Five reasons why it’s a good idea to stick to Spanx (and skip the tummy tuck).
Hey Mamas! Do you have your heart set on more than a sugar high this Sunday? Are you craving a lift that can’t be found even in the most-sweet box of chocolates? Is all-you-want for Mother’s Day your pre-baby (and breastfeeding) body? Well, you’re not alone — the American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that breast augmentation, lipo and tummy tucks (which comprise the popular “Mommy Makeover”) were among 2012’s most requested.
But, hang on sec before you loose yourself in a poolside reverie (including cool drinks, teeny bikinis and lots of SPF). There are times when your surgeon wants to delay (or even decline) your surgical dream…. we spoke with an expert or two to find out when Spanx trumps the scalpel.
1. Your Surgical Expectations Are Larger Than Life
Even if you single-handedly slay large piles of laundry, slap on Sponge Bob Band-Aids and choreograph an orchestra of meals (completely sans box or can) – you’re still human. Which means it isn’t safe to have every single procedure at once — a surgery longer than 6 hours increases anesthesia risk, and the potential for blood clotting and infection due to the body cooling, says cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Lalla, M.D.
So, think about penciling in two dates: One for mommy makeover (or post-partum restoration, as cosmetic surgeon Dr. Adam Tattelbaum, M.D., has coined it) and another go-round for the thigh lift and back lipo.
And what about your physician? Well, although he or she is likely a surgical superhero — they are only human too. “I pretty much do everything on my own,” says Dr. Lalla, “I don’t have a physician’s assistant or others [doing my] suturing. After 6 hours, I might not be the best I’m going to be. I [like to] do 6 hours and then come back another day.”
We all desire smokin’ hotness on the sand — but you also want the best result, and this may mean a well-rested surgeon with fresh eyes (and hands).
2. Your Diabetes Is Completely Out of Control
Diabetes is not an absolute contraindication for a cosmetic procedure — but you do have to make sure you’re in tip-top shape. The translation?
Says Dr. Tattelbaum, “I want my diabetic patients to be as healthy as possible (preferably not insulin-dependent) and not overweight—and I do my diligence to make sure they don’t have underlying cardiac conditions and their sugars are well controlled.”
Years of uncontrolled blood sugar can damage of the tiny blood vessels (or microvasculature) that feed the skin — so you can have issues with healing. Says Dr. Tattelbaum, “When you change the vasculature with a tummy tuck, the microvasculature has to work harder. And if you have [chronic uncontrolled] diabetes, those micro vessels are not working the way they are supposed to. Infection rates can also increase, as you need that microvasculature to bring antibiotics and the body’s healing power.”
Add in that a sugar-packed environment is a food festival of sorts for bacterial growth (and the fact that the surgery stress naturally increases blood sugar) and you can be at even greater risk, says Dr. Tattelbaum.
3. You’re Still Smoking
Smoking also reduces circulation to these tiny (but oh-so-essential) blood vessels, says Dr. Lalla. “When you’re doing a big breast lift and putting an implant underneath, you have a lack of blood supply anyway—and if you’re diabetic or smoker you have to be careful and plan accordingly. With smokers I just won’t do — I’ll say, “It’s not worth it, you have to stop smoking.” If you can, quit for 3 weeks before and after surgery you’ll have much better results.”
Kicking the habit is also key if you’re thinking of a lift for drooping or sagging nipples. Says Dr. Lalla, “You can have loss of feeling or even loss of skin.”
4. You Haven’t Yet Reached Your Weight Loss Goal
It’s completely worth the wait (if you’re still battling yours) — as Dr. Tattelbaum explains that obesity amplifies risk for post-op complications like blood clots and pneumonia. And, when layers of fat are thicker, you’re again at risk for infection and seroma (a.k.a. a pocket of fluid collection in a wound).
“If you’re loosing weight and finding success — don’t rush into this. I’m never going to rush someone into surgery. If they are not healthy enough and they are not ready — it’s not worth it for them,” says Dr. Tattelbaum.
And, if you have your heart set on loosing more than a few dress sizes — slap on some Spanx and wait a bit before you sign the surgical consent form.
“If I do a beautiful tummy tuck on someone and then they loose [another] 50 pounds — they will need another tummy tuck. Again, it’s always best to be the weight that you want to be [pre-surgery],” says Dr. Tattelbaum.
A similar mantra also applies to making sure you’re totally done doing the baby thing, says Dr. Lalla, “I don’t like to do [this procedure] if a woman is going to have more children.. it’s a waste of their money because their belly will stretch out again and breast [sagging] may reoccur.”
5. You Don’t Have Enough Time
And, hey, don’t I know it (said the mom who is writing this article…). But jesting aside, mommy makeover is a major surgery and you’re going to need time and the right kind of support (a.k.a. Grandma and the benevolence of your entire Book Club) for your recovery.
“The worst thing you can say is that you’re going to do this on Friday be back to work on Monday. Which believe it or not — many, many people think they are going to do. They hurt themselves because it’s not realistic or safe,” says Dr. Tattelbaum.
So, buy some nice sheets, que up the Netflix and get a babysitter on speed dial for the next few weeks — a full recovery can take up to six weeks and your ability to lift, stretch, reach (and even sit) will be impaired.
Take advantage of the fact that we’re giving you permission to stow away your Superwoman cape — it’s not worth the risk of bleeding, pain or pulling out your sutures. Oh and Happy Mother’s Day — our only wish is that you explore this all-too-foreign concept of “rest and relaxation” this upcoming Sunday….
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