The Consultation II

Nearly two years ago, I had my first skin removal consultation.  I knew at the time that it was purely educational – we were in no financial position to pay thousands of dollars for an elective surgery.  It was a really good experience, but it made me want the surgery that much more.  So I’ve known for a few years that this was a when-not-if situation.

Fast forward to now.  J is doing this year-long stint in Afghanistan and our financial situation is changing dramatically.  We are busy paying off all of our credit card and student loan debts.  And I started believing that this surgery thing might actually be in my near future – like, within the next year or two.  Then, a few months back, I started wondering if I could make it happen this year.  And that seemed to be a pretty crazy idea since J is gone.

But after talking to my grandma, and doing some heavy thinking, I decided I could make it work.  My grandma (who lives in FL) offered to come stay with me while I recover, and I have other help lined up if she isn’t able to at the last minute (due to her unfortunate health issues).  So the current timeline is to do this thing in late August.

Okay, so that’s where we are now.  I contacted the same plastic surgery practice to let them know about my plans and find out how I needed to proceed.  They said I needed to come back in (free of charge this time) to have an updated consultation.  This was back in February, so that gave me three months to prepare for today’s consultation.  I had big plans to lose this weight that I’ve regained.  BIG plans.

So….that weight loss?  It didn’t happen.  Boo.  I was a little worried that it’d be a big issue.  The info I read online said they recommended that you be within 20 pounds of your goal weight at the time of surgery.  I’m right around there, so I had fingers crossed that I’d be okay to at least be evaluated.

Anyway, we dropped the kids off with J’s mom and made our way up north.  We made it to the office and I got checked in.  And bad news – they had no record of my appointment.  Eek!  I had the confirmation email though and the doctor was there, so they made it work.  Thank goodness.  While we waited, I took pictures of the waiting room.  Why?  Because I’m a loser.  And the waiting room is part of the reason I feel so great about this particular office!

Isn’t it awesome?  My doc is on the left.

After an eternity and 3/4 of a cup of coffee, we got taken back.  And they took my weight.  158.  I was 134 at my last appointment.  Yeah, not so fantastic.

I talked a bit with the patient coordinator and then got changed into my fancy robe while I waited for the doctor.

Then he finally came in and we got down to business.  The good news is that we covered most of the info at my last appointment and it’s burned into my brain because this topic is so important to me.  But I did have a few new questions.

Would I benefit from the extended tummy tuck versus the standard one?  Yes, because my skin pools out when I sit down.  The extended version will help lift my butt too.  My scar WILL go completely around my body.

Could I have the extended tummy tuck, thigh lift, AND breast lift (withOUT augmentation!) done all at the same time?  Yep!  But the ladies that have had it done have pretty much hated life for a solid three days after surgery.  

Is the drainless technique that he now uses safe?  Yes, and the scars tend to be thinner as well.  They use something like 50-60 extra sutures and tighten as they go along.

What do the thigh scars look like (I had previously seen plenty of tummy tuck and breast lift images)? He showed me multiple patients and I was amazed at how good the scars looked just 4 months after surgery!

Will my pubic area be raised really high?  No, it will all be below the scar, and the scar is placed just immediately above the natural pubic line.  So luckily, I won’t have pubic hair in my chest region. 😉

How long do I need to have in-home help?  About one week.

When can I drive?  Roughly about 10 days after surgery – or whenever I stop using the pain meds.

Will the tummy tuck leave massive scar tissue?  No, but I can in no way explain the reasons he gave as to why.

Will it be okay if I lose 15-20 pounds between today and the surgery (because my weight won’t have been “stable”)?  Yes, that amount of weight shouldn’t be an issue.  Plus, the tummy tuck should also cut away about 3-4 pounds of skin/fat.  He honestly didn’t seem all that concerned about my current size because I’m not obese.

We also talked about my arms again.  I had pretty much decided not to have that surgery because I fear the scars would be worse than the skin (at my goal weight).  But after talking to him today, I may only need a modified arm lift.  That would mean a crescent scar near my armpit versus a long one that went to my elbow.  But for now, it’s not my main concern.

So after spending quite a bit of time with the doctor (he went over each procedure), I felt even more certain that I was ready to move forward.  I feel absolutely confident with him and with the process.  That’s a big deal for me because I stress over everything.  I am fickle to a fault.  But when something feels right, it just does.  And this feels right!

After he left, we waited around for the new quotes.  Two years ago, I was quoted $13k for the (standard) tummy tuck & thigh lift, and then $9k for the breast lift and arm lift.  I knew it would be more because a) I wanted to go with an extended tummy tuck, and b) it’s been two years and inflation is a bitch.

Well, I wasn’t wrong but WOW!  It was a bigger increase than I thought.

Extended abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), thigh lift, & breast lift: $23,300
Extended abdominoplasty & thigh lift only: $18,500

So yeah, that’s a big jump.  But I’ve done quite a bit of research, and it sounds like these rates are competitive.  And like I mentioned, I feel comfortable with this doctor.

We left without scheduling because I’m still not 100% sure of the date, but August 27th is a date we could be looking at.  I also wanted to look at the budget and talk with J.  Should I go ahead with all three?

J says yes – he knows how unhappy the loose skin makes me.  He felt equally comfortable with the surgeon, the information we received, and the images we saw.  But geez.  $24k is a freaking lot of money.  Eek.  But, yeah I’m thinking this is going to happen.  Whew.  My body is going to be changing dramatically – in less than four months!

Once I have the surgery date locked down and the finances totally worked out, I will let you know.  If you have any questions, please let me know.  I tried to address everything I could think of, but I’m sure I missed a few things.

I plan to document my entire surgery journey (with pics and all!) – so keep following along!