Mummy makeover (Part 1) – what you need to know
Raising a family is a rewarding and challenging experience, and mothers give their all to do it. In years gone by, mums would put up with saggy breasts and the abdominal apron of fat and skin left over after childbirth. Times have changed, and we are seeing more women who are reclaiming their post-baby bodies, who are taking action to change areas that they are unhappy about. Even with proper diet and exercise, there can still be areas of loose, saggy skin and fat which won’t move.
Over the last few years, Mummy makeover surgery (aka Mommy Makeover) has become the fastest growing set of procedures in plastic and cosmetic surgery to help women regain control over their post-baby bodies and their self confidence in the process. Having surgery is a choice that more women are taking each year, and it is important to note that it is a woman’s right to choose what is right for her. At my practice alone, I have noticed a 30% increase in this type of surgery over the last year. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has noted a whopping 85% increase from 2000 – 2010 in women having mummy makeovers. Clearly, an increasing number of mums don’t want to settle for their bodies and self esteem coming in last anymore.
What is a Mummy Makeover?
Mummy makeover surgery is a set of two or more plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures, usually during performed at the same time, to improve a woman’s post-baby body such as:
- tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)
- mini-tummy tuck
- body lift
- breast augmentation (with implants)
- breast lift (mastopexy) and/or breast reduction
- vaginoplasty and labioplasty (ie genital rejuvenation)
The most common combination or set of procedures is the tummy tuck, breast augmentation and / or breast lift.
When should I consider having a Mummy Makeover?
Simply put, when you feel you are ready. It is a personal decision and you should have realistic expectations before undergoing any surgery.
An ideal candidate would have (and this list is non-exhaustive) :
- completed her family, with no further children planned
- support from her partner and/or family, especially around post-surgery aftercare
- stopped breast feeding for at least 6 months
- reached their ideal weight, and are keeping their weight relatively stable (usually at least 6 months)
- stopped smoking before surgery
- understood the surgery and has realistic expectations
Women with a condition called “body dysmorphia” or have unrealistic expectations are advised to not have cosmetic surgery. Whilst surgery can help restore a woman’s self esteem and confidence, patients should not expect that surgery will resolve all their problems. A qualified and well trained plastic surgeon will be able discuss these and other considerations with their patients.
Not all Mummy Makeovers are for cosmetic reasons
Sometimes, cosmetic goals are not the sole reason for having breast lift and tummy tuck surgery. Where women have experienced significant abdominal wall muscle damage or separation and/or breast ptosis (saggy breasts) classified as “grade 3” ptosis, a plastic surgeon may assess whether Medicare item numbers apply to your surgery. A surgical justification would normally be prepared and a GP referral is necessary to claim any Medicare rebates and/or private health insurance benefits. Be aware that there is a time limit for having breast lift surgery, if Medicare benefits are claimed (usually when the youngest child is between 1-7 years of age).
Mummy Makeover Costs
If there is a cosmetic component to the Mummy Makeover procedures – eg breast augmentation – this portion of the procedure will not be covered and would be entirely an out of pocket cost. Surgical fees are set according to the complexity of the procedure, the degree of after care involved as well as the training and experience of the plastic surgeon. Remember – you usually get what you pay for, and an experienced plastic surgeon generally won’t discount his/her services to gain patients. In fact, it isn’t volume we are after – it is people whom we consider to be ideal patients, and I am as selective of a suitable surgical candidate as you are in choosing a plastic surgeon whom you can trust to perform your surgery.
Whilst cost considerations are important, they should not be the only factor in having surgery with a particular surgeon. You would be better to wait until you could afford the surgery with your chosen surgeon, than to settle for someone you feel meets only your financial circumstances. This surgery is elective, and as such, you need to do your homework on the surgeon’s training, qualifications, experience and after care commitment. Your body should not be treated as commodity like a TV or car – your children and family depend on you doing your homework because much more is at stake than just your financial circumstances. You have time on your side to do this properly.
Next post will be Part 2 of this topic – Recovery and Aftercare