Maternal Restoration

Maternal Restoration a.k.a. Mommy Makeover according to Seattle Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

I prefer the term Maternal Restoration because Mommy Makeover just seems like a trip to the spa for a new hairdo, a facial and maybe, if you’re lucky, a foot massage.

Maternal Restoration

Quick facts:

  • Costs: widely variable depending on what procedures are performed and how long it takes.  Low estimate:  $10,000 for lower abldominal liposuction and breast lift.  High estimate:  $25,000 for full abdominoplasty, breast lift and augmentation with gel implants.  Toss in some liposuction and that’s a little more.
  • Post-operative pain:  mild to severe, depending on which procedures are done.
  • Time in post-op bra and compression garment:  3 weeks.
  • Time off work or school: 2 – 3 week.
  • Time off driving the kids to lacrosse:  1 – 2  weeks or once you are off narcotic pain meds.
  • Time off the gym:  3 – 6 weeks depending on which procedures are done.
  • Time off the slopes:  6  weeks.
  • Time off the kite board: 8 weeks.
  • Time off house work:  forever!   Just kidding, usually 2-6 weeks depending on which procedures are done.
  • How long  a mommy makeover lasts:  long lasting unless you have another baby and/or significant weight change.
  • Patient satisfaction:  very, very high

The fine print:

As a mother to three, I can attest that bearing children is just about the most amazing thing a woman can do. Childbearing can, however, do some pretty not-so-amazing things to a woman’s body.  (I’m not a psychiatrist so I won’t discuss all the amazing and not-so-amazing things children can do to their mothers’ psyche.

I’ll start with the breasts. I know it’s politically incorrect to say (especially for a female plastic surgeon in Seattle) that childbearing and breast feeding makes the breasts deflate and/or sag. BUT I have to say that postpartum breast atrophy and/or sagging keeps me in business. It just makes sense that with the sometimes rapid and significant breast enlargement some women experience with pregnancy, that sagging could result.

Restoration of breast size and shape is accomplished with implants or fat transfer for the atrophy and a breast lift, a.k.a. mastopexy for the sagging. It’s best to wait until childbearing is complete before undergoing these procedures. Usually implants and lifting do not interfere with nursing but another baby may mean more changes in the breasts and more surgery. Implants and breasts lifts should last 15 – 20 years unless there are major weight fluctuations (or another bambino).

It’s best to wait at least 3 months after weaning that little bundle of joy before having surgery. The breasts will have returned to their non-lactating size and hopefully the baby have forgotten about them and no longer think of them as his or her property. Having a little paw grab a recently operated breast can be pretty painful.

I am always amazed at how much that saggy prune belly that is so depressing those first few weeks after delivery can recover. I know lots of ladies who have a lovely belly after childbearing even if there is a little softening and rounding. I’m not sure that chiseled 6 pack look is attractive on any woman and I’m sure it looks a little odd on a young walking Seattle’s Alki Beach with a toddler on each hand.

Some women are not so lucky and have major problems with laxity of the skin and the abdominal muscles after childbearing. This correlates some with the size of the baby, the amount of weight gained and the number of pregnancies. Often the abdomen recovers very nicely with the first baby but baby number two wrecks havoc.

Abdominoplasty, a.k.a. tummy tuck, can restore most women to a near pre-pregnancy shape. Abdominoplasty tightens the skin and the muscles and also removes most of the stretch marks below the navel. The trade off is a scar that can be a little longer than a C-section scar or quite long, hip to hip, depending on the degree of laxity and the patient’s anatomy. One change that cannot be addressed is the spreading of the hips and rib cage that can occur with pregnancy. The ribs can be spread out especially with a pregnancy involving twins (or more) and the pelvis can also spread in response to hormones late in pregnancy.

The timing of a maternal restoration can be tricky. Mothers want to look nice ASAP but recovery can be challenging when there are little ones to look after. I really like patients to care for no one but themselves for a couple of weeks after surgery and to avoid lifting anything (including children) over twenty pounds for six weeks after surgery. Family members really need to help and mothers really need to kick back and rest. Doing too much can result in a prolonged recovery and a lot more discomfort and frustration than is necessary. Just imagine how much more your family will appreciate everything you do for them after they have had to do it for themselves for a few weeks!

Make sure you visit my photo gallery for some examples of these procedures.

To schedule a consultation, call 206 467-1101. 

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