Why I Hate the Term “Mommy Makeover”

bio-greenSeveral years ago, we had run a reasonably tasteful ad in the newspaper promoting our body contouring surgeries using the term “mommy makeover.” This phrase is used commonly by our patients and the media to describe procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast lift or breast reduction. Prospective patients often call to ask if we do “mommy makeovers.”

One Sunday soon after we had run the ad, I was approached after church by a woman I knew from the parish. (This happened to be Mother’s Day by the way.) She was very upset that I had used that phrase in the advertisement, calling it demeaning to women and an insult to the perfection that is motherhood. I must admit to being somewhat shaken up after this encounter. After all, intentionally demeaning women was obviously the furthest thing from my mind (in addition to being a fairly awful business plan for a plastic surgeon).

The verbal dressing down did start me thinking though about how I could better communicate with my patients. Using the words “mommy makeover” to describe a certain procedure or procedures could make a non-medical person think that she wouldn’t be having real surgery, or that there wouldn’t be any significant recovery time. Patients might think that the television show Extreme Makeover had even a small basis in reality, and that people really do get back into the gym three days after a tummy tuck (they don’t). This kind of makeover requires a bit more down time than a mani/pedi. Most patients don’t seem to like the doctor to get too clinical or speak medicalese to them, but there has to be a better term we can come up with than “mommy makeover.”

tummy_tuck3aI would be happy to talk to anybody, at any time, about abdominoplasty, breast lift or breast reduction. In actual fact, these are some of the most satisfying procedures we do, both from the patient’s point of view and from the doctor’s perspective as well. You can learn more about these procedures, watch a video and see some before and after photos on our mommy makeover page. (Yes, we have to call it that so people will find it.) In the meantime, let me know if you can think of a more appropriate term to describe these procedures!