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After what she describes as “three and a half years straight” of being “either pregnant or breastfeeding,” the last thing Claire wanted was to continue looking pregnant. Yet thanks to a combination of weakened abdominal muscles, excess weight and a persistent umbilical hernia, that is precisely the scenario she found herself in.

The success of her breast reduction surgery at Plastic Surgery Austin gave Claire hope there was a solution. She raised her concerns at a follow-up appointment with Dr. Sharma.

“On examination, Claire appeared to have laxity of her abdominal musculature, and her internal organs lacked abdominal wall support,” Dr. Sharma explains. “This wide diastasis, or separation, of the rectus muscles gave her the appearance of pregnancy. In addition, the extra weight carried in the front of the weakened abdomen was putting strain on her lower back.”

Dr. Sharma recommended an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and a hernia repair. Together, these procedures could restore both the appearance and the function of Claire’s midsection.


“I thought a tummy tuck just removed fat, but Dr. Sharma explained that you can also sew up the muscles,” Claire says. “The thought of the hernia going away plus having fat removed and the muscles fixed was very intriguing.”

Dr. Sharma proposed adding abdominal liposuction to the tummy tuck. This would remove even more excess fat and contour Claire’s waist, maximizing the aesthetic benefits of the procedure. With the excess fat and skin gone, and the separation of the abdominal muscles corrected, she would be free of a burden preventing her from leading a more active and healthy lifestyle.

Claire wasted no time deliberating. The benefits of her breast reduction surgery were fresh in her mind, and she had full confidence in Dr. Sharma’s decision-making. She said yes to the plan and scheduled the surgery for July 2020.

Though they were a year apart, Claire’s surgeries amounted to a classic mommy makeover — a personalized procedure that typically combines a breast surgery with abdominal rejuvenation. This combination got the name “mommy makeover” because it addresses the areas of the body most affected by pregnancy. 

Depending on which procedures are chosen, a mommy makeover can help women achieve a flatter abdomen, perkier breasts, smoother curves around their waist and hips, and a more proportionate balance throughout their figure. The procedures may offer relief from physical discomfort in addition to significant aesthetic improvement.

Claire didn’t just see surgery as a way to restore her body; she viewed it as a celebration of her accomplishments in motherhood so far. “This was my ‘Congratulations, you did it!’ gift to myself,” she says. 


Dr. Sharma worked together with a colleague to repair three hernias, stitch together the separated muscles and reshape Claire’s abdomen. The rest of the work was up to her.

“I knew the tummy recovery would be longer and harder than the breast reduction,” she says. She prepared accordingly. “Before my surgery, I got caretakers lined up for every day. I took medicinal herbs Dr. Sharma recommended to help reduce swelling and bruising. I got my post-surgery garments, things I would need for scar treatment and a wedge pillow so I would be comfortable when I came home. I was set.”

Her biggest recovery indulgence was a mini fridge, generously hauled up to the bedroom by her husband, so she wouldn’t have to climb up and down stairs to retrieve refreshments.

For additional support, Claire’s mom — a former RN — came into town and stayed for two weeks. She proved to be an invaluable resource for wound care knowledge, as well as childcare assistance for her two young granddaughters.

Claire says she is grateful she had the opportunity to prepare so thoroughly for her recovery. “Dr. Sharma and his office did a really good job of educating me about what to expect. They’re very down-to-earth and caring. Nothing surprised me along the way.”

In just a few weeks, her commitment to healthy healing paid off.


“A month after the tummy tuck, I could really tell the difference. I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a really long time,” Claire says. 

The difference was more than cosmetic. The hernias are gone for good — no more pushing her thumb into the protrusion to prevent it from popping out each time she feels a sneeze approaching. Gone, too, are the days of avoiding bright colors that might draw attention to her figure.

“I don’t just go for dark colors and things that cover me now. I’m more open to different colors and styles. I live in yoga pants now,” she says, adding with a cheeky grin: “My husband is excited about those, too.”

Seeing the transformation surgery could achieve inspired Claire to continue working toward bigger goals. She began a new diet program she calls “life-changing” earlier this year and has lost nearly 30 pounds so far. While this new chapter of her life is still in progress, it has had a tremendous impact on her self-image and motivation to continue prioritizing her health.

“When I see myself in the mirror now, it feels like what I envisioned myself to look like. This is me. I’m more self-confident, and that comes out in how I act. I’m more outgoing and eager to do things,” she says.

Claire has been both listener and speaker over the course of her journey. While deciding whether plastic surgery was the right path for her, she voraciously consumed blogs and vlogs from patients sharing their experiences. She is excited now to share her own story in hopes of helping others make their decisions.

“I know everyone is different, but [plastic surgery] really helped me in many aspects of my life,” she says. “If it’s scary and you feel hesitant, get as much information as you can to make an educated decision, but don’t let fear get in your way. The fear and the pain are only a little part. And then afterward, your life can really begin.”

We are thrilled to hear of Claire’s continuing success in her health journey and wish her the best of luck for the future. If you would like more information about our breast reduction, tummy tuck or mommy makeover procedures, please reach out to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sharma.


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.