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The mommy makeover has become incredibly popular over the last decade as it allows plastic surgeons to address multiple problem areas in a single surgery. Since time is often our most valuable commodity, any procedure that can safely and effectively rejuvenate, for example, the abdomen and the breasts at once is exciting.
But not all mommy makeover procedures are created equal and it is not always appropriate to combine procedures for every patient. Here are five things that you need to know about a mommy makeover.
A mommy makeover is not a one size fits all procedure. Instead, this is a surgery that must be customized to your individual needs, lifestyle and anatomy.
These can all exact a toll on your body contour. The skin on the abdomen, for example, may stretch beyond its ability to "bounce back," leaving you with unwanted rolls of droopy, sagging skin and contour irregularities. Many patients will also lose volume in their breasts and/or develop stubborn pockets of fat in the abdomen, hips and flanks that may be resistant to diet and exercise. The key to a happy mommy makeover outcome is picking the right timing and combination of procedures to best tackle your specific problem areas.
Typically, a mommy makeover includes some form of breast surgery and a tummy tuck. As the moniker implies, the procedure first came about as a means for women to rejuvenate the body areas that were most impacted by motherhood. However, with time, the mommy makeover has evolved. Now, it can include any combination of procedures such as a:
The goal of the mommy makeover is to restore a more lifted, youthful look to your body contour. This may require excising excess skin, removing unwanted fat, increasing breast volume with a breast implant and/or addressing volume loss with fat grafting.
Breast surgery is often a fundamental component of the mommy makeover. Pregnancy and breastfeeding, in particular, can cause the breasts to deflate. A breast implant is a safe, excellent method for restoring this lost volume. However, pregnancy, breastfeeding and age can also stretch out the skin and tissues on your breasts. This is why a straightforward breast augmentation is not always the solution.
When you stand in front of the mirror, do your nipples still face forward? If not, you are probably going to be better served with a breast lift either on its own or with a breast implant. Trying to use a larger implant to compensate for sagging skin usually leads to complications down the road. Loose, drooping skin is a sign of weak tissue that will not have the strength to hold the implant in place over time. A breast lift will restore your nipple to the center of the breast, creating a more youthful, perky look.
The abdomen is a problem area for so many patients. While liposuction is the gold standard for removing excess fat, it cannot address sagging skin or loose muscles, both of which are common in patients who have had children or gained and lost a significant amount of weight. However, a tummy tuck can improve all three. There are two options when it comes to the tummy tuck: a full tummy tuck and a mini tummy tuck. While most patients want the latter, they actually need the former.
The ideal candidate for a mini tummy tuck only has loose skin below the belly button. This basically rules out most women who have given birth, gained weight or gone through menopause. Patients like the idea of any procedure with the word "mini" as it implies a shorter incision. It is important to keep in mind, however, that a mini tummy tuck is still a significant procedure that requires downtime.
No patient wants to go through all of that and not achieve a lifted, flat abdomen. So, again, perform a simple mirror test. When you look at the whole of your abdomen, do you have excess fat and/or loose skin above your belly button? If yes, you are going to want a full tummy tuck. The incision line may be a bit longer, but it is the procedure to deliver a lean, fit-looking contour to your entire abdomen.
A mommy makeover can radically change how your body looks, giving you more energy, vitality and self-esteem. It is also a surgical procedure that requires an investment of time for recovery. Patients with the happiest outcomes are the ones who plan accordingly. In general, a tummy tuck requires the most downtime – about two weeks.
However, you will not really be able to bend or lift normally for about 3-4 weeks. So, make your meals ahead of time and freeze them, order in or, better yet, get someone to cook for you. And if you still have young children, schedule childcare.
The best way to ensure a great result is to give your body the time and energy that it needs to heal properly.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.