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Mommy Makeover: A Plastic Surgery Trend

A growing number of women are undergoing mommy makeovers -- plastic surgery procedures that restore their post-pregnancy bodies.

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"Breast augmentation was very popular during the 1970s and 1980s," she says. "They called it 'restoration of the breasts due to postpartum changes,' and it was done very, very quietly, and insurance paid for it.  From 1991 to 2003, there was a hiatus because women were scared that implants were unsafe, so they wanted to see the science.  After that, it became safe again, which is why we're seeing [the upswing]."

Jennifer Malone, 32, is one of those moms. Three months ago, the Jefferson, Ga., real estate agent opted for the postpartum plastic surgery trifecta: tummy tuck; breast lift plus augmentation; and liposuction on her legs, arms, stomach, and lower back. 

Later this year, Malone, who has three school-age children, also plans to take advantage of the free liposuction "touch-ups" included in the package.

"I can't wait," she says.  "And if the boobs start resagging, she'll relift them for free, too."

Costs and Complications

Those changes didn't come without pain, however.  While serious complications and death are infrequent, pain from the procedures can be severe, especially in the first several days after surgery.

"I was prepared for the worst, but I was off the narcotics in three days," says Malone.  "The first 24 hours is, by far, the most awful time of your life, though.  It was pure hell."

Still, Malone says her recovery period was surprisingly easy, and her scars are rapidly disappearing.  Brock was also amazed at how quickly she bounced back -- although the first three days after her surgeries were both very painful.

Cost is another factor.  Malone financed the $14,000 cost of her mommy makeover with a gift from her father.  Brock paid for both of her surgeries with a credit card.

In 2006, Americans spent $11.5 billion on cosmetic procedures.  The national average surgeon's fee for breast augmentation was $3,600.  Tummy tucks averaged $5,063 and liposuction, $2,750.  Add anesthesia, hospital fees, and other incidentals, and the price tags rise significantly. 

Casas charges $7,000 to $8,000 for a breast augmentation using saline implants.  Silicone adds another $1,000.  She bills $9,000 to $10,000 for a tummy tuck, and $3,000 per area for liposuction.  Mackenzie's costs are comparable.

A Different Choice

Not everyone is rushing to the operating table, however.

Casas estimates that the breasts of one-third of the mothers she's seen during her 18 years of practice return to normal after pregnancy -- if their weight does.  Another third suffer from stretched skin and less breast tissue.  The final third, which often includes those who do not lose the baby weight, have larger breasts after their deliveries.

She also recommends that patients try and tighten up their abdominal area first through diet and exercise, which in many cases allow them to bypass a tummy tuck.

Brush Up on Beauty

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