The Myth of "Bouncing Back" after Pregnancy

According to board-certified plastic surgeon Michelle De Souza, MD, diet and exercise can’t ensure you’ll look like you did before pregnancy. But a mommy makeover in Kansas City can help.

Being a mom is one of the toughest jobs there is. Even tougher for some is accepting their new post-baby body. Despite their best efforts, many women find it nearly impossible to reverse the effects of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

“Some women can work hard and get their bodies back,” says Michelle De Souza, MD, a plastic surgeon at The University of Kansas Health System. “But sometimes, our bodies don’t cooperate. This is especially true for women who have carried multiples.”

According to Dr. De Souza, many of the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth can’t be changed with diet and exercise. This is particularly true for issues like stretch marks, sagging breasts, loose skin and stretched abdominal muscles.

“During pregnancy, the body undergoes dramatic changes – many of which are irreversible without surgery or other interventions,” Dr. De Souza says. “That’s where we come in.”

A combination of plastic surgery procedures, often referred to as a mommy makeover, has been helping women from Overland Park, KS, to Kansas City restore their pre-baby shape – and it’s wildly popular. According to RealSelf.com, an online plastic surgery community forum, mommy makeover surgery has earned a 97% “worth it” rating.

“You give so much of yourself as a woman and mother,” says Dr. De Souza. “And for many women, a mommy makeover is a way of giving back to themselves.” 

     
See real results

tummy tuck before and after

Visit our photo gallery to see real results from mommy makeover procedures like breast augmentation, tummy tuck and liposuction.

What is a mommy makeover?

A mommy makeover is a procedure that involves performing multiple surgeries at the same time. Typically, a mommy makeover focuses on areas of the body that are most affected by having children, such as the breasts and tummy. A traditional mommy makeover often includes 1 or more of the following:
  • Breast augmentation: A breast augmentation uses silicone or saline implants to add volume to the breasts. This is particularly beneficial for women who find their breasts look smaller or “deflated” after breastfeeding.
  • Breast lift: A breast lift enhances the shape of your breasts so that they look perkier and more youthful. This procedure can be combined with breast augmentation for women who want to enhance their breast size as well as improve shape.
  • Breast reduction: Breast reduction surgery can improve the look of the breasts as well as decrease the physical symptoms associated with a large chest size. Breast reductions lift and shape the breasts as well as restore them to a more youthful position.
  • Liposuction: Liposuction removes stubborn areas of fat that are often resistant to diet and exercise. This may include love handles, a muffin top, saddle bags, back fat or “bra bulge.”
  • Tummy tuck: A tummy tuck is particularly beneficial for moms whose pregnancy resulted in diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles. In this procedure, extra skin and fat is removed from the waist and the abdominal muscles are tightened. This creates a firmer, flatter stomach. In some cases, a tummy tuck can also remove stretch marks on the stomach.
Although many of her patients in Kansas City choose to combine 2 or more of these treatments as part of their mommy makeover, Dr. De Souza notes that some women choose to focus on other areas, such as the face. Nonsurgical treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers can refresh a tired appearance after months of sleepless nights, without surgery or downtime.

Benefits of a mommy makeover

Aside from the stunning transformations and confidence boost, there are additional benefits to a mommy makeover. According to Dr. De Souza, combining multiple procedures into 1 surgery reduces your overall recovery time, as well as your exposure to anesthesia.

“Rather than having 2 or more separate surgeries, which each require their own hospital visit and recovery period, a mommy makeover consolidates your time so you have 1 hospital visit and 1 downtime,” Dr. De Souza says.

Mommy makeovers can also be more cost-effective than spreading out several separate surgeries. That’s because you only pay once for additional costs like hospital fees, anesthesia fees and surgeon’s fees. On average, a mommy makeover can cost around $12,350, but this price can vary. At The University of Kansas Health System, cost is determined by the number and type of surgeries, and surgeons strive to offer the most cost-effective options possible.

Risks and recovery

The risks of a mommy makeover procedure are similar to that of any surgery. However, you can reduce your risk of complications, Dr. De Souza says, by choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

“A board-certified plastic surgeon has had extensive training and education in plastic surgery,” says Dr. De Souza, who is board certified in plastic surgery. “It’s a sign that the surgeon is qualified.”

The recovery period will depend on the type and number of procedures performed, as well as your body’s ability to heal. Typically, recovering from a mommy makeover takes about 4-6 weeks.

"The first 2 weeks are the hardest,” Dr. De Souza says. “Most women will take 1-2 weeks off work and need help with day-to-day activities.”

However, once recovered, women can enjoy their new bodies for many years.

“The results from mommy makeover surgery are long-lasting as long as women continue to eat right, exercise and live a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. De Souza says. “Additional pregnancies or weight gain can affect your results, which is why it’s best to be at a stable weight and finished having children before your surgery.”
     

What to look for in a plastic surgeon

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is critical for ensuring a safe procedure and great results. Look for these qualities when selecting yours:
  • Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Membership in professional organizations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • Hospital privileges/affiliations
  • Professional honors/awards
  • Published research in professional medical journals
  • Academic lectures and presentations
 
 

Choosing a surgeon

Choosing the right surgeon is a big decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Dr. De Souza recommends meeting with board-certified plastic surgeons until you find one who is a good fit. Most plastic surgeons offer introductory consultations that allow you to ask about their qualifications and complication rates, as well as see before and after photos of their work.

“It’s really important to choose a surgeon based on their qualifications, experience and skill, rather than price,” says Dr. De Souza. “Bargain shopping for cosmetic surgery can be very dangerous. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A cheap procedure can result in multiple, costly revision surgeries.”

Dr. De Souza also emphasizes that a plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon are not the same thing. Legally, any licensed physician can perform cosmetic surgery and call themselves a “cosmetic surgeon” – without any training in plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, on the other hand, are required to complete a full residency (clinical training) in plastic surgery as well as pass rigorous exams.

“The most important thing to look for when considering a surgeon, aside from their qualifications and experience, is finding someone you trust,” Dr. De Souza says. “This is your body and your health, so choose someone who makes you feel comfortable.”


Experience matters

All of our fellowship-trained plastic surgeons have received the highest level of training in plastic surgery. To learn more about their qualifications, or to request a consultation about mommy makeover, contact us.