We are happy you’ve chosen us as a resource to help you learn more about “Mommy Makeovers.” Dr. Smith has extensive experience with mommy makeovers, and has written a great deal on these procedures to educate other plastic surgeons on the topic. We have prepared this page as a resource to answer some common questions from our patients, but encourage you to visit us for a consultation so Dr. Smith can help you decide on an individualized strategy to achieve the results you desire.
A mommy makeover can mean different things to different people, but the key concept is this: pregnancy and breastfeeding cause well-defined changes in your body, and the mommy makeover consists of the procedures that can be performed to reverse these changes. It is important to meet with your surgeon to understand exactly how your body has changed and to learn about the different options available to correct these changes.
The two areas most dramatically affected by pregnancy and breastfeeding are the abdomen (“tummy”) and breasts. We will address each of these areas here, followed by a discussion of what can be done to correct each problem.
The abdomen changes because as the uterus stretches to accommodate a developing baby, the muscles and skin of the abdomen need to adjust to make room. The muscles that run up and down the middle of the abdomen, the “six pack” muscles, or rectus abdominus muscles, spread apart. This results in a rectus diastasis, a relative weakness between the two rectus abdominus muscles that can contribute to an abdominal bulge. The skin of the abdomen stretches to accommodate the enlarged uterus; when the baby is delivered and the uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size, the skin is unable to shrink back to its original dimensions. This can result in an abdomen with many extra folds, creases or irregularities.
The tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is the mainstay of operations to correct the changes that occur in the abdomen after pregnancy. Again, the exact kind of abdominoplasty that is best for you will depend on your physical examination. Briefly, abdominoplasties can be customized to address each part of the abdomen that has undergone a change. If the rectus muscles have separated, the abdominoplasty includes a procedure to repair this separation. If fat has accumulated in undesirable areas, it may be appropriate to include liposuction in the procedure. Nearly all patients will have some amount of excess skin, but the exact manner in which it is removed will depend on how much the pregnancy has stretched the skin.
The belly button (umbilicus) may also have undergone some changes with pregnancy. It may appear irregularly shaped or have a bulge caused by a small hernia. Your abdominoplasty can be designed to address these problems as well.
The breasts may undergo a number of different changes as a result of pregnancy and breastfeeding. These changes can include both the size and shape of the breasts. The breasts frequently respond to the hormones of pregnancy by enlarging. Just as the abdominal skin stretches to accommodate the expanding uterus, the skin of the breast can stretch to accommodate the enlarging breast tissue. After delivery and as breastfeeding commences, the breast tissue frequently decreases in volume. In the same way that the abdominal skin cannot completely contract after it was expanded, the breast skin faces a similar problem. This commonly results in breasts with a sagging, “deflated” appearance. The nipple and areola can also become stretched, enlarged and asymmetrical after pregnancy.
The proper solution depends on the specific changes that your breasts have undergone. If there has been only a change in breast shape, or the development of breast ptosis (sagging), a mastopexy (breast lift) might be appropriate. If the breasts have also decreased in volume, a breast augmentation (placement of breast implants) may be helpful in addition to or instead of the mastopexy. Several procedures can also be performed to improve the appearance of nipples and areolas that have undergone the changes mentioned earlier.
The mommy makeover, then, is the combination of procedures that is designed specifically for you, based on the changes your
body had undergone, to help you return to your pre-pregnancy appearance. In general, mommy makeovers include some form of abdominoplasty and one of the breast procedures we discussed here, as well as liposuction. With an expert staff and experienced surgeon, these operations can frequently be performed all at the same time to reduce recovery time and cost. The exact plan for your mommy makeover, including the types of procedures to be performed and whether they are performed all at the same time or individually, is a personal decision that you should make in consultation with your plastic surgeon.
To learn more, please contact us at 212-520-1129 or fill out the form on this page to make an appointment with Dr. Smith. We are looking forward to hearing from you. Also, please feel free to share this page with anyone who you think may find it useful.
Dr. Smith’s Publications on Mommy Makeovers
The papers linked below were published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
, the premier journal that plastic surgeons reference for the most up to date and respected opinions in the field.