Sunday, December 20, 2009

You should be at your ideal weight and fitness level before a "mommy makeover"

Karen M. Horton, MD answers: Tummy Tuck for skin, fat, and stretch marks after pregnancy?

I'm 5'11 and 249 lbs. After pregnancy, I have a hanging mass of skin, fat, and stretch marks. I went from 186 lbs to 277 lbs. I have zero elasticity, and 1 week after I had my daughter, I had dropped from 277 lbs to 231 lbs. I am still overweight and currently trying to lose the weight, but I have this hanging mass on my stomach of stretch marks and fat. It's horrific. I want a tummy tuck and have done a lot of research, but how much will it cost me? How much do I need to lose before I should have the surgery? I don't accept blood at all, is that a concern?

By Karen M. Horton, MD - San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

For any Mom considering Plastic Surgery such as a "mommy makeover", I always advise women to achieve their weight loss goals prior to seriously considering surgery.

You should have lost as much weight as you feel is reasonably realistic, be physically fit, and have healthy nutrition as part of your lifestyle.

There should also be "calmness" in your personal and/or professional life. Chaos is never a good fit with surgery!

Most Moms seek a full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), which removes excess lower abdominal skin and fat (including some stretch marks!), tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall back together, and decreases the waist line. Sometimes liposuction of the flanks and/or upper abdomen are added to the procedure, if needed.

For women who have not yet reached their ideal weight but who have a large overhang of skin and fat (a "pannus") in their lower abdominal region, it is possible as an interim procedure, to do a limited "panniculectomy". This will only remove the overhang but will not address the abdominal muscles or the upper abdomen.

Be sure to visit a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with a great deal of experience in these types of procedures!

Karen M. Horton, MD, MSc, FRCSC