By Sherri Roberts Lopez
In plastic surgery speak, it’s called looking at the “entire anatomical unit.” For a patient, it’s an important concept that can make a big difference in how satisfied you feel with your new look after having tummy tuck surgery. Simply put, you want your sleek, firm, rejuvenated abdominal appearance to visually harmonize with the rest of your body.
Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Chris Patronella commented, “During pregnancy, many different areas in addition to the abdomen experience stretching, including the hips, waist, and mons (the upper portion of the pubic mound beneath the belly button). If you are not attentive to the areas that are adjacent to the abdomen, the tummy tuck can look artificial.”
You might be surprised to know a stretched-out mons—a commonly-overlooked detail of an abdominoplasty procedure—is one of the top complaints that compel women to seek tummy tuck revision surgery with Dr. Patronella. After undergoing their initial tummy tucks, they are distressed to see a noticeable contrast between their taut abdomens next to the pillowy fullness of an untreated mons that would have benefited from the removal of loose skin and excess fat.
About four out every five of Dr. Patronella’s tummy tuck patients also have liposuction to improve the shape of the waist, hips, and other areas, while others also require the removal of loose skin from these regions to create firm, smooth contours that blend with appearance of the abdomen.
Dr. Patronella noted, “My objective is to make the results look completely natural, so that—if a person didn’t see the scar—you wouldn’t know it was surgical.”
By Sherri Roberts Lopez
Proving to the world that motherhood doesn’t mean your youthful feminine allure has to become a wistful memory of yore, singer Mariah Carey shows off her curvaceously fit physique on the cover of this month’s Shape magazine—just one year after the birth of her twins.
After gaining 70 pounds and enduring such pregnancy challenges as toxemia, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia, Carey credits her workout regime and structured diet plan with helping her shed the stubborn postpartum pounds that melted off more easily in her pre-baby days. Her tough but ultimately rewarding experience compelled her to join forces with the American Heart Association to spread the message, “You can live longer and better if you eat well and move more. I’m hoping people are inspired by my own journey and start taking the right steps toward being healthier.”
While speculation abounds as to whether a tummy tuck might be partially responsible for the singer’s flat, toned abs, she could be among that fortunate group of women who have the right combination of superb skin elasticity and genetics that allow them to regain their youthful, firm abdomens after childbirth.
However, for many—including those who are dedicated fitness enthusiasts—the great stretching force that pregnancy places upon the skin and underlying muscle wall leaves the area with loose skin and weakened abdominal muscles that no amount of dieting or exercise can make firm again.
As Angie, a patient of Dr. Patronella and a former fitness trainer who enjoys participating in marathons and bike races, commented, “As hard as I worked out, that extra skin around the belly button would not go away. I was seeing results everywhere but there.”
During her consultation with Dr. Patronella, Angie—the mother of three grown daughters, including twins— told the surgeon, ‘I have done physically everything I can do. You just need to tweak me here and there to reach the physical result I want to achieve.’”
Electing to have a tummy tuck in conjunction with a breast lift and breast augmentation to rejuvenate her breasts, which had lost shape and firmness through the years, Angie said the physical improvements lifted her up and made her even more confident. It was a step, she noted “I should have taken a long time ago.”