Plastic surgery has crossed the mind of pretty much every woman who’s given birth in the past few generations. But plastic surgery can seem unrealistic in multiple ways: Price, pain, recovery time and actual effectiveness.
And of course, it’s hard not to worry about unexpected complications or going under anesthesia, not to mention figuring out who’s going to take care of your family through the whole thing.
The most common plastic surgery procedures requested by moms are liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation and, recently, Cellulaze, which zaps that pesky cellulite that just loves to hang around where you don’t want it. But dreaming about the kind of reconstruction you want for your figure isn’t the same as actually doing it. The good news is that plastic surgery is do-able. The bad news is that it can be pricey, painful and have you out of commission for longer than you might like.
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How much pain will I be in?
Plastic surgery can involve some serious shifting of your body; if you’ve ever seen liposuction performed on television, that is one severe act. Pain is inevitable. Although, according to Dr. Theodore Diktaban, double board certified plastic surgeon, lipo, Cellulaze and breast lifts only come with mild to moderate discomfort. Patients have prescription pain medication to stay comfortable, and many people switch to Tylenol after only a few days.
Can I afford plastic surgery?
For some moms, affordability is an important part of the plastic surgery equation. Other moms are willing to spend any amount of money to get their old body back (or one better than they ever had).
General prices for liposuction or Cellulaze typically range from $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the number and size of the areas treated, according to Diktaban. Breast lift or augmentation can range from $6,000 to $8,000, and a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is typically about $8,500 to $12,000.
Discomfort after breast augmentation varies depending on where the implant is placed. Under the muscle, expect a higher level of discomfort. Pain is managed with a post-surgical pain pump that slowly releases numbing fluid into the breasts the first three days after surgery, Diktaban explains. Pain medication can be taken as needed.
The award for most painful recovery goes to the tummy tuck; the surgeon is tightening the muscles in the abdomen (that worked so hard to grow and house your beautiful babies). “Patients can be given a long-lasting injectable anesthetic or post-surgical pain pump,” says Diktaban. “They are also given prescription pain medication to keep them comfortable during the first one to two weeks. The recovery process takes about three to four weeks.”
Who’s going to take care of my kids?
One of the most important things to understand about plastic surgery is that it comes with necessary recovery time, and sometimes that time can be considerable. You may need to hire part-time or full-time help. Or you might consider this a burden only a family member can truly take on — in which case, how willing are Dad, grandparents or adopted aunts about taking over your mommy duties (and taking care of you) for days or even weeks?
Diktaban explains what kind of shape you can expect to be in, and how much assistance you might require. Downtime immediately after surgery is necessary to allow Mom to rest and recuperate in a calm environment.
- After liposuction, Cellulaze or breast lift: “Most patients are back to normal routines fairly quickly, with some limitations. Moms will need help with the kids for two to three days. They can return to work after two or three days and are back in the gym about 10 days after surgery. Moms who have had a breast lift are advised not to lift their toddler for two to three weeks.”
- After breast augmentation: “Moms with toddlers usually have someone watch the kids for a few days. Moms are advised not to lift their toddler for three to four weeks. Moms with older children can be back to work in about four days, with limitations (no lifting), back to the gym in about two weeks and back to all of their normal routines in three to four weeks.”
- After a tummy tuck: “For moms with toddlers, we recommend you take time to recover away from the children. Many patients stay with a friend for a few days or Dad plans a long weekend away with the kids. Moms will need TLC after a tummy tuck and should not lift a toddler for about four weeks. This is a great procedure for a mom who has older children who can help with chores and tasks while she recovers. This is also a great opportunity for Dad to shine as he helps with the house and kids while Mom is getting better.”
Am I being selfish by going under the knife?
Moms want to be healthy for their kids, and they certainly don’t want to do anything to jeopardize their well-being — but a mom is happy and most effective when she feels good about herself. So how do you balance this reality with any fears you may have about going under the knife?
Anesthesia is a serious business, and no one should enter lightly into surgery of any kind. Moms can feel serious guilt about elective plastic surgery: Am I being vain? What am I teaching my kids about body image and self-esteem? Here’s the thing: If you don’t feel good about how you look, your child will learn how powerful body image really is — and not in a positive way.
If you’re worried about the risks of surgery, “Plastic surgery, in the hands of a board certified plastic surgeon working in an accredited facility or surgical suite, is very safe,” assures Diktaban. “I encourage patients to ask about the qualifications of any surgeon they are considering. Board certification and experience is extremely important when choosing your surgeon. Anesthetic monitoring techniques and pharmacology have improved steadily year by year which leads to a safe outcome for patients.”
How effective and long-lasting is plastic surgery?
As all moms know, the best intentions for exercise and eating well can quickly fall by the wayside when there are diapers to change, lunches to make and after-school activities to attend. So will plastic surgery solve those time-crunch problems? Or will your body revert back to pre-surgery status if you can’t adopt a new way of life to match your new bod?
“Results from these types of procedures are long-lasting and can make a huge difference in a mother’s self-esteem and confidence, which spills over into every part of her life, including her relationship with her children and husband, and her professional life,” says Diktaban. “Mommy Makeovers are transformative and mothers can be proud that they care about themselves enough to take the steps to make themselves look and feel great.”