Are you feeling frustrated with your post-childbirth body? Will no amount of exercise or crunches flatten your belly, or did years of breastfeeding take a toll? If you are done having children, a mommy makeover may be just what you are looking for. Mommy makeovers have become quite common within the last five to 10 years. They are typically a package deal, decreasing costs and time commitments to recovery. A mommy makeover normally includes a tummy tuck (and diastasis recti repair if needed), breast lift, and breast augmentation.
Are you a candidate?
If you are considering a mommy makeover, you must:
• Be close to your ideal weight and in general good health. A tummy tuck will fix what can’t be exercised away—like diastasis recti—but it is not a weight loss method, will not eliminate stretch marks, and will not suddenly give you perfect abs. There are risks with any surgical procedure, but overall good health and fitness improves outcomes for any surgery.
• Have reasonable expectations. A mommy makeover will not return your body to its 18-year-old version. Expect a better version of yourself, with less loose skin and sagging.
• Be done having children. This is important. Another pregnancy will cause additional abdominal stretching. Breast lifts and augmentation can affect your ability to breastfeed. You don't want to do this again!
Finding a Doctor
Do your research! Start with those you know. Has anyone you know had this procedure, or considered it? Talk to them! Don’t be embarrassed—you will find that plenty of women have considered it, even if they have not gone through with it yet.
Go online! There are many online groups featuring before and after photos and personal experiences. Search for doctors in your area, or if you must travel, search for where you plan to go. Read about complications and successes, and recovery times. Check photos. Take notes about doctors you are interested in (or not interested in).
Schedule a consultation or two, or three. In these consultations you will discuss your goals, expectations, options (scar placement, breast augmentation choices, other procedures you might be considering), your health, and your medical history. You will be examined, the doctor will take photos and measurements, and he/she will recommend a treatment. The doctor will also have example photographs from previous clients. Your comfort with the doctor and his/her experience and qualifications are both very important.
Your final cost will depend on a lot of factors: the exact procedures you are having done, the surgeon’s experience, and your geographic location. Costs may include the surgeon's fee, the anesthesiologist’s fee, the hospital/facility cost, medications, implants, post-surgery garments, tests, and X-rays. You can expect to be looking at $10–20,000 generally. If cost is a concern, discuss financing options with the doctors you consult with. Also, confirm what is included and what is not, the cost of follow-up visits and the number to be expected, and ask if there will be other potential costs to plan for.
Your recovery time will depend on many factors—the procedures done, your overall health, and how your body heals in general. You will likely need full-time help for 3 days or more, and depending on the extent of your tummy tuck, you may not be permitted to drive for 3 weeks. It is more cost effective to have these surgeries at one time, but that makes recovery that much more intense. Most importantly, follow your doctor’s orders on resuming activities, bandage changes, wrapping, and so forth. You do not want to risk pulling or stretching stitches, an infection, or injury--any of which will prolong recovery and diminish your results. And though you won’t be able to enjoy the final results for 3–6 months—by then you should be very pleased!