Tag Archives: tummy tuck

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.


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!



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.




Thinking about a NoseJob/Breast Aug/Lipo/Tummy Tuck? … Butt Implants?

15 Dec

I go with a lot of my clients to their consultations and watch a lot of procedures with Dr. Russo.  My wonderful friend called me at 8 this morning to ask me what she should ask at her consult (apparently she forgot I am NOT a morning person).  I jumped out of bed though, because I remembered I had a lists!  I love lists ALMOST as much as I love white boards!

I know Plastic Surgery isn’t for everyone, but I think if you are contemplating it, you should be prepared from the beginning; starting with the right surgeon can make all the difference in the world!  (I am very partial to Dr. Russo, who, by the way, gave me this list).

Plastic Surgery:  Making the Best Decision

Brief important plastic surgeon qualifications

Please check out www.plasticsurgery.org to see if your surgeon is ASPS accredited.  If they are ASPS accredited you are in good hands.

Each ASPS member must meet the following:

  • At least five years of surgical training and a minimum of two years of plastic surgery training.
  • Board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
  • Trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including breast, body, face and reconstruction.
  • Peer-reviewed for safety and ethical standards prior to attaining the honor of active membership.
  • Only operates in accredited facilities.

When making the choice:

  • Use your head not your heart in making the selection.
  • Bring before and after photos, if possible, to show what you want.
  • Research the doctor, call other patients for recommendations.
  • Get a recommendation from your bariatric surgeon.
  • Meet the doctor and get to know him or her; you trust yourself to his or her care, so you need to feel comfortable with the person.
  • Use the term “reconstructive surgery” with your insurance company, since “plastic surgery” is often considered to be “cosmetic” or “elective” and hence is not covered.

Questions to ask:

1.  Are you an ASPS member surgeon? If he or she answers “yes” you can rest assured that your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery, has hospital privileges and only performs surgery in accredited facilities.
2.  Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada?
3.  Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure?   If so, at what hospital? Is the surgical facility accredited?
4.  Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
5.  What will be expected of me to get optimal results?
6.  What are the risks involved with my procedure?
7.  Will I need to take time off work?  If so, how long?

What you should ask about the procedure

8.  What is the simplest and safest surgery to help me achieve my goals?
9.  How is the surgery performed?
10.  What is the expected length of operation?
11.  Are other options available?
12.  What results can I expect, and how long do the typical results last?
13.  Where will scars be located, and how noticeable will they be?

What you should ask about your surgeon’s experience

14.  How many times has the surgeon performed this procedure?
15.  How long has the surgeon been performing this procedure?
16.  How many times per year does the surgeon perform the procedure?
17.  How many patients have required re-operation or touch-ups?
18.  What complications may occur?
19.  How frequently do these complications occur?

What you should ask about logistical matters

20.  What preparation is required the day before and morning of surgery?
21.  Should my regular medications be taken on the morning of surgery?
22.  What time should I arrive at the surgery location?
23.  Should someone drive me?
24.  Should someone wait at the surgery location or come back later?


What should you ask about emergency plans

25.  What emergency plan and equipment are in place to provide for my needs in the event of an emergency?
26.  Are the surgeon and staff certified in Advances Cardiac Life Support? (ACLS)?
27.  Does the surgeon have admitting privileges at a local hospital should problems arise during my office surgery? (Call the hospital to confirm)
28.  How would I be transported to this facility?
29.  Has an adverse event ever occurred in the past?

What should you ask about the recovery process

30.  What kind of care will I require?
31.  When will I be able to go home? Is an overnight stay required, or is one available if I prefer?
32.  Who will attend me in the case of an overnight stay?
33.  Will I need someone to drive me home?
34.  If a problem arises after I go home, who answers calls after hours and on weekends?
35.  If I need to be seen after hours, where will this occur?

36.  If I need help in my home, is a private duty nurse available?  At what cost?

37.  Are any special garments, medications, or diets required during the recovery period?
38.  How much pain/swelling/bruising is to be expected? How long are these likely to last?
39.  How long does the entire healing process last?
40.  How many follow-up visits are necessary?
41.  Who performs the skin care/post-operative follow-up/suture removal?
42.  When can I wear makeup?
43.  When may I return to exercise/bathing/driving/normal activities/work?
44.  At what point will I feel comfortable in a social setting?
45.  What if I am dissatisfied with the results or with the degree of changes achieved?
46.  If touch-ups are necessary when would that be performed?

What about fees

47.  Does the cost depend on where my surgery is performed?
48.   Will I need to see another physician prior to surgery for examination or testing because of a preexisting medical condition?

49.  Who pays this cost? Will my regular family doctor suffice?
50.  If a complication causes me to be transported to a hospital or stay overnight, who pays for this additional cost?
51.  If I request multiple procedures, can they be performed at the same time? What are the cost savings?

52.  What options are available for payment?

53.  Does the office accept credit cards?
54.  Is a payment plan available to patients?
55.  What is the refund policy should I change my mind after paying in full?
56.  Is my surgery covered by my insurance plan?

After discussing all of the factors involved with your proposed procedure with the surgeon, you should have a sense of whether or not the surgeon is right to you.  Take note of and consider whether the surgeon:

  • Listen and understand your priorities, opinions, and requests?
  • Communicate concern, compassion, request and honesty?
  • Instill confidence in you?
  • Display confidence in his or her ability to care for you?
  • Seem distracted, or come across as arrogant or curt?
  • Seem patient and willing to spend time to answer all your questions and discuses your concerns?
  • Condescend; talk down or under estimate your intelligence?
  • Make eye contact or continually jot down notes in the chart as you spoke?
  • Display positive body language?
  • Confuse you or offer clear explanations?
  • Appear to be selling you the procedure?
  • Adequately discuss any preexisting medical conditions you might have?
  • Encourage your family to participate in the consultation and decision-making process?

Do you:

  • Feel that you have established forthright communication and a positive rapport with the surgeon?
  • Trust your life to this surgeon?
  • Feel the Surgeon is acting in your best interest?
Remember, Aesthetic Augmentation is no one’s decision but yours. 
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