Many women set out on a mission to return their bodies to pre-pregnancy shape are instead left feeling like their breasts and belly may never forgive them for the trauma they went through. Dr. Tiffany McCormack sees these patients often, women who have fought the hard fight but cannot achieve that pre-baby body. “I have a lot of patients that have worked really hard after pregnancy to get their weight back to normal, but some of those things can’t be fixed with diet and exercise alone,” she says. “Some of those things require surgery.”
What is a Mommy Makeover?
The phrase “Mommy Makeover” is used to refer to any combination of procedures that aim to restore a mother’s pre-pregnancy figure. If your weight has returned to a stable range after having children, but you still find yourself dealing with sagging breasts and a loose abdomen, you are more than likely a good candidate for the composite procedure. Which procedures are the right choices for your body are determined best in a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, someone familiar and experienced with them all.
During childbirth, the muscles of the abdomen can be stretched out and separated, causing bulging or looseness of the lower abdomen. “I’ll look at the abdomen and we’ll decide, is it just a liposuction issue? Is it a mini tummy tuck? Is it a full tummy tuck, with or without muscle repair? All of those need to be assessed by a board certified plastic surgeon,” says McCormack.
“Mini” and “Full” are terms that are used to refer to how long the incision will need to be in order to achieve the desired result: a flatter stomach. The more loose skin that is present, the longer the incision and resulting scar will be.
Breastfeeding can leave previously perky breasts looking stretched out and deflated. Even without breastfeeding, the changes in shape as the breasts prepares to do so causes a big up and down, leading to droopy breasts when the dust settles. Moms have several options when it comes to restoring shape to their breasts, including doing a breast lift alone, an augmentation alone, or a combination of both procedures. “A lift will help me change the shape, and an implant will give you volume if that’s lacking as well,” explains McCormack.
Breast implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Moms who desire a very natural look can choose teardrop-shaped implants to fill out their breasts in a way that mimics the shape of natural breasts. If a mother’s breasts are deflated in the top half of her chest, which surgeons refer to as the upper pole, she may opt for a rounder implant to restore upper pole fullness.
Moms who opt for a mommy makeover need to carve out enough downtime to rest and let their bodies heal. This isn’t easy for a busy mom who is used to going 100% all the time. The first two weeks of the recovery are the most important. After two weeks many patients may begin returning to normal activities such as driving and running errands. For a period of six weeks nothing heavier than ten pounds, which includes small children, may be lifted. “We’re going to make this as safe as we can with minimal risk. As soon as we get them fully recovered they’re right back to themselves, with hopefully better self esteem and more confidence,” says McCormack.