My Patient Experience: Mommy Makeover Recovery

Some of you may remember me; I am the mother of three who first wrote about my mommy makeover consultation experience with Dr. Whiteman last month. As I reread my first entry, it’s hard to believe that November 11th (when I had my consultation and scheduled my procedure in the same day) was only a few short weeks ago and here I am, one week mommy makeover post-op, able to share my unbelievable experience again with you all. For any fellow mothers out there, the physical changes that even one childbirth can bring, let alone three, is something many of us don’t want to have as a permanent reminder. My small breasts and stomach pooch were two areas that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to fix on my own. Now, after the encouragement of my family, two meetings with Dr. Whiteman and his team, and a mommy makeover later, I can proudly say I finally have my body back and it’s even better than before!

The morning of December 22, 2015 my daughter drove me to the office where my procedure was to take place. Pretty sure I didn’t sleep the night before due to nerves but once I got dressed, hooked up to the machines and had the nurses explain just about every detail of the process, I was more excited than anything else. Dr. Whiteman came in and made a few drawings (similar to the ones he demonstrated during my TouchMD consultation) as guides for the surgery, I said goodbye to my daughter and when I awoke, it felt as if I had taken a quick cat nap. When I looked down at my chest I saw something I hadn’t seen since the early 90’s – perky cleavage (I have to admit I was a little bummed not being able to see my new breasts immediately, but I know good things come to those who wait, so I was patient)! Before I was able to go home the nurses went over vital post-operative mommy makeover recovery guidelines and I was free to start my recovery.

I work in the education system and specifically chose the holidays for my surgery because I have mandatory time off and was told that recovery from a breast augmentation and tummy tuck (the two procedures that made up my unique mommy makeover) would only take about two weeks. Each person is different, so I took this as a general rule but let me tell you all something, if you follow your pre-op tips and suggestions and stick to your post-op rules diligently, recovery is a breeze! I say this because after three natural births, this is NOTHING like that experience.

Prior to my surgery I wasn’t an active person in the sense of being a gym rat but I was more of the take the stairs instead of the elevator kind of “health conscious” individual. To prepare for the tummy tuck portion I upped my water intake (meaning I drank nothing but water), incorporated daily sit-ups into my morning and evening routine, and restricted meals to before 6pm. Not a huge demanding lifestyle change by any means, but I have to admit it was much needed encouragement. My biggest concern was maintaining my mommy makeover results so I was determined to follow each and every instruction given to me.

The first day or two was more about getting used to the feeling of heavier breasts and a tighter stomach. If I had to put it into words, it felt more like I had an intense gym workout and was sore the day after from maxing out on crunches and ab work. Moving around was obviously at a snail’s pace but the recommended breathing exercises helped to really help me maneuver around. Before your surgery Dr. Whiteman goes over pain management options you have to choose from and you’re sent home with just about everything you could need from compression garments to keep everything nice and tight, to antibiotics for the first week of recovery. After the one week mark I went back to Dr. Whiteman’s for my first follow-up consultation. This was the first time I was actually able to see my healing progress and hear from Dr. Whiteman on how I was coming along – not that it was a surprise to me, but I am healing remarkably well and have very minimal swelling left (did I mention it’s only been a week?).

If you’re like me you did your research. Of course I had a million and one questions for Dr. Whiteman but I did research at home to try to feed my curiosity. I watched YouTube videos (not for the faint of heart and to be honest was quite dramatic now that I look back on it) and read just about every public online forum regarding tummy tucks and breast augmentation. Nothing can really prepare you for an elective surgery but I’m hoping that my story can give you a different perspective. I’m 50 and this was my first surgery ever. If I could give readers three pieces of advice it would be this:

  • If you’re conscious of really listening to your body and what it needs, like rest, hydration, ice, etc., then I truly do believe your recovery would be just as easy as mine has been.
  • Don’t think you’re “too old” for plastic surgery – you’re not and you’ll only kick yourself for not having done it sooner.
  • Choose Dr. Whiteman. There’s a reason they call it the “Fab Ab” Tummy Tuck.

Ask Dr. Whiteman: Am I A Good Tummy Tuck Candidate?

I genuinely enjoy seeing patients happy with the results tummy tucks offer and try to help educate not only my patients but other doctors.  I’m very interested in improving my surgical techniques and overall safety and satisfaction for my body contouring patients and have been developing techniques that I hope will inspire other doctors to do the same.  In fact, recently, tummy tucks have been the focal point for much of my research and I wanted to share some great news I recently found out.  The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has accepted, and will be publishing, my abstract on the Scarpa fascia technique I developed and on top of that, I was awarded the honor of Best Plastic Surgeon for Tummy by Best Self Magazine this month thanks to a collective vote by those in our community.

