Lipo or Tummy Tuck?
I am considering liposuction and/or a tummy tuck. There I said it. I've been practicing the last few weeks by telling my friends and family so that I can find enough courage to share it here - on my blog - publicly - making it official. None of them tried to talk me out of it, and I didn't feel judged but supported. They didn't really ask me a lot of questions either. I think it turned into an open discussion about what other procedures we would all like to do.
My closest friends and I are either just turning forty or will be soon. We have children around the same age, and we are all open to cosmetic surgery. I know this topic might not be for everyone, but I have been thinking about it for the last two years and was given an amazing opportunity this year to get it done. I am nervous about putting myself out there, but I am willing to talk about it as long as the results are amazing. I will find out as much information as possible and share my journey along the way. It will happen rather quickly, because I want to get it done this summer.
It seems that everyone I have talked to has something they would like to change about themselves, but it is hard to commit, initiate that first call, or they don't want anyone to pressure them. It could also be financial. As many times as I have gone in to CosmetiCare for consultations, I have never felt pressured or uncomfortable. They even have something called NEW LOOK NOW on their website that allows us to virtually "try on a service" without going in or talking to someone. Just select area of concern, upload a photo, then simulated visuals are emailed within 24 hours. I have done this, and when I get enough courage, I will share what mine look like.
Cosmeticare Lobby, Corona Del Mar, California
When I finally went in for my consultation, I have not yet made up my mind what procedures I wanted, but I shared what areas bothered me. I didn't meet with a doctor right away, because I was also there to find out about non-surgical procedures and learn more about the Medspa services. I was there to gather information, and I wasn't ready to commit. I needed someone to be honest with me and tell me when I don't need it. I had my reservations going in, and I knew that this might be my first but not my last visit. I wanted to compare pricing, do more research and think it over. Timing was also an issue, because I will need time to recover and make arrangements for support. For us, we have more flexibility in the summer. They first asked me what areas bother me before they made recommendations for the services they offer. It is a wish list.
What to Wear
Now, when you start getting serious about surgery is when you are ready for hard numbers and want to talk to a surgeon. I first sat with the surgery coordinator. She took all my "before" pictures so they can reference them later. These are also helpful because she emailed me my simulated visuals after my visit. I was given a gown to wear and I kept my undergarments on. I suggest wearing a black sports bra and black underwear for your photos. I think people don't usually think about it, and then realize they hate their undergarments in the before photos. Imagine sharing your photos with family and friends and stopping to explain each time, sorry please don't look at what I am wearing. Know what I mean?
Meeting Dr. Brian Reagan
When Dr. Brian Reagan came in, he asked me a series of questions - How many children I had, Did I have a cesarean or normal delivery, How stable was my weight, What was my level of activity, exercise, and diet? He said that all these things are important because I am making big changes to my body, and I will want the results to last. He also recommended that I increased my level of activity. He told me that he's going to make some recommendations, but I ultimately get to decide because it's my body. I'm in charge. It's his job to educate me.
Body Contouring - Lipo or Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
Now for the reason I came in. I wanted to do something about my gut. He said my skin quality was pretty good. I didn't have too much excessive skin, and I did not have a lot of stretch marks for having two kids. If I wanted liposuction, I was a reasonable candidate for it, but my outcome for lipo will be different from a tummy tuck. He also added that some patients will come to him who had kids and they want lipo, but he won't do it, because they are not good candidates. Please keep in mind that everyone's evaluation will vary based on their unique bodies. Here are the differences between the two procedures he suggested for me:
- LIPO (two to three hour procedure) - I had good quality skin and it will retract with favorable results. He will make a couple of little punctures, remove the fat, give me compression compartments to help the skin retract down, but I will still have some looseness.
- TUMMY TUCK (about three hours) - I will have much better results. It is a bigger operation. There will be lower incision that he will hide underneath a bikini or bathing suit line. It will be hip-to-hip. He will tighten my abdominal wall which has been stretched from pregnancy, remove significant amount of skin, and recreate my belly button. He will make it look as natural as possible.
Which one is better for me?
Dr. Reagan said that it really depends on results I am looking for. I would get good results for Lipo but tummy tuck will make me totally flat. He will also turn me over to do some lipo. I can't lie on my side for a couple of weeks so I will have to lay on my back when I sleep. Dr. Reagan walked me through the procedures, the risks, and also broke the recovery period down for me. (More on that subject coming soon.) I will need a lot of help from my family, because I won't be able to drive for two weeks. I felt comfortable talking to him, and I was so glad he brought up about the belly button, because a natural belly button was important to me. His background is pretty impressive and he specializes in body contouring. You can read about him and the other doctor's on CosmetiCare's website.
After the doctor left the office, the coordinator provided me with estimated charges which also included facility fees and anesthesia fees. There was no charge for the consultation and you can do it as many time as needed. They recommend talking to as many as you'd like, and go with the doctor that you feel most comfortable with. They all have different personalities, and you will be seeing them a lot. No deposit is required until I was ready to schedule my surgery date. (The deposit to hold surgery date is $500).
When I schedule my surgery, I will also need to schedule a pre-operation appointment one to two weeks before to go over preparations. It is a one day procedure usually performed early in the morning, and you go home the same day. You will want to pick up any medications beforehand. They also mail you a list of medications to avoid. I have spoken with about three surgery consultants and three doctors over two years time, because I wanted to make sure and be fully prepared. I'll share more about my journey throughout the year. Please feel comfortable asking me questions, and if I don't know the answer, I will find out.
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