Publishing note: We originally published this post on September 11, 2013, and updated it with the latest information available on April 12, 2016.
Our Albany and Saratoga Springs plastic surgery patients are often curious about whether they should put off their chosen procedures until they’ve finished having children. Like so many things in the field of cosmetic surgery, the short answer to this question is, “It depends.”
The changes that affect a woman’s body during pregnancy can alter the results of previous plastic surgeries. In general, facial procedures, such as facelift or rhinoplasty, can be performed at any point in a woman’s life, provided she meets other guidelines for candidacy. Because pregnancy does not tend to greatly affect the structure of the face, these procedures are usually safe for women of all ages.
Body contouring procedures, especially abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), should be postponed until after a patient has finished having children. During abdominoplasty, excess skin is removed and abdominal muscles are tightened with internal sutures. Though not always, the effects of pregnancy on this area of the body can actually reverse a tummy tuck. For this reason, few surgeons recommend abdominoplasty on patients who are seriously considering future pregnancies.
Breast enhancement, however, is trickier. Due to the anatomy of the breast, most doctors recommend that lift (mastopexy) and reduction surgeries be postponed until after pregnancy. Additionally, the incisions used during these surgeries often involve the nipple. Surgical alteration of the nipple can make it difficult or impossible to breastfeed later in life.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The best way to determine your eligibility for a cosmetic procedure is by consulting a surgeon. By performing a physical examination and asking lots of questions about your lifestyle, he or she can create a customized plan of action to create beautiful results that also fit into your family plan.