5 Questions You Have About Mommy Makeovers, Answered by a Mom & Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Cristen Catignani, board certified plastic surgeon and author of this post, with her family

Believe me, I know the toll that pregnancy takes on a body! I happen to have two children myself, and as a plastic surgeon, I spend much of my time helping patients with these exact issues. Seeing both sides of the story has given me some unique insights I like to share with my patients.

If you’ve thought about getting a mommy makeover to help you look and feel like you did before you became a mom, you’re in good company—there are thousands of other women going through this exciting process right now.

For those of you on the fence about having a procedure to restore your appearance post-pregnancy, I’ve answered some of the most common questions my own patients ask before their mommy makeovers.

Is a mommy makeover worth it?

Truthfully, only you can answer this question, but I can share my experienced perspective and some feedback from my own patients that may help. A mommy makeover is first and foremost about restoring comfort and confidence in your appearance and loving your body. It’s not about “looking perfect” or even achieving some sort of externally imposed ideal image. My goal is to listen to a patient’s goals, and then work with her to achieve her desired changes. Those often include:

  • Having breasts that are firm, no longer sag, and look great in clothing
  • Reducing stretched or large nipples and areolas
  • Getting rid of extra skin hanging over the waistline
  • Regaining a discernible waistline!
  • Smoothing stubborn fat pockets
  • Tightening stretched vaginal tissues or sagging labia
  • Alleviating stress incontinence
  • Improving comfort and sensation during sex

Believe it or not, an experienced plastic surgeon can help you achieve all of these goals with a mommy makeover. What is more, these changes—and the boost in comfort and confidence they bring—can last for years or even decades, especially if you are finished having children (more on that below).

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what a few of our Atlanta mommy makeover patients at The Swan Center have said about their procedures:

“So much of my day-to-day centered around [how to] minimize my stomach, and just had me so preoccupied with myself—which I hated. I realized that with 4 kids at home I needed to be fully present. I couldn’t be distracted by issues of vanity and still be the mom they deserve. I needed to just have these areas taken care of, once and for all—and that’s exactly how it was. I feel like I am so much more free and I just don’t feel consumed by these insecurities anymore….The changes these procedures have brought to my everyday life have been so wonderful.”

“My sex life was affected, I could [only] wear certain clothing, and walking too long caused me to cry it hurt so bad. I no longer have any of that! I’m a little over a month post-op and I couldn’t be happier. I can FINALLY wear tight clothing again and do not have pain. This surgery has changed my life for the better!”

“My concerns were addressed, my preferences were followed, and I could not be more pleased with my results. I have zero regrets…”

What’s the hardest part of a mommy makeover?

This differs from person to person, but there are two top things I hear. First, many women say it’s the recovery. Second, costs. Thankfully, both are solvable.

Recovery

I’ll tackle the subject of recovery first. It takes some time and, depending on the procedures you have, you will be quite limited in terms of activity, especially during the three or four weeks after surgery. While pain is typically easily managed with medication, not being able to pick up your kids or help them as much as usual is hard for many moms. I have two tips.

First, get help. Some moms are lucky to have Grandma eagerly waiting to step in and help, but if you don’t, talk to friends and see if various people can help cover you, especially at key times such as when your kids need to get ready for school. You can also plan to trade childcare—if your friends can help take care of your kids, you’ll return the favor later, when they want a weekend away or plan to have their own mommy makeover. Second, if you and your kids are typically inseparable, get creative about bonding during recovery. Ask them to hop in bed with you (just not on you!) and tell you stories, or watch a cartoon marathon together. Have them be helpful, refilling your water and fetching stuff you need. Just be sure to let them know they need to be extremely gentle with you while you get better! Kisses are great, but bear hugs are off limits.

Affordability

Now let’s talk about costs, as that can actually be the most challenging aspect for some patients. There are plenty of patient financing options, and many plastic surgery offices (including mine) will help make applying and securing financing easy for you.

To save ahead (or gather up a down payment), keep your eyes on the prize with reminders. Print out a few before and after photos of mommy makeover patients who looked like you in the before photos and stick them where you’ll see them daily, to help remember to skip any extra purchases. Also consider that clothes you buy now likely won’t fit your new, improved shape, so you might as well freeze all shopping and instead save for your new look.

While there is a savings if you have multiple procedures in one day, if multiple procedures (i.e. breast lift and a tummy tuck) are simply impossible for you to afford all at once, consider splitting them up over a few years. Address your biggest concern first, and you’ll get a lot of satisfaction while you’re paying down that procedure. You may also need a bit less time off work after a single procedure, which can help with affordability in the short term.

How much does a mommy makeover cost in Atlanta?

Mommy makeovers are totally individualized to a patient’s needs, so prices vary significantly. For example, if you are having only a breast lift, your total costs will be much lower than a patient who’s having a tummy tuck and labiaplasty, as well as breast lift.

One advantage of having a mommy makeover with multiple procedures is that you pay operating room and anesthesiologist’s fees only once, potentially saving you $1,000s over having two or more separate surgeries (you’ll also save time by having only one recovery). To give you a ballpark idea, let’s look at a popular mommy makeover procedure combo: breast lift with augmentation and tummy tuck. Here at the Swan Center, a breast lift with augmentation starts at about $10,800 and a tummy tuck starts at about $7,000. The price of this combined mommy makeover surgery would likely land somewhere between $14,000 and $17,000.

What is the recovery time for a mommy makeover?

The downtime you’ll need depends on the procedures you have. If the surgical aspect of your mommy makeover is limited to breast surgery, you may need only 5 to 10 days off work. A tummy tuck will require 2 to 3 weeks off. During this initial recovery period, you will need full-time assistance with child care, as you will not be allowed to lift anything over about 5 to 10 lbs. or do any strenuous play or household tasks. Driving is not allowed until you are off prescription pain medications and you can wear a seat belt comfortably.

The idea of taking time off for recovery probably seems daunting, even laughable (take time, you ask? I need to find it first!). I get it—and if you have questions, ask your plastic surgeon! They can tell you how long to have an adult caretaker for your kids after surgery or suggest reputable home health care or babysitting services, should you prefer to hire someone. They will also tell you which specific activities are okay and which ones are off-limits as your recovery progresses.

Will having more kids ruin my mommy makeover results?

“Ruin” is a strong word, but future pregnancies will likely undo some improvements made with a mommy makeover, which, after all, is intended to correct pregnancy-related effects. Just like before, your stomach and breasts will stretch out and may not contract all the way back to their previous state. Therefore, I typically recommend women postpone major lifting or skin removal procedures, such as breast lift or tummy tuck surgery, until they’re finished having children.

This does not mean that you have to live with unwanted changes between pregnancies. If your breasts have lost volume but you have minimal skin sagging, breast augmentation can provide a boost in shape with little risk of interfering with your ability to breastfeed. Non-surgical treatments, such as CoolSculpting or ThermiVa, can help smooth down fat bulges and rejuvenate vaginal tissues, respectively, with no downtime.

Considering a mommy makeover in Atlanta? Get in touch!

As a female plastic surgeon in Atlanta, I’ve chosen to make mommy makeovers one of my specialties, because I simply love every aspect of working with real moms! It is so rewarding to help another women make positive changes and see her confidence soar as as a result.

I hope I’ve answered a few of your questions here, but I’m sure you have some more of your own. When you’re ready, I’d love to chat with you about your concerns and your various mommy makeover options at a personal consultation. There’s no charge for this visit at The Swan Center; it’s your chance to talk with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon and learn. Call 770-214-4271 or contact us online. I look forward to meeting you soon! —Dr. Cat

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