My Plastic Surgery Story: Why I’m Choosing Plastic Surgery

 

Dear Readers,

It’s not every day you get inspired to share your personal story with the public, but here we are, so bear with me if this seems a bit scattered, it’s my first time!  I guess I’ll start with a little background about myself.  I’m 29 years old, no kids, no spouse and have lived in Atlanta for about 5 years now.  I’ve always been pretty fit – standing at 5’8” and weighing 140lbs, give or take a few donuts (sorry Dr. Whiteman I know, I know – I’m not supposed to be fluctuating weight before my plastic surgery procedures but I’m trying to fit everything in before I make the change for good!).  All through elementary, middle and high school I was a competitive swimmer with very little body fat to my name thanks to twice a day workouts and a lot of time in the weight room.  Fast forward to today and everything has seemed to sloooooow down, including my metabolism and confidence.  The dining hall food from the University of Georgia, nights out on the town with my friends and less gym time than before has left me with a bit of a permanent food baby that I can’t seem to get rid of.  On top of that I can barely fill out my size 36A bra without feeling like my shirt is going to get swallowed up by my bra.  I can’t say I’ve ever been one to consider plastic surgery before now; those who know me were actually surprised to hear that I have not been entirely happy with the way I look.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand nobody is perfect and wholeheartedly believe beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, but I decided that I wanted to do something for myself; something that makes me happy and is entirely my own.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the media about the stigma of plastic surgery shifting and I’ll be the first to admit I was one of those “I’ll never get plastic surgery…blah blah blah” people until recently.  Sadly when I was younger (and dare I say more naïve) I was one of those who saw it as a vanity and a complete waste of money, but as I’ve grown I realize that plastic surgery is no different than buying a particular purse or pair of shoes because they make us feel good about our look.  I’m so used to hiding my body under baggy clothes in the hopes that nobody will mistake my breasts for bee stings or my stomach pooch for a fanny pack, but why should I feel that way?  Before you judge and think I just need to get on a treadmill, trust me, I’ve tried that.  It got to a point where no matter how much I watched my diet and exercise regularly, nothing would budge.  That’s about the time that I decided to stop wallowing and do something…so I started a little research on body contouring procedures.

Nonsurgical treatments prove that technology and science can accomplish amazing things.  But for me, that’s not enough because I want something that’s longer lasting.  I did some research on plastic surgeons in the Atlanta area; male, female, old and young – you name it and I probably goggled it.  For me, doing the research was exciting because it was the first time I was actively working towards my goal so I started with an online community detailing procedures and real patient experiences to get an idea of what I could potentially be going through.  Sure it was a bit overwhelming and got a bit daunting trying to figure out who was worth meeting for a consultation and who wasn’t, but I felt like I was investing more into my procedure and not being hasty like I tend to do.

Once I met with Dr. David Whiteman, it was a wrap.  It was during my consultation that we talked about my stomach pooch and he explained that I was an excellent liposuction candidate because I only had a small amount of fat to address and was already in great health.  What I wasn’t expecting was learning that combination procedures were a “thing.”  I honestly hadn’t factored breast augmentation into my procedure because I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford more than one procedure.  But I was wrong!  Dr. Whiteman and his staff did such a great job at giving me ALL the materials I needed as far as financing, what to expect during my procedure and lots of visuals (I’m a visual learner so before and after pictures are my jam) that I was sold on combining a breast augmentation and liposuction for my upcoming procedure.  The reason I decided to do them both at the same time is because I don’t have unlimited vacation days and it actually saved me money by not having to pay surgical fees more than once!  That, plus my recovery time was not going to be as long as I thought.  Sure it’s not an exact science but just a few short days/weeks sounded extremely reasonable to me.

So here I am, writing this as I stare at my calendar with my surgery date circled in obnoxious exclamation points.  Right now I’m not nervous…well maybe a little, but it’s an excited nervous because I can’t wait to see what my plastic surgery results are going to look like!  I’m already planning my new wardrobe, have started hitting the gym more to work on underlying muscle tone and added just about every bra on Victoria’s Secret website to my wish list for when I get out of surgery.  When Dr. Whiteman asked if I would share my story in a series I thought he was crazy, but I’ve found this is sort of a nice outlet to express what I’m going through leading up to my big day.  As I wrap up this long diatribe, I kindly ask everyone to put their judgments aside for a second and consider the underlying reasons so many people willingly choose cosmetic surgery.  It’s a very personal matter for me, an intimately personal choice and one that I know I am making on my own – free of judgment or pressures from others.  For once it’s about me and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for taking these steps.

The internet is only able to cover so much and it’s not until I was face to face with my future surgeon that my dream became more of a reality than I ever expected.  There’s no pressure to you or the doctor to just have a conversation but it’s the only way I would recommend getting started.  You may be just as surprised as I was.  Just remember, do it because YOU want to – forget the haters!

