After four kids, Kim gets her pre-baby body back.

Name: Kim Nelson

Procedures: Abdominoplasty, breast lift and breast augmentation

Performed by: Dr. Feng Chong

14 06 04 BeforeandAfter 1

14 06 04 BeforeandAfter 2

After the birth of her fourth child, Kim Nelson did all that she could to get into shape, but she knew that “things weren’t going to go back to where they were.”

That’s when she started thinking about doing something about the stretched skin and deflated breasts she was left with after multiple pregnancies. Although she had the full support of her husband, making the decision to have a mommy makeover wasn’t easy.

She acknowledges she felt guilty about the cost and worried about potential complications. “I had thought about it for a few years before I actually went ahead and did it,” says Nelson, 39, who lives in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Then a friend had a mommy makeover and Nelson saw firsthand what the procedure and recovery were like, and she decided to go for it.

In August 2011, Nelson had a tummy tuck, breast lift and breast augmentation all done at the same time. Now boasting a flat tummy and fuller breasts that no longer sag, Nelson says she feels more confident about her body. A mom to three teenage daughters, Nelson was careful to explain to her children her reasons for going through with cosmetic surgery.

“I told them this was something I did after having four children and I explained what that does to your body,” she says, adding that, although she’s naturally become more confident with age, having a mommy makeover has made her happier about herself.

Nelson had the procedures done by Dr. Feng Chong in Edmonton, Alberta. Dr. Chong was the second plastic surgeon she met with, and he immediately impressed her. “He has a wonderful bedside manner, and he’s very upfront about what’s realistic and what’s not,” she says. After the operation, Nelson had a terrific recovery. She was out of commission the week after surgery, but by the second week she was able to drive her kids around. Two months after the operation, she was back to her boot camp class. She compares the pain as being similar to what she experienced after having a Caesarean section. A few months later, the swelling went down and she was fully healed. She describes the results as “excellent.”

“I look in the mirror and I’m very happy. I wouldn’t think twice about doing it again,” she says.

For moms contemplating a mommy makeover, Nelson says it’s important to have realistic expectations. Your body changes as you get older and after you have children, and you’re never going to look the way you did when you were 18. It’s about “being the best that you can possibly look,” she says. She recommends the procedure to moms who feel self-conscious about their bodies and can make the financial commitment to having plastic surgery.

“For myself, it was kind of a reward after having babies and wanting to do something for a long time,” she says.

ASK THE DOCTOR

Dr. Feng Chong, BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Edmonton, Alberta, plasticsurgeryalberta.ca

ELEVATE: What concerns did Kim have when she visited you for an initial consultation?

Dr. CHONG: She was unhappy with the drooping and sagging in her breasts, as well as the decreased size, volume and fullness in the upper part of her breasts. She also did not like the loose skin in her abdomen.

ELEVATE: Why was Kim a good candidate for a mommy makeover procedure?

Dr. CHONG: She was a healthy mom, she was finished having kids, and she had no other medical issues. She exercised, ate healthy and was at a healthy weight. As well, she is a non-smoker. She also had a good attitude, with realistic expectations.

ELEVATE: What incisions were made?

Dr. CHONG: We used an anchor-type incision for her breasts—also described as an upside-down T-incision. There is a faint incision around the areola, one up and down and one in the fold of the breast. Her tummy tuck incision is in the groin area and is hidden in the bikini line.

ELEVATE: What was Kim’s recovery like?

Dr. CHONG: She did very well. There were no major issues and, from what I recall, she was surprised that it wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.

ELEVATE: What’s the cost of the mommy makeover?

Dr. CHONG: The more you have done, the more it will cost. But for most people, it’s in the low $10,000 to mid-high $10,000 range—around there.

ELEVATE: How do most patients respond to the procedure?

Dr. CHONG: They’re off work for about two weeks, but during that time we encourage them to walk and do simple things. They can’t do heavy lifting or exercise for eight weeks. For the final result, it’s usually six to 12 months, and the main aspect of that is the scar. When you give it time, it fades to the point where we’re happy with it.

ELEVATE: What’s the feedback that you generally get from patients who have undergone a mommy makeover?

Dr. CHONG: We don’t get anyone who comes in and says they regret it, so everyone is happy. The one thing that is resounding with a lot of patients is they say they wish they had done it earlier. I get that all the time.

ELEVATE: What’s the impact that this procedure tends to have on patients, both mentally and on their lives?

Dr. CHONG: Not only do they physically look better and feel better about themselves, but it also affects their confidence and self-esteem. We never push surgery on anyone, but for some women it’s life-changing. I also hear from women that it helps them when it comes to physical activity because their core muscles are tightened.