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Bouncing Back After Baby

2:49pm - March 10, 2011 | by

After having children, something as simple as buying a pair of jeans can be terribly frustrating.  You have been exercising, eating right, and yet, despite everything… the pooch below your navel still remains. And so the Mommy Makeover was born.

Depending on your specific needs, a “Mommy Makeover” can include procedures such as breast lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction to bring things back to their “full and upright position”.  Most often, patients are seeking the “flat tummy” that they had before pregnancy, and a tummy tuck is far and away the best procedure to achieve this goal.

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is one of the most widely performed and highest rated procedures by consumers.  Patients on RealSelf.com, a cosmetic surgery education website, have given mommy makeovers and tummy tucks a satisfaction rating of 96% and 90% respectively on the “Was it Worth It” scale.*  Non-surgical options such as Zerona, Velashape, and a host of others, come in at the bottom of the list at with a satisfaction rating of 36% and less.*

So what makes the tummy tuck so effective?

First, you need to understand the anatomy of the abdomen. Think of your stomach muscles as long rubber bands that start just below the breast and end at the pubic area.  During pregnancy, these muscles get stretched out and, in most cases, don’t bounce back to their original taut state.  This is similar to an old pair of elastic-waist pants.  Over time, the elastic wears out and doesn’t have the tension it had when it was new and can no longer serve its original purpose.

If that’s not enough, the abdominal muscles also tend to separate down the middle. Here is a little at-home test you can do to see if your muscles are separated.  Lie down on your back and put your fingers at your navel. Now lift up like you are doing a crunch.  You will be able to feel a separation of anywhere   between 1-4 fingers across. This is because the muscles are no longer connected like they once were. The technical term for this is diastasis recti. The ‘pooch’ you can’t seem to get rid of is due to the muscles being stretched out and separated, literally unable to hold back everything that lies underneath.

You may have heard about variations on the tummy tuck, such as a “mini” or “extended”.  A mini tummy tuck is typically a skin tightening procedure only, not involving any of the muscles below.  Rarely is this a satisfactory option for women who have had children.  Sometimes, an “extended” tummy tuck is just what the doctor ordered.  This is an excellent option for the patient who has more curves than she wants around the hips and flanks. The standard hip bone to hip bone incision is extended up and around the flanks and the excess skin and fat is removed. This creates a nice, flat stomach and a beautiful contour to the hips.

Are you ready to learn more?  The next step is a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons here at CPS.  During your personal appointment, our experienced surgeons will cover the procedure basics, do a brief physical exam, show before and after photos, and recommend a course of treatment tailored to fit your needs.

*Footnotes:  http://www.realself.com/was-it-worth-it Statistics quoted from the “Was it Worth It?” page on RealSelf.com were noted on 3/8/11 and may change in the future.  Images courtesy of ASPS at surgery.org.

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