The "mommy makeover" has been a hot trend over the last few years. Some moms are finally overcoming the struggle to constantly give without taking anything for themselves in return. For most moms, this is truly difficult because the natural tendency is to put herself last, if at all. For those moms willing to give themselves permission to restore their body after childbirth, a mommy makeover may be just the right answer.
What is a mommy makeover?
A mommy makeover is plastic surgery to restore a woman's body after childbirth. A mommy makeover may include some or almost all of the following procedures:
- A tummy tuck to remove stretched-out skin, excess fat and stretch marks in the abdomen. The procedure also tightens up the midline and can even reposition your belly button.
- Liposuction to remove stubborn fat in the midline, love handles and sometimes the thighs and hips. We can also do liposuction in the bra strap area.
- Breast augmentation to restore the flattened upper area of the breasts and bring back your cleavage.
- A breast lift to raise sagging breasts and restore the nipples to their original position. We can also improve the appearance of the nipple and areola (the pigmented area around the nipple).
- Breast reduction to remove excess weight still trapped in your breasts.
- Labiaplasty to restore the vaginal area, tighten the excess tissue that may have been permanently stretched during pregnancy and the birthing process and/or improve the appearance of the genital area.
- Eyelid lift to remove wrinkles and under-eye bags from all those sleepless nights with the baby.
- Other facial procedures, including neurotoxins to help remove the elevens (vertical wrinkles between the eyes), crow's feet and other wrinkles, or hyaluronic acid fillers (Voluma, Restylane, Juvederm) or fat transfers to improve the wrinkles around the nose, mouth and lips and to restore fullness in cheeks.
Your board-certified plastic surgeon will help you decide what procedure combination is most safe for you and will reach the goals you have set out to achieve.
What a mommy makeover isn't
Having realistic expectations about your mommy makeover is crucial for being happy with the results, especially in the long run. It's important to know what a mommy makeover can't do for you.
- It can't save your marriage. If your marriage is already strained, going through the surgery won't help and might even put more stress on your relationship. I always discuss this aspect with my patients. I explain that at the end of the day, it's your body. If you're trying to look like the hot young secretary at his office, that won't happen. That's not a good motivation for surgery.
- It's not weight loss surgery. A tummy tuck is meant to remove an overhang, not remove large amounts of abdominal fat. Before I do a tummy tuck, I recommend that you be within 10 percent of your ideal body weight—that's where you're going to have the best results. Liposuction only removes small amounts of body fat in select areas. Of course, losing weight is easier said than done, and sometimes women will choose to go through the surgery a little bit before they get to that 10 percent ideal body weight level; some just can't ever get there.
The results can still be good, if not excellent, but some patients are willing to accept that.
- It's not magic. You're trying to look and be the best that you can be. I can't turn you into somebody else.
- It won't turn the clock back 20 years. A mommy makeover can do a lot to restore your body to its pre-pregnancy shape and give you a more youthful appearance, but we can't make you look like you're a teenager again.
If you are interested in restoring your body after childbirth, consider your reasons for surgery, visualize your goals, set realistic expectations and schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
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.