-by Lauren Andreacchi, Patient Consultant for Dr. William J. Koenig, double board-certified plastic surgeon
The “mommy pouch!” This is very common post-pregnancy, and one of the main reasons patients contact our office to discuss liposuction to their abdomen after having children. For women who have had a C-section, the pouch sits right above their scar and can be a nuisance! Most women want this removed to regain their pre-pregnancy contour, especially in tighter clothing.
What is the “mommy pouch”?
While this pouch looks and feels like fat, it usually is enveloped in lax skin. If you were to perform liposuction on this area, it would leave a deflated skin envelope which would be unsightly. Think of a deflated balloon: once the air is removed, you are left with a wrinkled, empty shell.
So what can we do?
Fat removal vs. skin removal
The most important distinction to know is that liposuction does not address the skin, as the procedure is designed to remove fat alone. Most patients who are unhappy with the appearance of their stomach area after kids typically need a tummy tuck to get back to their pre-baby belly. A tummy tuck removes excess skin and tissue, effectively removing the post-pregnancy pouch. Women who have had C-sections benefit greatly from a tummy tuck since the scar is removed along with all of the loose skin and fat around it.
For women who have experienced pregnancy, we almost always include muscle tightening in the tummy tuck procedure since most patients have some degree of diastasis recti (the separation of the abdominal muscles that meet at the midline of your stomach). This helps to repair muscles that were damaged from pregnancy and long term will also help to keep the area flat, as loose muscles often lead to a more protruding belly.
There are some women who have great skin after pregnancy, and liposuction alone can be enough to achieve the desired pre-pregnancy result. Skin elasticity can be determined at a personal consultation.
The use of liposuction post-pregnancy
While liposuction alone typically does not remove the “mommy pouch,” it can help a problem area for women who want additional children, as a tummy tuck is only recommended to women who are finished having children. Women who have had children can also benefit from liposuction in other areas of the body, such as the flanks (or love handles), since loose skin isn’t typically an issue in that area. And while we do offer Smartlipo, which combines traditional liposuction with the assistance of laser technology, it does not tighten skin and is never a replacement for skin removal. Rather, it stimulates the production of your natural collagen, which gives skin a plump, youthful look.
Patient satisfaction and results are paramount to our practice, which is why we stand by the procedures that we offer. At this time, we have not found any alternative skin tightening methods since none provide any appreciable results. The only way to effectively tighten skin is to excise loose skin, and a tummy tuck provides the best results.