The reasons for a mommy makeover differs depending on who you ask that wants to go through with the procedures. Society places a premium on appearance and youthfulness and pregnancy may alter a woman’s body. That’s why a mommy makeover is often desired after children.
What is a Mommy Makeover?
A mommy makeover is not a procedure in and of itself. Rather, it is a term that is used when plastic surgeons combine multiple surgery procedures including: breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, liposuction, and perhaps other plastic surgery procedures to return the female’s body to its pre-pregnancy state.
What Makes a Good Mommy Makeover Candidate?
As one of the top-rated mommy makeover surgeons, Dr. Tim Neavin, believes many women feel that child bearing has changed their body and want to return to their previous look. Others want to go back to work feeling confident about their physical appearance and shape and the surgeries involved in a mommy makeover can make a remarkable difference. Additionally, in many cases, the procedures that come along with a mommy makeover is the only way to achieve their pre-pregnancy bodies.
Some may feel that dieting and exercise alone can return a woman’s body to it’s pre-preganancy state. While this may be true in some cases, some mothers may be left with unwanted changes, such as loss of upper breast fullness or form, loose abdominal skin and stretch marks and this is when many women consider a mommy makeover. While diet and exercise is great and can improve some of the look, nothing will match the stunning results a complete mommy makeover can provide. When plastic surgeons combine breast augmentation, breast lift, liposuction, and a tummy tuck, these mommy makeover procedures will completely change the body’s form, giving you a look you desired perhaps even before you were pregnant. This makes a mommy makeover the best option post-pregnancy and when you’re done having children.
What Breast Procedures are included in a Mommy Makeover?
In a mommy makeover, there are the following breast surgery options to give you the best results, it can be one of these or a combination of the tree:
- Breast Augmentation
- Breast lift (mastopexy)
- Breast Reduction
Pregnancy can induce changes to the appearance of the chest and belly area. Often, these changes are permanent and improve little after giving birth. The breasts engorge with milk during the process of lactation during pregnancy. As the breasts enlarge, the tissues stretch. Depending on the elastic properties of one’s tissue, the breasts may or may not return to a perky state after the cessation of lactation and a breast lift might need to be considered.
For many women post-pregnancy may look flat and deflated. They have lost their youthful, perky appearance. The abdomen also follows similar rules which will be discussed later. As a general rule, the later in age that these changes take place, the more difficult it is for the body to return to its prior state. That is why the timing of the surgery is critical and why a breast augmentation can be one of the best solutions when looking through the procedures involved in a mommy makeover.
Envision a beach ball. Now a balloon. Fill both up with air until they almost pop, then slowly remove air. The balloon will remain tight throughout most of this deflation. The beach ball will soon look wrinkly and lose its round shape. The reason behind these difference relies on the properties of elasticity. You have probably already caught on to the analogy that the balloon is a young woman and a beach ball is an older woman.
If you have tight, elastic tissues, there is a reasonable chance you will “survive” a pregnancy without a permanently deflated appearance.
However, for most women this is not the case. In the latter example of the beach ball, there are two ways to restore a round, tight appearance. One would be to add more air, and the other would be make the beach ball smaller. That is, change the volume-to-surface-area ratios.
As mentioned, one of the most powerful operations in plastic surgery after having a child is a breast augmentation. Often, women will think that their breasts are now “saggy” or droopy. However, most often, changes after pregnancy are simply volume and skin area mismatches. Simply adding more volume frequently restores their look to a perky, pre-pregnancy state. In less frequent cases, a breast augmentation alone cannot achieve the pre-pregnancy look. In these cases, a breast lift combined with your breast augmentation may be required to raise the nipple and remove extra skin.
Post-pregnancy, breasts will result in a smaller shape than the pre-pregnancy state. It is not uncommon for women to choose a breast augmentation to achieve breasts even larger than their pre-pregnancy state. Implant choices include silicone or saline. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages (which are discussed below).
After pregnancy, there is a period of lactation that may last several months or longer during the period of breastfeeding. If one doesn’t breastfeed, lactation should end spontaneously.
Once lactation subsides, the breast will need to slowly return to their pre-lactation state. While they shrink, the skin often doesn’t follow completely. However, before proceeding a breast augmentation, it is wise to wait 3-6 months following lactation to ensure that the breast has stopped contracting. Prematurely going through the procedures involved in a mommy makeover will result in sub-optimal shape and may even contribute to infection or capsular contracture.
