When discussing a Mommy Makeover with a plastic surgeon, most women are interested in improving the look of their breasts and waist. With normal aging, these areas start to sag a bit, but with pregnancy, comes more stretching and less return to normal. In a Mommy Makeover, the goal is to bring the breasts and abdomen to a more youthful appearance.
The Breasts: Make them Bigger, Smaller or Just Lift Them?
For most women, normal aging and multiple pregnancies can make their breasts sag and lose their shape, volume and perkiness. These changes can be improved with either a breast lift (mastopexy) or a breast enlargement (augmentation) using breast implants. Sometime, a combination of breast lift and enlargement will give the best result.
However, some women develop larger breasts over time and would prefer them to be smaller. Very large breasts not only interfere with some activities, but can also cause neck, back and shoulder pain. For these women, a breast reduction may result in a smaller and more proportional breast that allows a more active life style. In some cases, a breast reduction may be covered by a health insurance plan.
The Waist: Tummy Tuck, Liposuction or Both?
With pregnancies, the abdominal muscles become stretched and a widening of the space between the rectus abdominis muscles can form a gap called a rectus diastasis (sometimes confused with a hernia). The skin of the abdomen may become loose and form stretch marks. In addition, fat deposits in the love handles (flanks) become more obvious.
A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) can tighten the abdominal wall by reducing the gap between the muscles. At the same time, the loose skin and stretch marks in the lower abdomen can be removed. If any hernias are present, they can be fixed at the same time. If needed, liposuction of the love handles (or other areas such as the thighs, back or arms) is done. A “lipoabdominoplasty” can both contour and tighten the abdomen in one procedure.
Can other Procedures be done with a Mommy Makeover?
Liposuction is commonly used during a Mommy Makeover to contour the waist or other areas. For some women, the pubic area can be improved by lifting the loose skin (mons lift) or making the labia smaller (labioplasty).
Nonsurgical options include adding Botox (or Dysport or Xeomin) and fillers (such as Restylane, Juvederm, Artefill or Sculptra) to soften lines and creases in the face.
Is the Mommy Makeover Safe?
As with any procedure, there are risks involved. Dr. Gutowski was the senior author on the largest study of outcomes of combined plastic surgery procedures. Although the risk of breast enhancement surgery is very small, it does increase a bit when combined with a tummy tuck. For this reason, Dr. Gutowski takes every measure possible to offer a safe experience for his patients. This includes:
- Having Board Certified anesthesiologists who focus on plastic surgery procedures on his team.
- Performing surgery only at fully accredited surgery centers.
- Following established guidelines and protocols for patient safety, many of which have been co-authored by Dr. Gutowski as part of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Patient Safety Committee.
- Properly selecting patients and if needed, recommending shorter or staged procedures to reduce surgery time.
Dr. Gutowski’s Approach
“When offering breast and body procedures to my patients, I like to differentiate myself by being able to offer a positive experience that is safe and gives natural results. One advantage that I offer my patients is avoiding surgical drains after most breast surgeries and tummy tucks. My personal modification of an abdominoplasty technique results in a faster surgery without the need for drains, which cause many patients discomfort and limit their activity. Unlike most surgeons, I modified my techniques to eliminate the need for drains in almost all primary breast procedures, tummy tucks and body lifts, arm lifts and sometimes thigh lifts. My patients have been thankful for the easier recovery.”
- Image Source: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Unless otherwise noted, all images are models and not actual patients.)
- Copyright: Karol A. Gutowski, M.D., Chicago, IL, 2011