According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, women account for 87 percent of all plastic and cosmetic surgery patients, and went under the proverbial knife for 7.2 million procedures last year. While some of these procedures involved reconstruction after mastectomies and other such surgeries a significant portion of them were the so-called "mommy makeovers."
Most of us agree that babies are lovely things, and we have all known women who glowed through their pregnancies, seemingly unaffected by all the changes in their bodies. Celebrities are famous for bouncing back to their former figures after becoming mothers, after all. What we don't often hear about are the bodily changes that don't go away - things like bulging stomachs, extra weight on the hips, thicker thighs, and sagging, stretched-out breasts.
Then there are the physical changes from childbirth that we can't see. A woman's uterus, for example, is usually about the size of an orange, but pregnancy causes it to expand, stretching it until it presses against the abdominal wall, which in turn stretches the two vertical abdominal muscles causing them to separate and elongate, which cannot be corrected with mere diet and exercise. A woman's breasts also decrease after pregnancy, sometimes ending up smaller than before the pregnancy, but still saggy.
It is for these conditions that the mommy makeover was invented. Women wanted their old shapes back, but didn't want to undergo several procedures in order to get them. While common procedures are similar to individual surgeries, generally including liposuction, tummy tucks and breast lifts (with or without augmentation as well), in a mommy makeover, they're all done as a combination, so a woman goes into her doctor just once, and comes out with a tummy tuck AND a breast lift. Surgeons aren't quite at the point of asking, "Do you want fries with that?" but they do confirm that doing surgeries as combinations saves time and money. As well, the women only have to go through one round of uncomfortable recuperation.
Women, of course, have been having tummy tucks and breast lifts for years, so why the sudden increase in these surgeries? Plastic surgeon Kim Edward Koger, M.D. from West Palm Beach, Florida told reporters, "The boom in mommy makeovers is accelerated because more women are having children later in life, after they have completed their educations and got a good start in business or the professions." Koger is also an assistant consulting professor at Duke University, and added that most women don't go into these procedures expecting to come out looking like supermodels, but that they just wanted their pre-pregnancy look back.
Women seeking mommy makeovers, or any cosmetic surgery, should do as much research as possible before committing to anything, and should also make sure their doctors are board certified. As well, they should have a written cost agreement, and they should understand that plastic surgery is an elective procedure, and not covered by insurance.