Can a Mommy Makeover Restore Your Pre Baby Body?
A procedure that has been receiving a lot of media attention is the mommy makeover. Patients have visited my office requesting a “mommy makeover” even when they don’t know exactly what that means! I thought it might be a good idea to go over what the term means, and why it is becoming so popular.
What is a “Mommy”?
First off, every one should know what a “mommy” is – we all have one! (And I’m even married to one!) All joking aside, any woman who has children is a mom, and is aware of the changes that come along with childbearing. Some women were lucky and were not negatively affected by pregnancy and breast-feeding, while the process has literally devastated others. A mommy makeover is any set of surgical procedures aimed at reversing the changes associated with childbearing, with the goal of returning to the “pre-baby” body. Since the changes are not always the same for every woman, the procedure is customized to suit the individual patient’s needs.
What makes up a Mommy Makeover?
The two things that childbearing affects most are the breasts and the abdomen--so that is what a mommy makeover addresses. (The Love Handles or flanks are also often addressed at the same time, but sadly these just arise with aging and are not directly related to kids.) The individual operations are tailored depending on how much you were affected by childbearing. Most women will do great with a standard abdominoplasty (which can remove excess stretched-out skin, some abdominal fat, and allows for tightening of the abdominal wall musculature), but women who were really stretched-out during pregnancy may require an extended version to remove the extra skin. If you had “perfect” breasts while breast-feeding but just lost volume after you stopped, breast augmentation can restore the volume and get back your desired breasts. If your breasts were too large during pregnancy and are now droopy but have an appropriate volume for your body frame, a breast lift operation is the solution. For other women, a breast reduction may be the desired solution if their breasts are larger than desired after pregnancy. The operations are all individually quite simple, but when combined as a “whole” solution, the effect can be dramatic.
When is the ideal time to get a mommy makeover?
The ideal time for a mommy makeover depends on quite a few factors. The first issue is that you should be fairly certain that you are done having children, as a repeat mommy makeover is never as good as the first one! The next item on the list is your children: If you have grown children, they are not a concern. If you still have toddlers, someone has to be there to take care of them! Recovering from the tummy tuck component is quite intense, and I do not want my patients even thinking about caring for a toddler for 2 to 3 weeks! If your mother is up to the task, Grandma is the perfect solution for toddler care, but a committed husband is also acceptable. If you are working full-time, you will need to take 2 weeks off work. After that, you can return to desk work (not manual labor), but will be exhausted at the end of the day for several weeks.
Is a mommy makeover safe?
With safety in mind, moms should make sure they are physically ready for surgery. Smoking is a definite NO! The surgical flaps used for a tummy tuck or breast lift are particularly susceptible to compromise from the effects of smoking, such that skin loss can occur. The longer you have quit smoking, the safer the procedure becomes, and most surgeons will require a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks of smoking abstinence prior to considering surgery. Next, it is advisable to be in good physical shape. Moms who have a healthy exercise program will have an easier recovery, as their bodies are accustomed to physical stress and will handle the surgical stress and recover better than those who are out-of-shape. Your weight before surgery also plays a role in the recovery. Studies have shown that surgical risks for complications related to healing and infection are more frequent in patients with higher BMI (Body Mass Index). Ideally, you should have a normal BMI (<25), and I personally discourage patients from considering extensive procedures if their BMI is greater than 30 due to the increased risks.
What kind of results will I get from a mommy makeover?
On the topic of weight, we can now talk about results! While almost any mom will benefit from a makeover, the ones who end up with the most impressive results are the moms who had a good body shape before kids, gained a lot of weight with pregnancy, and then managed to trim back down to their pre-pregnancy weight thru diet and exercise. These moms will have deflated loose skin, but will be empty inside and can benefit the most by being “tightened” up. A woman who gained significant weight after childbearing will not achieve as impressive a result. Try to keep this in mind when looking thru before-and-after photo galleries and assessing the results, as it will give you a more reasonable idea of the type of changes you can expect.
For those moms who are now just beginning to think about a mommy makeover, my advice would be to think thru all of the things you would like to change, establish a healthy diet & exercise regime, and continue doing your research. Educate yourself as much as possible on the web, and then visit with an ASAPS surgeon who’s work you admire to discuss your makeover.