Mommy makeover procedures are body contouring techniques that reverse the effects of pregnancy—e.g., sagging breasts and apron-like skin that hangs from the abdomen. Tummy tuck, breast lift, and breast augmentation best exemplify these surgeries.
Oftentimes, plastic surgeons who use the term mommy makeover refer to a combination of two or more surgeries.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted on Snapchat before-and-after photos of one patient who has had extensive mommy makeover procedures: breast implant, breast lift, flank liposuction, and tummy tuck.
Multiple procedures surgery is a reasonable approach provided that its estimated blood loss and the time under general anesthesia are within the standard safety limit.
Most surgeons agree that a surgery performed within 4-5 hours is reasonably safe, while going beyond this duration may lead to increased risk of certain complications. Consequently, some patients may need a team of plastic surgeons who can work simultaneously on them to shorten the operation time.
Blood loss is another issue with mommy makeover procedures and other multiple surgeries. Specifically, the main concern is the drastic fluid shift, which can lead to longer and tougher recovery, and higher risk of healing problems.
To keep blood loss to a minimum, Dr. Smiley says that prior to making incisions he injects epinephrine into the tissue; this is a drug that constricts blood vessels and thus it is particularly ideal in tummy tuck, which typically removes huge redundant skin hanging from the abdomen.
The use of epinephrine is also ideal in large volume liposuction.
Another auspicious benefit of epinephrine: It prolongs the numbing effects of local anesthesia, which in turn allows the patient to avoid or take less oral painkillers within the first few days of their recovery.
Aside from a well-thought planning and a meticulous surgical execution, Dr. Smiley says the safety of mommy makeover procedures also boils down to identifying the right candidates.
Instead of going by the BMI, which Dr. Smiley says is not always an accurate criterion, the surgeon puts more importance on the patient’s physical fitness and willingness to follow a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, he recommends all his patients to pass a lab screening.
Furthermore, Dr. Smiley says multiple plastic surgeries or combo procedures entail more emphasis on patient safety due to the perceived challenges. For this reason, he only works with board-certified anesthesiologists and qualified medical staff during surgery.