OverviewThe nine months of pregnancy represent some of the most meaningful, beautiful months in a woman’s life. Nurturing the development of life into the world is a joy beyond measure. For some, the toll it takes on a woman’s body, however, can be agonizingly measurable. Weight gain and skin changes are merely two of the physical after-effects of pregnancy that can affect outward appearance. Unfortunately, for many new moms, the body does not always return easily to its pre-pregnancy form. Even exercise and dieting may not be enough to reverse the drastic effects of nine months of metabolic and bodily changes. Enter the “mommy makeover.”
The term “mommy makeover” is a euphemism for any combination of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures intended to help women find their way back to a pre-pregnancy body. (1) There is no set combination of treatments that make up a mommy makeover. Rather, the combination of treatments is specifically tailored to meet the needs of each patient. Whereas for some women the makeover may include lipoplasty and a breast lift, for others it may include a tummy tuck surgery and a butt lift. Although virtually any cosmetic procedures can be chosen, the mommy makeover most commonly involves combining breast and abdominal surgery. The mommy makeover packages of procedures have become quite common because the combined approach reduces costs without any increase in risks of side effects or adverse outcomes. (1, 2)
Essentially, any woman who has had children and struggled to regain her pre-pregnancy figure may be a mommy makeover candidate. However, the best way to determine which procedures are best for you is to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon. This will also ensure that you do not have any reasons that would prevent you from having the surgery. The plastic surgeon will look at your medical history and current health status to determine whether any issues must be addressed before the mommy makeover can be considered. Most women who seek out a mommy makeover have experienced radical changes to the abdominal wall as a result of pregnancy. This includes the development of stretch marks and/or post-pregnancy breast changes, causing sagging or other unsatisfactory changes. However, candidacy doesn’t simply boil down to whether your body merits treatment. One of the most important questions you must ask yourself is whether you plan to have more children. If the answer were “yes,” you may be advised to hold off on any rejuvenation procedures. Similarly, women who are still breastfeeding may not yet be candidates for a mommy makeover.
There is no set procedure associated with a mommy makeover because the package of treatments is customized for each person. During your initial evaluation, your plastic surgeon will work with you to determine a treatment plan that targets all your concerns. The most commonly seen treatments that are performed as part of a mommy makeover include:
- Breast lift (Mastopexy), with or without breast augmentation (mastopexy-augmentation): a breast lift is a surgical procedure where the size, elevation, and contour of the breasts are adjusted to give sagging breasts a lift and make them rounder and firmer-looking. The procedure can also involve the use of breast implants to provide increased breast volume and shape. (3)
- Breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty): for those who are unhappy with an increase in breast size and wish to return to their previous size, breast reduction – with or without a breast lift – is an option.
- Tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty): this procedure involves the surgical removal of excess skin and fat from the lower stomach area. It may be combined with liposuction to remove fat from the surrounding areas. (4)
- Liposuction: this is a surgical procedure where excess fat is removed from beneath the skin through a suction cannula (small tube) inserted through small incisions in the skin. The surgery is performed to contour the targeted area. Common sites for liposuction include the hips and thighs, buttocks, arms, neck, and abdomen. (5)
- Butt lift and butt augmentation: these are procedures that are designed to improve the size and shape of the buttocks. A butt lift (gluteoplasty) involves removing excess skin and fat while the remaining tissue is contoured, (6) while butt augmentations targets the shape and size of the buttocks using solid implants. Other buttocks-focused procedures include the “Brazilian butt lift,” (7) where fat from elsewhere on the body is transferred into the buttocks, and filler injections. Both are designed to provide fullness and contouring to the buttocks.
Sometimes women will combine other cosmetic procedures with a mommy makeover, such as a facelift procedure or a neck lift. The idea is to combine procedures so that more can be accomplished during one single trip to the operating room.
Naturally, recovery time from a mommy makeover will depend on the specific combination of treatments. Regardless of the procedure, there will be a certain amount of pain, tenderness, swelling, and bruising associated with the treatment areas. Some procedures may involve a small drainage tube being left in place until swelling abates. Specialized compression garments may be required, especially for procedures involving implants. Post-surgical medications will likely be prescribed for pain and to prevent infection. In general, the following measures can be expected after surgery:
- Buttocks procedures: avoiding sitting or sleeping on the back for some time, often up to three weeks. Avoiding exercise for up to eight weeks. Sitting on a special cushion until healing is complete
- Breast procedures: specialized surgical bra or vest garments are used until healing is complete. There may be limitations to activities involving the arms for a couple of weeks.
- Abdominal procedures: a compression garment is usually required for up to six weeks. Daily activities may be limited for at least two weeks, and heavy exercise should be avoided for at least four weeks.
The final results of your mommy makeover may not be apparent for several months after surgery. Most mommy makeover recipients are satisfied with the outcome of their surgery. (9, 10) In most cases of dissatisfied patients, the individual had unrealistic expectations right from the start. Because of this, surgeons are careful to review reasonable expectations in the initial consultation. However, sometimes dissatisfaction results from poor surgical outcomes, such as poor wound healing, asymmetry, shifting of implants, and excessive scarring. In such cases, revision surgery may be required. Some women are so pleased with their results that they seek to expand on treatment, returning for other procedures later on.
It is difficult to estimate the cost of mommy makeover due to the number of variables involved in treatment. In addition to the cost fluctuations associated with the specific combination of treatments chosen, the price can be impacted significantly based on the surgeon performing the treatments and the location in which they are performed. To get a realistic cost estimation, you will need to contact a board-certified plastic surgeon to set up a mommy makeover consultation. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the average surgeon’s fee in the U.S. in 2019 for various procedures was: (11)
- Breast augmentation – $3,947
- Breast lift – $4,693
- Breast reduction – $5,475
- Butt Implants – $5,004
- Buttock lift – $4,960
- Liposuction – $3,548
- Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) – $6,092
These costs do not include fees for the anesthetist and hospital/operating facility fees. As well, additional expenses may be necessary for post-surgery compression garments, special pillows, and medications. Of course, since a mommy makeover is a combined procedure, the overall costs will be lower than they would be for having the procedures done separately. Because it is an elective procedure, a mommy makeover is not covered by health insurance, leaving patients responsible for 100% of the cost. Most surgeons have payment plans available, allowing their patients to spread out the cost of the procedure.