After the birth of
her second child, new mom Amanda Neil was incredibly happy to have completed her family, but the physical
changes her pregnancy body experienced began to take a toll on her self-esteem.
“My children are the greatest gift, but I tried everything through diet and exercise to get my figure back,” says Neil. “It was disappointing to realize I’m so young, yet I had the stomach of a 90-year-old.”
Neil adds that like many women, she was aware missing her pre-pregnancy figure wasn’t the end of the world, but she remained a tad discouraged by the increase in excess skin hanging just slightly over her belly that hours spent at a gym couldn’t whisk away.
That’s when she learned about a rising trend in the cosmetic surgery industry that was created to help mothers regain their former figures.
It’s called the Mommy Makeover and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Weinberg was one of the first doctors to make the procedure more well-known in Canada.
The Mommy Makeover is a custom-tailored, combination surgery, often involving breast augmentation and/or breast lift, a tummy tuck and liposuction. The advantage to having the procedures put into one package, Weinberg says, is that the patient undergoes only one surgery, and therefore one-time anesthesia. He adds it is more cost-effective than undergoing the procedures separately.
The Mommy Makeover term was coined by a group of cosmetic surgeons in the United States, describing a combination of surgical procedures to address the concerns of women who’ve had children. “It’s not as trivial as it sounds,” says Weinberg. “We don’t live in the age of our grandmothers anymore.”
This makeover boom is more common now that many women are having children later in life, after completing their education and moving upwards in their careers. Typical clients also include women who have had multiple pregnancies. In each case, the process assists them in reaching their goal of regaining their pre-pregnancy body. Stats from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons back this trend, where women accounted for 87% of cosmetic surgery patients and underwent an estimated 7 million procedures last year.
The key to the procedure lies in its efficiency: It quickly delivers stunning physical results to the new mothers playing leading roles in both the workforce and at home. The surgery itself usually takes four hours and the recovery about two weeks. It can be performed anywhere from eight months to several years after pregnancy.
The Mommy Makeover may also help curb body changes that a sound diet and regular physical activity cannot reverse alone. As the baby grows and forces the uterus against the inside of the muscle wall of the abdomen, explains Weinberg, those two vertical muscles known as the rectus abdominis (the so-called “six-pack muscles”) get stretched apart and elongate, resulting in a bulge of the lower tummy that cannot be fixed with diet and exercise alone. Women also see changes in their breasts during and after pregnancy as they grow larger during breastfeeding, and afterwards typically decrease, often to a size smaller than before the pregnancy. The Mommy Makeover targets all of these areas in one efficient series of procedures.
While tummy tucks, liposuction and countless other procedures have been around for quite some time, the Mommy Makeover is a trend in the industry that’s gaining momentum. “Modern mothers want to be confident and youthful. Given the amount of women who are having children later in life, the body is less able to bounce back to what it was before,” states Weinberg.
The doctor was recently recognized for his work on the popular reality television series Skin Deep, where he was invited to showcase his abilities during several episodes.
In day-to-day life, he works with patients out of his two private surgical clinics, the Toronto Plastic Surgery Clinic in Yorkville and the renowned Mississauga Cosmetic Surgery and Laser Clinic. He is also the current chief of plastic surgery at Trillium Health Centre where, among his other duties, he teaches doctors-in-training in the plastic surgery program for the University of Toronto.
At a time too when such advances in cosmetic enhancements are available, Weinberg notes the Mommy Makeover is more affordable and safe.
“From a financial perspective, the cost would be about one-fifth of what you’d invest in a car. But a few years down the road, you may trade in that car for another. Your body, however, is forever,” says Weinberg. •
WHAT OPTING FOR A MOMMY MAKEOVER COVERS
Breast augmentation: Having performed more than 1,000 in the last few years, this is yet another surgery Dr. Michael Weinberg is considered renowned for. It is incorporated as part of the Mommy Makeover to curb the changes that occur due to breastfeeding and/or weight gain. Surgery usually takes around one-and-a-half hours and risks are low, but do include deflation of the implant or capsular contracture. Mammograms can still be performed post-surgery.
Breast lift: Weinberg says this is often done in combination with breast augmentation. Its purpose is to redesign and raise the breasts by removing excess skin and repositioning the breast tissue, as well as the nipples.
Tummy tuck/mini tuck: This type of surgery is considered ideal for those who’ve experienced fluctuations in weight gain. Laxity of the stomach area also occurs with age, though Weinberg notes that loosening of the skin can be exacerbated by weight loss. Surgery helps to flatten the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin, while tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. Recovery can take up to six weeks. A mini tuck differs from a tummy tuck, however, in that the surgery only takes 45 minutes and many patients heal within a few days. This is because a mini tuck targets an isolated pouch of fat, usually occurring below the belly button.
Liposuction: This procedure is ideal for treating localized bulges of fat. Depending on which area is being treated and how much fat removal is involved, patients may recover in as little as one day, or one to two weeks after surgery. It is performed by placing a tube into the area via a small incision and the fat is then sucked away. Full recovery from bruising and swelling can take anywhere from one to six months. Achieved results can be permanent if the patient follows a sensible diet and exercise program.
Each of these surgeries was also showcased by Weinberg on the reality show Skin Deep.