Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can result in significant bodily changes that cannot be reversed through diet and exercise alone.
These changes may include:
- Drooping breasts
- Loose or excess tissue around the abdomen
- Diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles
- Stretch marks
- Altered appearance of the belly button
Many women find that they wish to regain the look and feel their bodies had before pregnancy. A mommy makeover is a surgical procedure designed to help them achieve this goal.
What is a mommy makeover?
A mommy makeover is a combination of plastic surgery procedures that can be customized based on the patient’s goals for their appearance and self-confidence.
Mommy makeover procedures frequently include:
- Breast surgeries (including breast augmentation and breast lifts)
- A tummy tuck
A breast augmentation changes the size or shape of breasts through the use of implants or a natural tissue transfer. When performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, a breast augmentation can provide natural-looking and long-lasting results.
A breast lift procedure reshapes breast tissue and tightens or removes excess skin. In some cases, the nipples and areolas are also reshaped and repositioned. Also known as a mastopexy, a breast lift can deliver a more lifted and youthful appearance.
A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, removes excess tissue from the abdomen, improves the appearance of stretch marks, and repairs diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles.
Pregnancy can cause the connective tissue that runs vertically between the abdominal muscles to separate. Known as the linea alba, this connective tissue cannot be repaired through exercise. Instead, the torn or damaged linea alba may leave a bulge down the midline of the abdomen. A tummy tuck procedure can repair the separated abdominal muscles and restore the abdomen to a more toned, contoured appearance.
Liposuction permanently removes fat cells from specific areas of the body. This is an effective way of addressing stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to dieting and exercise.
When is the best time for a mommy makeover?
The ideal candidates for a mommy makeover are generally healthy non-smokers who do not plan to have more children and would like to address excess abdominal tissue, drooping breasts, diastasis recti, or stretch marks.
A mommy makeover delivers the best results when the patient waits until they are at least six or more months postpartum with their last child. This window helps ensure the body has time to heal from childbirth.
We generally advise that patients who would like to have more children wait until they are finished with childbearing before having a mommy makeover. While a mommy makeover is intended to be permanent, its effects can be reversed through significant changes in weight, as well as the other bodily changes experienced during pregnancy.
However, patients who absolutely feel that they cannot wait until they are done having children before getting a mommy makeover may be able to work with their plastic surgeon on a case-by-case basis to achieve their aesthetic goals.
What is the recovery process?
A mommy makeover involves a combination of several procedures, and the recovery process is more extensive than it would for a single procedure.
Patients will typically need caregiving assistance for 24-48 hours after having a mommy makeover, and they may need two weeks before returning to their normal routine. Full recovery after a mommy makeover usually takes four to six weeks.
Although patients may return to walking and light activities after two to four weeks, the best results occur when the body has had adequate time to heal. This means refraining from lifting anything over ten pounds or working out (including yoga) until six weeks after surgery. Even if the patient feels strong, the body still needs enough time to recover.
How is the procedure performed?
A mommy makeover is made up of several procedures. This typically includes:
- Breast augmentation
- Breast lift
- Tummy tuck
A breast augmentation is achieved with implants or a natural tissue transfer. If implants are chosen for the procedure, patients will choose the size and shape of their implants in consultation with their plastic surgeon. Size, shape, and implant placement will all depend on the patient’s goals and anatomy.
Incision location will depend on the type of implant and its location. Typically, incisions will be hidden within the natural breast fold or nipple.
Breast lifts use precise incisions to reshape breast tissue and lift or tighten excess skin. Depending on the patient’s goals and anatomy, incisions are made either singularly or in a combination around the areola, from the areola to the breast fold, or along the natural fold of the breast. Excess tissue is then removed to reshape the breast.
In a tummy tuck, excess tissue is removed and tightened through incisions below the bikini line or above the public bone, depending on the patient’s goals and anatomy.
If a patient has torn or damaged rectus abdominis muscles, the plastic surgeon may use internal sutures to bring these muscles together again.
In liposuction, stainless steel tubes, called cannulas, are used to suction out subcutaneous fat cells using a vacuum pump or syringe.
What are the different options for a mommy makeover?
The options for a mommy makeover include any combination of a breast lift, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, and liposuction. A patient may choose to have all of these procedures or only some of them.
In total, a mommy makeover can address:
- Breast size and shape
- Drooping breasts
- Excess or loose abdominal tissue
- Localized fat pockets
- Diastasis recti
Which areas a patient chooses to address with her mommy makeover will depend on her individual goals and anatomy.