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Some critics point to the potential medical risks (not to mention the out-of-pocket expenditures) posed by what are essentially cosmetic, nonessential procedures (see below).
Studies have shown that performed properly, combining a tummy tuck with breast surgery and liposuction is no more risky than performing them separately. “But the more you do, the more difficult it is and the more things can go wrong,” warns Stoker. Ideally, he says, surgery should not last much longer than four hours, you should undergo a medical screening beforehand, and your surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (not the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery). Complication rates vary widely among physicians, but major life-threatening problems are rare. If your surgery is to be performed at an ambulatory (outpatient) center, it should be properly accredited; to find out, go to aaahc.org or aaaasf.org.
Pitts-Taylor worries about the ethics of marketing procedures together. “Cosmetic surgeons suggest that pregnancy brings about a series of bodily distortions that has to be repaired, and you don’t need just one surgery, you need a whole package,” she says. “Surgery should be performed only when you really desire it, not because it’s included in a package.”
And keep in mind that getting a mom job may not transform your life: If you think surgery will improve your marriage or your long-term mood, you might be in for a disappointment. Says Zuckerman, “Studies have repeatedly shown that people who have cosmetic surgery are happy that a body part has been fixed, but they are not happier with their lives and don’t feel better about themselves.”
|Procedure/Cost*||What It Is||Things To Know|
|Excess skin and fat are cut away in an elliptical (football) shape from hip to hip (the scar is usually hidden below the panty line). Vertical abdominal muscles are also tightened.||Two- to three-hour procedure is done under general anesthesia. You may be able to return to work in a couple of weeks but can't exercise for four to six weeks.|
|Many surgeons do a breast lift first, followed in several months by implants if desired, allowing skin to heal and breast tissue to settle. Excess skin is removed to restore fullness to the upper breast, and nipple is often moved higher.||Takes about two hours and is performed under general anesthesia. Recovery time may be shorter than after a tummy tuck. Some surgeons will perform both procedures at the same time; done properly, this does not increase risks.|
|Fat is removed through a canula (a hollow pen-like instrument) or via laser or an ultrasonic probe that breaks it up into small pieces.||Takes from 30 minutes to two hours depending on volume of fat removed (this also determines anesthetic). You can usually return to work the next day. Has a lower complication rate than the other surgeries.|