Why I Chose to Have a Tummy Tuck

10 Jun

The following was written by a patient who had undergone abdominoplasty. She is 40 years old, and had extreme weight loss resulting in extra skin. I think it’s also an important point to mention that she is recently divorced (which is stressful for anyone), and has been thinking about dating again (which is stressful for EVERYONE!). I am very thankful for her to share her story. There are tons of women who want to know more about this procedure.

Abdominoplasty

AKA “Tummy Tuck” is a surgical procedure used to make the abdomen more firm by removing excess skin and fat from the middle and lower abdomen in order to tighten the muscle and fascia of the abdominal wall. The wall is then stitched together making the abdomen more “tight” in appearance. This procedure is great for women who have had kids (they say you never can get your body back after children—”they” clearly haven’t heard of a good surgeon!) and for individuals who have lots of sagging, excess skin after major weight loss.


This procedure is sometimes also done in conjunction with liposuction of the abdomen. But not always. J

Why I chose to have a tummy tuck

I first considered getting a tummy tuck 2 years ago when I was going through a tough time in my life, thinking it might boost my spirits.  My weight had gone up and down for about 20 years and I had maintained a pretty substantial amount of weight for the latter part of those years.  I had just started to lose some weight due to stress and had talked casually to a surgeon about having it done.  He recommended I have a consult and that was as far as I got with it at the time.   

I thought I had made up my mind when I overheard a friend tell another friend that I was planning surgery for all the wrong reasons.  Something in me snapped and I decided against surgery.  I contacted a personal trainer and started on a plan to lose weight and get in shape.  It was not easy.  I had never been one to exercise and it took me a long time to start choosing the right foods.  The same patterns continued where I would lose some weight, but then put it back on.  I was getting frustrated and knew I had no one to blame but myself.  I continued to work out and eat better but I just couldn’t seem to move forward.

A few months ago I saw the same surgeon who told me I should have the tummy tuck.  He knew I had been working out and eating better and I didn’t look much different.  I took his advice this time and had a consult.  What I learned was that I had loose skin that was never going to get smaller with diet and exercise.  On the contrary, the more weight I lost the more loose skin I had.  It got to the point where I felt like it was both mentally and physically holding me back.  I decided to do the surgery.  The hardest part of my decision was telling my personal trainer.  I was afraid he would think I was taking the easy way out and I respect his opinion.  He was great!  He didn’t realize I was dealing with excess skin and he was very supportive.  He asked me a lot of thought provoking questions to verify that I was doing it for the right reasons and he gave me his blessing.  I thanked him and told him I would see him 6 weeks after surgery.

A week before surgery I had a pre-op where they took photos and went over my health history.  Other than the excess weight I was extremely healthy and a good candidate for surgery.  I was a little nervous, but mostly about the recovery.  I wasn’t nervous about the surgery, just about how I would feel afterward.

The morning of surgery I got up early and went to the hospital.  I was greeted by the wonderful nursing staff and then by my surgeon, Dr. Russo.  Lastly, I was introduced to my anesthesiologist, and that’s where it all becomes fuzzy.  The next thing I know I was waking up and the nurse said hello to me.  My response: Am I skinny now?  She laughed and told me I was.  I was in the recovery room for a short period of time and then two nurses wheeled me to my room.  My only discomfort at this point was bladder pressure (they adjusted my catheter and all was fine) and my back was sore.  Once I was able to adjust myself on the bed I had no discomfort. 

I opted to stay overnight in the hospital and I am glad that I did.  The nursing staff made sure I got meds on a regular schedule and I felt comfortable knowing I had round the clock care.  I had a few visitors who came and made sure I ate and that I was recovering well.  When the nurse came to give me pain meds I asked for Motrin instead.  I had zero pain, which was unexpected, so I didn’t feel the need to take narcotics.  I spent exactly 24 hours in my hospital bed and barely moved a muscle.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with movement so I decided to wait until the next day to move around.

The next morning the nursing staff asked me if I wanted to get out of bed and walk around.  I had them remove my catheter but told them I wanted to wait to get out of bed.  As soon as they left I got up on my own.  I don’t know why.  I think maybe I wanted to know I could do it on my own.  I walked to the bathroom and washed my face and brushed my teeth.  I walked back to the bed for a half hour and then got back up to get dressed in anticipation of going home.  Imagine the surprise the nurses experienced when thy came to check on me and I was dressed and ready to go!  No discomfort!  My only thought was to stay hunched so I wouldn’t compromise my stitches.

