After having a baby, the body can undergo many changes. Many women look for ways to return their body to how it looked before pregnancy. One option is a "mummy makeover". But what does this involve? What is the best age to have one? Is it worth doing if you want to have another baby? Expert plastic surgeon Mr Mo Akhavani has the answers.
What does a “mummy makeover” involve?
A “mummy makeover” is an operation that tries to give back women their body that they had before pregnancy. Essentially, it's split into three different types of operations.
- Breast surgery – either a breast uplift or breast augmentation in combination with putting in an implant.
- Abdominoplasty – this involves removing the excess part of the skin that may have developed after the pregnancy and this can be done in combination with liposuction and tightening the muscles of the abdomen.
- Some ladies also want to have rejuvenation of the labia and/or vagina, which would require labiaplasty or vaginoplasty.
It's a big undertaking. Operations are carried out under general anaesthesia and take about 3-5 hours to perform, depending on how many procedures are done. Recovery usually takes around one or two weeks. Most patients are ready to go back to work after two weeks after having the surgery performed. Overall, it has a very high rate of satisfaction and patients do feel that they've made the right choice with this surgery.
What’s the best age to have a “mummy makeover”?
That's a very good question and often I'm asked this in the clinic: when is the right time? What's the best age? And, to be honest, there is actually no “right age” to have this surgery done.
At the plastic surgery group, we don't operate on patients under the age of 18 for obvious reasons: they're not an adult and they may not be able to comprehend the complexities of the surgery. For adults, in my books and in my practice, there is no difference between somebody who is 28 and has had four children and is in need of the operation to reverse the changes and somebody who is 40 or 45 and has one child and again, has undergone the same changes.
Most patients are between their mid-20s to mid-40s and that's probably the majority of my practice, but it's never too late to have this operation, even when you're in your 50s and 60s, as long as there are no medical problems that need to be addressed before the surgery. I think it's a mistake to think of this as a procedure that's age-specific as long as the changes are compatible with what happened when it needs reconstruction.
If you've had your children and the family is complete and the changes require correcting and reconstructing, then I think that's the right time to have this surgery done. There is really no specific age that's best for this operation.
What if I have more children?
It's a personal choice. In my practice, I always tell my patients that the best time to have this operation is when the family is completed. Whether you're planning to have one, two or five children, the best time to have a “mummy makeover” is when you're not going to have any more.
This is because once the breast uplift or the abdominoplasty or the labiaplasty is performed, all of these can change again after the pregnancy of a second or third or fourth child. Most patients would prefer, and certainly in my practice, I would prefer to wait until the family is completed.
Having said that, however, I have many, many patients who come and see me and, having had their first child, the changes are quite significant and they really, really are not happy with how things are looking. This is a personal issue and a personal choice for the patients and I'm happy to perform the surgery, but we always, always warn our patients that if they are having the surgery now, but have plans to have another child, that's likely to impact the results of the surgery that will be performed.
For example, if a breast uplift has been performed and you get pregnant and want to breastfeed your child, there will be some changes and it's likely that the breast will become droopier after the breastfeeding. Likewise, if an abdominoplasty is performed and then you have a particularly large child, then there will be excess skin and there may be separation of the muscles.
Overall, I don't think it is unreasonable to have this operation once the family has been completed, but it doesn't mean that you can't have the surgery and get pregnant again.
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