A growing operation within plastic surgery is the “Mommy Makeover”. This term can be quite confusing because it is not clear what it is exactly. In fact, there really isn’t a single procedure that is a “Mommy Makeover”. It is a made-up term, to describe the combination of multiple procedures into a single operation. This means, that each “Mommy Makeover” is different and customized for each person.
What procedures are common during a Mommy Makeover?
As stated above, each Mommy Makeover is unique and customized for each person. This means that your Mommy Makeover will consist of what you need. Since a Mommy Makeover is intended to reverse the common affects of pregnancy, there are some procedures that are most popular. These include:
- Tummy Tuck
- Breast Surgery
- Brazilian Butt Lift
Pregnancy causes many changes in the abdomen. The growing baby and hormonal changes of pregnancy cause stretching of the skin and separation of the abdominal muscles. After birth, many of these changes improve over time, but it can be variable. Diet and exercise cannot completely reverse these either. Multiple pregnancies and large weight gain during pregnancy can also result in more significant abdominal changes that are even harder to improve without surgery. A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to target the extra skin, extra fat, and separated muscles. This is the most common procedure requested by moms, and is often the cornerstone of a Mommy Makeover. The incision is kept low beneath the underwear or bikini line.
Breasts often change with pregnancy. They may deflate, droop, grow, or a combination of any of these. Your breast procedure will depend on what your complaints are about your breasts. If they have deflated, placement of a breast implant (breast augmentation) would be appropriate. A breast augmentation would involve placing a saline or silicone breast implant under the breast to increase the volume. If they are drooping, which is common after breast feeding, then a breast lift would be what you need. In this case, the breast tissue would be lifted into a perkier position. Sometimes breasts grow with pregnancy and aging, and the treatment would be to have a breast reduction. During a breast reduction, the breasts are made smaller and also lifted. Many times, there is a combination of things you may be unhappy with. Maybe you feel your breasts are drooping AND deflated. In that case, you would be a candidate for a breast lift AND augmentation.
Excess fat accumulates after pregnancy and aging. This excess fat can be anywhere on the body, including the abdomen, flanks, back, thighs, arms, and even the neck. Liposuction is the surgical removal of the fat using suction. During this procedure, a small cannula is inserted and the fat is removed form the area using suction. Liposuction can be performed virtually anywhere on the body. It is best considered a “shaping”procedure and not a weight loss procedure. Liposuction is commonly combined with breast or abdominal surgery, and it a very common component of a Mommy Makeover.
Brazilian Butt Lift
A Brazilian Butt Lift is a procedure in which fat is removed using liposuction and then re-injected into another area of the body such as the butt and hips. Basically, fat is removed from the places you don’t want it, and added to the places you do want it. By adding fat to these areas, it is possible to fill a deflated butt, fill hip dips, and give the appearance of a butt lift. The results will depend on how much fat is injected. The more fat that is injected, the more dramatic curves. However, in many cases, a small amount of fat is injected for a subtle reshaping that works together with the tummy tuck to improve the overall appearance.
Why have Mommy Makeovers become more popular?
- Improved Techniques and Safety:
There are a few reasons why Mommy Makeovers have increased in popularity. First, there have been safety improvements that now allow for combined surgeries to be performed more safely. In the past, combining multiple procedures resulted in long surgeries with increased risk of surgical complications, However, anesthesia and surgical techniques have improved, leading to shorter surgeries, shorter anesthesia times, and less risk of bleeding or blood clots.
- Desire for a single recovery:
Many people prefer to recovery only once from a surgery, even if it means that the recovery will be longer and harder. If you separate a surgery into multiple procedures, the recovery for each will certainly be easier and shorter. However, you would need to do that multiple times, and each recovery requiring time off from work and family. If you combine your procedures into a single Mommy Makeover, you only have to do that once, which is more desirable to many people.
- Decreased Cost:
The cost of your surgical procedure will be a combination of the surgeon fee, the facility fee, the materials fee, and the anesthesiologist fee. These costs will vary depending on the complexity and length of your procedure. Commonly, discounted rates are offered when surgeries are combined. This is because there is usually a cost savings on the anesthesiologist and facility, since a Mommy Makeover is considered a single operation. While you should never base your decision to have a certain procedure solely on cost, you are likely to find that the total cost of a Mommy Makeover is less than the costs of each individual procedure done separately.
- Improved results:
Many times, combining procedures will give a better result than if done separately. This is because many procedures compliment each other and performing them at the same time, allows the surgeon to make necessary adjustments to maximize the results. For example, performing liposuction of the back with a fat transfer to the hips (Brazilian Butt Lift), will improve the results of a standard tummy tuck. Or, breast augmentation at the same time as a tummy tuck will improve the total appearance of your torso. Of course, these can be done separately, but doing them separately may require that you have a revision of the previous procedure to make things work better together.
Who is a candidate for a Mommy Makeover?
Anyone who desires multiple procedures is technically a candidate for a Mommy Makeover. Contrary to the name, you don’t even have to be a “mommy” since weight changes, aging, and genetics can cause the same changes in your body as pregnancy. Because a Mommy Makeover combines multiple procedures, the surgeries will be longer. This means that you need to be in optimal health. You will be required to undergo full pre-operative medical testing to make sure you are healthy for this longer surgery. If there are any issues, such as anemia, your surgeon may recommend splitting the procedures into separate operations, or not operating at all. You also want to be sure that you have made appropriate arrangements for post-operative help and time off from work or away from your family.
How to select your surgeon?
Since your Mommy Makeover will involve several different procedures, you want to be sure to select a surgeon experienced in ALL the procedures you are having done. You should select a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. You also want to review before and after photos to be sure you are comfortable with the results that he or she can provide you. If your surgeon is an expert at tummy tucks, but not at breast surgery, you may want to reconsider choosing them if your Mommy Makeover involves both. Be sure to find out if your surgeon is experienced in combining multiple procedures into a single operation. You should also find out where your surgery will be performed. Will it be in an appropriate facility such as a hospital or accredited ambulatory center? Will you be required to stay in the facility overnight or will you be allowed to go home right after? These are the types of questions that you should be asking your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
If you would like to learn more about a Mommy Makeover and if you are a candidate, contact New York City Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman. During your consultation, you can find out if a Mommy Makeover is right for you.