For most women, pregnancy affects two areas of their body the most – the tummy and the breasts.
The tummy area doesn’t always respond to diet and exercise to resume its flatter shape, and some women are left with small folds of excess skin, a result of stretching during pregnancy. In addition, breasts often lose volume and begin to sag, with breast-feeding further altering the shape.
The effects of pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding are different for each woman. If your body has altered shape and you no longer feel happy about the way you look, you may decide that mummy makeover surgery is the answer. A ‘mummy makeover’ consists of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to improve the contour of the stomach and waist alongside breast implants and/or a breast uplift treatment.
Feeling good about your appearance is important to self-esteem, but only you can know if surgery is the right step to take. We’re here to provide you with the information you need to decide what’s right for you.
Within a year of childbirth, it should be possible to assess your permanent new shape, enabling you to make decisions about whether a mummy makeover is right for you. The first step is to attend an initial consultation to discuss the changes you would like to make and to determine which procedure, or combination of procedures, is right for you. You may like to make use of our 3D body imaging service to help you visualise your results before making a final decision.
The mummy makeover usually consists of breast augmentation and/or breast uplift as well as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).
Breast augmentation surgery involves having silicone or salt-water implants inserted into each breast to increase the size and volume. Most women opt to increase their breasts by one or two bra cup sizes, aiming for a natural look which flatters their frame and body size, though you can go larger if you wish.
The surgery usually takes one to two hours to complete and you will have permanent scars, usually in the groove below the breasts, although these will fade with time and can be hidden by clothing.
You can find out more about breast augmentation surgery here.
A breast lift, also known as a mastopexy, can be can be provided as a stand-alone procedure or carried out at the same time as breast enlargement surgery. It’s a highly effective way to restore the volume and shape of your breasts. The treatment does result in permanent scarring, though you will be able to hide scars with clothing. If you have smaller breasts with minimal sagging you may be suitable for modified procedures requiring less extensive incisions.
You can find out more about mastopexy surgery here.
You can opt for a full or partial abdominoplasty – the right approach will depend on your anatomy and the results you would like to achieve.
In a full abdominoplasty, the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened and stitched into position, resulting in a firmer abdominal wall and narrows the waistline. In a partial abdominoplasty, the initial incision between your hips is much shorter and the skin is separated only between the incision line and the navel to allow the lower abdominal muscles to be tightened.
You can find out more about abdominoplasty here.
There are risks with all surgery and it’s important you know what they are so that you can weigh up whether plastic surgery is right for you. It’s also likely that you will be left with permanent scars.
When you attend your initial consultation, we will discuss general risks as well as those specific to the plastic surgery treatments you are considering, though you can find out more by visiting our information pages on breast augmentation, mastopexy and abdominoplasty.
At this consultation, we will assess your anatomy and seek to understand the results you would like to achieve. We can then discuss the surgical approach which would be right for you. It may be that one procedure will achieve the look you have in mind, or it may be that you require a combination of treatments.
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to undergoing a number of plastic surgery treatments in one go. Some patients like the idea of having all procedures done at the same time as they would require only one general anaesthetic and their recovery time would be condensed. Other women prefer to take a steadier approach and undergo a complete recovery from tummy tuck before proceeding to breast surgery.
There are lifestyle considerations to bear in mind. For example, it’s best to have completed your family before you undergo a tummy tuck as the muscles which are brought together during surgery may separate again during pregnancy, negating the benefits of the procedure. If you intend to lose a lot of weight, you should do so before this surgery.
Also, if you think you may want to breast feed in future, it’s best to postpone a breast lift as the procedure may require the milk ducts to be severed when the nipples are moved to a different position during surgery. (Breast implants should not impede your ability to breast-feed.)
If you do decide to go ahead with surgery, we’ll be with you every step of the way to provide advice and guidance to ensure it goes smoothly. Before surgery you will be given specific instructions on how to prepare, covering eating and drinking, smoking and taking medication.
If you are a smoker we would request that you cease for at least one to two weeks before and after surgery. Also, expect your surgery to be postponed if you develop a cold or other type of infection. We want you to be in general good health before your treatment as this leads to a faster recovery and better results.
After surgery, you will need to stay in hospital for at least two nights but the length of stay will depend upon the surgery you have undergone and your progress in recovery. You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home, and to help you out with daily living tasks for a few days while you rest.
You will be given specific instructions on how to care for your dressings and given follow-up appointments as appropriate.
While it’s a good idea to move around after surgery, to prevent blood clots, you don’t want to overdo it, so make sure you have stocked up your fridge in advance and tidied your home so you’re not tempted to do housework.
Mastopexy, breast augmentation and abdominoplasty are major surgical procedures to expect to feel swollen and bruised. You will be prescribed pain relief to ease your discomfort while you recover. You can find out more about what to expect after each of these procedures on our mastopexy, breast augmentation and abdominoplasty pages.
It depends on many things including breast feeding and weight changes associated with pregnancy. Having said that, early planning is vitally important in a good outcome and having a goal to work towards can help with your post-pregnancy rehabilitation. This can be discussed in detail at your first consultation.
Absolutely (see abdominoplasty).
No, breast implants should not interfere with breast-feeding.
Yes (see breast augmentation).
This very much depends on the techniques being used. It can be discussed at your consultation but, in general, you will be in hospital for 2 nights, at home resting for 2 weeks (with someone else looking after the children!), back at work in 3-4 weeks (depending on workload) and back in the gym at 2 months.