Newport Plastic Surgery > Plastic Surgery > Irvine Residents Ask: What is a Mommy Makeover?

Irvine Residents Ask: What is a Mommy Makeover?

Parviz Hiroshi Goshtasby, M.D., F.A.C.S., a.k.a. “Dr.Go”

Mommy makeovers are popular cosmetic procedures performed today. The term implies aesthetic surgery for improvement of certain changes that mothers endure with pregnancy. However, it can be applied more broadly to other patients as well, including excessive weight loss patients with severe skin excess from dieting or gastric bypass surgery. Essentially, a mommy makeover is any combination of cosmetic procedures aimed to rejuvenate various aspects of the body that have undergone the ravages and stresses of pregnancy, aging, and large fluctuations in weight. It is important to consult with a fully-trained and knowledgeable plastic and reconstructive surgeon to determine which procedures are appropriate to address and improve each problem area.

There are many characteristic changes that occur with each stress that can lead to an unaesthetic appearance and can negatively affect self-esteem. The large expansion of the abdominal wall with pregnancy often leads to significant skin laxity and spreading of the rectus abdominis muscles (ie. Diastasis recti) with stretch marks that cannot be improved upon with exercise alone. For this problem, an abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” would best address the removal of excess tissue, including many of the stretch marks, with tightening of the rectus muscles. The engorgement of the breasts with milk followed by its subsequent deflation can lead to sagging, deflated breasts. They can respond nicely to a breast lift and/or breast augmentation surgery. Persistent fat accumulation after pregnancy, especially in certain problem areas such as the flanks (“love handles”), thighs, and inner arms will respond well to liposuction. These issues are commonly seen with the massive weight loss patients, but usually to a more severe extent that may require a full body lift, arm lift, or thigh lift to maximize aesthetic body contouring.

The aging process compounds and exacerbates all of the above changes. With age, our skin gets thinner, the elasticity of our skin goes down, and there is progressive sagging and deflation of our tissues. This is most notable not only on the body but on our faces. Deepening smile creases (nasolabial folds), tear trough creases (nasojugal folds), and marionette lines can respond to soft tissue fillers, such as Juvederm®, Restylane®, and Radiesse®, which is performed in an office setting. More severe lost volume can respond to natural fat grafting procedures. Hyperactive wrinkles of the forehead, glabella (number ‘11’ sign), and crow’s feet can be managed with Botox®, Xeomin® or Dysport®. Facial dyschromias and sun damage spots, which are very common here in sunny southern California, can be managed with chemical peels or CO2 laser resurfacing and a good skin care regimen. More severe sagging can be treated with a forehead, face, and neck lift surgeries. Eyelid laxity can also be addressed with a blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery.

There are many rejuvenation options available to help mothers deal with the stresses and changes brought about by pregnancy and the aging process.  It is important to have a thorough consultation and candid discussion with a reputable and experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeon. There are many practitioners these days who are self-reported cosmetic surgeons with little or no training. I encourage you to explore and evaluate the credentials and training background for every physician you encounter. Your choice of a board-certified plastic surgeon along with a thorough communication of your interests and goals is critical in achieving an excellent outcome. If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to give our office a call and set up a consultation appointment. A mommy makeover may be just what you need to bring back that youthful aesthetic contour and restore your self-confidence!