What Really Goes On During a "Mommy Makeover"

Motherhood brings about endless joy, but the effects of pregnancy on the body can sometimes be drastic. If your body didn’t “bounce back” the way you'd hoped it would and getting it to look how it did than before pregnancy is proving to be a problem, a Mommy Makeover can help. Here, the experts give the inside scoop on the procedure so you can decide whether or not it's the best fix for you.

Mommy Makeovers address all the problems that come from being pregnant: loose skin on the stomach, a lack of fullness in the breasts, sagging in the breasts, stretch marks, and even hard-to-get-rid of fat. The results are dramatic and it gives a restored sense of self-confidence because most patients feel like they have their body back. "The procedure generally consists of a tummy tuck with cosmetic breast surgery, such as a breast augmentation, lift, or both," says Troy, MI, plastic surgeon and author of The Age Fix: How To Look 10 Years Younger Anthony Youn, MD. "The most common combo in my practice is a tummy tuck and breast augmentation without a lift."

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Before you evens step foot into a plastic surgeon's office, there are ways to tell if you're a good candidate for a Mommy Makeover. "If you have a combination of excess skin on your tummy and a desire to change the appearance of your breasts, you are most likely a candidate," says Dr. Youn. Las Vegas plastic surgeon Michael C. Edwards, MD, says there are other factors to consider as well. "I ask patients to wait at least three months after they finish breast-feeding to decrease the risk of breast milk complicating their breast surgery, whether it be a reduction or lift with or without implants. In terms of the abdomen and flanks (love handles), it is helpful to have your weight be as stable as possible. If you were to have surgery and then lose weight, you could conceivably have excess skin that would lessen your overall surgical result."

Which procedures you choose to pair to complete your makeover will be determined during your consultation with your surgeon. "For breast surgery, it depends on the volume and laxity of your natural breasts," says Dr. Edwards. "Adding volume will typically require an implant, and if there is laxity or so-called 'deflation of the breasts,' you will most likely benefit from a breast lift. For the abdomen, a tummy tuck can improve the contour by tightening the abdominal muscles and removing excess lower abdominal skin. Depending on your anatomy, you may also request liposuction of the hip rolls."

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Something that needs to be heavily considered when deciding whether the procedure is right for you is the recovery period. "The first week after a Mommy Makeover can be challenging," says Dr. Youn. "Most women are bent over and can't stand straight for a week because their tummies are maximally tightened, so they're sore in the tummy, back and breasts. Within a week, most patients are standing straight, their drainage tubes are removed and they're off pain pills. By two weeks, most patients are active, running errands, taking care of children and driving a car. After three weeks, they can resume exercising."

Dr. Edwards says that he typically tells patients not to lift, push or pull greater than 10 pounds for six weeks. "Many surgeons will specify their own timelines, but you will be encouraged to stay safely active in order to decrease the risk of complications. Also, if you live in a two-story home, stairs may pose a challenge for the first week or so." 

Another common concern women have is scarring. One question surgeons often get asked by potential patients: "If I had a C-section, can you cut on the same scar for a tummy tuck?" Dr. Youn says that a C-section scar is actually almost always removed with a tummy tuck. "The tummy tuck results in a hip-to-hip scar and a scar around the belly button. For breast augmentation, you'll have a small scar under your breast, but a lift adds scars completely around the areola, vertically down, and sometimes under the breast as well. Each surgery is tailored to the individual patient, so the scars can vary."

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An important thing to note: If you plan to have more children, a Mommy Makeover is probably not the best idea. "Your plastic surgeon will ask you about future planned pregnancies and discourage abdominal surgery if more children are planned," says Dr. Edwards. "In order to make sure you get the best possible care, it is imperative that you seek consultation only with a board-certified plastic surgeon. This is major surgery and your safety is critically important. There are risks with any procedure and you need to have support help with you for the first few days after surgery—and we can't forget help with caring for the new addition to the family, too."

As with any surgery or procedure, make sure to also choose a doctor that you feel completely comfortable with so that you feel inclined to ask any questions you have. Going into a procedure with realistic expectations will leave you much happier with the result. 

Stay tuned to NewBeauty.com for information on all the latest body-enhancing procedures and other ways to help get your pre-baby body back.

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