When we get questions from potential tummy tuck patients, one of the most common ones we hear at Southern Plastic Surgery is, “Dr. Whiteman, am I a good tummy tuck candidate?”  First I would need to physically evaluate a patient’s abdominal area before I can determine whether they are a good candidate, but a self-evaluation exam can give you some insights as to if you may or may not.  If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then perhaps it’s time to explore your own personal tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) options:

  • Do you have extra fat, skin or stretch marks in your abdomen that won’t budge with exercise and diet?
  • Does your stomach have a pooch that protrudes from your abdomen?
  • Are you self-conscious about the way your stomach looks when not covered up?
  • Has your abdomen been affected by pregnancy/childbirth?
  • Have you lost a significant amount of weight and are left with a lot of excess skin?
  • Do you have trouble finding properly fitting clothes because of your midsection?
  • Have you reached a stable weight? (Body contouring is not a weight-loss procedure)
  • Are you generally healthy?
  • Have you finished having kids?
  • Do you want a flatter stomach?

Patients can fall into two categories: tummy tuck candidates and mini tummy tuck candidates.  The main goal for any tummy tuck result is to create a flatter abdomen that is free of the loose skin and excess fat that tends to be a common concern.  The main difference between a mini tummy tuck and tummy tuck lies in the muscle repair.  Mini tummy tucks are for patients who have not experienced muscle separation, or only experience a mild amount of muscle separation below the navel, and are mainly focused on eliminating the skin and fat.  Tummy tucks are more involved and require me to retighten the weakened/separated muscle before the excess skin removal process.  I mentioned this briefly at the beginning, but I like to utilize a special Scarpa fascia technique I developed to further enhance the tummy tuck results for my patients.  What this technique allows is for me to contour the waist to give patients more curvature and definition of the abdomen.  Prior, combining liposuction was the way to help get this hourglass shape, but with Scarpa fascia technique, the waistline is shapelier in addition to having a flatter stomach.

Lots of patients are attracted to tummy tucks because it helps them get that body they remember having when they were younger.  Body contouring has always remained one of the top five most popular treatments and it’s really not a surprise.  In fact, tummy tucks are one of the main procedures chosen during a mommy and Grammy makeover mainly because of the benefits it can provide to mothers and grandmothers who are done having kids and want to do something for themselves.  I want every woman to have the chance to make themselves feel beautiful and excited about with the reflection they see in the mirror.  Luckily tummy tucks can help with just that.

To learn more about tummy tuck benefits or the body contouring procedures I perform, contact Southern Plastic Surgery, P.C today to schedule your complimentary consultation and check out our monthly specials featuring this procedure.  You can always join us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube for more plastic surgery tips and updates; we hope to connect with you soon!

Battle of the Bulge: Waist Training vs. Body Contouring

fad, noun – an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.

Seems like every day there is a new fad featured on television talk shows, radio commercials, magazine articles, billboards, social media, you name it, that EVERYONE just has to try.  I don’t normally pay attention to these types of things simply because just as soon as I’ve started doing my research it’s no longer a “thing” anymore (not to mention in a week nobody will remember it even existed).  If you’ve heard the term “waist training” recently then perhaps you were as curious as I was about this new “body contouring” craze.  Now there hasn’t been long term studies done on waist training but I wanted to share my initial thoughts on this and whether you should consider this type of investment over surgical and nonsurgical fat reduction procedures.

liposuction-atlanta-georgiaPopular celebrities are flooding Instagram with images of their tiny hourglass figures and telling people all across the country that a corset can essentially help you achieve the waist of Barbie and Ken.  What they are essentially doing is wearing a corset-type mechanism that covers the area below the breasts down to just above the hips with the intent that it’s to be worn from sun up to sun down.  Over time, the waist training is supposed to flatten any extra bulge and create a slimmer abdominal contour like those of a tummy tuck or liposuction.

So the million dollar question – does it really work?  Based on what I know about accumulating fat and manipulating the contours of the body, my impression is that it’s a superficial treatment, at best, and you should put your hard earned money towards something safer, longer-lasting and more beneficial.  The problem with waist training is that it isn’t addressing the underlying fat cells – unless fat cells are literally removed from the body there is only so much diet, exercise or rib crushing corsets can do to help get rid of it; sorry folks.  It’s more like the functionality of say a bra (they provide a nice hammock for the breasts but the minute you take it off, gravity kicks in) or butt pad inserts for women who are better off getting a Brazilian butt lift instead of worrying if the pads look natural or don’t shift while enhancing the derrière.  The potential health risks from waist training are also something to consider – damage to major internal organs, bruising, cause dizziness and even fainting (think too tight to breath and multiply that by 24 hours).  Overall, altering the waist long term is just not possible without plastic surgery and your waist will eventually go back to the way it was over time and you’d have potentially wasted time, money and possibly your sanity.

Long story short, stick to the old fashioned way of getting into shape by actively incorporating good ole’ diet and exercise into your routine.  If at any point you decide that the stubborn fat of your midsection gets to be too much to tolerate, there are several procedures I, Dr. David Whiteman, perform that can get to the root of your issue and help you achieve the midsection you goaled to have.  Feel free to contact Southern Plastic Surgery if you have any questions at all regarding our face, body and breast procedures.  In the meantime, you can always stay connected with me, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and share your thoughts on some of these new cosmetic procedures and fads!