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

    Mommy Makeover: A Plastic Surgery Trend

    Costs and Complications continued...

    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.

    "Some women bounce back like nothing ever happened," Mackenzie says. "Some women's bodies are ravaged after pregnancy."

    For other mothers, it's an issue of priorities -- and a woman's well-being.

    Malone's younger sister, Joanna Duke, a 28-year-old public relations representative and mother of two in Decatur, Ga., is opposed to mommy makeovers. She believes that many women are trying to solve emotionalproblems with the surgeries.

    "It's like putting a Band-Aid on a larger issue that you're not willing to work on," she says. "You need to fix those issues first. Then, if you still have a self-esteem problem -- or whatever is driving you to have elective surgery -- get it done. But go to counseling first, because nine times out of ten, the people that I know also have emotional issues going on."

    Brush Up on Beauty

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