Women can experience a number of important changes to their bodies as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Although some women succeed in regaining their pre-pregnancy physique, for most women weight gain, abdominal stretch marks, as well as droopy (ptotic) and/or “deflated” breasts become persistent issues after childbirth. A “mommy makeover” is a combination of cosmetic surgical procedures which serve to address the changes in a woman’s body following childbirth. The procedure may include any one of the following treatments, which are performed in a single operative setting:
- Breast augmentation (Augmentation mammaplasty)
- Breast lift (Mastopexy) or Breast lift with implants (Mastopexy-augmentation)
- Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty)
- Liposuction (usually of the abdomen and lower body)
A mommy-makeover procedure is not only practical, but it is also cost-effective. By undergoing two or more procedures simultaneously, patients can avoid having to pay certain surgical fees (i.e. anesthesia and operating room costs) on more than one occasion. Another major advantage of having a combined procedure is that your overall recovery time will be significantly reduced. This essentially translates into one versus multiple recoveries, less overall time off work, and less overall time away from your usual activities. Most importantly, a combined procedure, such as a mommy make-over will allow you to achieve your ultimately aesthetic goals in a much quicker time frame.
2. Ideal candidates
Ideal candidates for a mommy makeover procedure are healthy women who:
- Are not planning to have any more children, and
- Are no longer breast-feeding, and
- Have sagging breasts which are less firm and no longer have a youthful appearance, and/or
- Redundant loose abdominal skin with or without stretch marking, and/or
- Persistent areas of excess fat anywhere on the body
3. The Procedure
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on the number and type of procedures that will be performed during your mommy makeover, operating times can range anywhere from 3-6 hours. Classically, a mommy makeover procedure addresses the abdomen and breasts, and various areas of the lower body. For additional details regarding each individual procedure, simply click on the links provided below:
The abdomen is typically treated with a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty).
- An abdominoplasty addresses the excess abdominal skin and fat resulting from significant fluctuations in weight, childbirth, and/or aging.
- During the procedure, excess abdominal skin and fat is removed, and, in most cases, plication (tightening) of weakened or separated abdominal muscles is performed in order to create a flat and well-toned abdomen.
- The procedure is often complemented with liposuction in order to contour the flanks and upper abdomen.
- The procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete.
A variety of procedures can be used to help restore a youthful shape and contour to your breasts. The procedure that Dr. Lee performs will ultimately depend on your current breast anatomy and your aesthetic goals:
- Breast augmentation (Augmentation mammoplasty)
- Breast reduction (Reduction mammaplasty)
- Breast lift (Mastopexy)
- Breast lift with implants (Mastopexy-augmentation)
3.3. LOWER BODY
- Liposuction is commonly used to contour the problematic areas of the body.
- Liposuction involves the removal of excess fat deposits from essentially any part of the body, in an effort to improve the contours of your body.
- Liposuction is considered to be a less invasive than certain other body contouring procedures and in mommy makeover procedures can be used to reduce localized fat deposits in the: abdomen and waist, the hips and buttocks, the thighs, and/or upper arms.
- Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, nor a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle.
4. PREOPERATIVE EVALUATION
Dr. Lee will perform a thorough medical evaluation during your preoperative consultation to ensure that you are medically fit for surgery. He will also revise your medication list, as certain medications may need to be temporarily stopped before your surgery.
After carefully evaluating the post-pregnancy changes to your body that concern you the most and assessing your aesthetic goals, Dr. Lee will review your available surgical options and help you in formulating an individualized treatment plan that will allow you to safely achieve your aesthetic goal.
Since smoking is known to be associated with poor/delayed wound healing, wound dehiscence, wound infections, and increased scarring postoperatively, smokers will be asked to stop smoking 4 weeks prior to surgery, and for at least 2 weeks postoperatively.
Patients will also be scheduled for routine pre-operative blood testing and an electrocardiogram 1-2 weeks before surgery. If breast surgery is planned as part of your mommy makeover procedure, Dr. Lee may also recommend that you undergo a pre-operative baseline mammogram, as this helps detect future changes in your breast tissue. If necessary, further recommendations will be made once the results of these tests have been reviewed.
The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis; however, patients may be required to stay overnight in our facilities either to ensure their safety (i.e. no available assistance at home), to optimize their pain management during the immediate postoperative period, and/or for additional monitoring.
One of the main benefits of a mommy makeover procedure is that by having a combined surgery, multiple areas of the body can be addressed while only requiring a single general anesthesia and a single recovery period. The length of recovery varies, and will depend on a number of factors, which include the number and extent of the procedures that are performed as well as a number of patient-related factors (such as their capacity to heal and their physical condition prior to surgery).
There will be dressings over your incisions following surgery. There may be one or more thin drains within your wounds to prevent blood or fluid from collecting beneath the skin. These drains will be removed during one of your follow-up appointments, once they are no longer draining a significant amount of fluid. Depending on which procedures were performed, you may have a surgical bra over your breasts, an abdominal binder around your abdomen, and/or compression garments around the lower body for support and to minimize postoperative swelling. These garments are usually worn during first 6 weeks of your recovery.
Swelling, bruising, and some discomfort are expected. Pain medications will be prescribed to help minimize your level of discomfort. Bruising and the majority of the swelling will usually resolve in 4 weeks; however, some swelling may persist for several weeks to months after surgery.
Before leaving our facilities, you will be given detailed postoperative care instructions to follow in order to optimize your healing, to minimize the appearance of your scars, and to ultimately allow you to achieve your best possible results. Dressings should be left in place until your first post-operative visit with Dr. Lee, at which point he will assess your wounds and if necessary, apply new dressings.
Most patients are able to return to work after 2-3 weeks of convalescence. For the first 4-6 weeks, patients are asked to sleep on their backs, and to avoid bending over, lifting their arms above their shoulders, or lifting anything over 5 pounds. Strenuous exercise and activities should be avoided for at least six weeks or until Dr. Lee medically clears you to do so.
6. RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with a mommy makeover procedure. These will ultimately depend on your personalized combination of procedures. Smoking, diabetes, peripheral artery disease (poor circulation), longer operative time (and consequently longer anaesthesia time), large-volume liposuction, as well as heart, lung, or liver disease may increase your risk of perioperative and/or post-operative complications.
Some general risks and complications of body contouring procedures include (but are not limited to):
- Risks associated with anesthesia
- Altered skin sensation
- Deep venous thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Blood clots
- Contour irregularities
- Fat within the deep tissue may die (fat necrosis)
- Poor wound healing
- Irregular pigmentation
- Persistent swelling
- Possible need for revision surgery
- Thermal burn or heat injury from ultrasound if the ultrasound-assisted liposuction technique was used
Dr. Lee will thoroughly discuss these risks (and possibly others) with you and answer any questions you might have prior to obtaining your consent for surgery.
7. Post-operative scarring
Scars form as the body’s natural response heal tissues. As with any scar, the extent of post-surgical scarring depends on a number of modifiable factors (i.e. avoidance of UV light exposure, tension-free wound closure, appropriate wound care, etc.) and non-modifiable factors (i.e. patient age, comorbidities, skin type, genetics, etc.). While it is not possible to perform scar-free surgery, Dr. Lee makes every effort to minimize the appearance of your post-surgical scars through careful pre-operative planning, the use of meticulous surgical technique, and by ensuring appropriate wound care and follow-up post-operatively.
It is not unusual for scars to appear red and be slightly raised/firm for the first 4-6 weeks following surgery. Scars will flatten and become more pale over time, and can take up to 12 months before achieving their final appearance.