Should I have plastic surgery?
Aahh, the joys of becoming a new mom! That perfect little baby that you can stare at for hours, the unconditional love, the excitement and oh yes, the body that just doesn’t seem to be what it used to.
During pregnancy, your body goes though so many changes, some chemical some physical. Through time, we work out and wait anxiously for it’s not so quick return. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it just won’t or can’t go back due to pregnancy complications. So when, if ever, is it OK to have plastic surgery to fix our imperfections?
Cindy is a mom of two beautiful girls ages 8 and 6. Being a former dancer, she always prided herself on her flat stomach even after baby #1. But during her second pregnancy something different happened. She noticed a white line going down her expanding belly. As it turned out, Cindy developed Diastasis Recti. A condition that separates the abdominal muscles. After giving birth to her second child, Cindy said she constantly looked three months pregnant and no matter what she did for exercise nothing helped. After five years of contemplating having more kids and dealing with the everyday disappointment in her stomach, she finally decided that surgery was absolutely what she wanted to do. After researching several surgeons, she chose and trusted Dr. Brenner of Beverly Hills to give her back the confidence in her body she once had.
It’s a tough decision for one, to actually have plastic surgery and two, in deciding who to entrust with your body that you will forever be living with. When speaking with Cindy, she stated there were several reasons she chose Dr Brenner. For one, he is double board certified in both general AND plastic surgery. His advance training allows him to to perform procedures that other plastic surgeons do not. For example,what Cindy needed was what is referred to as the Short Scar Tummy Tuck or Endo Mini along with an umbilical hernia repair. Dr. Brenner not only specializes in these procedures but is able to correct them as a stand alone or in conjunction. Because of his specialized training, he is known for his Mommy Make-overs. Second, his goal and philosophy is to make women confident with their bodies again which is why natural results are so important and each procedure is customized to each patient. Last, patient care is number one with not only Dr. Brenner but with his staff who actually gives out their personal phone numbers if a patient needs to get in touch with them about anything through the entire process. Who does that?
These are all extremely important aspects to look for when searching for a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery is not an easy decision to make and it is a very personal decision. So when, if ever, should you have plastic surgery? Only you can answer that question, but I would ask myself, “Is there ONE thing that would make me feel that much more confident about myself, something that has bothered me for a long time now on a daily basis?” If the answer is yes, then maybe it’s time to look into it.
Below you can see Cindy’s before and after shots of her tummy and the procedure of how and what’s done.
Abdominoplasty (also known as a tummy tuck) is a procedure designed to improve the cosmetic appearance of the abdomen. Although an abdominoplasty needs to be tailored to each individual, in general this operation involves four major steps:
1) Removing excess abdominal skin and fat.
2) Tightening (also known as plicating) the abdominal wall musculature.
3) Relocation of the belly button (also known as the umbilical stalk).
4) Closure of the skin incisions.
The precise amount of skin to be removed is different for each patient. However, in general, most patients will have the redundant skin removed that extends from below the belly button to just above the pubic hair line. Any stretch marks that are present within this area of skin will likewise be removed. The abdominal muscles will be tightened from just below the sternum/breast bone, all the way to the pubic bone, with rare exception. Many patients are concerned that their belly button will be cut off and re-attached. The reality is, however, that the belly button is intentionally left intact and connected to the abdominal wall. Once the excess abdominal skin is removed, a new location is selected and a new opening is made. The patient’s belly button is then carefully secured at this location. When appropriate, Dr. Brenner utilizes a specialized technique to inset the belly button. Some patients may not be great candidates for traditional tummy tucks, but may be excellent candidates for a modified mini-tummy tuck.
When it comes to abdominal contouring, the simple truth is that not all patients are candidates for the traditional full tummy tuck. During a traditional full tummy tuck, a long incision is made in the bikini line to allow for three things:
1) Exposure of the abdominal wall muscles.
2) Tightening of the abdominal wall muscles .
3) Removal of the excess, redundant skin.
By definition, this procedure requires relocation of the umbilicus to a new position. The traditional tummy tuck is an excellent technique for the right candidate.
Certainly, for patients with a large amount of excess skin located below the belly button associated with laxity of the abdominal muscles a traditional full tummy tuck makes sense. However, there is an ever growing subset of patients with a thin body habitus who develop weakness of the abdominal wall muscles following weight loss and/or pregnancy without having a significant amount of redundant skin and subcutaneous tissue. These patients often complain to me that people note that they look pregnant; sometimes even years after their delivery. They may have a very small amount of loose skin just above the pubic area. However, these patients certainly do not have adequate redundant tissue to allow removal of all of the tissue that exists below the belly button. In order to provide excellent results in this subset of tummy tuck patients (very loose muscles, without much excess skin) I have modified the tummy tuck operation to design a procedure that combines the best aspects of both of these operations; namely, a shorter scar and a full muscle tightening. This operation is called the Short Scar Mini-Tummy Tuck®. The key aspects of the Short Scar Mini-Tummy Tuck are:
1) A short bikini line incision that is slightly longer (2 cm on each side) than the traditional C-section scar.
2) Complete elevation of the skin and soft tissues off of the muscle.
3) Full muscle tightening (from the rib cage to the pubic area).
4) No scar around the belly button (or sometimes minimal scar).
During this operation, I use an endoscope to help facilitate this minimally invasive approach. Patients have loved the results for several reasons:
1) They get a flat abdomen as a result of complete muscle plication.
2) They are rid of the small amount of residual skin that was troublesome to them.
3) They almost never have a visible scar around the belly button.
4) The incision is much shorter than in a traditional tummy tuck, and located very low in the same location as a C-section incision.
If you happen to live in the L.A. area and want to get more info on all your plastic surgery needs, you can contact Dr. Brenner