A Look into Breast Augmentation for a Mommy Makeover
As one of the most popular mommy makeover surgeries, it’s important to understand everything about a breast augmentation. When undergoing breast augmentation, breasts are reshaped by either making them larger or lifting them. On other occasions, we may reduce the breast size through a breast reduction (although this is not common).
Choosing Your Breast Implant
Silicone Implants tend to look and feel more natural than its saline cousins. The properties of silicone are softer and behave more like breast tissue than saline (salt water). This would lead many women to believe that silicone should always be the superior choice. However, this shortsighted thinking will occasionally result in sub-optimal results. Silicone, because it is softer and behaves more like breast tissue under the influence of gravity, may not “lift” as much as an overfilled saline implant. In women with reasonably full breasts, saline is often the best choice to restore perkiness if there are no plans to remove skin with a mastopexy. However, in women with more mild deflation, thinner tissues, and smaller breasts, silicone may be the most appropriate choice.
Saline implants are often over-filled to create a more solid, and rounder implant than its silicone cousins. The disadvantages to this are probably obvious. They often will feel firmer than non-augmented breasts or silicone-augmented breasts. However, if the breasts are large enough, the tissue can pad the implant. The advantage to an overfilled saline implant is that it can fill the upper pole of the region better than silicone. Much of the deflation that occurs after pregnancy occurs in the upper portion of the breast. Larger, over-filled implants may be the perfect choice in this scenario.
While it is true that most breast augmentations are performed in a submuscular fashion (under the muscle), women after pregnancy can benefit from a subglandular (over the muscle) approach. Deflated breasts can develop “pseudoptosis”, which is a fancy word for a type of droopiness where the nipple stays high in relation to the sagging you may be witnessing. True ptosis, or saggy breasts, is a condition where both the nipple and breast have descended below the fold. In pseudoptosis, a subglandular approach can elevate the breast tissue more than a submuscular approach. In women with ample tissue in this area, this may be their preferred approach. Or, a dual-plane approach may be performed. This is a method where the implant is placed under the muscle but the tissue is still elevated off the muscle. The bottom line is that there is no cookbook recipe for a mommy makeover. Every woman must be evaluated properly to find the perfect fit.
Choosing a Breast lift (Mastopexy) as part of your Mommy Makeover
Deflated breasts after pregnancy are a condition where there is too much skin for volume. If the desire is to restore a perky shape without increasing volume, then a mastopexy is the appropriate operation. There are several different types of breast lifts. In short, the more lift required to form a perky appearance, the more skin needs to be excised. The more skin that needs to be excised, the more incisions will need to be made. Thus, the essence of the surgery is to trade shape for scars. If one can reduce the volume and skin discrepancy with the addition of volume, then it is possible to reduce the amount of skin excision (and scars). Sometimes even the addition of a small breast implant can obviate the need more large incisions. This should be addressed during your consultation.
Combining Breast Augmentation & Breast Lift in a Mommy Makover
A breast lift combined with a breast augmentation is a popular plastic surgery option among women who have had children. Women miss the fullness and perkiness. The combination breast augmentation-mastopexy is often the perfect choice to satisfy their desire to return to the beautiful apperance of their youth.
There are generally 4 types of breast lift procedures:
- Breast Lift with implant alone
- Breast Lift using peri-areola approach (Benelli lift)
- Vertical breast lift, or “lollipop lift”
- Inverted T, “anchor”, or Wise-pattern breast lift
As mentioned above, a breast augmentation alone can result in a lifting of the breast. This type of breast lift naturally results in the smallest incisions and least noticeable scars. However, women with advanced deflation or sagginess may not be a suitable candidate. In order to achieve the best results for women with significant deflation and drooping, additional incisions will need to be made to not only improve the skin and volume ratio, but to also lift the nipple to a higher position on the chest wall. A breast augmentation alone cannot alter nipple position more than 1 or 2 centimeters in relation to the fold.
The peri-areola approach, the Benelli or peri-areola approach describes the method where the extra skin is excised around all sides of the areola. This approach leaves the scar around the areola camouflaged between the lighter and darker skin of the areola. It also affords the ability to raise the nipple 1.5 to 2 centimeters. The limitations to the surgery lies in the tension placed on the incision around the areola. With too much skin excision, the scar and areola will widen. The second major limitation to this approach is the change to the shape. Because skin is excised around the areola, the result is a flattening of the breast.
