Women’s bodies go through a lot of changes from puberty until the end of their lives. Aging, gravity, environmental factors and the stresses of pregnancy, childbirth and recovery all take their toll. These processes leave physical signs, such as stretch marks, sagging skin, C-section scars and other evidence. Through advances in cosmetic surgery, these are correctable to a certain degree, although cosmetic surgery leaves its own evidence upon the body and this needs to be considered before deciding for sure whether surgical intervention is warranted. One example is the focus of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The patient, from Lutz, asks, “Am I eligible for a Mommy Makeover, or is there something else I need to do first? I recently gave birth and I’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Dr. Pane reviewed the pictures the patient sent with her question. They show a woman of slight build with an A-cup to B-cup bust with no evident sagging, some skin laxity in the lower abdominal area without evident stretch marks and an apparent C-section scar.
A Mommy Makeover usually involves some form of breast augmentation and a tummy tuck. Other procedures may be added to that as necessary or desired, but Dr. Pane prefers to err on the side of reducing invasiveness as much as possible when the case warrants it.
In this particular case, Dr. Pane feels the patient would get optimal results from a breast augmentation, either using fat transfer or prosthesis, with the latter appearing more feasible based upon the patient’s build. She does not appear to need a breast lift, which is commonplace in many Mommy Makeovers, as her breasts are on the small side and do not show evidence of sagging. Finally, abdominoplasty would rectify the sagging skin on her lower abdomen. Dr. Pane describes the patient as a “good case,” based on the photographic evidence.
However, the patient does have a few things to consider. First, assuming fat transfer is not an option, what type and size implants would she prefer? Saline and silicone are both popular options. Second, where does she want the scars? As noted previously, cosmetic surgery does leave scars, and these can be hidden and remediated to a point, but we don’t currently have the ability to completely eliminate them. Some people find the scars more troublesome than the initial problem areas, which is why being aware of this is so important.
Regarding the abdomen, a tummy tuck is in order, with a few caveats. The patient has indicated her weight is up and down. At this moment she appears to be at a good, stable weight. However, if she becomes pregnant again or is planning to lose a great deal more weight than she already has, this may leave her in a position of having to have a tummy tuck again in a couple of years. Ideally, she would consider herself done with childbearing and have her weight at a stable plateau without significant gain or loss before having the tummy tuck done, but this is not always practical or appropriate for every patient.
Every patient and body is a little different, and surgeons cannot always predict how a given body will react to a specific procedure. For this reason, it is important for patients to keep an open mind and not get too focused on any specific methodology until a complete, in-person clinical evaluation has been done. Patients should also be aware that the very things which make them and their bodies unique may have unforeseen consequences in terms of scarring, recovery time and so forth. Additionally, clinical consultation can help the patient and surgeon set a reasonable range of expectations for the outcome, so the patient is better informed and can be a more effective advocate and partner in their own care.
If you have a question, interest or concern about any facet of cosmetic surgery, the staff of Atlantic Coast Aesthetics welcome the chance to speak with you! Simply call us at (561) 422-4116; email us through the Contact page on our website; or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Your question might even allow us to inform and educate others who share your interests and concerns as the focus of a forthcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, where Dr. Pane answers your questions about cosmetic surgery live on the air in a Google Hangout! Remember, at ACA, we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!