Congratulations on the birth of your new child! After nine months of carrying a precious, little infant, your body will experience changes that are normal. These changes may leave you feeling less than happy about your figure.
You’ve heard the saying the “it takes nine months for your body to adapt to the size of your expanding uterus, and it takes nine months for your body to return to normal. This is true, and because women and physicians for centuries have made this observation, it is best to be patient and let your body reach its own equilibrium before making any decisions regarding plastic surgery.
If plastic surgery is an option you are considering it is important you are back to good health. Many women experience feeling “the blues” in the weeks or months after delivery and this is not the time to consider plastic surgery.
The most common plastic surgery procedures performed after child birth.
Breast Lift or Tightening (Mastopexy)
During pregnancy as your body prepares to nurture a child, milk glands in the breasts swell and replace fatty tissue. After childbirth these glands shrink. What is left is a skin envelope; with little breast tissue to fill the skin envelope. No amount of exercise will re-tighten this skin. Your breasts look less full and actually sag. There are two options to treat your sagging breasts. The first option is a mastopexy, which is a simple breast lift. If your breast sagging is too great, you will require an augmentation mastopexy. This procedure is a breast lift with the placement of a breast implant.
Stomach Tightening (Abdominoplasty)
You will experience abdominal changes after pregnancy. Skin laxity, muscle weakness, Cesarean section scars and the occasional hernia are some of the abdominal changes you may experience. These changes are frustrating and depressing to many women. Abdominal skin laxity and stretch marks often improve with time. It is important to give your body time to reach its own equilibrium before undergoing plastic surgery. This usually occurs nine months to one year after the birth of your baby.
Abdominal muscles are stretched and often separated during pregnancy this is called rectus diastasis, and may be associated with an umbilical hernia or ventral hernia. No amount of exercise including endless situps will reconnect these muscles.
A mini-abdominoplasty is less extensive than a standard abdominoplasty. The skin and stretch marks below your navel are removed and lower abdominal muscles tightened. The scar is smaller than a standard abdominoplasty scar, and there is no scar around your navel.
A standard abdominoplasty, which tightens the abdominal muscles, and removes the excess skin and stretch, corrects this problem. If you have a hernia around your navel or in the abdominal wall it may be repaired as part of the standard abdominoplasty procedure.
The scar is larger than a mini-abdominoplasty scar, and there is a small scar around your navel. Standard abdominoplasty is performed on an out patient basis unless you require extensive repair.
Women having difficulty regaining their pre-pregnancy figure benefit from the dramatic difference these procedures make. Often this is the impetus that motivates many women to commit to healthy lifestyle.
Liposuction is the most commonly requested cosmetic procedure. This procedure is often most beneficial to women after pregnancy. Many women after pregnancy complain they cannot lose fat in their hips, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms. Liposuction is the perfect solution for spot fat reduction and body contouring. Liposuction will re-sculpt your body and remove fatty deposits that that contribute to unsightly underarms or bulging thighs.
Liposuction is not appropriate for women who are overweight and have large fat deposits. The majority of weight loss must occur before liposuction, leaving only specific fatty deposits to be treated.
During pregnancy the muscles of the pelvic region are placed under a great deal of tension, and the lining of the vagina becomes stretched. The labia (minora and majora) surrounding the vaginal opening become swollen and distorted. During normal vaginal delivery many women tear or otherwise damage these tissues. A vaginoplasty can repair a lax or torn vagina. Labiaplasty corrects and re-contours the ripped and over distended labia. Both procedures allow women to regain pleasure in sexual activity and to feel more comfortable wearing certain types of clothing such as bathing suits and jeans.
Changes in Skin Pigmentation
Chloasma, the mask of pregnancy, is a common facial pigmentation change. Some studies estimate fifty percent of women develop this pigmentation change which results in brown blotchy skin discoloration. The change is often temporary, or if it persists and is limited to the top layer of the skin may be treated with bleaching creams that contain hydroquinone. If the bleaching agents are not effective a light chemical peel should treat the problem. The combination of Obagi Skin Therapy creams, and chemical peels such as theViPeel or the Obagi Peel will treat the most difficult pigmentation changes.
The skin of the perineum also darkens with pregnancy. The dark pigmented linea nigra (pregnancy line), may occur on the abdomen. The pigmentation usually returns to normal a few weeks after delivery, and no therapy is necessary.
Cesarean Section Scars
Scars initially appear red and sometimes raised, but over the course of time C-section scars mature and fade into a pencil- thin line. If this does not occur a surgical scar revision with a plastic surgery closure will improve the appearance and turns the scar into a fine line.
Some women however may have persistent problems with a hypertrophic or keloid scar. The use of silicone gel or sheeting, massage and pressure may serve to improve the scar. If these less invasive treatment methods are not successful, injections with a steroid or a steroid combined with 5-fluorouracile are recommended.
During pregnancy your enlarged uterus presses on abdominal and pelvic vessels. This causes dilation of the veins and capillaries in your legs, and is further exacerbated by the effect of your body’s hormones (estrogen) on the walls of these vessels. After the birth of your baby your may notice leg veins, both large and small spider veins, that are very prominent. Many of these veins return to normal with time. If they persist you may have the small vessels treated with sclerotherapy or laser therapy. A vascular surgeon with endoscopic venous closure or internal laser therapy best treats the large varicose veins. If the varicose veins are extremely large and prominent surgical treatment may be necessary.