What does the Mommy makeover do?

What is a Mommy makeover? The Mommy makeover is a combination of cosmetic surgery procedures done at the same time to address the changes in the body after pregnancy.  After pregnancy, the common areas of concern are the breasts and stomach areas.  There is no one single way to do the procedure, as each Mommy makeover is customized to your concerns. However, the Mommy makeover should address 3 main issues.

Mommy makeover concerns

1) BREAST: Changes in the breast shape and volume

Usually during pregnancy the breast glands multiply and expand in preparation for breastfeeding. This leads to a stretching of the skin and in some cases stretch marks in the breasts. After pregnancy, whether the mother breast fed or not, the breast milk glands shrink, but the skin may not be able to retract. Thus you get a deflation of the breast, which then sags because of the skin excess.

2) TUMMY: Separation of the abdominal muscles

no matter how many sit-ups you do,…separated muscles have to be surgically repaired.

-Dr. Rodriguez

In some women, hormones released during pregnancy weaken the fascia, or membrane connecting the rectus muscles of the abdomen at the midline. The muscles then separate at rest. No matter how many sit-ups or crunches you do the membrane does not shrink, and the muscles have to be surgically repaired. To learn more about how to self examine yourself for separated abdominal muscles, please  read my blog post entitled “Flat stomach: Tummy tuck or more exercise“.

3) BODY: Changes in fat deposition

In most women changes in hormones during the normal ageing process change the places where fat goes in your body. Pregnancy may do this too. Thus some women notice after pregnancy that they get new fat pockets that are very hard to get rid of.

So now that you know what the problems are, here’s how I address them in my version of the Mommy makeover:

Mommy makeover solutions

Breast augmentation, Breast lift, or Breast lift with implants
Many women actually like how their breasts looked during pregnancy.  During pregnancy, the breasts are usually larger, firmer and have fullness in the upper pole of the breast.  The upper pole fullness is known as cleavage. Breast augmentation with implants will increase the size of  your breasts and create more cleavage.  Read more about  types of cleavage with Breast implants.

A collage of photos of a patient before and after a Mommy makeover.

In order to achieve perkier and fuller breast, I  typically perform either a Breast lift alone or a Breast lift with implants. If the Breast lift removes more than 500 cc of tissue it can be considered a Breast reduction.

A Breast lift alone will take excess skin to make your present breast perkier and a little firmer. However, without an implant,  I prefer the lollipop scar rather than the donut (periareolar) scar.  Although the donut scar is less visible, without an implant, it does not always provide the perkiness that the lollipop scar will. For more information on the various types of ways to lift the breast, please read my blog post on Breast lift scars.

A Breast lift with implants gives you larger, firmer, and perkier breasts. The implant itself gives some firmness, and will also help to occupy the volume of the extra skin. This procedure will also will give you better cleavage. In many cases I can use the periareolar scar, which is barely visible. It’s a win-win! (See real patient before and after photos here.)

Tummy tuck or Dermolipectomy

If there are no stretch marks and the skin is not too saggy, one may repair the rectus abdominis muscle through a scar in the belly button. This is great because the scar is hidden in the belly button.

However, if there are stretch marks or the skin is saggy, it is better to  perform a Dermolipectomy or  full Tummy Tuck  to take out the excess skin and get rid of the pouch and stretch marks. We can place the scar low so it is hidden below the bikini line. I take great care to discuss the exact location of the scar in your pre-op appointment, as well as the morning of surgery when I make the surgical markings.

The Tummy Tuck is different than the dermatolipectomy as it also repairs the muscles , in addition to removing the loose skin. For the Tummy Tuck, I use the Lockwood method , which leaves the skin tighter, has less scarring,  and heals with less complications than the traditional way. It is my preferred method for the Tummy Tuck Procedure.

Liposuction of the love handles to remove fat deposits

Most women will develop fat deposits in the love handles after their mid twenties, and this can be more marked after pregnancy. Even if there is not significant marked fat deposition, I  usually recommend Liposuction in this area because of the way the body redistributes fat.  After a Tummy tuck , fat may settle in the love handles unless they too were liposuctioned.

The other reason is that the objective of the Mommy makeover is not just to get a flat tummy, but to get a beautiful figure! Even the extraction of small amounts of fat from the love handles can greatly compliment a Tummy Tuck and Breast Procedure.

Before and after Mommy makeover photo gallery

Please view my patients who have had a Mommy makeover, as well as patients who have had  a component of the Mommy makeover.

My thanks to these patients for giving consent to use their photos at our website!

By Dr. Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cosmeticsurg Baltimore, Maryland Ricardo L. Rodriguez on American Society of Plastic Surgeons.