The How of a “Mommy Makeover”

Before and after photos of Lorrie McClaren’s tummy tuck.
Before and after photos of Lorrie McClaren’s tummy tuck.

Last week we got an inside peek at Charlotte mother Lorrie McClaren’s “Mommy Makeover,” exploring the what and the why behind this surgery. Now hear from Dr. Kevin Smith of Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more details on the how of this life-changing procedure.

Having a child is a very special moment for parents, and as we all know, life is forever changed when we bring that little bundle of joy home. However, during the process of pregnancy and childbirth, there are long lasting changes to the mothers’ body.

The abdominal muscles and skin stretch often beyond the point where diet and exercise can return the abdomen back to pre-pregnancy shape and strength. The breasts often become deflated or even droopy. These changes are what is addressed with the “Mommy Makeover.”

Many moms are hesitant to seek surgical correction due to the belief that recovery following such surgeries is a long and painful process. Now, with new surgical and anesthetic techniques refined over the last four to five years, recovery has been greatly accelerated and post-operative discomfort is greatly reduced. This makes the “mommy makeover” a much less scary proposition.

By placement of special “quilting sutures” between the tissues below the skin and the abdominal wall drain tubes are no longer needed and by the injection of Exparel, pain is greatly lessened for the first several days. By eliminating drains and reducing pain, patients are able to move about more easily and tend to their own needs making recovery easier and also reduces the risk of complications such as blood clots caused by being bedridden. It is still important to have help with the kids for the first week and it is not unreasonable to resume those duties or even return to work by week two.

The addition of breast surgery to abdominoplasty completes the “Mommy Makeover” duo. Childbearing and breast feeding take their toll on the breasts as well as the abdomen. Simultaneous breast surgery adds little to the recovery but greatly enhances the overall result. Some women just have breast volume loss that is treated by breast augmentation by the placement of an implant. Others like their breast size but want to be “perky” again. For this we would recommend a breast lift. Some have both issues and seek the combination – a lift and an augmentation.

For the woman considering a “mommy makeover” procedure there are important things to know.

Expectations: It is important to have realistic expectations. We all wish we had a magic wand that would produce the figure and fitness you had when you were 20 but alas, that’s not possible. We can do a great job in restoring that hourglass waist and breast volume that restores a woman’s confidence dressed – even in that two-piece – but we can’t correct all of the stretch marks or strengthen the abdominal muscles. For this it takes work before surgery.

Target Weight: To get the best result, it is important to get rid of that usual 30-40 pounds of “baby weight” and to be physically fit. The closer you are to your target weight and fitness goals, the better a result and easier recovery you will have.

Recovery: Understand that recovery from surgery is a process. It takes time for all of us to fully heal. Even though you will be able to resume many of your routine activities a week or so after surgery, you will be fatigued. It takes weeks to return to your usual energy levels and months before you resume your usual fitness routine. We can assure you that all your work will be worth it in the end.

At Charlotte Plastic Surgery we want to make surgery as safe as possible by adhering to the highest surgical and anesthesia safety protocols. We generally operate in the certified operating room facility in our office and patients go home that day. We ensure that our patients are healthy and have no underlying medical concerns that would interfere with a safe recovery.

We perform approximately 75 to 100 “Mommy Makeovers” a year and the cost can range from $7,000 to $14,000 depending upon what is needed. Our goal is to help you look and feel great and restore the confidence all moms deserve.

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