Many of the patients who we see are women who are within the age range society calls “childbearing,” which means that sometimes the results that they get from plastic surgery may later be altered by the changes that pregnancy and breastfeeding bring about. Previously we’ve talked about repairing the damage that aging and pregnancy have caused with a mommy makeover. But what should women know beforehand about a procedure like a tummy tuck in order to time plastic surgery procedures to get the maximum effect?
First of all, a tummy tuck is a procedure that is performed after the abdomen has been under stress like pregnancy or a large weight gain. Pregnancy, while natural, isn’t easy on a woman’s body as her uterus expands enormously, permanently expanding the difference between the rectus muscles (what is commonly referred to as a six-pack), stretching and expanding them and the overlying skin. Think of the muscles parallel looking like “II” before pregnancy and stretched apart looking like “()” after pregnancy. After delivery, even with weight loss, that skin and those muscles remain stretched - they do not bounce back to their pre-pregnancy state. Many times they are simply not that elastic.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, repairs that damage by tightening those muscles, pulling them back together and removing the excess stretched skin. It can also remove some scars and stretch marks if those are a part of the damaged skin able to be removed. While it is certainly possible to get pregnant again after a tummy tuck operation, all of the work done would be undone as the uterus expands once again.
Life can be complicated. Unexpected or surprise pregnancies happen all the time. It’s always wise for a patient to discuss with her surgeon any expected changes in her life, however, in order to maintain the results of the original tummy tuck, avoiding another pregnancy or large weight gain would be the best course. Can another tummy tuck or a revision of the original tummy tuck be done? Yes, certainly, that is an option. However, in order to avoid the cost and recovery from multiple surgeries, it’s always wise to plan ahead.
It’s important to note that any damage that occurs because of a pregnancy after a tummy tuck will be to the results of that tummy tuck. It will not affect the pregnancy itself or endanger the baby in any way, and, of course, there is no warranty for the changes from pregnancy.
If you have questions or concerns about body contouring and how it might fit into your life and your family planning, please feel free to contact us at Bancroft Feldman. We would be happy to discuss our experience with this procedure and the outcomes we have seen.