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Mama's doing what? Talking plastic surgery with kids

Julie Weingarden Dubin is a Michigan-based freelance journalist, blogger and author with three rocking kids, a loving husband and a trashed minivan. She covers parenting, health, psychology, relationships and pop culture for national mag...

When Kids Question Your Cosmetic Surgery

Sure, some women book their post-pregnancy boob jobs and tummy tucks faster than they buy their Bugaboo strollers, but what to tell the kids?  
Plastic Surgery

Michael Salzhauer, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Bal Harbour, Florida, pondered the same question when his 4-year-old daughter quizzed him about his nose job and an idea for a children's book was born.

Dr. Salzhauer penned My Beautiful Mommy (Big Tents Books) to help explain cosmetic surgery (a.k.a., Mommy's sudden overhaul) to kids. A "mommy makeover" is more than a fresh haircut and a mani/pedi. It's surgically tweaking the sagging or bulging body parts often more present and persistent post-childbirth. Common makeover procedures include: tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), breast lift (mastopexy), breast augmentation (breast implants) and liposuction.
Plastic SurgeryAccording to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of women getting "mommy makeover" procedures is on the rise, with 112,000 tummy tucks in 2010 (up 85 percent since 2000) and 90,000 breast lifts (up 70 percent since 2000). With the upward trend, SheKnows checks in with Dr. Salzhauer about kids' perspectives and addressing their fears.

Your book helps kids?

In my office, after rhinoplasty, "mommy makeovers" are the most requested procedure by female patients in their 20s to early 30s.

Dr. Salzhauer: "Cosmetic surgery is difficult for young children to understand. Moms often come to my office with their kids and they don't know how to answer their questions appropriately. Doctor's offices can feel scary for children and then they tend to fill in the blanks with their imagination. I created the book as a tool to help open the communication process with children on what was going to happen to their mother so that they wouldn't be frightened."

What should you tell your kids pre-surgery?

Dr. Salzhauer: "Let them know that Mommy is going to be bruised and swollen and in bandages. It's okay to feel sad and confused and ask questions. Assure your kids that Mommy needs to rest but you're not ill and you'll be fine."

And what about the controversy the book invites?

Dr. Salzhauer: "This book is meant to be a guide for parents who have already decided to undergo plastic surgery and help explain to their children why Mommy looks different. I recognize the controversial element to the book but it doesn't promote plastic surgery. I teach my own four kids that beauty has many definitions -- it's not only physical."

Read more about mommy makeovers

Kate Gosselin and mommy makeovers: The plastic surgery mystery
Top 4 cosmetic surgery procedures for moms

10 Questions to ask your doctor before having a cosmetic procedure

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