I LOVE MY KIDS, but … I don’t recognize this body I am in anymore!
I don’t get much sleep and have dark circles under my eyes.
I have a stretched-out belly and have put on 20 pounds.
I don’t get time to exercise.
I don’t eat as healthy because … I am finishing their food, or I am on the run and get fast food.
I have floppy breasts after breastfeeding or being pregnant.
Do any of these sound familiar? If you have had children, you probably have some of these issues. You wish you had your pre-pregnancy body back or the body you had in your 20s. For me, I was at least 20 pounds lighter and two sizes smaller. Only recently have I accepted I might not get back down there, and the battle now is not to go up more.
As a plastic surgeon and a mom to three kids, I can readily relate to my patients who come in complaining about the body they no longer recognize. Our lower half tends to grow while our upper half has shrunk, and we don’t find it flattering. What can we do?
For our breasts, many of us complain about sagging, low-hanging breasts that come after pregnancy, losing weight, or with time. This is related to skin that is no longer as elastic and has stretched out too much, or the change in the composition of the breast itself.
When we are young, our breasts have a higher proportion of glandular tissue that provides structure and weight. As we age or as hormones alter our bodies, the proportion of glandular tissue to fat typically decreases. Much to our chagrin, the remaining fatty tissue has less structure and is softer, so the breasts become more “floppy.”
For individuals needing more volume to add size, a breast implant can be a great solution. However, if you just want to lift them up, a lift (aka mastopexy) might be enough. Depending on the look you want to achieve, a combination of the two can be used.
For our bellies and hips, there are a variety of treatments that may help us get back to what we remember. This can include liposuction, with or without a tummy tuck (aka abdominoplasty).
Liposuction helps get rid of unwanted curves (love handles, too much lower belly fat) but does not effectively deal with excess skin. Hanging skin (aka “the belly pooch”) is a result of being stretched out and the skin losing its elasticity. Although there are non-surgical treatments that can help tighten skin, they can rarely produce the results of a true abdominoplasty. During an abdominoplasty, surgeons can also repair the stretched muscle (diastasis) that often occurs as a result of pregnancy. This helps flatten the overstretched belly. Sometimes people need a combination of these procedures depending on where their fat accumulates the most and where their skin is stretched out or hanging.
There are many ways to try to restore a recognizable body after pregnancy or weight loss. Will it be the same body you had before? That depends on whether you accumulated additional weight over the years. However, there are many procedures that can help you at least regain a body you are willing to claim as yours. And with additional good nutrition and exercise, sometimes it’s an improved version than what we had in our youth.
Too many times, I see patients feeling guilty about spending money to get back a body that makes them feel confident. However, plastic surgery is about so much more than vanity. Feeling confident translates into a happier self and can improve relationships, benefiting those around you.
If you are considering a cosmetic procedure, I invite you to join IAS for a complimentary consultation to discuss your aesthetic goals and the options available. To learn more, call us at (407) 409-8000 or visit iasurgery.net.
Dr. Roxanne Sylora, MD is known for her expertise in breast enhancement, reduction, and body contouring. Before moving to Orlando, she spent several years in the Chicago area performing breast augmentation and body sculpting, including breast lifts, tummy tucks, breast reconstruction, and post-massive weight loss body contouring. Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Dr. Sylora has been recognized as a “Top Plastic Surgeon” by Consumers Checkbook and as one of “America’s Top Plastic Surgeons” by Consumers Research Council of America.