With the increasing acceptability of cosmetic surgery, it is becoming more common for women to enhance their bodies after the changes that occur post-pregnancy. In fact, Sydney plastic surgeon Dr. Kourosh Tavakoli says that up to 30 percent of women in his practice come to see him because they would like to improve their post-pregnancy bodies.
He stresses that before embarking on cosmetic surgery there has to be a grace period after pregnancy so that the body has time to normalize. ‘This period can range from 12 to 24 months,’ he explains. ‘I would not recommend any cosmetic work within a year after pregnancy. Mums also need to keep in mind that they will need support after their surgery because for a period of time they will have difficulty picking up their baby.’
According to Dr. Tavakoli, the top three procedures that this group of women requests are breast enhancement, abdominoplasty, and liposculpture.
Dr. Tavakoli says the degree of change women experience in their breasts depends on whether they have breastfed and the duration of their breastfeeding. ‘The more women have breastfed, the more dramatic the changes that occur to their breasts are,’ he explains.’ Two things that can happen to breasts are a reduction of volume and a loss of shape. In assessing the breasts, these two parameters need to be closely considered and adjustments made accordingly. If a woman has droopiness, her main option is to have a breast lift. The third problem is excess breast tissue and this usually requires a breast reduction.’
In Dr. Tavakoli’s practice, an abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is almost always combined with liposculpture because this offers a better result. The procedure is designed to tighten any laxity of the abdominal wall, which is a result of skin stretching, by removing excess fat and skin. ‘The women who usually require an abdominoplasty are those who have had multiple pregnancies and/or have had large babies in relation to their body size,’ he says.
Some women request liposculpture as an isolated procedure after their pregnancy. Often it is the case that the problem areas were there before the pregnancy, but the pregnancy has accentuated these areas. ‘In other words, difficult areas can become more prominent,’ he says.
According to Dr. Tavakoli, many women choose to have breast and body surgery at the same time. The recovery time for a breast enhancement, abdominoplasty, and liposculpture is longer (about three to four weeks) but the advantage is that the surgery is all over and done at once.
He adds that recovery from breast augmentation takes 10 days while more elaborate breast surgery takes from two to three weeks.
Liposculpture requires two weeks of recovery time and an abdominoplasty requires three weeks. Abdominoplasty also requires a hospital stay of two nights, but the other procedures can be performed as day procedures.’Cosmetic surgery after pregnancy can have a very positive effect,’ concludes Dr. Tavakoli. ‘As long as the expectations are realistic, the overall satisfaction rate in this group of patients is very high.’