Small reductions of skin won’t alter shape too drastically, and the trade off between shape and scars works. However, at some point the flattening of the breast will be more unattractive then a vertical scar. That is the threshold the patient and plastic surgeon must evaluate individually. In cases where a nipple must be raised more than 2 cm, it is wise to move to the vertical lift approach. The addition of the vertical scar attached to the areola scar will result in a more powerful lift and improved shape.
Your Breast Lift Options to Consider for your Mommy Makeover
The vertical breast lift is a Benelli or peri-areola lift attached to a vertical scar running from the areola to the breast fold. The addition of this vertical scar greatly improves the surgeon’s ability to shape and increase the projection of the nipple from the chest wall. The vertical breast lift may result in a funny-looking breast for the first month or two as the tissues settle and relax. However, for many women, this temporary inconvenience outweighs the addition of a horizontal scar as in the case of the anchor lift. About 25% of vertical breast lifts will need some type of revision to improve the scar. Of these, about half will still need the addition of a small horizontal scar to improve shape.
Inverted T, “anchor”, or Wise-pattern Breast Lift
The addition of a horizontal scar running along the breast fold describes this procedure. The Inverted T or anchor lift is reserved for very droopy breasts that require a substantial lift. In most of the women who benefit from this type of lift, the nipples are low, sometimes pointing down. The breast mound has dropped quite a bit on the chest wall. The addition of the horizontal scar affords a very powerful means to reshape the breasts into the most perky shape possible. For most women who have this type of procedure done, the new, beautiful shape far outweighs the scars. The scars in the inverted T are well hidden in the fold, around the areola. And because the nipple sits right above the fold, the vertical scar is often not visible unless one is lying on her back.
Body Contouring as Part of Your Mommy Makeover
Another important aspect of a mommy makeover are the body contouring procedures such as liposuction and a tummy tuck. The surgery will depend on the amount of skin flaccidity, stretch marks, the loss of abdominal wall tone, and on the localized areas of fatty accumulation that remain despite weight loss and exercise. If women are healthy, mommy makeover procedures that address these concerns can safely be done simultaneously, allowing for just one recovery period and a complete transformation.
The muscles of the abdominal wall, called the rectus abdominus, stretch from the midline as the pregnant belly enlarges to accommodate the growing baby. Because they are stretched for months, the elastic properties are changed. In many cases, the muscles do not return to the midline after birth and may require surgery to correct. This is called diastasis. Exercise will not bring the muscles back to the midline. As a result, all of the exercise in the world cannot tighten the abdomen to the pre-pregnancy state and thus an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is required. Also, all of the skin excision in the world will not flatten the belly as tight as it can be without the addition of a rectus plication. A rectus plication is the sewing together of the two rectus abdominus muscles at the midline. This is a very powerful abdominal rejuvenation technique in a mommy makeover that cannot be accomplished with exercise or diet. In addition, the skin will have also stretched during these 9 months. Stretch marks and permanent, saggy skin become the rule. Liposuction and weight loss will not improve this appearance. In fact, they often exacerbate it. For women who desire a flatter tummy after pregnancy, tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is the gold standard. Abdominoplasty will tighten the muscles and remove saggy skin.
Lipo and/or Tummy Tuck
Another body procedure option for a mommy makeover is liposuction, tummy tuck or a combination of the two. The greater the amount of sagging skin, the longer the incision will need to be along the bottom of the belly. The incisions for a tummy tuck should be placed in a hidden area behind underwear or bikinis. The tummy tuck is often combined with liposuction to aid in the formation of an hourglass figure. Usually, the belly button will need to be repositioned on the abdomen and tucked down to improve the abdominal groove we see in younger women.
While the operating room time is greater for combination of liposuction cases, they are performed in accredited centers in the safest manner possible.
Schedule a Complimentary Mommy Makeover Consultation at our Los Angeles Office
Every woman undergoes a thorough examination and all applicable blood work will be reviewed. For women having breast surgery, pre-operative mammograms may be recommended to get baseline studies since surgery can change the architecture of the breast.
If you are ready to restore your body and meet with one of Los Angeles & Beverly Hills top plastic surgeons, call our practice today. Dr. Neavin is qualified to help you meet all of your aesthetic goals and has performed hundreds of mommy makeover surgeries. To schedule your mommy makeover consultation today, contact Artisan of Beauty at 310‑858‑8811 or text 323-975-1287.