Breasts After Baby: Your Rehab Options
Breast enhancement surgery has become pretty common, but it’s still a very personal choice. For me, the idea of breast enhancement surgery didn’t strike me like a bolt out of the blue; it crept up on me gradually, a little after nursing my first child, and then a lot after my second. Most noticeably, my breasts were stretched out and saggy from breastfeeding, and I missed the perky round boobs I had before kids. I knew that I wanted to “fix” my breasts, but I didn’t have any knowledge of my plastic surgery options. As it turns out, there are several different breast procedures for women who want to improve the shape, size and youthfulness of their breasts.
Here, I’ve outlined the most important and helpful information I found in my quest to educate myself about breast enhancement options.
Breast augmentation is an extremely popular procedure for women and is one of the most frequently performed plastic surgery procedures. A surgeon creates a space for, then inserts a breast implant either just behind the breast tissue or beneath the chest wall muscle. The implants can be filled with either silicone gel or a saltwater solution (saline). Silicone gel implants are pre-filled, and saline implants are filled and sealed after insertion (click here and here for impartial comparisons of these two options). The added volume of the implant makes the breasts appear fuller and can give them a shapelier contour. Some women report that getting larger breasts made them feel more feminine, confident and self-assured. Something moms need to watch out for, though, is that breast augmentation alone will not improve significant sagging, and can actually make it worse.
Over time, factors such as age, gravity, and loss of elasticity can have an adverse effect on a woman’s breasts. In addition, pregnancy and breast feeding will often cause the breasts to lose their youthful shape and firmness. This is not news to me. To fix this, some women undergo a breast lift (mastopexy), a surgical procedure to raise and reshape saggy, deflated breasts. The surgeon removes excess skin and tissue, lifts the breasts and nipples, and reshapes the remaining tissue into an uplifted, perkier shape. This procedure does not add any volume to the breasts, and in fact, the outcome may actually be slightly smaller due to the removal of tissue. This procedure is more about the shape and the position of the breasts.
Many women, especially if they were already busty before kids, find that pregnancy can worsen the burden of overly large breasts. Large, pendulous breasts can cause medical problems due to the excessive weight of the breast tissue and the strain it puts on the back and shoulders. Some of these problems include severe back and neck pain, poor posture, skin irritation and physical limitations. The goal of a breast reduction procedure is to decrease breast size and to reshape the breasts to ensure they are proportionate to the body. A qualified surgeon will remove fat, glandular tissue and excess skin to achieve smaller, lighter, shapelier breasts. In many cases, insurance will pay for breast reduction surgery if it helps relieve physical symptoms.
I learned some surgeons even combine these procedures (like a breast lift in conjunction with a breast augmentation procedure) to achieve better shape, position and size. I think that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Since it is extremely important to choose a board-certified surgeon to undergo any breast enhancement procedures, I set out to find a qualified surgeon who had answers and information about these combination procedures.
According to the website of Dr. Michael S. Beckenstein, a plastic surgeon in Birmingham, AL, when the breasts sag significantly and breast volume has been lost (due to factors like childbearing), the best solution is often a breast augmentation with breast lift. I learned that this is a pretty common combo for moms like me who want to rehabilitate their breasts.
It’s a relief to learn that I’m not alone, and that I do have lots of great options. With all of my new information in hand, I am excited to take the next step.