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Mommy Makeover Surgery

Restore the Form and Function of Your Body after Your Pregnancy





John Q. Cook, M.D.

Chicago 312-751-2112
Winnetka 847-446-7562

Mommy Makeover Surgery Allows a Woman to Restore Her Body to the Form and Function She Had Before Pregnancy

Video: Mommy Makeover

Dr. John Q. Cook explains the mommy makeover procedure, which combines breast surgery and abdominal surgery.


Although pregnancy affects all aspects of a woman’s body, the two areas that experience the greatest change are the breasts and the abdomen.

Very often plastic surgery of the breasts and abdomen can be combined into a single operation that is often referred to as mommy makeover surgery. The specific surgical plan varies from one patient to the next, since different bodies change in different ways, and different women have different goals and priorities.

Mommy makeover | Whole Beauty Institute | Dr. John Q. Cook

Mommy makeover surgery. Click image to view in photo gallery.

One of the best things about this type of surgery is that it can remove a negative feedback cycle that can demotivate people from healthy habits of nutrition and exercise. Many of my patients tell me that they were in superb physical condition prior to pregnancy. After the first pregnancy it was fairly easy to lose weight and restore a fit contour to the body, but with additional pregnancies the process became more difficult.

Despite hours with the trainer, yoga classes, and all types of exercise, the tummy is loose, the waist wider, and the breasts empty and settled. As the woman looks at herself in the mirror, she becomes frustrated. In some cases, she may conclude that exercise and nutrition are no longer worth it, since they don’t really affect the areas that frustrate her. For someone like this, mommy makeover surgery can bring the body back to where it was before pregnancy, which is a powerful motivator for good habits.

Why Mommy Makeover Surgery Makes Artistic Sense

Artists have long recognized that the breasts and abdomen form a key aesthetic region of the body. Many of the greatest works of classical art celebrate the interplay between these two areas. It makes perfect sense from an artistic perspective to enhance the beauty of both areas at the same time.

Why Mommy Makeovers Make Practical Sense

In contemporary life, time is a precious commodity. This is particularly true for a woman who now adds “mom” to her other job descriptions. Rather than two recoveries from surgery, combined surgery of the breast and abdomen allow for a single recovery period.

Physical Benefits of Mommy Makeover Surgery

For many women the changes that occur in their bodies as a result of pregnancy have a significant impact on body mechanics and comfort. Often as a result of pregnancy, the deep support of the abdomen is diminished. This is because the main sit-up muscles lose their anchor at the midline of the body and drift out to the sides. It may become difficult for a woman to maintain control of the tone of her abdomen, and the tummy may actually bulge forward. Exercise may do little to improve the situation, since the muscles are no longer in proper position, and all the exercise in the world will not help this.

For some women, pregnancy causes the breasts to settle to a lower position on the body. This changes the center of gravity of the body and affects motion and posture. If both the abdomen and the breasts are changed in the way I have just described there can be a double effect on body mechanics. Posture may change, with an exaggerated curvature of the spine, and back pain may become a problem. It is a wonderful experience when one of our mommy makeover patients tells us that not only is she pleased with the beautiful lines of her body, but she feels much better too.

Three Areas of the Body Often Change with Pregnancy and Can Be Helped by Mommy Makeover Surgery

There are three areas of the body that are affected by pregnancy that we often address with mommy makeover surgery: the breasts, the abdomen, and the fatty zones of the midbody and legs. These areas change in different ways in different people and partially follow patterns determined by genetics.

How the Breasts Can Change After Pregnancy

There are several ways the breasts change after pregnancy. The three key considerations are volume, position, and balance.

Very often breasts will lose significant volume after pregnancy. This may leave the breasts looking deflated and hollowed in their upper portions. There is also the possibility of a gain in breast volume after pregnancy. If too much volume is gained, there may be a need for breast reduction, both to improve visual harmony and to improve body mechanics.

Mommy makeover surgery | John Q. Cook, M.D. | Chicago and North Shore

Mommy makeover before and after. Click image to view in gallery.

With many patients, pregnancy results in breasts that sit lower on the body than they did before pregnancy. If this lowering of the breasts is severe, it may alter body mechanics and contribute to back pain, especially if the muscles of the abdomen are not working properly. If there is just a little settling combined with volume loss, breast implants may be all that is necessary to bring the breasts back to a pleasing shape. We offer our patients a variety of breast lifts that allow for us to match our patients’ goals.

Sometimes pregnancy and breast feeding may result in the breasts being out of balance, with one breast in a different position and of a different size than the other. When the breasts are brought back into balance, there can be significant physical and artistic benefits.

