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“Mommy Makeovers” Help You Look and Feel Your Best

There’s a flipside to the joy of being a new mom. That blessing of baby sometimes includes some excess skin from pregnancy or the feelings that come with having a negative body image.

While it’s not for all women, the “mommy makeover” is a consideration for women who want to look and feel their best, said Avera Medical Group Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery specialist Mark Shashikant, MD.

“Typically, this sort of procedure is two parts, a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, along with a breast augmentation or reconstruction,” the surgeon said. “We can help women in the consultation to understand how these procedures can help them, because they do go beyond appearance in some cases.”

At times, loose skin will spread apart tummy muscles. The tummy tuck procedure can help tighten the skin and muscles, leading to a better quality of life. Shashikant added that while helpful, this surgical procedure is usually an out-of-pocket cost for most patients.

“The incision takes place on the lower abdomen, so in most cases swimsuits will hide it, and the procedure does lead to some downtime,” he said. “In most cases, that’s about two weeks off work and about eight weeks until full recovery and a return to all activity is permitted.”

Some moms will elect to have liposuction in conjunction with the tummy tuck, and Shashikant makes sure to tell his patients that this procedure can help, but it’s not for weight loss.

“Lipo can help contour problem areas and address ones that bother you,” he said. “The process consists of adding fluid to the abdomen fatty areas and then using suction to remove it. This is the preferred method, and it isn’t a replacement for diet and exercise. It instead helps with love handles or waist areas that sometimes don’t respond to fitness, especially after pregnancy.”

Breast augmentation applies the same principles and offers a safe and predictable outcome. Special 3-D imaging in advance of the procedure allows both surgeon and patient to be on the same page in terms of expectations.

“If a mother is unhappy with the way she looks, it can affect the way she feels, and so we do see moms approach breast surgery after pregnancy,” Shashikant said. “It is another elective procedure rarely covered by insurance, but it can bring peace of mind and a sense of satisfaction for many women. It won’t interfere with future breast feeding either, and in the end, most women are only uncomfortable post-procedure for about a week.”

Having a consultation is sometimes the best place to start, he said.

“Our consultations are free and a great way to get all the questions answered,” Shashikant said. “Moms are women, and their self-perception is important. So if you’re unhappy with how you look and feel, you do have options.”

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