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post baby belly

body contouring and correction

The right body procedure for you depends on what issues you have and where they are. The three basic factors are fat, muscle separation, and skin tone.

Everyone hears about watching weight gain with pregnancy.  I do think there is a correlation between gaining more than just “baby weight” and having a higher permanent weight after pregnancy. I hear many women say, “After my children I went back to exercising and eating well. I just can’t lose the last 10 pounds.” For many of these women, surgery can help them regain their pre-pregnancy baseline.

Another issue after having children is loosening of the abdominal muscles. The muscle loosening, called diastasis, happens along the center of the abdomen. It is the reason you can’t “suck it in” as tightly as you used to before pregnancy.  You may notice your belly is flat when you lay down, but pooches out when you stand up or after a large meal. Some of this muscle loosening can be corrected with sit-ups and other abdominal exercise. Some cannot be corrected without surgery.  You may have an actual hernia particularly in the belly button which accompanies the diastasis, where a hole in the abdominal fascia exists.  We fix hernias frequently when doing a tummy tuck.

The degree of skin loosening depends on genetic skin tone, how big you got, how many times you’ve been pregnant, and other factors.  This results in hanging skin, stretch-marks, or just stretchy loose skin. Many call the loose skin “the muffin top.”  It is the annoying skin hanging over the waist of your jeans, even though your jeans are not too tight. This happens in thin women as well as more full-figured ones. The issue is one of poor skin tone. Unfortunately there is no cream or exercise to improve skin tone or elasticity. The only way we currently have to tighten skin is to cut away the excess.

I can’t boast enough about the final results.  I feel totally amazing, but mostly I feel like a sexy woman again.
– K.G., Boulder Creek

So what are the options? Liposuction, abdominoplasty, and mini-abdominoplasty offer solutions to each of these problems. Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is a two layer approach that tightens the underlying muscle diastasis and the overlying loose skin. Mini-abdominoplasty usually addresses the skin only and a smaller amount of skin is removed, leaving no scar around the belly button. If you have:

Excess fat, good skin tone

Your optimal choice is liposuction.

Excess fat, poor skin tone

Your optimal choice is an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck. This can be combined with liposuction on other areas of your body to give you a smooth, natural contour. I strongly prefer to address the entire body to keep the curves looking natural. When your body is affected in multiple areas, it is best to treat all of those areas together, so as not to look oddly shaped or “operated on.”

No fat, poor skin tone

Alas, this is a hard one. This is purely a unique effect of pregnancy caused by stretching of the skin. There is currently no way to tighten skin without removing the excess. This is done by performing an abdominoplasty or mini-abdominoplasty.

Grey Zone

This last category is the “grey zone.” I see many women who have excess fat and some loose skin, but their skin is not so loose as to require a full abdominoplasty. This tends to be the category where women who have the “muffin top,” or the stretched out skin near the belly button, fit in. It’s enough to be annoying, but sometimes not enough to warrant the scar that will be left by an abdominoplasty. These patients tend to choose liposuction alone or liposuction with a mini-abdominoplasty. There is no right answer for everyone.

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