How the Abdomen Can Change After Pregnancy

Often the most obvious change in the abdomen after pregnancy is a loosening of the skin. Skin that was previously tight may now have folds and wrinkles, sometimes to the degree that the skin overhangs the umbilicus. If there has been a C-section scar in the lower abdomen this may produce an indentation with loose skin above. The precise location of the skin looseness will affect the design of any corrective surgery that we recommend.

Mommy makeover surgery | Whole Beauty Institute | Dr. John Q. Cook

Mommy makeover before and after. Click image to view in gallery.

Changes in the deep level of the abdominal wall will have the greatest effect on comfort and exercise. Normally the paired rectus muscles (also known as abs or sit-up muscles) are held together near the midline with just a minor separation between them. With pregnancy these muscles may drift apart. This widens the waist and causes the abdomen to bulge forward.

The zone between the skin and the deep muscles of the abdominal wall also experiences changes with pregnancy. There are deep fat compartments, which may enlarge as a result of the hormonal changes of pregnancy and there is a very important intermediate level of fascia that helps to maintain the tightness of the abdomen. This layer is neglected in some abdominoplasty techniques, but to the patient’s disadvantage. We pay careful attention to this layer in our abdominoplasty technique.

How the Fat Distribution in the Mid-body and Legs Can Change with Pregnancy

Women have deep fat compartments in several zones: the outer thigh, the inner thigh, the inner knee, the hip, the flank and the abdomen. Some women have a genetic tendency to accumulate more fat than expected in one or several of these zones. If this is the case, plastic surgeons can use various techniques of liposuction to reduce the fat in these area.

Some women have fat compartments that increase in size in response to the hormonal stimulus of pregnancy. Once it has increased the fat may be very difficult to control with normal levels of exercise and good eating habits.

Liposuction can be a helpful part of the plan for the mommy makeover procedure. Depending on the extent of other surgery, this may be done at the time of the breast and abdominal surgery, or it may be done separately. If it is necessary to do liposuction separately, we can often use the newer techniques of laser liposuction such as Smart Lipo® and Slim Lipo®, which have the advantage of a very quick recovery period. We usually do laser liposuction under local anesthesia in the office, which makes it less intimidating.

We Will Design a Plan for Your Mommy Makeover Surgery That Is Well Suited to Your Goals, Lifestyle and Aesthetic Preferences

The mommy makeover is a spectrum of possibilities, rather than a specific operation. The goal is to restore and refine the contours of the breast, abdomen, and the lower body that have been changed by pregnancy.

A detailed individualized evaluation is at the heart of everything we do at The Whole Beauty® Institute and this particularly true with the mommy makeover operation. Because of our extensive experience, we can guide you to choices that make sense given your artistic preferences as well as the practicalities of lifestyle and time available for recovery.

Here are the operations that can be combined for your mommy makeover:


  1. Breast Reduction
  2. Breast Lift
  3. Breast Augmentation
  4. Breast Augmentation with Lift


  1. High Later Tension Abdominoplasty
  2. Superficial Abdominoplasty
  3. Lower Abdominoplasty combined with liposuction
  4. Abdominal liposuction combined with non-invasive skin tightening


  1. Classical Liposuction
  2. Vaser® Lipoplasty
  3. SmartLipo® Laser Liposuction
  4. SlimLipo® Laser Liposuction
  5. Arm Contouring

It’s Important Where You Have Your Mommy Makeover Surgery

Mommy makeover covers a wide range of surgical combinations, some of which have a relatively easy recovery and some of which have a longer recovery. With the larger procedures, for example, breast reduction combined with abdominoplasty, we carry out our surgery in an accredited outpatient surgical center rather than in the office. This is a busy center, where a number of leading surgeons operate. As a result, on a typical day, four or five board-certified anesthesiologists, 10 RN’s and a host of support personnel are working at the center. In the very unlikely event of a medical issue developing during surgery, I believe that this concentration of talent is very much to the patient’s benefit and cannot be equaled in an office-based facility. This will make the surgery more expensive, but as they say, “safety isn’t cheap.” The surgical facility is also just a few minutes away from two of Chicago’s leading medical centers, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Rush University Medical Center.

Just as We Customize the Surgical Plan for Your Mommy Makeover, We Customize the Plan for Your Recovery

With larger operations, our patients spend one or several nights at a luxury hotel that is connected to the surgicenter. A highly experienced nurse will provide you with one-on-one attention. We will work with you closely in the planning of the recovery process, so that it will be as smooth as possible.

Because of our extensive experience with various Mommy Makeover operations, we have a good idea of what the recovery is like from each combination and we will educate you as to the proper steps you should take in advance to make the recovery optimal.

Learn More About Mommy Makeover Surgery

Mommy makeover is a comprehensive cosmetic surgery procedure that can help women tighten, tone and trim their body following the effects of pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more about this surgical enhancement, contact Dr. John Q. Cook at 312-751-2112 in Chicago, or 847-446-7562 in Winnetka to schedule a consultation.