Most healthy women gain 25 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. Once the bundle of joy is born, many women struggle with getting their body back. Even for the lucky few who lose the weight, completely recovering one’s pre-pregnancy shape without intervention is rare. According to a survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 62% of mothers said they would consider a “mommy makeover” if cost were not an issue. Dr. Brian Brzowski is a cosmetic plastic surgeon with a special interest in breast and body concerns resulting from pregnancy and massive weight loss. His practice serves Salt Lake City, Ogden and surrounding areas where bigger families are the norm.
A “Whole Body” Conversation
A mommy makeover is a combination of procedures of the breast and abdomen but can also include a lower body lift of the hips, thighs and buttocks. Dr. Brzowski finds “mommy makeover” consultations are very popular in his practice. “Typically a woman will come in primarily bothered by one area, and towards the end of the consultation they reveal other concerns. It really tends to be a “whole body” type of conversation.” Brzowski emphasizes these combination procedures are not just confined to women who have had children—heredity and massive weight loss patients can also present with similar desires. “I do see younger women who through genetics have natural looseness in their upper and lower body. There are also those with fluctuations in weight that simulate many of the same changes in their breasts and body that post-partum women deal with.”
Changes in breasts are usually the biggest post-partum complaint especially after nursing. Upper pole fullness is often lost and skin essentially collapses making breasts appear deflated and flat. If the nipple doesn’t point downward, a breast augmentation with an implant may be the answer. Saggy breasts are the result of some pregnancies and massive weight loss patients. Because of the high weight gain and quick decrease breasts may appear long, wide and flat. A breast lift with implant removes extra skin, re-positions breasts and fills them out where volume has been lost.
Loose skin, pouches and excess fat are the result of weight gained and lost in the abdomen. If only small deposits of fat are present, liposuction alone can permanently remove the fat and further contour the waist. But loose skin can only be addressed with a tummy tuck—either full or mini depending upon the location of the excess skin. Any bulging in the belly indicates the muscles have separated and is remedied as part of a tummy tuck with a muscle tightening repair from the inside out. Liposuction is often used to refine the result leaving behind a thinner abdomen with firmer skin and a cinched waist.
“They are the happiest patients. They come to me to restore what they had at one time. It is the biggest transformation…experienced in an aesthetic surgeon’s office.” – Brian Brzowski, MD
Considerations for Safety, Recovery, and Financial Investment
According to Brzowski being cautious about patient safety is paramount, but there is very good evidence to support the successful track record of performing a combination procedure “within reason.” One surgery, one recovery lets you heal all at once instead of staggering procedures. But there are limits. “You always have to balance efficiency and limiting recovery with safety and what can realistically be accomplished at one time.”
When the surgical plan includes breast enhancement, tummy tuck and a lower body lift, Brzowski will often recommend two surgeries. This has the added benefit of staggering the costs of multiple procedures. The average mommy makeover can range from $6000 to over $14,000 depending upon location and extent of procedures. In addition, since recovery involves post-treatment care for multiple procedures, it might affect caring for children during recovery. It is important to discuss post-surgical care with your surgeon to fully understand what is involved after surgery, how long recovery time will be and when you can expect to see results.