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2 In 1: When A “Mommy Makeover” Makes Sense

While I’m not a real fan of the term “Mommy Makeover” (actually, I hate the term), I am quite a huge fan of what it can do.  So, since this term has “traction” so to speak, I’ll just get over it and tell why this is such a great combination of operations that is increasingly popular with women who have had children.

Any woman who has been through it, knows that changes take place a result of pregnancies.  And, it’s no secret that the the breasts and abdomen are affected more than any other areas.  Sometimes these changes are minimal, but for some women they can be profound. Take, for instance, a small framed woman who has had twins, or someone who had a large amount of weight gain because of pregnancy induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia). Her shape will be totally changed by the pregnancy.  Since most of these women are still quite young, it’s understandable that they will feel strongly about getting things back to the way they were, and this can be quite beneficial.

You Don’t Bounce Back Entirely
What about diet and exercise, you say? There is no question that these can help.  And, getting back to your desired weight is the first step. But, this won’t take care of many of the changes.  Take the tummy for example, as you lose weight the skin becomes more loose and can even look worse!  Hardly fair, and quite discouraging. If you have loose or excess skin, the only solution is to have this skin removed, as in surgically removed (think tummy tuck).  Likewise, the muscles of the abdomen become separated over the course of the pregnancy.  While you can strengthen these muscles, you can not bring them back together in the midline without surgery. I have seen some women with rock hard abs after children and a six pack that makes me jealous, but there is still a significant separation between the muscles that they have not been able to exercise away.

As noted above, there can be significant changes in the breasts as well.  Some women have little or none.  Others can end up with breasts that are saggier than they want, smaller than they want, or even larger than they want.  (This is one of the things that makes it hard for me to tell women how pregnancies will affect their breasts.) Changes can be more profound with multiple pregnancies, prolonged breast feeding, or large changes in breast size as a result of the pregnancies.

How about taking care of the breasts and the abdomen at the same time?  Seems like a good idea right? Right, thus “Mommy makeover”  (there, I said it again).  This can be a great way of taking care of both areas.  But, the operations can be done in stages as well.  I have many patients who have done it both ways, and some that have chose only to deal with one area.  The bottom line, here, is that as long as it is medically safe and reasonable, do what works best for you.

Recovery Time: The Major Advantage
The advantage of doing this all together is primarily that you will have only one operation, and more importantly one recovery. Now the recovery can be a little longer if both the breasts and abdomen are re-contoured. Abdominal work requires a longer recovery time than breast work because the core muscles that you use for sitting and standing are the one repaired during an abdominoplasty.

While there may be some cost savings, that is not the main thing.  It’s all about the time off. And this will usually be a little less when the operations are done together. When combining the operations, they are sometimes done as an outpatient, and sometimes with a night in the hospital. Again, this is affected by how much is being done, and the overall health of the patient. We will always look for the safest way to do these.

Alternative Routes
Other women want to take it one step at a time.  No problem here. Some want to take care of the breasts first, and others the tummy.  One advantage of doing it in this way, is that you know that you are going to be going to the operating room twice.  And if there is a minor revision of the scar from the first operation ( or something else like that), this can be addressed at the second operation. Also, you are looking at two somewhat shorter operations rather than one longer one. Doing them separately will almost always allow them to be done as outpatient operations.

So this process can lead to great and gratifying results.  But a couple of things to point out again.

    • Partner with your surgeon. The best results occur when you do all that you can do (usually getting rid of the pregnancy weight, and getting back into shape), and then the surgeon does what he/she can to reshape these areas.
    • Wait until you are finished having children. Another pregnancy can undo much of what is achieved surgically.
    • Make sure that you allow enough time for the recovery. Giving this enough time will allow you to get back to where you want to be sooner than if you really push it too hard.

So, if you are done having children, and you are not happy with how the process has changed your body, let’s talk. Because there is a lot that we can achieve together.

Be well,

David B.

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