It’s no secret that pregnancy can take a toll on your body. Bringing a child into the world is miraculous, but the physical changes that happen to you after pregnancy? Not so much.
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If you have tried diet and exercise and you still aren’t satisfied with how things look, you might look into the growing trend of “mommy makeovers.”
While mommy makeovers are growing in popularity, they aren’t right for everyone and the procedures aren’t without risks. Plastic surgeon Andrea Moreira, MD, offers insight about the procedures, and discusses what you need to think about if you are considering surgery.
Targeting problem areas
A mommy makeover is a series of cosmetic surgery procedures that can help restore your body to your pre-pregnancy form. It can include a tummy tuck, breast surgery (augmentation, lift or reduction) and/or liposuction.
Tummy tuck surgery
During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles (and skin) stretch to accommodate your growing baby. Following pregnancy, you might find your tummy area is looser than it was before.
If you’re uncomfortable with how your abdominal area looks or feels, a tummy tuck helps remove excess skin around your abdomen and tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Augmentation. If your breasts have lost mass, a breast augmentation, the surgical insertion of breast implants, can help your breasts appear fuller.
- Reduction. If your breasts are larger than before pregnancy — and making you uncomfortable or causing back pain — a breast reduction procedure can remove tissue and reshape your breasts.
- Lift. If your breasts are sagging, a surgical breast lift can help raise your breasts by removing extra skin and tightening breast tissue.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from healthy eating and exercise alone, liposuction, the surgical removal of fat from your abdomen, arms or thighs, is sometimes an option. This procedure can target the hips, abdomen, thighs, and buttocks. Many people don’t realize that liposuction doesn’t remove cellulite, only fat.
5 things you need to consider
If you’re thinking about a mommy makeover, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. Dr. Moreira urges you to consider these things first before you opt for surgery:
- Are you OK with having scars? While scars from surgery do fade slightly over time, seeing scars where you never had them before is sometimes difficult, psychologically.
- How will you pay for it? Cosmetic surgery is generally not covered by insurance. Covering these procedures out-of-pocket is often costly.
- Are you ready? For best results, maintaining a healthy body weight for the 12 months leading up to surgery is ideal. Also, you should postpone a mommy makeover if you plan to have more children.
- Are you in good health? If you have existing health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, talk with your doctor about the risks of cosmetic surgery.
- Are you a smoker? If you are considering surgery, you will need to quit smoking for at least 6 weeks prior to surgery. Smoking has been linked to increased risk during surgery, and it can lengthen your healing time.
How to choose a plastic surgeon
When it comes to finding the right plastic surgeon, knowing what to look for is important, Dr. Moreira says.
- Make sure the American Board of Plastic Surgeons has certified your surgeon.
- Ask how many procedures the surgeon does. Choose a surgeon who does the procedure you want hundreds of times each year.
- Ask to see results. Seeing pictures of patients before and after surgery can give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Make sure your surgeon is up to date on the latest surgical techniques and innovations.
- Be wary of surgeons who suggest having too many procedures at once. Having multiple procedures at one time will be harder on your body and tends to lengthen healing time.
The decision to have plastic surgery isn’t one to take lightly, says Dr. Moreira. Talking with your doctor about the risks, benefits and expected outcomes is an important first step.
“Many patients are very satisfied with the results of their procedures,” says Dr. Moreira. “Being able to fit back into their clothes makes them so happy.”
But first, take the time to learn as much as you can about the procedures and make sure a mommy makeover is right for you.