My friend, coincidentally a nurse, came to pick me up around noon.  They wheeled me in a wheelchair to the car and I very carefully climbed in.  I was tired but otherwise felt good.  The ride home was uneventful.  I got home and slowly walked upstairs to my bedroom, knowing I would be staying there for a few days while I recovered.  The doctor had told me to get up and walk around a little bit, but only as needed.  I had 2 drains that would let him know if I did too much activity.  I had another nurse friend stay with me the first night home but after that I felt like I could manage on my own.

I was a pretty good patient, or so I thought.  I felt great so I ended up walking around more than I was supposed to.  I washed my hair every day and fed my cats.  When I went for my post op appointment 6 days after surgery I got bad news.  My drains were pulling in too much fluid which meant I couldn’t have them removed.  I was put on bed rest and told to come back in 2 days.  Lesson learned.  I stayed in bed for the full 2 days, only getting up to go to the bathroom.  It worked.  I had my drains removed 2 days later and went back to work 3 days after that.  The removal of the drains was a source of anxiety for me but I barely felt them being removed. 

For 6 weeks I kept my activity to a minimum and followed all my surgeon’s instructions.  I asked the surgeon why I had such a great experience and he said it was probably because I was in shape from working out so much.  My recovery was not exactly typical.  I was a bit tired from the anesthesia but otherwise I felt pretty good.  Physically, I looked a bit out of proportion as I had a lot of swelling but over time everything evened out.  I am now 3 1/2 months post surgery and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  I am back to the gym and I am now focusing on other areas of my body that need attention.  It’s been a long road but a trip worth taking.


Before and After

(*these are not from the patient who wrote the article. I stole them from Dr. Russo’s website. http://www.josepharussomd.com/index.php?page=beforeafter&family=Abdominoplasty). Also, check out how hot those panties are!


Before


After

A Note from Me

Sometimes I wonder if people understand that not all plastic surgery is done by super vain and “plastic” looking people. There are many different types of people who undergo the knife each year for reconstructive purposes and to fix something that has affected their self image. Case studies are the best! You should always talk to people who have done the procedure before (unfortunately most people who are elated with results from plastic surgery aren’t usually telling the world their secrets) so here’s some advice from Joan Rivers, Do Whatever You Want, If It Makes You Happy. But First Take This Quiz..

On a serious note, surgery IS serious and if you’re  Thinking about a NoseJob/Breast Aug/Lipo/Tummy Tuck? … Butt Implants?. you should have the list of questions printed from the blog entry to ask your doctor.

I would also like to remind patients NOT to get out of bed without assistance post-procedures. If you are on narcotics (which you probably still have in your system post-op) you are more likely to fall. And then the nurses have to fill out paperwork and it’s REALLY time consuming. Also, if you ever stand up and you feel dizzy, do NOT look down. Those are my words of wisdom for today.

Thanks!

-LK


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6 Responses to “Why I Chose to Have a Tummy Tuck”

  1. Ellen September 18, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Happy to hear working out has a positive effect on tummy tucks. (after the procedure obviously)

    I’m working out about 3 times per week, trying to keep fit and generally look good. My mid section however, will probably never be the same. Having twins have really affected how my tummy looks (saggy skin). I’m currently on the prowl for a tummy tuck Toronto based clinic so I can have this procedure done as well.

    Your story really comforts me! I’m very glad to hear there will be minimal pain and a quick recovery.

  2. Marc Johnson March 1, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    The procedure of tummy tuck surgery is very effective on people who have lost a lot of weight and now have loose lying folds of excess skin. It can also be beneficial to mothers whose appearance has changed as a result of being pregnant.

    • bostonbeautyblog April 20, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      Marc, check out my new post on Velashape. Also seems to be good for these things, and for the extra skin post tummy tuck.

  3. a June 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    Hurrah! After all I got a blog from where I be capable of in fact get
    useful information regarding my study and knowledge.

  4. Owen Reid January 8, 2015 at 5:23 am #

    I’ve heard that being somewhat fit can greatly reduce your recovery time. Being fit and healthy is always good for surgery and for a good recovery.

    I’m interested in undergoing a quick tummy tuck procedure in Canada.

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