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Mommy Makeover Surgery Offers Physical and Artistic Benefits

A woman’s body reflects her life experience. Many of our patients benefit from their commitment to daily exercise and yoga. This is reflected in their physical appearance, posture, and sense of well-being. The changes that a woman experiences as a result of pregnancy, breast feeding, and weight fluctuation may alter the contour of her breasts and abdomen in different ways. These changes may have physical consequences such as back pain, abdominal weakness, and altered posture.

Someone coined the term “mommy makeover” to describe the combination of surgery to the abdomen and breasts that restores beautiful form and function to these areas. Many of our patients view this surgery as a celebration of major life accomplishments: pregnancy and the delivery of the children they desire or successful habit modification with significant weight loss.

An Individualized Assessment of Each Woman’s Needs

We have an extensive portfolio of techniques to address changes in the breast and abdomen. Different surgeries have different recovery periods, so we explore with each patient her level of physical activity, ability to take time away from work and exercise, and whether she has people who can help with child care if she has small children. These issues may affect the specific recommendation for surgery and its timing.

There Are Several Options to Improve Abdominal Contour

Mid section view of a naked womanAbdominal contour surgery works best if it rests on a solid foundation of good nutrition and exercise. With this foundation established, we can evaluate the abdomen in three dimensions to determine a woman’s best choice for surgery.

Very often for a woman who has carried several pregnancies there will be a change in the deep structure of the abdominal wall. The central abdominal muscles may drift to the side so that there is a gap between them. When the woman stands the internal structures push forward in an unrestrained manner so that the lower abdomen protrudes. Frequently the waist becomes wider. Exercise of the core muscles is always beneficial, but this will not restore the muscles to their optimum position.

When the central sit-up muscles have drifted to the sides, the back tends to react in a predictable way by deepening its curve. Very often this produces back pain.

The high lateral tension abdominoplasty is our preferred technique to restore abdominal tone. It allows us to return the muscles to a normal position and also allows for the reduction of loose skin and the sculpting of any excess fat in the abdominal area. Very frequently our patients experience a significant reduction or even elimination of back pain. The abdominal tone becomes firmer. This sets up a very powerful feed-back cycle for our patients, so that there is increased motivation for exercise.

Some patients who have lost weight or who have been pregnant maintain acceptable deep muscle tone but develop skin that is very loose. In this case the superficial version of the high lateral tension abdominoplasty can produce a wonderful result. This version has a shorter recovery than the full abdominoplasty.

Mommy makeover before and after. Breast lift combined with high tension lateral abdominoplasty.

Mommy makeover before and after. Breast lift combined with high tension lateral abdominoplasty.

Some patients are fortunate that, despite one or several pregnancies, they have good tone to the skin and deep muscular support of the abdomen. Pregnancy sometimes causes an overgrowth of fat deposits in the central abdomen, flanks, and hip area that is difficult to eliminate even with a diligent program of nutrition and exercise. For these patients we offer several advanced techniques of lipoplasty including vaser lipoplasty, which is ultrasound based, and laser lipoplasty. For some patients this can be done in the office under local anesthesia. Recovery from this surgery is even easier than recovery from abdominoplasty.

Some patients have good deep muscle tone, but they have excess fat that is resistant to diet and exercise and loose skin in the lower abdomen. Liposuction alone will reduce the fat but leave the skin even looser. We can often obtain beautiful results for these women with a combination of liposuction and a removal of skin from the lower abdomen. This can restore a beautiful balance to the body in a way that does not require a long recovery period.

There Are Benefits to Combining Abdominal Surgery with Breast Surgery

Aphrodite of Milos, source: CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aphrodite of Milos, source: CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The breasts and abdomen form a visual aesthetic unit. Great artists and sculptors have created some of the most beautiful works of art by focusing on the visual interplay between the breasts and the abdomen.

It makes artistic sense for a plastic surgeon to rejuvenate and refine the appearance of the breast and abdomen at the same time since the visual lines of these area play off of each other. When the breasts and abdomen are in visual harmony there is a powerful aesthetic benefit.

There are also practical considerations for the woman who combines abdominal contour surgery with breast surgery. Most of us lead busy lives where we have to juggle work, family, and personal responsibilities. It is much easier to find the time for recovery from a single combined surgery than for recovery from two separate surgeries.

We Offer Our Patients a Portfolio of Procedures to the Breast That Can Be Combined with Abdominal Surgery

There are several possible changes that can occur in the breasts as a result of pregnancy or weight fluctuation. We offer our patients a wide range of procedures so that each woman can find a procedure that suits her needs.

For some patients the breasts stay in a good position, but they simply have lost volume as a result of pregnancy or weight loss. Breast implants can help these patients restore a pleasing form and tone to the breasts. We can help our patients decide whether round implants or anatomical “gummy bear” implants are the best choice.

Breast augmentation combined with abdominoplasty.

Breast augmentation combined with abdominoplasty.

A common pattern is a loss of breast volume as well as significant settling or drooping of the breasts. For these patients we can combine either a structural or a periareolar breast lift with breast implants to rejuvenate the breasts.

Structural breast augmentation combined with abdominoplasty.

Structural breast augmentation combined with abdominoplasty.

Some patients are happy with their breast volume when wearing a brassiere, but are not happy with the degree of drooping of the breasts when they are not supported. We often make use of the structural technique of breast lifting, since it allows us to use natural breast tissue to restore volume in the upper portion of the breast and provides deep structural anchoring of the breast.

Structural mastopexy combined with abdominoplasty.

Structural mastopexy combined with abdominoplasty.

For some patients pregnancy leads to a gain in breast volume. The combination of heavy breasts and weakened abdominal support affects posture, back comfort, and physical activity. Patients who experience the effects of a combine breast reduction and abdominoplasty are some of the happiest patients in the practice.

Many of Our Patients Choose the Fall and Winter Months for Mommy Makeover Surgery to Be Ready for the Spring and Summer Months

In Chicago the Fall and Winter months bring a different pattern of life, since many of our favorite outdoor sports and activities are placed on hold. Many of us use the chillier months to work on major projects that are on our personal or business “to do” lists. This pattern carries over to our patients at the Whole Beauty® Institute, who often find the Fall and Winter an optimum time to choose for Mommy Makeover surgery. Since these surgeries require at least several weeks away from heavy exercise, this is easier to do when the weather does not beckon us outside. There is also the benefit that the newly rejuvenated body will be ready for the warmer months.

Schedule Your Appointment the Whole Beauty® Institute

Dr. John Q. Cook and his team at the Whole Beauty® Institute have extensive experience with advanced techniques of breast and abdominal contour surgery. Contact us or call 312-751-2112 to set up an appointment for a detailed evaluation by Dr. Cook.