What is a mommy makeover?
This is a question we often get from patients, something that can be a little confusing in a world of plastic surgery out there. Honestly, a mommy makeover can be anything you want it to be: something as simple as a new hairstyle and a facial, or maybe some Botox and skin care products, or it could be as extensive as a total body cosmetic surgery procedure.
The current generation of mom’s has really made this procedure explode. Unlike their parents generation, the mothers of today want to look and feel young. There are many sacrifices a woman makes in the selfless act of carrying a child and giving birth. Even though most women would never regret their decision to bring life in the world because of what it has done to their body, most of them wish there was a way to fix it. That is where the mommy makeover comes in.
The toll of pregnancy and post-partum breast feeding can lead to many problems for a woman’s once youthful and athletic body. The stretching of the abdominal wall can lead to loose skin, stretch marks, and a diastasis. Diastasis is the medical term for the widening or separating of the “six pack” abdominal muscles. Normally these muscles sit side by side, but with the stretching from pregnancy they get pushed apart. This can often be severe enough that women may have a bulge or something that looks like a hernia.
Pregnancy and aging can also make it more difficult for women to lose the weight that they were once able to shed very easily with diet and exercise. Those stubborn areas have now become REALLY stubborn, and even though you are exercising 7 days a week and eating celery and carrots, you just cant lose fat in those troublesome areas like the flanks, lower belly, and outer thighs.
The other change most women experience is in their breasts. Often pregnancy and post-partum breast feeding will leave women with larger and fuller breasts. An A or B cup before pregnancy may now have the C or D cup that she always thought about having. Sometimes this size increase may persist, but often the breasts will return to their pre-pregnancy size and sometimes they may even get smaller. This combined with the natural aging process and changes in hormone levels can lead to a smaller breast that has become deflated and sagging.
So what can be done?
Again, there are many options. The “typical” mommy makeover includes a full abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, combined with a breast augmentation and lift. This helps to flatten the abdomen, remove stretch marks and tighten up the abdominal muscles giving a flatter, more toned and athletic look. The breast augmentation can either involve implants or your own fat combined with a breast lift to increase the volume and shape of the breast, and lift the nipple to its normal position which gives a youthful and perkier look.
But every woman is different. One might need an abdominoplasty, another might need liposuction. One might need breast implants, another might need a breast lift. In addition, other procedures can often be combined with the mommy makeover such as: Botox and fillers, liposuction of the arms or legs, or even a brazilian butt lift where liposuctioned fat is then placed in and around the buttock to help improve its shape and size.
The most important thing is doing what’s right for you and what you are comfortable with. Don’t ever let a family member, friend or your surgeon pressure you into something you haven’t thought about extensively. You are the one that has to live with the changes in your body, so make sure you are well informed and you are doing this on YOUR TERMS.
Brian Arslanian, M.D.