Q: I just had my second baby six months ago and I want to get my body fixed. I am almost back to my pre-baby weight, maybe just 4 or 6 pounds more than I was. It seems like I have a lot of grease accumulations especially in the tummy and thighs that I would like removed. But I would need to know more or less how much it would cost so I discuss it with my husband.
A: Recovering one’s body shape after pregnancies usually focuses on the abdomen and waistline areas. For some women, this is just a matter of resistant fat accumulations that can be relatively easily improved by liposuction alone. For most women, however, it is more than just a fat issue. It is skin that has been stretched out and is lax. Liposuction alone will not tighten this skin but merely deflate it. Some form of a tummy tuck, combined with liposuction, is often what is needed.
Whether it is liposuction, a tummy tuck, or some combination thereof is impossible to know without actually seeing you. Women are so different in how their bodies respond to pregnancy that any one of these options may be right for you. But to give you a price range based on pure liposuction alone up to a fully tummy tuck with liposuction is in the range of $4,500 to $8,000, all costs included. This may be a wide range but costs of such surgery are dependent on the extent and time required to do the procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I am currently pregnant and I can tell that my stomach is going to be a problem after I deliver. I have gained 60 lbs with my pregnancy and stretch marks have appeared that weren’t there before. Do you think liposuction or a tummy tuck would work best to get my stomach back to being flat again after I deliver?
A: There is no doubt that pregnancy, for most women, has an adverse effect on the look and shape of the abdomen afterwards. Large weight gains and the appearance of stretchmarks are synonymous and signify that the elasticity of the abdominal skin has been altered. The ability for the skin to snap back into place afterwards is not likely.
The two choices of liposuction and some form of a tummy tuck are the only truly effective abdominal contouring options. In many cases, they are done together as a combined lipoabdominoplasty procedure. What they are effective for, however, is different, Liposuction removes fat only and relies on the overlying elasticity of the skin to get a smoother abdominal contour. A tummy tuck removes skin and fat (the fat that lies directly underneath the skin cutout) and uses excision and abdominal flap advancement as the skin tightening method. It is easy to see that how much loose skin one has is the determining factor in the choice between the two options. With a large weight gain and the stretch marks, it is most likely that you should be thinking tummy tuck rather than liposuction alone.
The timing of any abdominal contouring procedure after pregnancy does vary but, as a general rule, it should be about six months. This will allow adequate time for any remaining ‘baby weight’ to be gone and have a full appreciation of what the final ‘damage’ really is. In addition, this allows you time to focus on the baby and enjoy the experience of the very early months of their life.
Dr. Barry Eppley