The Mommy Makeover Demystified

July 25th, 2012 / Back to Blog »

The “Mommy Makeover”.  The often talked-about but difficult-to-define plastic surgery operation.  The term can mean different things to different people, and no two “mommy makeovers” are alike.  In essence, the goal is to reverse the havoc childbearing wrecks on a woman’s body.

For most women, a “Mommy Makeover” means:

  1. Breast Rejuvenation
  2. Abdominal enhancement

Now…I don’t know about you, but both of those are pretty vague terms in my mind.  So – what EXACTLY is a “mommy makeover”?!?

After having children, a woman’s breasts have a tendency to “deflate”.  In addition to the skin having been stretched during pregnancy, the breasts lose their unique texture (or “feel”) as women age; this is primarily due to the breast tissue being replaced by fatty tissue.  The extent of these changes depend mostly on genetics.  Also, how ptotic (the medical term for droopy) the breasts become depend not only on these factors but how much breast tissue there was to start with – the more you had in the beginning, the more they’ll likely droop.

Breast rejuvenation, then, can take many forms.  Most commonly, this means a breast lift (or mastopexy).  During this procedure, the breasts are repositioned on the chest and re-shaped.  The incisions can also look different, but is commonly the “lollipop” style – around the nipple and down the center of the breast to the fold.  Again, this varies by how much ptosis must be corrected.   In some cases, a breast implant is added to restore volume – referred to as a augmentation mastopexy.  That is a big topic that I’ll discuss in another post.

The second part of the “mommy makeover” addresses the abdomen.  Just like the breasts, being pregnant causes the skin of the abdomen to stretch out.  Stretch marks are, in essence, when the elastic part of the skin breaks, causing the much weaker outer layer of skin to stretch out and not “spring back”.  Once this happens, no amount of diet or exercise can make the skin return to what it once was.  Even without stretch marks, a woman can be back to her ideal weight (or even close) and the skin can still appear loose.  At this point, exercise will not do much to help it “spring back” or tighten up.

When I talk about abdominal cosmetic surgery, I usually look at the abdomen and thighs together.  Women tend to gain weight in both places during pregnancy, and it can be tough to lose.  This is especially true in the unfortunately named “saddlebags” or “love handles”.

Restoring the shape to both abdomen and thighs is an integral part to restoring the curves that make a woman feel feminine and pretty.  To accomplish this, a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty) is usually combined with liposuction of the thighs, flanks (or sides), and even sometimes in the abdomen itself.  Liposuction is great for removing fat that diet and exercise won’t, but if the skin is loose, it will make the problem appear even worse.  In cases like this, surgery is needed to remove the loose skin to restore the feminine appearance of the abdomen or thighs (an exception here is using SmartLipo – which I’ll talk about in another post, as well).  Like with breast rejuvenation, the exact procedure or combination of procedures depends on your anatomy and your desired outcome.

Anyhow, I hope this gives you a little insight into what the term “Mommy Makeover” means.  Just like no two bodies are the same, no two surgeries are the same.  A consultation, examination, and a good, honest discussion are needed to determine what are the right procedures for you.

As always, you can visit my Facebook page (Jason Hall, M.D.) and ask questions or discuss any topic – plastic surgery or otherwise.

jjh