Mommy makeover surgery is performed on a daily basis in the United States, but every surgery, cosmetic or not, carries a potential for certain risks and complications. Though these Mommy Makeover risks are rare for healthy individuals, we encourage every patient to understand their personal risks and to decide for themselves whether the benefits outweigh the potential costs.
Many mothers desire to get their pre-baby bodies back. A mommy makeover makes it possible for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages to choose procedures customized to meet their goals. As with any surgery, there are risks. It’s important for patients to work with their surgeons to minimize the risks and increase the likelihood of seeing the best possible results.
Because a mommy makeover involves a breast operation, such as a breast lift or breast augmentation, in combination with an abdominal procedure, such as a tummy tuck or liposuction, mommy makeover risks are essentially the same as the risks associated with these other individual surgeries.
But there are also certain risks involved in undergoing a longer surgical procedure. This article explains the risks as well as steps you can take to have a smooth recovery.
Breast Surgery Risks
When it comes to breast surgery, whether women opt for a lift, augmentation or reduction, complications include:
- poor healing
- and scarring
These problems occur in rare cases and can be reduced by following your surgeon’s instructions carefully.
Other breast-specific risks include the possibility of nipple numbness and inability to breastfeed, so these will be discussed during your consultation. An extensive list of potential complications is discussed with you as part of the surgery consent form preoperatively.
If you do have a complication after surgery, rest assured that our surgeons are experts in the field of plastic surgery and will do their best to help you through the process and recovery.
To learn more about common breast surgery risks, see our previous article with related videos.
Abdominal Surgery Risks
The complications associated with an abdominal operation such as a tummy tuck (also referred to as an abdominoplasty), include the aforementioned bleeding, infection, and poor healing or scarring.
Lumps or irregularities and skin numbness is very common in the early postoperative period and typically improves or resolves with time.
On occasion, there can be problems with the incision healing. This can be the result of inadequate blood flow to the region and can delay the healing process by weeks or months on occasion. Paying special attention to bandages and compression garments in the first few weeks after surgery is important to help minimize this risk.
One risk specifically higher in abdominoplasty patients has to do with blood clots in the legs. Because most tummy tuck patients elect to have muscle tightening done as part of the operation, this causes a temporary slowing of blood returning from the legs to the heart, by way of the now tighter abdominal cavity.
A blood clot forming in the leg can be managed medically, but a blood clot that moves up to the heart and lungs can be fatal. For this reason, we have you walk the evening of surgery to restore blood flow through the legs. We also give blood thinner shots after surgery to decrease the risk of a clot. It is important to follow the instructions regarding walking and using the medications in the postoperative period to minimize this risk.
Your surgeon and nurses will provide you and your loved one with instructions for properly caring for your incision site and garments post-surgery. You will find that we take patient safety seriously and have lots of helpful advice learned through experience and from past patients who had the same procedures as you.
Other Mommy Makeover Risks
Those considering a mommy makeover should know that pairing a breast operation with an abdominal surgery like a tummy tuck, for example, does slightly increase the risk for problems following either individual surgery.
Additionally, when women weigh the potential costs associated with having two procedures during the same round of anesthesia against the costs of doing the procedures at two separate times, many women opt to have both procedures done at the same time. Your surgeon will discuss with you at your consultation whether you are a candidate for combined operations.
The main advantage to doing both the breast surgery and abdominal surgery during one mommy makeover session is a significantly reduced recovery time compared with two separate operations. Your body is capable of healing two areas simultaneously, so adding a second surgery does not double your recovery time, and for many patients, spending less total time recovering is worth undergoing a longer initial surgical period to have more than one procedure performed.
That being said, the board-certified surgeons at Austin-Weston aim to keep surgery times under six hours to decrease anesthetic complications like post-op nausea, which in severe cases, requires medication or IV fluids.
If you are planning to have more than six hours of surgery performed, options include having a two-surgeon team or breaking up your procedures into segments each shorter than six hours. Your surgeon will give you an estimate as to the length of the proposed operation and whether another surgeon will be required to stay within the six-hour window.
How to Minimize Mommy Makeover Risks
The single most important action patients can take to minimize complications from surgery is to listen to their doctors. This includes giving doctors all relevant information about yourself and your medical history:
- Be 100% honest on the paperwork and forms you fill out in our office.
- List all medications, past medical issues, pertinent family history details, and high-risk behaviors, such as smoking or drug use.
- Follow your surgeon’s recommendations about stopping certain medications before surgery.
- Follow your surgeon’s recommendations about stopping smoking before surgery.
- Follow all post-operative instructions carefully, including walking early after procedures and wearing the compression garments.
Your surgeon will thoroughly discuss all medically relevant information with you during your consultation. He will also provide you with a list of physical changes to watch for and reasons to contact the office for a visit.
While we do everything we can to minimize the risks to patients, we also count on our patients to be aware of what to expect and let us know if they notice any unusual problems. With 30+ years of experience under our belts, we have seen a lot at Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery, so we know how to handle any complication that may arise. One important factor is to catch any issues early, and for this reason, we encourage you to make all of your post-op appointments.
Patient Safety is Our Top Priority
At Austin-Weston, we are committed to giving our mommy makeover patients amazing results, but nothing is more important than patient safety. All of our surgeries are performed in our Northern Virginia accredited ambulatory surgical center. All of our staff are ACLS certified. And all of our anesthetists are registered and certified.
Additionally, we take the following crucial precautions that are considered standard of care:
- IV antibiotics prior to surgical incision
- Postop antibiotic prescriptions for most routine procedures
- Keeping patients warm in the operating room with warming blankets
- Recommended smoking cessation prior to most operations
- We choose shorter or smaller surgeries for those with certain family or personal histories or who are taking certain medications
Because each patient is different, we work to tailor your surgery to your medical needs and personal preferences. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any questions or personal medical complications. And, as with any surgery, your safety depends on doing your homework. Choosing an expert plastic surgeon with board certification is the key first step.
A mommy makeover might be the answer to giving you back your pre-pregnancy body, but always remember that a major medical procedure is a major life choice.
If you live in the Northern Virginia or Washington DC area and are ready to reclaim your confidence, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation at (703) 854-9841 or submit a form online to request an appointment.
You may also be interested in:
- Abdominoplasty Overview: Is a Tummy Tuck Right for You?
- Mommy Makeover Before & After Photos
- Financing Options