Raquel’s Story: Don’t Always Believe the Hype

I get to work with a lot of great patients – for some, on more than one occasion.  Being able to hear how a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure has positively impacted their lives later in life is part of the drive that keeps me motivated to help patients achieve their goals!  Today, I’d like to share with you Raquel’s story.  When Raquel first came to me nine years ago, she was interested in pursuing her first breast enhancement procedure.  “A friend of mine was also consulting for breast implants around the same time and had recommended Dr. Whiteman.  She had explained how comfortable she felt with him versus other doctors she had met with,” Raquel recently shared, “but what sold me was that Dr. Whiteman also worked with breast cancer survivors for breast reconstruction surgery.”

breast implant surgery in atlanta georgia dr david whitemanDuring Raquel’s consultation we discussed her goals and explored several different breast implant sizes and types to find the fit that worked best for her.  “I had always been flat chested, smaller than an A cup, so I had always wanted breast implants to balance me out.  Fitting into bathing suits or tops and dresses was always a problem; I never wanted anything too big, just natural,” Raquel recalled.  “Once in my 20s, I was mentally ready and went for it.”  A few years after her procedure, Raquel gave birth to her first child and experienced capsular contracture, a condition associated with breast augmentation where scar tissue forms around a breast implant causing the breasts to harden.  “I had the misfortune of having one of my breasts capsulate after my first pregnancy, which is something random that could happen for no rhyme or reason, and replacing them was the only solution.  I chose to have them replaced and both experiences with Dr. Whiteman and the hospital staff were the best.”  When we have a patient come to us with something like capsular contracture, breast revision is the procedure of choice to eliminate the scar tissue and exchange the affected breast implant.

Since her breast revision four years ago, Raquel has welcomed her second child into the family (her kids are currently 5 years old and 5 months old) and keeps busy as an active mom and wife, fitting in home projects and decorating in her spare time.  “Life after my surgery is great; my husband has no complaints!  I have been extremely happy with my breast augmentation results; they are the perfect size for my tomboyish body and it has given me a confidence boost.  I enjoy not having to worry about clothes fitting me!”

For breast augmentation patients, breastfeeding with implants is a common concern.  While it’s true that some patients may have difficulty, don’t believe the hype for discouraging breast augmentation and breastfeeding because each person is different.  When we asked Raquel how it was for her choosing breast augmentation prior to having kids and breastfeeding, she would tell you what she told us, “I had no problem breastfeeding both of my kids.  It’s been nine years since my first breast surgery and four years since replacing them and they still look as good as when I had my first surgery.”  As a double board certified plastic surgeon, it’s my job to educate my patients on maintaining their results to the best of their ability. This could mean incorporating a healthier diet and exercise plan, finding the time to have a procedure that fits into your lifestyle and discussing what’s best for you and your body long-term.  With open communication between you and your surgeon, hopefully your experience will be just as rewarding as it has been for Raquel.

I’ll be sharing more patient testimonial stories with you in the upcoming months and invite you to reach out to my office if you have any questions regarding a procedure that we perform at Southern Plastic Surgery.  Be sure to also connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery trends, patient features, news and information.

You Don’t Have to Be a Mom to Enjoy a Mommy Makeover

Contrary to what the name may suggest, a mommy makeover procedure isn’t only reserved for those who are mothers.  While it’s original intent was to identify a procedure that corrects common physical changes that a woman’s body experiences during/after carrying and delivering a child, similar effects can also occur to those who have never had kids themselves.  Mommy makeover surgery consists of a strategic combination of body contouring and breast procedures to remedy effects that natural aging and weight gain/loss can have on the body.  Don’t let a name fool you into thinking that it’s not an option for you, because it is.  With the many benefits combination procedures have, let’s take a look at what mommy makeovers can be for all women.

liposuction-atlanta-georgiaOriginally, mommy makeover was coined as a term to describe procedures that reverse the effects of pregnancy weight gain, weakened abdominal muscles and excess sagging breasts from breastfeeding.  Each surgical plan is customized to give each patient mommy makeover results that mirror a pre-pregnancy body; one more proportionate to the patient’s frame, without all of the excess fat and skin.  The two biggest areas of concern for moms tend to be the stomach and the breasts.  As your child grows in the womb, the abdominal muscles can stretch and become separated from the abdominal wall, commonly referred to as diastasis recti.  On top of weakened muscles, the abdomen can form a pooch and harbor excess skin and fat long after a child is born.  Achieving a contoured waistline can be hard to do with even the most steadfast diet and exercise regimen, therefore tummy tuck surgery tops the list for procedures to re-sculpt the midsection and re-tighten the muscle.

Then we take a look at the breasts.  After breastfeeding, the once enlarged breasts simply will not go back to the position they were once before; the extra skin sags and the breasts become more pendulous and less perky.  We have several options to address these concerns.  First we’ll figure out if you want to go bigger, smaller and possibly add a lift.  With a breast augmentation, we’ll use a pre-determined breast implant to increase the bust and raise the breast higher up on the body.  If you already have large breasts and want them to relieve some of the weight from your body, a breast reduction can remove the excess fat and skin.  When combining a breast reduction with a breast lift we aren’t enhancing the breasts but raising them higher in position, one more proportionate to your body’s frame.  For those that aren’t mothers, gravity takes its toll on the breasts and can cause the same pendulous effects when experiencing dramatic weight gain/loss.  The same combinations would be beneficial to helping restore the breasts to a more youthful aesthetic.

A major benefit to combination mommy makeover surgery is that you’re minimizing several key factors: recovery, time and money.  Having one comprehensive procedure versus say three (for example one procedure for a tummy tuck, another for a breast reduction and another for a breast lift) will reduce the overall amount of time you need to recover.  Less time spent in the hospital means less time spent at home recovering and quicker time getting you back to your regular schedule.  With each surgical procedure there are fees outside the cost of materials and labor like hospital stays, anesthesia, surgical fees and medications.  Each time you have a procedure these are factored into your total costs; if you have one complete procedure, those fees apply to that one procedure versus multiple.

It’s really about when the timing is right for you.  For mothers, the time should be when you’re finished having children because the same physical effects could reverse any results you’ve accomplished from your plastic surgery procedures before that point (the same goes for women who have a tendency to fluctuate in their weight gain/loss).  If you’d like to learn more details on the benefits of mommy makeover or combination procedures, don’t hesitate to contact Southern Plastic Surgery.  For the most up-to-date plastic surgery news and specials be sure to connect with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.