PART II: When to consider surgery.
You eat right, you exercise frequently, you are one of the most active people out there BUT you still have sagging skin, stretch marks and you miss the six pack you used to have. Don’t worry; it’s not the end of the world – surgery may be the answer! Before I go into this, let me reemphasize, even with the extra skin and stretch marks you are still beautiful. You should be proud of your battle wounds; you earned them by creating wonderful children. However, if it has a seriously negative effect on your self-esteem and keeps you from living your life to its fullest, then plastic surgery may be the answer.
The most common procedure done in mommy make overs is a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty. Tummy Tuck is a surgical procedure that involved removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower part of the abdomen. In cases of post pregnancy with multiples, it is highly likely the procedure will also involve tightening the abdominal muscles. Here are the most common questions from my mommy patients…
When is a good time to have a Tummy Tuck?
The best time to consider a tummy tuck is after you are done having children. I usually don’t recommend that you have this procedure done when if you are considering having another baby down the road. The skin and muscles will be restretched and new stretch marks may occur.
I usually have my patients wait a minimum of 6 months after their delivery to be considered for the procedure. It gives the woman time to adjust to the new situation of having a child and allows her body to recover from all the pregnancy changes that it under went. Also, you want to lose the extra baby weight before the surgery. I prefer my patients to be at or near their goal weight and at a stable weight for 3 months.
Tummy Tucks are in general, not recommended for people 30 or more pounds overweight, have major health problems or plan to have kids. Also, if you have any medical problems, you will need to be medically cleared by your primary health care physician. Your primary doctor sees you far more often than the surgeon has and also knows everything that your body has been going through.
What will the Doctor do before Surgery?
When you make your decision to have a tummy tuck, the first step is to meet with your plastic surgeon. She will give you an overview of the surgery, what to expect during the surgery and what to expect afterwards. She will get your medical history from you and also examine you. It is important to share all medical history with your doctor since medications and previous conditions and procedures can lead to complications during surgery. Lab work and further testing may be done.
It’s the day of the surgery and you are anxious to know how everything will go down. First, remember that you will be asleep during the entire procedure. The procedure is typically done in an outpatient surgery setting, which means you will need to have someone there to pick you up and take you home. (Yeah no overnight hospital bills!)
The surgery takes on average about 3 hours, which may include liposuction depending on your body and your goal. During the surgery your abdominal muscles will be placed back in its pre-pregnancy position – it is this part of the procedure that will cause the most discomfort after surgery. Extra skin and fat will also be removed.
MOST COMMON QUESTION: Will I have a scar? Surgeons can usually work with scars you already have, especially if you have had a C-section. If creating a new incision, it is usually located below your panty line so you can still rock out a bikini after the surgery.
Time to Recover
Recovery time takes typically 10 days to feel close to your normal self and about a month to feel 100% again. I recommend taking 7-10 days off work. Everyone is different when it comes to pain levels but typically, you’ll be uncomfortable after surgery and will need someone to help you for at least 48 hours. The doctor may offer you something to help with pain for a few days.
Results will obviously vary case by case; it depends on, the current condition of you muscles and fat, and your habits. Any surgeon can give you a better body but if you go right back to being inactive and eating poorly, you will lose your results before you know it.
For nutrition and exercise tips read Part I of this article.