What is the recovery time for a “Mommy Makeover”?

What is a Mommy Makeover?

Before we can talk about the recovery time for a “mommy makeover”, we need to discuss specifically what a “mommy makeover” is. 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.

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:

What do you mean by “Recovery Time?

So, when we talk about the recovery time for a “mommy makeover”, we need to more clearly define what we mean by “recovery time”. Are you specifically referring to pain? Or are you referring to time away from work and family? Also, you need to keep in mind that there is the short-term recovery, meaning when will you be able to get back to normal activities, versus long-term recovery meaning when will you see the final results of your procedure.

This means that whenever a patient asked me “what is the recovery time?”, I always ask them specifically what they were referring to so I can give them a more accurate answer. I wasn’t recording it is my experience in general that when somebody asks “what is the recovery time?”, They are usually referring to the amount of time required away from work and daily activities.

The Recovery Time is related to the specific Procedures you are having

“Recovery Time” will depend on what specific procedures you are having as part of your operation. The more surgeries you are having as part of your operation, the longer and more difficult the recovery will be. The important thing to consider is that when multiple procedures are combined into a single operation, the recovery length and difficulty is generally directly related to the most invasive procedure of your operation. For example, this means that if you are having a tummy tuck, liposuction, breast lift as part of your mommy makeover, the recovery will be most related to the tummy tuck. This is because the tummy tuck operation is generally considered the most painful and has the most restrictions afterwards. By comparison liposuction and breast surgery tends to have a much quicker recovery and less pain when done by itself.

Because a tummy tuck is part of about 90% of all “mommy makeovers”, let’s specifically discuss the return of the recovery time for a “mommy makeover” that includes a tummy tuck.

How much time will I need off from work?

The time off from work will depend on specifically what job you do however, most people will require about three weeks away from work when a tummy tuck is part of their mommy makeover. When you return back to work you may be required to have some modifications in your activities. This is most appropriate when your job involves strenuous activities or heavy lifting. Because of moneymaker involves internal suturing of the abdominal muscles, the restrictions will be centered around protecting this muscle repair. This means that you will be restricted from heavy lifting, meaning over 20 pounds, for approximately six weeks after your tummy tuck. Prior to your surgery you should discuss with your surgeon what the specific activities of your job are so that he or she can make recommendations centered around your job. If you are currently working from home or virtually, the required time off from work may be closer to two weeks but again you want to discuss this specifically with your surgeon.

How long will the pain last?

Any surgery results in postoperative pain. The amount of pain will again depend specifically on the type of procedure you had done as well as your personal pain tolerance level. Most patients require pain medication for 7 to 10 days after surgery and you should expect the first one to two weeks postop to be the most painful. Pain however can last for several weeks and even several months it is not unusual for patients to still feel some pain and some soreness and tenderness in the surgical site for 3 to 6 months after surgery. This pain should be very tolerable and should not interfere with daily activities or work. In fact, it is not unusual to have patient complains of occasional pains with specific activities for up to a year after surgery.

When can I drive after my surgery?

For most people it is important to be able to drive as part of their daily activities. So, after your mommy makeover you should make alternate arrangements for approximately two weeks. After two weeks you are most likely to be able to drive without restrictions. However, you need to make sure you are safe while you’re driving and this means that you should not be taking any prescription pain medication and also be able to maneuver the car quickly without difficulty in the event of an emergency. For breast surgery, you should be very careful opening and closing your car door because this motion puts a strain on your chest muscle which will need to recover after your breast surgery.

When can I go swimming after my surgery?

Some people also want to know when they can go swimming after their surgery. In general, you are allowed to go in a pool or an ocean two weeks after your surgery. However, you should avoid staying in the water for a long period of time because this can affect your skin’s ability to heal. This means that if you were in the water long enough where your fingers and toes become wrinkled, you were probably in the water for too long. I would also recommend avoiding hot tub’s for approximately three weeks after surgery. This is not because of an increased risk of infection as many people believe, but it is because your skin will be numb after surgery and it is not uncommon to receive accidental burns when bathing in a hot tub with very hot water temperatures. For those who prefer to swim for exercise, the restrictions will depend on specifically when your surgeon allows you to resume exercise.

When can I go on vacation after my surgery?

If you were trying to go on vacation after your surgery, it is best to wait approximately six weeks. This will help to ensure that you are healed enough so that there are no ongoing surgical issues and that your bruising and swelling is resolved enough for you to be active on vacation. This will definitely depend on what your vacation is. For example, if you are going on vacation to sit and relax next to a pool, you may be permitted to do this as soon as four weeks. However, if your vacation is to climb a mountain, we would recommend that you wait several months before engaging in this physical activity. If you are traveling to vacation by airplane, there really is no flying restrictions. If you think about it, many patients come to me from out of state or out of the country and fly back to their home within 1 to 2 weeks of surgery without incident. When flying however you should be careful not to do any heavy lifting and this may include asking someone to put your carry-on bags in the overhead compartment for you.

How long will the scars last?

Scars will last forever. This means that you will always be able to see where your surgical incision was, but the good news is it should fade over time. It can take several years for the scars to fade. But remember they will never go away. During the first few months, it is normal for the scars to be read and “angry” looking. This is normal. Scars appear this way because they are going through a normal scar formation and remodeling phase. Over the next 6 to 9 months, the scar will become more organized and should be less red. During this time, you should be treating a scar with silicone scar gels to help in the healing process. Your surgeon may also recommend laser treatments during this Time in order to help encourage good scar formation and good healing. It is also important to minimize sun exposure to healing scars. The UV rays from the sun will make fresh scars look more red and more “angry” looking. This means that you should be careful when exposed to sun and always apply sunscreen directly to your scars I recommend sunscreen to scars for the first nine months after surgery.

Everybody heals differently

Remember, everybody heals differently. This means that the recovery time from your “mommy makeover” will be different than the recovery time from somebody else’s “mommy makeover”. This is partly due to the fact that everybody’s mommy makeover is slightly different, but, even if you and somebody else had the exact same procedures, you cannot expect to heal and recover in the exact same way. This is why it is important to have a detailed discussion with your surgeon before your surgery so that he or she can explain to you exactly what your recovery is likely to be. Your recovery will depend on the procedures being done, your overall health, your pain tolerance, and the specific surgical techniques being used.

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, and what your recovery will be like.

 

References

Everything you need to know about a mommy makeover. (2018) Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-a-mommy-makeover