The “Mommy Makeover” generally includes two or more procedures to sculpt, tone and redefine the body of a woman after pregnancy. Typically this includes breast augmentation and a tummy tuck, but may also involve liposuction and other procedures as appropriate. Because each patient’s body and idea of beauty are unique, no two Mommy Makeovers are absolutely identical. This week’s Hangout Question of the Week was fielded by our founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Pane, and asks, “How long does recovery from a Mommy Makeover take?”
Dr. Pane says that he usually likes to see patients up and moving the first day with light activity. Painkillers are generally prescribed for the first couple of days, but the patient is strongly encouraged not to take unnecessary downtime because of the risks of potential complications that can occur as a result. Normally patients tolerate the procedures well and find post-operative discomfort much less than they anticipated, but every patient’s pain tolerance and thresholds are different. Some patients may experience more problems than others, so keeping in communication about problems and potential warning signs is crucial especially during this key phase of recovery.
After 5-7 days, the drains installed at the procedure sites are removed and the patient is cleared to return to work on light duty, working gradually up to medium-level lifting and other such physical tasks by the third week. About six weeks after the procedure, the patient is usually fully fit for regular duties, exercise, physical training and normal tasks. Some patients will recover more quickly, while others may demonstrate a somewhat slower healing curve. This is largely a function of the patient’s body and may vary by a few days to a couple of weeks, depending upon the patient.
During recovery from a Mommy Makeover, extra care should be taken to avoid motion or exertion that may place undue strain on the sutures or the procedure sites. Post-operative care instructions will cover basic care, including aftercare for the sites and follow-up instructions. It is vital that these instructions be followed precisely and conscientiously, to help decrease the risk of straining the procedure sites and possible complications such as infections, subcutaneous fluid pocket buildup, bruising and swelling. Some of this is normal and to be expected regardless of the diligence of aftercare, but it is always better to err on the side of caution if you are unsure.
Because of the possibility of complications, especially in the first two weeks after the procedure, you should call immediately if you notice redness, swelling, bruising, tenderness or unusual firmness below the surface of the skin. If your skin looked normal the day before and then you notice any of these signs, it could signal the beginning stages of a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Only your cosmetic surgeon will be able to tell you for sure, which is why contact and communication are such a crucial component of good postoperative aftercare.
Mommy Makeovers generally carry a very low incidence of side effects or complications. Some patients, especially those with weakened or compromised immune systems, reduced healing capabilities or certain medical conditions, may find they are more susceptible to complications such as infection. For this reason, your cosmetic surgeon will likely require certain blood tests before a Mommy Makeover or any other procedure to ensure that any potential problems that may retard the healing process are addressed early and allowed for before, during and after the procedure.
An experienced cosmetic surgeon is the best defense you have against postoperative complications and the best insurance you can get for a speedy recovery that delivers the look you want. Dr. Thomas Pane carries board certification in both cosmetic and general surgery, speaking to both his experience and extensive knowledge of cosmetic procedures. You should always check the credentials and certifications of any surgeon prior to undergoing any medical procedure, but a double board certification requires a level of knowledge and demonstrated skill that most surgeons simply don’t possess.
To learn more about how a Mommy Makeover can help you get your youthful, pre-delivery body back or to schedule a consultation, visit us at acplasticsurg.com or call us at 561-422-4116. You can also ask general surgical and aftercare questions during our weekly Google Hangouts, on our Facebook page or our website. Your question may become the Question of the Week and help other patients learn what to expect from their procedures as well, so all questions and comments are welcomed!