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Mommy Makeover: A Little Fix-Up for Mom

Kids can take a toll on you. Especially your body.

After having your babies, you’ve got a little extra of this and a little more of that here and there. You diet, you exercise, you chase after your kids—but that “baby fat” still hangs around. You need a Mommy Makeover.

Kendall R. Roehl, MD, Plastic Surgeon at Temple Cosmetic Surgery Center, in this article discusses your plastic surgery options, often called a Mommy Makeover.

What Are My Options for a Mommy Makeover?

“The most common thing that women usually want is some improvement in the appearance of their breasts and their tummies,” says Dr. Roehl. “And that comes in many different forms, depending on a number of factors.”

Breasts

There are three common options for breast recontouring, depending on:

  • Breast size
  • Overall droop of your breast (ptosis)

Breast reduction—excess skin is removed and breast tissue is sculpted into a smaller, more flattering shape.

Breast lift—excess skin is removed and nipples lifted; breasts appear fuller and more youthful.

Breast augmentation with or without a lift—breast implants (silicone or saline) are surgically inserted underneath your breast tissue and occasionally your bench press muscle.

Dr. Roehl says the outcome of breast recontouring depends on these factors:

  • Previous breast size
  • Overall droop of your breast
  • Your age
  • Your skin quality
  • Your overall goal

Abdomen

There are three two common options for recontouring your abdomen, depending on:

  • How much extra skin you have
  • Quality of the skin on your abdomen (stretch marks, for example)
  • How strong your abdominal muscles are

Liposuction—removes excess fat on the abdomen. This is a good option for women with no excess skin and very few or no stretch marks.

Mini-abdominoplasty (mini-tummy tuck) with or without liposuction—removes excess skin.

Full abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) with or without liposuction—removes excess skin and tightens weakened and stretched abdominal muscles.

A successful tummy tuck, Dr. Roehl says, depends on:

  • How many stretch marks you have
  • How much extra skin and fat you have
  • What your overall goal is

All of the above Mommy Makeover procedures are performed under general anesthesia, and when performed individually, they’re offered on an outpatient basis.

However, Dr. Roehl says, if two or more procedures are combined—a breast reduction and a tummy tuck, for example—you often may be required to spend the night in order to help manage pain.

What Is the Pain Like?

“Most of the breast procedures are not extremely painful, except if you’re having implants underneath your pectoralis muscle,” says Dr. Roehl.

“Liposuction is fairly painful,” cautions Dr. Roehl, “because you’ll be black and blue and bruised where the liposuction was performed.”

“The tummy tuck is hard—not so much the skin portion of the operation, but the tightening up of the abdominal muscles. Some women tell me that really hurts, similar to a C-section,” advises Dr. Roehl.

What Is the Recovery Like?

“After breast surgery, you’ll be back doing what you want to do in about a month, but you can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds during that first month,” says Dr. Roehl.

“For you to be happy after the surgery, your surgeon needs to paint a reasonable picture of what your breasts or your tummy are going to look like.”

“Tummy surgery takes longer. For six weeks, you’ll need to wear a post-operative garment, kind of a binder across your abdomen. You’ll have two drain tubes,” Dr. Roehl notes, “so you can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for six weeks.”

Because you can do no heavy lifting following any Mommy Makeover procedure, Dr. Roehl advises that you secure the help of your partner, parent, sibling or friend if you have small children at home.

When Is the Best Time to Have a Mommy Makeover?

“You definitely don’t want to have a tummy tuck or anything done to your breasts if you’re planning on having more children,” counsels Dr. Roehl.

Dr. Roehl advises that it’s best to wait until you have completed childbearing and to wait until:

  • Six months after the start of breastfeeding
  • You’ve returned to your pre-pregnancy weight or you’ve reached a steady weight at which you’re content

What About Weight?

“I generally don’t do tummy tucks on ladies whose BMIs are over 30, because the outcomes are not great and women are not realistic about what it’s going to look like. There are exceptions to that rule, however,” says Dr. Roehl.

“I encourage you to exercise and lose weight before a tummy tuck because if you lose weight after a tummy tuck, it won’t look as good. You’ll have extra skin again,” warns Dr. Roehl.

What About Smoking?

“We don’t do any of these procedures on smokers. The risks are just too high. For the breast surgery, there are a lot of scars for breast lift or breast reduction,” explains Dr. Roehl, “so you can have wound healing problems. Whole portions of your breast can die or your nipples can turn black and die. It’s horrible.”

“Same thing with a tummy tuck. You can have a big wound in the lower portion of your tummy, and because that portion doesn’t have good blood supply, it’s even worse in smokers. Also the belly button can die,” cautions Dr. Roehl.

Dr. Roehl tells her patients that she will test them for nicotine use prior to surgery.

What Should I Expect from a Mommy Makeover?

“The most important thing is to make sure you have a realistic expectation of what you’re going to look like. You need to have a very honest discussion with your surgeon. Most patients want to look like Barbie or a model in a magazine,” Dr. Roehl says, “but for you to be happy after the surgery, your surgeon needs to paint a reasonable picture of what your breasts or your tummy are going to look like.”

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Mommy Makeover: A Little Fix-Up for Mom