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MAKING OVER MOMMY PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURE HELPS WOMEN BACK TO PRE-MOTHERHODD BODY.

Byline: MELISSA HECKSCHER

>LA.COM

Vicki Bayard knew the deflated pouch of skin hanging below her belly button wasn't going to go away on its own.

The sagging skin -- along with her breasts, which had long ago drooped as a result of breast-feeding two children -- was a byproduct of motherhood that no amount of diet or exercise would budge.

And so at 48, with both son and daughter grown and out of the house, the blue-eyed, blond-haired Palm Springs resident opted for the sort of changes only a scalpel could make.

Last month, Bayard went to Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey to get a Mommy Makeover, a nearly four-hour procedure designed to get her body closer to what it was before she became a mother.

"I had been doing sit-ups and sit-ups and sit-ups," she said. "It was really something I couldn't change on my own."

A three-in-one procedure pioneered by Dr. Grant Stevens at Marina Plastic Surgery Associates, a Mommy Makeover typically involves a tummy tuck, breast work (lift, reduction or augmentation) and liposuction; but some women opt for add-ons, including vaginal rejuvenation, eye-lifts and Thermage facial tightening.

"Women have taken control of their lives and their bodies, and they want to feel good about how they look after having their children," Stevens said in an e-mail. "Happy, healthy moms frequently exclaim, 'I want my body back."'

Stevens said the most common complaints are sagging breasts, overhanging belly skin (called a "postpartum pouch") and fat deposits on the hips and thighs as a result of pregnancy.

"Diet and exercise can't lift saggy breasts," he said. "It can't be done without surgery, and if it bothers her and I can help her, then why not?"

For East Los Angeles resident Laticia Roldan, who gained about 100 pounds after her children were born, having a Mommy Makeover was something she wished she had done sooner.

"When I was pregnant, everyone had told me, 'Eat, eat, eat,'" said the 39-year-old mother of two. "They told me, 'If you breast-feed your kids, you'll lose the weight.' I breast-fed for two years."

Roldan waited until her youngest child was 12 before making an appointment at Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, initially wanting only a tummy tuck.

She ended up getting a makeover that included the tummy tuck and breast augmentation, plus liposuction of the hips, thighs and arms.

Doctors say combining multiple procedures into one operation can be safer than doing them separately since it means the patient needs only one course of anesthesia and one recovery time instead of several. It is also more economical because a portion of surgery costs cover operating room and anesthesia fees.

Still, it's not cheap. The typical Mommy Makeover costs between $20,000 and $35,000. By comparison, a tummy tuck alone costs about $15,000; a breast augmentation, about $16,000; and liposuction, about $10,000.

Pricey as it is, there's no shortage of demand. Marina Plastic Surgery Associates, which has been offering the surgery for more than a decade, does more than 400 Mommy Makeovers per year.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons doesn't keep track of the makeovers as a whole, but statistics show that in 2006 more than 325,000 tummy tuck, breast augmentation and breast-lift procedures were performed on women ages 20 to 39 -- an 11 percent increase over 2005.

According to the organization's spokeswoman Dr. Susan Kaweski, a San Diego-based plastic surgeon, the demand for Mommy Makeovers is so high she's seen at least one woman come in even before having her child.

"She was six months pregnant and she was already planning," Kaweski said. "I've had some women come in and ask, 'Can I have my tummy tuck done at the same time my C-section is done?' I think that is crazy."

When it comes to scheduling surgery, Kaweski urges new moms to wait at least six months after childbirth, or enough time for the body to return to pre-pregnancy weight.

"First things first," she said. "Have your baby, make sure it's safe. Then when you get back to your normal, healthy weight, you come back and see me."

But some fitness and nutrition experts say surgery shouldn't be the solution.

"For so many reasons, that is such the wrong message to be giving new moms," said Los Angeles-based nutritionist Jackie Keller, author of "Body After Baby: A Simple, Healthy Plan to Lose Your Baby Weight Fast" (Avery, 2006). "The implication is that you can't fix it yourself, and I don't think that's the truth."

A mother of two, Keller said proper diet and exercise can bring many women back to their pre-pregnancy shape. She admitted surgery may be the only way to erase stretch marks or perk up sagging breasts but said it's a decision that should be carefully weighed.

"It's a slippery slope when you start down this path," she said. "You'll say, 'Well, I just need to get this little thing fixed.' Wouldn't it be better to adopt a new, healthier lifestyle?"

Plastic surgeons say it's a matter of doing both.

"Diet and exercise is the way to start," Stevens said. "Then, with the Mommy Makeover, I can refine that hard work."

Melissa Heckscher, (310) 540-5511, Ext. 329;

melissa.heckscher@dailybreeze.com

Where can you go for a Mommy Makeover?

ENCINO

California Center for Plastic Surgery

16055 Ventura Blvd.

818) 386-1222

www.beautifulfigure.com

BEVERLY HILLS

Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery

421 N. Rodeo Drive,

Terrace Level South

(310) 550-6300

www.rodeodriveplasticsurgery.com

MARINA DEL REY

Marina Plastic Surgery Associates

4644 Lincoln Blvd., Suite 552

(866) 588-7507

www.marinaplasticsurgery.com

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Mommy makeovers

Doctors delivering more than just the baby

(2) Roldan, who had gained about 100 pounds after the birth of her children, had breast augmentation, a tummy tuck and liposuction done during her makeover.

TINA BURCH>LA.COM

(3) Dr. Lloyd Krieger, above, in his operating room at Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, performed a multiprocedure Mommy Makeover on Laticia Roldan, 39, pictured at right.

(4 -- color) Vicki Bayard, 48, pictured with her daughter, had a nearly four-hour Mommy Makeover procedure last month at Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey.

Box:

Where can you go for a mommy Makeover? (see text)
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 6, 2007
Words:1052
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