Mary McKeever had given birth to four beautiful children. Her oldest is almost 11 and her youngest is four. She’d been considering reconstructive body surgery, or a “mommy makeover,” to make her feel healthy and strong for several years. While researching plastic surgeons in the Austin, Texas area, she came across Dr. Elisabeth Potter. Through a combination of intuition and reading about Dr. Potter’s approach, she decided to schedule her first-ever consultation.
While going into the appointment, Mary says she felt almost apologetic and selfish. Was it silly to want to feel healthy and comfortable in her skin? Should she just “deal with” her body after pregnancy, even though she was experiencing back pain? She silenced these thoughts and sat down with Dr. Potter to discuss her specific needs and what she was hoping to achieve. Her desire was to look proportionate and address her distended stomach. “I just need to be put back together,” Mary recalls telling Dr. Potter. Without pause, Dr. Potter said she understood.
“It was very empowering to have Dr. Potter acknowledge where I was at and want to meet me there to help. I felt like she was a supportive friend rallying alongside me to figure things out,” Mary says. To determine the combination of procedures that may be right for each individual patient, topics involved during a consultation include health, medical history, body goals, risks and recovery.
A concern that Mary shared with Dr. Potter was that despite trying to eat healthy and exercise, something seemed wrong—she couldn’t feel the muscles in her stomach. Mary was experiencing what’s known as “diastasis recti,” or abdominal separation. An issue that about two-thirds of women have after pregnancy, diastasis recti occurs when a woman’s right and left abdominal wall muscles begin to separate and protrude due to the pressure put on the belly. Mary’s abdominal muscles were about a child’s handwidth, or five centimeters, apart, which was causing her lower back pain.
In speaking with Dr. Potter, Mary also learned about the increased risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) associated with the types of textured breast implants that she had. Together, the decision was made to swap them out. As part of practice protocol, Dr. Potter sent Mary to have a mammogram ahead of her surgery. Later on, during surgery, Dr. Potter discovered that her left breast implant had ruptured. “I consider it a blessing to have found Dr. Potter,” Mary shares. “I don’t think that I would have received the same treatment or support from anyone else.”
Now six weeks into recovery, Mary describes the experience as transformative in more ways than one. There is, of course, the physical aspect. When Mary shared her desire for her body reconstruction to be both “natural and functional,” Dr. Potter delivered. The procedures that Mary underwent to achieve her unique goals included breast implant removal and replacement, nipple reduction and a full abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” to remove excess abdominal fat and skin. Other procedures that are available for body cosmetic surgery include liposuction, or lipoplasty, which is a surgical procedure that enhances body contour by reducing excess fat in target areas, breast reduction (mammoplasty), breast lift (mastopexy) or body lift. The combination of procedures is uniquely selected for each individual to make them feel their personal best.
Typically a “Type A” personality, Mary says she completely trusted Dr. Potter’s expertise and caretaking, and is very pleased with her results. Not only does she feel more attractive and better in her clothing, she feels stronger and healthier—two factors Mary says need to be talked about more when discussing a “mommy makeover,” or plastic surgery. “Whether you’ve had or haven’t had children, the importance of feeling healthy and comfortable in your body and taking care of yourself is what matters most,” Mary says. In making herself a priority, Mary was able to discover health issues that she otherwise might not have. “The closer I got to surgery, my mindset shifted. As I reflected on all the work my body had done to grow and nourish children, I wanted to honor my body for serving us all so well. When surgery finally came around, it felt like a celebration,” Mary says.
Prior to having the surgery, Mary shares that her and her husband had a constructive conversation with their children about it. The conversation was presented as a matter of utmost importance: mommy taking care of herself and her body, and everyone joining together to take care of one another while she recovered. Expectations were set on what would happen after the surgery and how to interact together following it, including careful cuddles and the temporary pause on jump hugs. With the help of Dr. Potter and her “intuitive, attentive and intelligent” staff, Mary says that her own expectations of the intensity of the recovery process were clearly established, as well. From what to eat, including loading up on protein, to what type of undergarments to wear, Mary took the advice on how to handle post reconstruction very seriously.
Depending on the surgical procedures performed, most individuals can return to work after a few days and enjoy a full recovery within a few weeks or months. While everyone’s recovery period is unique to them, Mary was no longer taking pain medication after the first week and continued to rest the second week. “After surgery, even my kids noticed how much better I felt and commented saying, ‘mom, you look so pretty,’” Mary shares.
For those that are considering surgery themselves, Mary’s advice is simple: “Go yesterday,” she jokes. “Dr. Potter and her staff are the epitome of professional and you feel a very personal connection with everyone. She’s remarkably gifted in what she’s able to achieve and how she approaches finding the solution.” Learn more about the body reconstruction or “mommy makeover,” services offered at Dr. Potter’s practice or schedule a consultation today.