Thinking about a “Mommy Makeover”?

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Board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Constance M Chen Provides Tips on Preparing for a Consultation

Dr. Constance M Chen

The 'mommy makeover' is a personalized combination of surgical procedures designed to restore or improve a woman's body after pregnancy and enhance her physical and emotional health.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding often brings great joy but it can also alter a woman's body so much that sometimes she feels like she no longer recognizes herself. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, the skin of the breasts and abdomen stretches and loses elasticity, sometimes leaving stretch marks and loose skin. The breasts may sag and be deflated after breastfeeding is over. And the abdominal muscles may separate after childbirth in a way that causes physical discomfort and stress on the back muscles as well as a permanent bulge that is not correctable by weight loss.

“For some women, watching what they eat and exercising conscientiously are sufficient to restore their bodies,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Constance M. Chen. “But there are physical effects that diet and exercise cannot correct. The 'mommy makeover' is a personalized combination of surgical procedures designed to restore or improve a woman's body after pregnancy and enhance her physical and emotional health.”

What can a “mommy makeover” correct?
A “mommy makeover” rejuvenates the abdomen and breasts. It typically includes an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck to remove excess skin and stretch marks and repair damaged muscles, resulting in a flatter, firmer stomach and improved waistline; and a mastoplexy or breast lift to remove excess skin and reposition the nipple and areola higher on the breast mound or move the breast tissue itself higher on the chest wall, creating a more youthful, perky breast. It may also include breast augmentation, using implants to create a larger breast with more fullness in the upper portion of the breast; breast reduction to remove excess breast tissue and skin to create smaller breasts; and liposuction as an adjunct to abdominal and breast procedures to smooth and perfect the final contours.

The “mommy makeover” consultation
“A 'mommy makeover' can help a woman restore her body after pregnancy,” says Dr. Chen. “But no one should rush into surgery without careful consideration. A consultation with a plastic surgeon is critical to determine if you are a good candidate, to decide on the right procedures for you, and to get all your questions answered.” During the consultation, be prepared to discuss:

  • Your goals for the surgery: Which areas are of concern? What are your expectations? Are they feasible?
  • Your general health: Are you a smoker? Do you have a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure or diabetes? Allergies? Previous surgeries? What drugs or medications do you use?
  • Your readiness for the procedure: Have you exhausted the possibility of achieving your goals with diet and exercise? Surgery is not a shortcut to weight loss or a substitute for exercise. You should be at a stable, desired weight and committed to healthy nutritional and exercise habits.
  • Whether your family is complete: A subsequent pregnancy can undo the results of a “mommy makeover”.
  • Your recommended treatment plan: After listening to your concerns, taking a medical history, and performing a physical examination, you and your doctor can discuss which procedures may be best suited for your condition and desires.
  • What to expect: Your surgeon should discuss in detail the risks and possible complications of any procedures, how to prepare for surgery, the timetable for recovery, and and how to plan for care and support while recuperating.

“The most important element in restoring your body is adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine,” says Dr. Chen. “If you cannot accomplish your goals through diet and exercise, however, you may want to consider seeking a consultation with a plastic surgeon. Make sure that find a doctor who makes you feel comfortable, who is responsive to your concerns, and who is patient in answering your questions. Once you have found the right doctor for you, you are on the first step of a journey to rejuvenate your body to help you look and feel better as a whole person.”

Constance M. Chen, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with special expertise in the use of innovative natural techniques to optimize medical and cosmetic outcomes for women undergoing breast and body restoration. She is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Weill Cornell Medical College and Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic Surgery) at Tulane University School of Medicine.

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Melissa Chefec
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