The “mommy makeover” is a collection of cosmetic procedures that can be performed within a single operation. Your surgeon will tailor your surgery based on your unique aesthetic goals, addressing multiple concerns simultaneously. While motherhood isn’t a prerequisite for the operation, most procedures focus on the areas most likely to be changed by pregnancy and childbirth, such as the breasts, abdomen, and intimate regions. Some women may also add facial procedures for a complete head-to-toe transformation.
As patients meticulously plan how they want to look after their operation, the common concern of scarring can also arise. When it comes to the question, “Does a mommy makeover leave scars?” patients may really be wondering, “Will scarring affect my mommy makeover results?” or “Is a mommy makeover worth the scars?”
Will I Have Scars After a Mommy Makeover?
The answer to the first question (which most of you will already know) is “yes.” Plastic surgery is still surgery, and scars are the natural outcome. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will approach each incision with a fine, delicate touch, taking great care to camouflage scars and create beautiful, natural-looking results. As time passes, these scars will continue to improve until they become largely unnoticeable—whether as a product of healing or your own acceptance of them.
In short, the vast majority of mommy makeover patients find that the thrill of having their ideal body far exceeds (and outlasts) their hesitation regarding scars—and you can see why in the before and after photos below:
If scarring continues to pose a concern, your plastic surgeon can advise you on nonsurgical interventions once your body has healed.
What Will My Mommy Makeover Scars Look Like?
This guide will cover some of the most common procedures involved in a mommy makeover and the types of incisions used in each. On our site, we also have an infographic covering the typical recovery timeline as well as a gallery of before and after photos showing some of our patients’ results.
My goal is to help you gain a realistic outlook on what to expect from your results and your recovery so that you can feel as comfortable and informed as possible when you come to your consultation.
After pregnancy and nursing, you may notice significant changes to your breasts, from a sagging, deflated, or “stretched out” look to notable asymmetry, as one breast may return to its pre-pregnancy size but not the other. The shape of the breasts may also change as the dense, fatty tissue and structures involved in lactation shift and eventually dissipate after you’ve weaned your baby.
Women seeking to regain this fullness may consider implants to enhance the firmness and shapeliness of the breasts. Plastic surgeons tend to employ one of three main techniques for breast augmentation incisions.
- The inframammary technique creates an incision below the breasts, concealing the scar under the natural crease beneath the breast.
- The periareolar technique traces the edge of the areola and is similarly discreet, as the scars will blend into the darker skin coloration.
- The transaxillary technique is performed endoscopically and accesses the breasts from a small incision under the armpit. With this technique, the (already minimal) scarring is hidden in a less visible part of the body.
A common misconception is that breast implants alone can provide a “perkier” bust when, in many cases, the opposite is usually true. The additional weight and volume may pull the breasts down rather than having the desired uplifted effect. This is where the aptly named breast lift may help return a woman’s breasts to their pre-pregnancy (or desired) state, especially when performed in tandem with breast augmentation. In addition to elevating both the breasts and the nipples, a breast lift also targets excess skin and reshapes the bust to have a more appealing contour.
While breast lifts often have the most visible forms of scarring, I have extensive training in short scar incision patterns that enhance patients’ comfort and surgical outcomes. These incisions are much more discreet and may circle the areola (periareolar), go horizontally along the crease of the breast, where they will be naturally hidden, or—for patients seeking a breast reduction with their breast lift—a circumvertical pattern that combines these two incision types and leaves a single, subtle scar along the natural curve of the breast.
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty targets the abdomen and waist to create a more trim and toned appearance. Pregnancy can stretch and loosen the abdominal muscles, while postpartum weight changes can contribute to excess fat and skin. A tummy tuck addresses these concerns while sometimes also tackling stretch marks and C-section scars. The procedure is often combined with liposuction to sculpt the abdomen and promote a slimmer silhouette.
A full tummy tuck involves a small incision around the navel and a second incision extending from one hip to the other very low on the torso. Its less-intensive counterpart, the mini tummy tuck, involves one incision horizontally on the lower abdomen. Your surgeon carefully plans the placement of these lateral incisions so you can easily conceal them with underwear or a swimsuit bottom. The circular incision is also camouflaged as the navel is reshaped and repositioned.
Following childbirth, some women will notice a change in the look and positioning of their labia. The skin may have become looser, hang lower, or be asymmetrical after pregnancy. A labiaplasty will delicately trim and tighten the labia minora (the small folds around the vagina) and/or the labia majora (the more prominent outer folds) to enhance physical comfort and empower greater sexual confidence. Incisions in this procedure are as small as possible and blend in with the skin’s natural contours.
While most mommy makeovers focus primarily on the body, some women also pursue procedures to revitalize the face and neck. These commonly include a facelift to target the cheeks, nasolabial folds, chin, and neck and a brow lift with or without eyelid surgery to address the upper third of the face. Given the high visibility of these areas, plastic surgeons seek to be as unobtrusive as possible, with scars usually hidden within the hair-bearing part of the scalp, along the curve of the ears, or under the chin to preserve a natural look.
Results vs. Scars
Most patients find that their incisions fade to subtle marks that are easily concealed by hair, clothing, or makeup. The prospect of having scars may seem daunting at first, but after viewing before and after photos and doing your research, you may find that what you (and others) will notice and remember are the striking results of the mommy makeover rather than the incisions it took to get there.