I Prepare for a Mommy Makeover?
Mommy Makeover surgery is a major decision, which may feel slightly intimidating at first—especially for someone who is new to cosmetic surgery. An experienced and knowledgeable plastic surgeon will help you to weigh various considerations during your initial consultation, including everything from costs and implant placements to what to expect from recovery.
During the consultation, your plastic surgeon will assess your overall medical history, including any previous surgeries you’ve had, medications you’re currently taking, and pre-existing conditions. They may take photographs and assess your breasts and abdomen as you discuss your desired outcome from Mommy Makeover surgery. In the weeks leading up to the Mommy Makeover, you may be asked to avoid blood-thinning medications that increase the risk of bleeding.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Mommy Makeover?
Generally, a Mommy Makeover is designed to enhance the body contours of women who are in otherwise good physical health, close to their optimal body weight, and don’t intend to have more children in the future. Becoming pregnant again and/or breastfeeding can reverse the effects of some of the Mommy Makeover elements by restretching the skin or causing fat cells to grow larger.
If you feel like your confidence may be improved with a Mommy Makeover, it may be the right choice for you. The best way to know whether a Mommy Makeover is a good idea is to book a one-on-one consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you make that determination.
Why Choose Us for a Mommy Makeover?
During pregnancy, skin and muscles of the abdomen expand with weight gain, and breasts enlarge in preparation for breastfeeding. After childbirth and nursing, some mothers feel self-conscious about their sagging abdomen, excess fatty deposits, or breasts that lack volume and contour. Diet and exercise do not always address these post-pregnancy concerns.
Although the typical Mommy Makeover procedures are intended to address the needs of women who have had one or more pregnancies, women without children may benefit as well, particularly if they have lost a significant amount of weight. It is important to remember that a Mommy Makeover differs from bariatric surgery or other weight-loss procedures. Instead of helping women lose weight, a Mommy Makeover can improve their overall shape and contour.
St. Louis cosmetic surgeons Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum and Dr. Terry Myckatyn are trained in all areas of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. They offer Mommy Makeover patients the expertise of Washington University Physicians and access to the latest technological advances, while providing a comfortable, personalized experience in a relaxing, spa-like setting.
Mommy Makeover Resources for Saint Louis Patients
Learn more about these procedures with the following resources:
The Ladue News: "The Mommy Makeover" Cover Story - May 2009, Ladue News
Breast Augmentation - May/June 2006, Missouri Medicine
Silicon Gel Breast Implants Clinical Review - November-December 2008, Aesthetic Surgery Journal
Combining Breast Surgery and Abdominoplasty - March-April 2009, Aesthetic Surgery Journal
The West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University team enjoys helping women look and feel their best. We are here to guide each woman on her personal journey to reclaiming the look and lines of her post-pregnancy body with a Mommy Makeover. Customized financing options are also available.