Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Adam Boettcher explains what the popular mommy makeover cosmetic procedure entails, mommy makeover cost, the recovery period, and expected results
Pregnancy and breastfeeding dramatically change a woman’s body. While some women can drop back to their pre-pregnancy weight with ease, others have trouble shedding lingering fat deposits and tightening sagging breast or abdominal tissue on their own. Many mothers also have widened rectus muscles – a condition called diastasis recti – which alters the appearance and function of the abdominal muscles.
Mommy makeovers help address all of these post-pregnancy challenges, helping to restore a woman’s desired curves, breast volume, abdominal strength, and tightness throughout the breasts and abdomen.
In this article, I want to address some of the common mommy makeover questions we get at our practice, including:
- What Should I Expect? Mommy Makeover Surgery Overview
- Am I A Good Candidate for a Mommy Makeover?
- How Much Does a Mommy Makeover Cost?
- Procedure Recovery and Aftercare
- How Much Weight Do Mommy Makeover Patients Lose?
Mommy Makeover Surgery Overview
A traditional mommy makeover includes a tummy tuck and a mastopexy, or breast lift. However, today the “mommy makeover” is an umbrella term that describes a combination of two or more of the following cosmetic procedures: tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation, breast reduction, fat grafting, arm lift, thigh lift, and liposuction. Based on lifestyle factors, anatomy, age, and prior weight gain or loss, we customize mommy makeovers to meet each patient’s individual needs and desired results.
Many patients want to know what the mommy makeover procedure entails. Based on your surgeon’s customized plan, here are the key procedural steps you can expect:
First, the anesthesiologist will administer IV sedation or general anesthesia, and we’ll prep and clean the surgical areas.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
It’s very common for women to have postnatal skin laxity and sagging across the stomach. What was once firm and tighter pre-pregnancy, now bulges or droops. A tummy tuck – or abdominoplasty – removes excess skin and fat on the stomach. Tummy tucks can also restore abdominal muscle function for women whose rectus muscles have separated during pregnancy, an incredibly common condition called diastasis recti.
During a tummy tuck, we make a discreet incision along the bikini line, and sometimes around the belly button. Next, we’ll correct the diastasis recti defect by pulling the muscles back together. Then we’ll pull down the excess abdominal skin, create a new belly button opening, and close the incisions. To learn more about tummy tucks, read my other article: How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost, And What Does The Procedure Entail?
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Breasts expand significantly in volume to accommodate milk production, before dropping down to pre-pregnancy sizes after a mother stops breastfeeding. This rapid expansion causes the skin and soft tissue to stretch, resulting in breast sagging and often a loss of volume and projection after pregnancy. Some patients also want to resize or reposition their nipples and areolas to regain a more youthful, higher, and natural position. A breast lift – or mastopexy – reduces sagging, lifts the breast tissue to a more youthful position, and can restore the nipple and areola to their pre-pregnancy size and position.
During a breast lift, we typically make a small incision around the areola, from the areola down to the crease, and/or along the breast crease hidden under the breast. The incision patterns depend on the patient’s anatomy and desired results, but we also make sure that they are as small as possible. All the incisions are in locations that are hidden in normal clothing or swimwear. Next, we lift, reshape, and tighten the breast contour to restore firmness by removing excess skin. Once the breast is reshaped and the skin is tightened, we close the incisions in a manner to minimize their appearance.
Breast Lift and Augmentation (Mastopexy Augmentation)
It’s common for women to lose breast volume post-pregnancy, which is why some women undergoing a mommy makeover opt to get breast implants along with a breast lift. While breast lifts address drooping, breast augmentations enhance fullness, shape, and projection. Combining mastopexy and breast augmentation procedures reduces the number of surgeries. Mommy makeover patients also benefit from a single recovery period versus scheduling multiple surgeries over time. We work with patients to assess their desired breast volume, select the right implant type and size, and customize our approach based on their unique anatomy.
Some patients – particularly those who had large breasts before pregnancy – want to lift and reduce their breasts during their mommy makeover procedure. This can be achieved with a reduction mammaplasty procedure, during which we reduce breast volume while maintaining a natural, full, lifted, and appealing breast contour. Sometimes insurance providers will cover a portion of breast reduction costs if the patient is experiencing neck and back pain and the surgery is medically indicated.
