Created August 2018
Our bodies change rather significantly during pregnancy and after childbirth. Things just aren't where they used to be. There's sagging breasts, large nipples, dark nipples, belly pooch, wide hips, thick thighs and arm flab. These traits are most certainly the medals you bear—tell-tale badges that you are a mom—but you want your pre-pregnancy body back, or better. Here's how a mommy makeover can give you your best "body after baby".
What is a mommy makeover?
A mommy makeover is a combination of body contouring procedures used to help restore the shape and appearance of a woman's body after childbearing. This may include:
These surgical procedures can be customized to each woman, but occur in one operation. The most common mommy makeover procedures work to address prevalent postpartum changes women experience:
- Extra skin and loss of muscle tone in the abdomen
- Loss of breast volume
- Breast ptosis (sagging breasts)
- Excess fat deposits (e.g. thighs, stomach, arms, etc.)
Breast lift and augmentation
After childbirth, the breasts expand and contract during milk production, going up several cup sizes, then dropping down several cup sizes after you're done breastfeeding. All this expanding and contracting causes the skin to become lax, leading to less voluminous, even saggy breasts. Your nipples may also point downward.
Breast lift surgery addresses sagging breasts (ptosis), while a breast augmentation gives your breasts volume.
Exactly what procedure your surgeon recommends varies depending on the current state of your breasts and your goal. If you have lost volume and are experiencing sag, your surgeon may recommend a breast lift with implants. If you have plenty of breast volume, but your breasts have started to sag, your surgeon may recommend a breast lift and reshaping of your own fat tissue in your breasts. If your breasts have not experienced much sag, but you have lost fullness, your surgeon may recommend an implant alone.
A fat transfer uses liposuction to remove unwanted fat from your body and place it into areas where you desire more fullness, such as the breasts, buttocks, cheeks, and eyes. However, the amount of fat that survives once transferred can be quite small. Because the survival of the fat cells can be low, several fat transfer procedures are typically needed to obtain the best results. If not enough fat can be harvested to achieve the fullness desired, an implant can be used to shape the breasts and buttocks for a more permanent solution.
Tummy tuck/mommy tuck (abdominoplasty)
A tummy tuck, or mommy tuck as some refer to it, tightens and reshapes the abdominal area, giving it a flatter, slimmer appearance. There are two types: a classic or full tummy tuck, which addresses the upper and lower abdomen; a mini tummy tuck, which improves the lower belly.
Full tummy tuck
Through a hip-to-hip incision, a full tummy tuck involves muscle repair to close the opening in the rectus abdominis torn during pregnancy and suture the abdominal wall back together, helping to return stability to the core muscles. Extra skin is stretched down and removed, and the belly button is placed in a natural location.
If the tummy tuck is extended, fat and skin will also be removed around the flanks.
Mini tummy tuck
Through a single incision made above the pubic mound, loosened muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed to provide a smooth, flat abdomen.
Liposuction uses motion, vibration, sound waves, lasers and air to break up fat. It is then suctioned through a small tube (cannula). This procedure can be performed on the abdomen, flanks (love handles), arms and thighs. The fat that is removed can either be discarded or harvested for use elsewhere, such as the breasts or buttocks.
Mommy makeover results
The benefits of mommy makeover surgery are not all seen at once. Swelling can last for six months or longer, making the full results of the procedures hard to realize until all swelling has subsided.
To get a clearer picture of what a mommy makeover looks like after recovery, view mommy makeover photos.
Mommy makeover cost
The mommy makeover price range varies depending on your geographic location, the number and type of procedures you have, your surgeon's fees and facility expenses. That said, you could be looking at anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000.
A procedural breakdown may look something like this:
- Breast lift: approximately $6,000
- Breast enlargement: about $6,000
- Tummy tuck: between $2,000 and $8,000
- Arm lift: around $6,000
- Thigh lift: approximately $6,500
- Liposuction: between $2,000 to $3,500
Because these are elective cosmetic procedures, your insurance is not likely to cover the expenses, which means the financial burden will fall on you. However, there are mommy makeover financing options like loans or payment plans through third-party financers who offer low- and fixed-rate interest options.
Is a mommy makeover right for you?
Getting a mommy makeover is a huge commitment—you're not only putting stress on your body, you're placing pressure on your wallet. So, patients who are serious about taking on any combination of these procedures should:
- Be in good health and stay in good health. Surgeons recommend you adopt a healthy diet, develop a consistent exercise routine and work off post-pregnancy weight before the makeover. The best candidates are those who are physically fit and healthy. Not only will they recover sooner, but they are more likely to retain their results.
- Have realistic expectations. The mommy makeover should not be used as a weight loss tool. Plastic surgery can rid loose skin, enhance breast volume and repair torn abdominal walls. These are things that cannot be corrected with exercise but can be corrected with plastic surgery.
- Be done having children. Put simply, pregnancy can undo practically all the work that was done by your surgeon.
- Quit smoking. Because smoking minimizes circulation, delays wound healing and drastically increases your chances of developing complications, you should quit smoking one month before and one month after a mommy makeover.
- Be prepared for recovery. You're not dealing with one surgery, but multiple. This means your recovery may be more painful, or at least you'll feel pain in more areas, than if you only had one procedure.
- Be at least six months post-pregnancy. By the six-month mark, your abdominal tissue should have fully healed and there should be no swelling, making you a candidate for tummy tuck.
- Be done with breastfeeding. The risk of infection is too high to place breast implants while still actively breastfeeding, so you'll need to wait at least 3 to 6 months after you've finished feeding. This will also ensure your breasts have gone through the natural shrinkage period.
The procedures we mentioned are the most common combinations found in a mommy makeover, but almost any procedure can be done in combination with other procedures such as brachioplasty (arm lift), thighplasty (thigh lift), and labiaplasty (skin removal from the labia). When you book your consultation for a mommy makeover, discuss all your options with your surgeon to develop the surgical plan that is right for you.