Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britney Spears' tummy troubles

Britney Spears recent appearance at the MTV video awards sporting a figure a notch down from a few years ago has generated a lot of publicity. When you make it as a Drudge Report headline entitled "LARD and CLEAR" you know you've had a bad week.

There have been some articles asking whether it's fair or not to criticize her for her figure and how that reflects pressure on actresses, models, or women in general to achieve unrealistic bodies. Well, my take is that when you've built up a music career centered around sexuality/physicality rather then music or voice talent, you reap what you sew.

Ms. Spears doesn't look in fact look "bad", she looks normal after having 2 children in rapid succession. Unfortunately, normal people aren't the benchmark for her field of work, and she did herself no favors wearing an outfit accentuating her body's changes.

She's got a modest "mommy tummy" which is relaxation of her muscles and fascia of the abdominal wall you get from pregnancy, weight gain/loss, and normal aging. The younger you are and the less weight you gain when you get pregnant, the less of this you tend to see.

She appears lucky enough to not have to deal with strech marks. Stretch marks represent tearing/shearing of the structural elements of you skin and are something you're individually predisposed to. Some people get them with modest weight gain or on their breast with breast feeding, but they're produced more often with significant weight gain. There is really no non-surgical treatment for strech marks and if you're lucky they confined in your lower abdomen and can be completely excised. Strech marks with redder colors may be improved by fading the color some with laser treatments, but DO NOT GET TALKED INTO BELIEVING LASER WILL MAKE THEM GO AWAY. Dermatologists are notorious for treating people this way, and I've seen a lot of unsatisfied patients out several thousand dollars.

What does someone like Ms. Spears need to do to improve this non-surgically? Strengthen her abs and watch her weight. That may not be enough however to return her to her previous figure. To do that she'd need some variation of a tummy tuck with some skin/fat excised, liposuction, and have her muscle and fascia physically tightened with sutures back to the midline.



Emily said...

It would also help if she'd stand up straight instead of swaybacked. Maybe she was trying to push her breasts out and they brought her belly along.

Anonymous said...

There are other photos from different angles where she looks great. I think it's just a camera angle thing - honestly, if most women looked like her after 2 kids it'd be a miracle accomplishment. Remind me never to expose a square inch of myself on camera, lest I be ridiculed for my appearance. The relentless pursuit of subjective physical perfection is a disease in itself.

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

I agree she looks great for the "real world" most of us mortals live in. For a professional dancer/entertainer however, she is well below par (especially for wearing teeny weenie bikinis)

cl0udys said...

Does she not own a mirror? I wouldn't give her a hard time about looking "pretty good for someone who has has two kids," but I do give her a hard time for not recognizing that in her clothing selection.
Btw thanks for the tip on stretch marks and lasers. Are lasers ineffective for scar tissue as well?

Dr. Rob Oliver said...


Some types of scars can be improved with laser (which is a good idea for a PS 101 post one of these days).

Acne scarring and some raised ones can be improved by "resurfacing" the skin with laser, peels, or dermabrasion ("belt sanding").
Some reddish scars can be made to fade to lighter color with a type of laser called pulsed-dye.

For many of these though, the cost is not worth the modest benefit. Again I think some laser providers (again I think Dermatologist are the most aggressive, but some Plastic Surgeons would be guilty too) are quick to push several thousand dollars worth of treatments for what can be treated for much less by other strategies.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Oliver- just curious about the subject since I am considering having a tummy tuck myself and have a somewhat similar looking belly. I've met with several doctors and they all have differing opinions. I have diastasis to my upper and lower abdomen but not alot of extra skin above my belly button. What would you guess you would suggest if she were your patient- endoscopic, mini-tummy tuck, full tummy tuck, and what is this new "hybrid" tummy tuck that has been on the news lately?

Thank you- I find your blog very informative and amusing!

Dr. Rob Oliver said...

Dear Anon,

1. the pure endoscopic technique has never had a good reputation for success. There are just too few people with a diastasis and no excess skin/fat

2. If you truly resemble Ms. Spears, you can prob. get away with a shorter scar abdominoplasty then the traditional "hip to hip" incision.

3. A "mini" abdominoplasty may mean different things to different doctors. To me it means that you need no muscle work above the belly button and that you're excising lower abdomen skin only and maybe you'd need to tighten the lower muscles. If you need upper muscle plication and cutting out/resetting the belly button, then it's no longer a mini.

It sounds like you just need what I'd just call an abdominoplasty with the attempt at minimizing scar length. Some practices might call that a mini.

Anonymous said...

For an MD, you do not exercise proper grammar. Give the girl (Britney Spears) some credit. Please, "looks good for a girl with 2 kids!?" Mortal or not, she looks damn good. That's the problem with Hollywood. It's Plastic outlook on life has wormed it's way into "normal" society. We all know, actresses and normals alike, utilize plasticity as a method of beautification. I guess Barbie had it right. After all, she did have it all- the looks, the car, the guy. Damn that Ken.

Michelle M said...

Britney is really lucky not have those stretch marks on her tummy after having a baby! Good job!

cosmetic surgery Philippines said...

I was definitely agree to Emily the first commenter she'd better stand up straight instead of swaybacked. Anyway,I like Britney Spears so much she still has a pretty face.