“What exactly is a “Mommy Makeover?”
Of course like all things, the definition of a “Mommy Makeover” can depend on who you talk to. But, here at the Carlotti Cosmetic Surgery Center it really means restoring a females body to pre-pregnancy condition.
What happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy which makes it so hard for a patient to “get their body back” without surgery?
There are multiple physiological changes that occur during pregnancy which include metabolic and hormonal changes. Extremely high levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause concerns such as hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin), melasma (blotchy pigmentation), straie gravidum (stretch marks), vascular spiders (spider veins and varicose veins).
As the breasts enlarge, the stretch upon the Cooper’s ligaments (the scaffolding of breast tissue) results in drooping or ptosis of the breasts and the distance from the collar bone to the nipple lengthens.
The nipple areolar complex may also increase in diameter. Following completion of breast feeding the upper half of the breasts may shrink in volume (atrophy) as well.
As the baby grows inside of the uterus, the abdominal wall stretches and may create an “out-ie” belly button (a small umbilical hernia) and actually separate the rectus abdominus muscles (rectus diastasis) otherwise known as the “six-pack muscles.” When this occurs the waist widens and the abdomen becomes fuller, especially at and below the belly button. This separation simply cannot be corrected with diet and exercise. The “core” muscles are actually weakened and some women may have resultant lower back strain. Striae gravidum (stretch marks) may also be accompanied by excess skin of the lower abdomen.
Fat deposits along the lateral thighs (saddle bags) and flanks (lower back and hips) sometimes described as “muffin top,” bra-line area, lower abdomen and inner thighs may linger following weight gain during pregnancy. These areas are known as “depots” or areas of fat that are literally the last to go during extreme weight loss, and then unfortunately yes, the first to come back.
What procedures are done to help these problems?
Skin: The hyperpigmentation of the skin (melasma) can be treated in some cases non-surgically with products which shut down the production of pigment. However, most patients with severe melasma require treatment with IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatments which will over the course of 3-5 treatments control the pigment substantially.
Breasts: Breast ptosis (drooping), loss of volume (atrophy) of the upper breast tissue with downward displacement of the nipples often require a surgical procedure known as mastopexy or (breast lift). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “breast lifts have increased by 70% since 2000, outpacing breast implants by 2-to-1.” However, since breast lifting will not correct the loss of volume (atrophy) that may occur following pregnancy, it is not uncommon for breast implants to be placed simultaneously along with a breast lift. Size is determined by the patient and their surgeon based upon the patient’s goals.
Abdomen: As was mentioned, abdominal fullness, waist widening, excess skin and stretch marks are all common after pregnancy. Some patients may have an “out-ie” belly button which is really an umbilical hernia. Surgical correction of these problems can be corrected by various types of Abdominoplasty, or Tummy Tuck. For this procedure, an incision is usually made below the bikini line and around the belly button. This permits removal of excess skin and stretch marks below the belly button.
If a belly button hernia needs to be repaired, it can be done at this time. Achieving a more narrow waist and improvement on abdominal fullness is accomplished by repairing the rectus abdominal diastasis (separation of the six pack muscles). The amount of flattening ultimately is determined by the amount of intra-abdominal fat (fat deep to the muscle surrounding the internal organs). This is why diet and exercise following tummy tucks will improve results.
Body contouring: As was mentioned, persistent fat deposits may be present in aforementioned areas. Essentially you have the same number of fat cells throughout your life. When you gain weight, fat cells increase in volume and size and when you lose weight, fat cells shrink. Body contouring by the actual removal of fat cells is known as liposuction. It is critical to realize that liposuction is not a substitute for proper diet and exercise but, when liposuction is used to address those problem areas, it will help provided the patient does not gain weight following surgery. Like Michelangelo carved marble, you talk about what is left (the statue) not the scraps on the floor. This means that the art of body contouring is about what fat cells are left as opposed to how much was removed. Those remaining fat cells are often susceptible to increase in size following removal of their neighbor fat cells. Meaning if the patient gains weight after liposuction, the remaining cells get bigger next to the spot of their missing neighbor fat cells and that leads to irregular (lumpy) results. But, the beauty of liposuction is that these fat cells simply will not grow back if the patient adheres to a healthy lifestyle following surgery!
At the Carlotti Cosmetic Surgery Center, Drs. Albert and Michelle Carlotti will often address breasts, abdomen and fat deposits in the same procedure. However, we will require an 23 hour overnight stay in order to properly take care of you following surgery. That night you will have a licensed nurse and Dr. Albert Carlotti present on the premises at all times. Because Dr. Albert Carlotti and Dr. MIchelle Cabret-Carlotti operate as a team with a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist for these types of cases, we are able to have shorter operation times and minimize risks. A typical “Mommy Makeover” for which a breast lift with implants, abdominoplasty and liposuction are performed together may take 5 1/2 hours in our hands where a single surgeon alone may exceed 8 hours. In addition, you will have both a male and females perspective as our unique husband and wife team takes care of you!