What is a mommy makeover?
There is no doubt that becoming a mother is one of the most gratifying experiences that life has to offer. Yet, no new mother is ever truly prepared for the aftermath on her breasts and body. Hormonal changes can swell and stretch the tissues and skin, only to be followed with a deflating effect. It is when the body does not snap back, that we see the long-lasting changes of pregnancy. For many women, this can sometimes leave lasting emotional scars. Stretch marks can develop on breasts and abdomen, and the skin can droop. Exercise is sometimes ineffective for reversing these changes.
Enter the Mommy Makeover… Popularity for this procedure has grown dramatically over the last several years. A mommy makeover is a series of procedures that targets the breasts and abdomen. Breasts that are saggy after childbirth can be lifted, reduced, and/or augmented. The abdomen is addressed with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) and/or liposuction. The final goal is to tighten the skin and eliminate areas of excess fat in order to restore a woman’s shapely features. And the results are lifechanging!
How is a mommy makeover performed?
A mommy makeover is performed after a thorough preoperative evaluation by Dr. Panossian. Not all women will require the same combination of procedures. Therefore, the consultation and preoperative photographs are essential for proper planning. The degree of breast ptosis (or, sagging) will dictate whether the breasts will need to be lifted through a lollipop-style incision (vertical breast lift) or an anchor-type incision (Wise pattern breast lift). Also, breast augmentation may be performed simultaneously to add volume that has been lost.
The abdomen is most often addressed with a standard tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) with or without liposuction. The abdominal muscles that have been weakened by the growing fetus are tightened during this procedure, giving back the hourglass shape. In some instances, significant abdominal changes in the skin and soft tissues may occur in a belt-like distribution around the entire midsection. In these cases, a belt lipectomy (or, body lift) may be required. This involves extending a standard tummy tuck scar around the entire lower body in a belt-like fashion. If a body lift is recommended, then staging the breast and body surgeries may sometimes be required.
What is the recovery?
A typical mommy makeover can take between 4 and 6 hours to perform, depending on the degree of skin laxity and breast ptosis. It requires at least a one or two day stay in an aftercare facility. Long-acting local anesthesia is used in combination with general anesthesia to limit pain substantially in the postoperative period. You should have a friend or relative assist you in the first week when you go home. Your initial dressings will include gauze and either an elastic bandage or a compression stocking. Any external stitches or drains (if used) will be removed during the first visit. A specialized compression garment will need to be worn around the clock for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
The recovery for each procedure is similar to that described under the individual BREAST and BODY sections. Bruising and swelling may occur for the first one to two weeks following surgery. As with other body contouring procedures, you should plan on staying home for the first week or two, with very limited activities including light walking, reading, and watching television. Driving should be avoided during this time, as well as heavy lifting.
In 2 weeks, you may begin to gently increase your activity including more extensive walking, but avoid aggressive exercise or weight lifting. Running and other high impact activities are strictly avoided for 6 weeks.
There may be some diminished sensation along the lower abdomen and breasts near the incisions. This usually improves over the next several weeks as swelling goes away. Occasionally, the decreased sensation may be permanent.
What are the risks and complications?
A mommy makeover is a long and complex procedure that requires a trained aesthetic eye to limit the length and visibility of scars and to produce excellent contour. Basic risks include sensitivity or reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, or infection. A hematoma can be drained in the office with local anesthetic. An infection may require oral antibiotics and possibly surgical drainage, if it occurs. In more severe cases, a bad infection may require intravenous antibiotics and a brief hospitalization.
Scars are commonplace for any surgical procedure. In a mommy makeover, the scars can sometimes be quite extensive. They can be raised or can stretch or widen over time. Dr. Panossian has developed a technique for improving the appearance of scars with a combination of products and timing that have provided fantastic results and very happy patients.
Slight asymmetry is always a risk in plastic surgery. After a mommy makeover, there may be subtle differences between the breasts in terms of scarring, shape, or decreased sensation. Once again, these are relatively rare occurrences in experienced hands.
In rare cases, a clot in the legs can form, causing swelling and pain in the calves. This is called a “deep venous thrombosis” or DVT. If this does occur, it is considered an emergency and must be evaluated quickly in an emergency room. Dr. Panossian uses specialized boots during surgery and encourages early walking after surgery to reduce this risk substantially.
Dr. Panossian has vast experience in minimal-scar plastic surgery and body contouring. He will be happy to go over your options during consultation. His staff is also available at all times to answer your questions and address problems, should they arise. Call today for a consultation.