Liposuction efficiently removes fat using a minimally-invasive approach to evacuate fat cells. It’s common for women post-pregnancy to have a hard time “snapping back” to their pre-pregnancy weight and body shape. Hormone-related pregnancy weight gain can cause adipose tissue to accumulate in new parts of the body, and these fat stores can be very hard to eliminate – even with diet and exercise. Fat cells, or adipocytes, that are removed through liposuction are removed permanently. By adding liposuction to the mommy makeover procedure, we can contour the hips, thighs, stomach, and arms while minimizing recovery and downtime.
Am I A Good Candidate For A Mommy Makeover?
The best mommy makeover surgical candidates are generally in good health, are non-smokers, and aren’t experiencing big weight fluctuations. If a patient wants to get pregnant again, then we advise them to postpone the mommy makeover procedure. Likewise, if a patient is planning to lose a substantial amount of weight to hit their goal weight, then we’ll advise them to hold off on the procedure until they’re within around 10 pounds of their goal weight. Dramatic weight loss or gain post-operatively can alter the results, and we want our patients to feel their best after they recover from their mommy makeover.
How Much Does A Mommy Makeover Cost?
Many patients want to know: how much will their mommy makeover cost? The average mommy makeover costs around $20,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, this cost estimate varies based on how many procedures are being combined. When you meet your board-certified plastic surgeon for a mommy makeover consult, make sure to ask them for a final quote that includes all ancillary fees, including:
- Surgeon fees, which vary based on location and provider
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital / accredited surgical facility fees
- Medical tests
- Post-surgery garments
- Post-operative care
- Post-operative scar lasering procedures
At Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona, we provide discounts for subsequent cosmetic procedures, which makes booking a mommy makeover cost less than standalone surgeries. We also work with Care Credit, which provides interest-free loans for up to 12 months to help our patients cover procedural fees.
Mommy Makeover Recovery and Aftercare
Most women feel fully recovered within three to five months after their mommy makeover. We recommend that patients abstain from strenuous activities – such as weight lifting or high-impact exercises – for at least six weeks after surgery.
Here are some other important points I want patients to know about mommy makeover recovery and aftercare:
- Incision Aftercare: After surgery, we apply a surgical dressing or bandage to protect the incision wound. Patients should keep the wound clean, and be gentle with the incision area. In some cases, we’ll place small tubes in the incision area to drain fluids, prevent tissue swelling, and promote healing. If a patient notices increased redness, discharge, or intensifying pain near the incision, then we want them to call us right away.
- Compression: We provide all mommy makeover patients with an abdominal compression garment and a special bra to wear. This is an important aftercare step that we don’t want patients to skip – gentle compression not only reduces swelling, but it also promotes better healing by offering support to tender muscles and tissues.
- Medications: We prescribe pain medication to help patients feel more comfortable while healing after their mommy makeover.
- Return-to-Work: Most patients feel well enough to return to work after two weeks. Patients who have physically demanding jobs may need to prolong their recovery period.
- Sleeping: We advise mommy makeover patients to sleep on their backs.
- Exercise: While we encourage patients to get up and move around after their surgery, we don’t want patients to push themselves physically – particularly in the first few weeks of healing. By week three, some patients feel up to doing very easy, low-impact exercises that don’t strain the abdomen. By six weeks after surgery, most patients can resume all their pre-operative activities.
- Driving: Patients can’t drive themselves home after surgery, and won’t be able to operate a car for a couple of days due to the lingering effects of anesthesia. Most patients return to driving after two to three weeks.
- Swimming: We don’t advise mommy makeover patients to submerge in an ocean or pool until they’re six weeks post-op, to reduce the risk of infection.
- Bathing: Patients can shower after 48 hours, and don’t need to worry about removing their bandages or washing the incision. While showering, avoid hot water, keep showers brief, and gently pat or air dry your abdomen to avoid damaging the tissue.
How Much Weight Do Mommy Makeover Clients Lose?
While patients can expect to feel slimmer, tighter, and more toned after a mommy makeover, I need to stress that getting a mommy makeover is not a weight loss strategy. We often remove around 2-5 pounds of excess skin and fat during a tummy tuck, and an additional 2-10 pounds with liposuction, although each patient will differ significantly.
Book Your Mommy Makeover Consultation Today
If you’d like to learn more about mommy makeovers, we’d love to bring you in for a free consultation. Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons and experienced providers at Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona can answer your questions and discuss which procedures would be best suited to meet your goals.
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Author Profile: Adam Boettcher, M.D., is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona partner. Dr. Boettcher specializes in cosmetic surgery, facial trauma, complex hand reconstruction, and oncologic reconstructive procedures. He joined Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona in 2012.