Dr. Christine Rodgers on the "mommy makeover"

Dr. Christine Rodgers on the "Mommy Makeover"

On average, most women gain 25-30 pounds throughout their pregnancy, and unfortunately, their bodies do not always bounce back post-birth. Stretch marks, weight gain, and sagging - pregnancy takes its toll on a woman's body. However, the increasingly popular "Mommy Makeover" procedure can help reverse the effects of pregnancy. beautypress sat down with celebrated plastic surgeon, Dr. Christine Rodgers, for an overview of "The Mommy Makeover" and her tips for successful results.

Dr. Christine Rodgers is a celebrated plastic surgeon who has been in the practice of empowering women since 1984. In addition to being an expert on women’s health and wellness issues as well as skincare, Dr. Rodgers is the founder and creator of the award-winning EnPointe Skin Solutions

Why do women opt for the "Mommy Makeover"?

Pregnancy takes its toll on a woman’s body. Let’s start with what happens to her body after having children. Typically, the women who come to see me after having had children complain about the loss of tone in the skin of their breasts and abdomen. The breasts may have lost some volume as well and thus may sag on the upper part of the abdomen. The abdominal area may actually have a "split" (known as “diastasis”) in the central vertical muscle that runs from just below the sternum to the pubic area. This can sometimes gives these women the appearance of being pregnant again.

To further add to the woman's distress, weight gain may have crept up during pregnancy. New mothers, who are now busy with a baby and all the new demands that motherhood brings, often find that it is extremely difficult to lose the excess weight. Working out may simply no longer be as easy to fit into a day as it once was. Many of the these women exercise religiously and watch their diet carefully following the birth of their children, but become frustrated when they do not see their former youthful, toned bodies return. Exercise and a healthy diet can result in post-partum weight loss, but, in reality, no amount of exercise can restore tone to sagging skin or repair the split of their abdominal muscles that occurred during pregnancy and childbirth. This is when a woman may seek help from a plastic surgeon to address these physical concerns.

Also, what is usually included in the "Mommy Makeover"?

Typically, a "Mommy Makeover" includes breast augmentation, with or without a lift (or “mastopexy”). The breast lift is usually necessary if the nipple / areola falls below the bra line. Unfortunately, the breast lift usually implies more scars, but the procedure is really key to obtaining more youthful, firm breasts. The patient can have either saline or silicone implants depending on her comfort level and the guidance that her surgeon offers her.

A "tummy tuck" is usually necessary to correct the abdominal wall weakness that is present following the birth of a child. There are several different forms of tummy tucks (or “abdominoplasties”). A mini-abdominoplasty can be done if one is small and relatively thin without too much excessive skin and fat. The scar is usually a little longer than a C-section scar and can be hidden sometimes within a bikini. Other tummy tucks may have longer incisions, but in order to have a flat, youthful abdomen, one needs to excise most of the sagging skin and fat and thus, the reason for the longer incisions. If one allows adequate time for healing and follows instructions regarding scar management, one can have scars that are not too noticeable. The flat, firm tummy is usually worth it, according the greater majority of my patients.

Finally, sometimes liposuction is combined with the above procedures if there are areas that simply are resistant to weight loss and exercise. Usually, these areas are located on the hips and back as well as the upper abdomen.

How do these procedures fit in with a busy Mom's schedule and budget?
Usually, most patients will have all the procedures at one time so as to minimize their downtime from their activities, whether work or pleasure oriented. I usually ask my patients not to lift anything 15 pounds or more for a period of 5-6 weeks post surgery. Sometimes, this can be a problem for the young mother without any help at home. Too much heavy activity too soon can result in breakdown of the incisions, either internally or externally.

Of course, if the patient's health is not optimal or if there is a history of blood clots in the legs, lengthy surgical procedures should not be performed at one sitting. This is why it is so important for the plastic surgeon to take a good history and perform a thorough medical exam before undertaking these types of surgeries.

Financially, these surgical procedures can be expensive because they are not covered by insurance as they are considered cosmetic. The cost of a Mommy Makeover will vary by region and also by the type and number of procedures involved. Also, as these are surgeries, the costs generally include fees for the surgeon, anesthesia and the operating room. For the above reasons, many women wait several years before having "Mommy Makeovers".

How long should a woman wait after childbirth before having these procedures?

A woman should wait until she is done breast feeding and until she has been able to lose her pregnancy weight, if that is possible. Breast feeding may falsely increase the size of the breasts and thus, the surgeon may not be able to accurately determine the appropriate size of the implants to place into the patient. If a woman intends to lose a significant amount of weight and feels that she can do this successfully, it is better for her to do so before the surgery as more skin can be excised in the abdominal area and the final result will be better. Also, she puts herself at lower risk for potential complications, if she is at an optimum weight.

What are some of the effects that "Mommy Makeovers" have had on your patients?

These women are some of the most satisfied patients whom I have in my practice. It is no surprise to anyone these days that women want to prolong the aging process and that, overall, we all look and feel younger than our parents did at the same age. Women are in much better shape than they have ever been in the past and they want to maintain a youthful appearance as long as possible. Additionally, they want to retain a healthy feminine, sexual relationship with their husbands and partners. My patients also mention to me that they want preserve a sense of their own femininity, despite being a "Mom".

With the "Mommy Makeovers", women are able to regain their firmer, more youthful breasts and bodies. These surgical procedures help women feel better about themselves, sexually, physically and mentally. If they are done in a safe surgical setting with a careful plastic surgeon, they can really help women retain their sense of femininity and attractiveness.


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