How is a “mommy makeover” performed, and what are my options?
A “mommy makeover” is a term to describe a series of procedures that address changes to the body caused by childbirth. These post-pregnancy procedures are typically outpatient procedures. There are different post-pregnancy procedures that address various concerns and areas of the body. Your first step is to consult with your board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon to determine the best combination of procedures for you. With any of the procedures, you should also discuss your options for incision placement with your surgeon.
Liposuction removes excess fat. After childbirth, common liposuction areas include the hips, thighs, and stomach (with tummy tuck). Liposuction is also effective in the chest, neck, upper arms, and knees. See liposuction for more information.
- Your surgeon makes tiny incisions in the area where they will remove fat.
- The surgeon then inserts a thin, hollow rod (cannula) through the incision to create tunnels through the fat.
- Suction forces the fat into the cannula and out through a vacuum hose.
- After fat removal, the surgeon applies dressings and will likely put you into a compression garment.
Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
Childbirth can cause unwanted fat, poor skin elasticity, excess skin, and stretching of the inner girdle of connective tissue (fascia) and abdominal muscles, extending from the ribs to the pubic bone. Abdominoplasty addresses the full abdomen that has been compromised by your pregnancy, from your ribcage to the pubic area. Your surgeon removes the excess skin and fat from the area between your navel and pubic area (along with stretch marks), and tightens the skin above the belly button to cover the whole abdomen. See tummy tuck for more information.
- Your surgeon removes excess skin and fat between the belly button and pubic hair in a horizontal oval or elliptical shape.
- Your surgeon tightens the fascia (skin tissue) overlying the abdominal muscles with sutures.
- The surgeon then repositions the skin around the belly button, bringing the belly button out through a small incision and suturing it in its normal position.
- Your surgeon closes the incision with sutures, which typically runs from hip to hip.
- Your scar will be along the natural crease within the bikini line. The length and visibility of the scar varies by patient.
Breast Lift (Mastopexy)
Pregnancy can cause sagging and uneven breasts, decreased breast volume, drooping nipples, and stretched areolas. A breast lift procedure lifts and shapes your breasts to a more youthful appearance. If you desire larger, smaller, or more rounded breasts, you may want to consider a breast augmentation or breast reduction with your breast lift. See breast lift for more information.
- Your surgeon makes the incisions. Mastopexy incisions vary, depending on the amount of excess skin, the location of your nipples, your aesthetic preference, and your surgeon’s suggestions.
- Then the surgeon repositions and reshapes the breast tissue and surgically removes excess skin.
- Your surgeon will reposition the nipple and areola to a more youthful height. Nipples and areolas usually remain attached to underlying mounds of tissue, which may allow for the preservation of sensation and the ability to breastfeed.
- If needed, your surgeon can reduce the size of the areola by excising skin around the perimeter.
- Your surgeon then tightens the remaining skin while closing the incisions, layering the sutures deep within the breast tissue to support the newly shaped breasts.
- Your surgeon may use skin adhesives and surgical tape to help close and support the skin.
Breast Reduction (Reduction Mammaplasty)
During pregnancy, your breasts usually swell to a fuller size and shape. In some women, the breasts remain larger. This can be a welcomed change unless your breasts have become disproportionately large and cause pain, poor posture, rashes, breathing problems, skeletal deformities, or low self-esteem. Breast reduction addresses these problems by removing fat and glandular tissue and tightening skin to produce smaller, lighter breasts. See breast reduction for more information.
- Your surgeon will mark your breast to indicate where the incisions will be. These markings are especially important because your breasts change shape once you are lying on your back on the operating table.
- Your surgeon will make incisions on your breasts. Your incision pattern will depend on the size of your breasts, how much your breasts sag, and where your nipple-areola is on your breast.
- The surgeon then surgically removes excess fat, glandular tissue, and skin. In some cases, your surgeon may remove fat using liposuction in conjunction with excision. If your enlarged breast size is mostly due to fatty tissue and not excess skin, you may only need liposuction.
- Your surgeon will then reposition the nipple (which remains tethered to its original blood and nerve supply) and reduce the areola by excising skin at the perimeter, if necessary.
- The surgeon will then lift and shape underlying breast tissue and bring the incisions together to reshape the now smaller breast. The sutures are layered within the breast tissue to create and support the newly shaped breasts, and then the skin is closed with sutures, skin adhesives, or surgical tape.
- Your surgeon will wrap your breasts in gauze, and you may need to wear a surgical bra.
Breast Augmentation (Augmentation Mammaplasty)
Breast augmentation increases or restores breast size using silicone gel implants, saline implants, or fat grafting. See breast augmentation for more information.
- With breast augmentation using implants, your surgeon makes an incision, lifts the breast tissue, creates a pocket in the breast area, and places a saline or silicone gel implant. Your surgeon will place the implant in a pocket underneath the pectoral muscle (on top of the chest wall) or on top of the pectoral muscle (underneath the breast tissue).
- With breast augmentation using fat transfer, your surgeon uses liposuction to remove fat from an area of your body in which there are abundant fat cells (such as your abdomen, thighs, and hips), processes it, then injects the fat cells into your breast. If you don’t have enough fat available, this may not be an option for you. Not all the fat transferred survives the grafting process, and in some cases, your surgeon may need to repeat the surgery to retrieve greater volumes of fat for your augmentation.
- With either option, your surgeon will wrap your chest in a gauze bandage or a surgical compression bra. You may also have drainage tubes for a short time to drain the surgical site.