Pregnancy is an extraordinary period in a woman’s life as her body prepares to bring a child into this world. But the physical changes, like weight gain and stretch marks, which occur during pregnancy and with breastfeeding can remain and be a cause for persistent concern to the mother. Why is pregnancy a natural “tissue sweller?” And what can be done to treat these issues? From the skin to the breasts, Dr Lanzer explores some science below.
During pregnancy, the growing child requires more and more room within the mum’s womb. The uterus expands as the child grows, and in turn the belly grows and stretches the skin. Simultaneously, the breasts begin to expand in preparation for milk production and breast feeding.
Skin, the largest organ in the human body, is essentially elastic and can stretch to a limit. This constant stretching occurs during pregnancy and creates more skin. Beyond this limit, “Stretch Marks” occur and represent an irreversible breakage of dermal components (natural constituents within the skin). The degree to which stretch marks occur varies in women, depending on their specific skin quality together with genetics.
Naturally, like all elastic materials, there is some “recoil” of the stretch of skin after the stretching force (especially with pregnancy and breast feeding). The amount to which the skin returns to its pre-pregnancy state also varies. A lot of the time, women after childbirth are left with at least some excess skin in the lower abdomen with or without stretch marks. The breasts, which expanded during breast feeding, appear ‘deflated’ and droopy because their internal supporting structures have also been stretched beyond their limit. These changes can be intensified by multiple pregnancies and childbirths. Dr Lanzer, an Australian Leading Cosmetic Surgeon does a revolutionary breast procedure called Breast Augmentation. Dr Lanzer also performs a Breast Lift which can reshape the ‘droopy’ and sagging appearance of the breasts following pregnancy and breast feeding. Excess skin is eliminated, and the residual skin is tailored to drape aesthetically to the underlying breast tissue. The nipple, which often appears to be hanging on the lower pole of the breast, is ‘lifted’ to a more natural and aesthetically attractive position. A breast lift won’t make the breast larger, but sometimes the reshaping does provide an illusion of a bigger size. In order to add more volume, some patients choose a simultaneous augmentation with a saline implant that can make the breasts appear even fuller and larger.
The ‘additional’ skin, stretch marks and overall ‘deflated’ appearance of the abdomen and breasts cannot be removed by exercise. Remember, exercise and weight loss decrease fat content, unfortunately some women are still left with a quantity of excess skin. To eliminate this excess skin and correct its droopy appearance, the skin must be surgically eliminated and re-tailored to adapt naturally to the underlying tissue. An abdominoplasty or ‘tummy tuck ‘ which includes removing the excess skin and fat of the lower abdomen. It also involves combining the tissue covering‘6-pack’ of abdominal muscles.
Remember, everything about the belly stretches during pregnancy, and this includes the muscles. Finally, selective liposuction of the flanks and hips can further enhance the result in the right candidate. The overall result is a flatter, more attractive tummy with a fine line scar that can be hidden within the bikini line. The surgery is itself outpatient, and all patients are able to walk the same day.
There are a variety of alterations to the procedures described above which can be selected according to the individual patient’s physical appearances and objectives.
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