Modified Tummy Tuck with Floating Belly Button - Costa Rica

Hello! I'm a 35 year old mom of 7 children...

Hello! I'm a 35 year old mom of 7 children (ages 2 - almost 15) and now that I'm confident my baby making days are over, I went ahead and got a mommy make-over. I live in Costa Rica and the cost of surgery is considerably lower than it is in the US or Canada. My surgeon was fantastic. He found a hernia above my belly button and repaired that as well during the tummy tuck. I'm sore, swollen and bound so tightly that breathing isn't much fun :/ But I can't wait for the swelling to go down a bit so I can see my new body! I had a breast augmentation with 400cc silicone gel implants, no lift needed, tummy tuck, and lipo. 800ml was removed.

I'm now 2 weeks post-op. Feeling GREAT! I can...

I'm now 2 weeks post-op. Feeling GREAT! I can finally sleep on my side comfortably (with pillows propping multiple body parts). Lipo stitches were removed today and the doc says everything is progressing very well. I've created a before and after photo and will post it here.

I'm 9 weeks post-op. My healing has revealed some...

I'm 9 weeks post-op. My healing has revealed some problems with the surgery. For starters, it would've been much better had my surgeon chosen to do a full TT. The mini wasn't enough. Not only do I have excess skin above the belly button, but the skin healed PULLED to the left side. This is due to the compression garment and it's opening on the left side only. The entire time I was healing this garment was being pulled to the left when I showered or went to the bathroom causing my skin to heal to that side.

After expressing my concerns to my doctor, he suggested I begin taking Singulair, as this medication is the only option available here in Costa Rica that can help loosen that scar tissue. To be honest, I was so angry when he made this suggestion. Just a small amount of research on the drug Singulair is enough to scare any sane person away from taking it for cosmetic reasons. How is this my only option?!!!

I'm making a few appointments with other surgeons to get second and third opinions about this.

I'm feeling very disappointed, as I was told I was an "ideal" patient and that my results would be amazing. My before pictures actually look better than my after. ;(

One and a half years post-op update.

I've consulted with my surgeon several times since my healing. There was little responsibility taken on his part and the blame was placed on how my skin healed incorrectly. I've had seven children, and my skin elasticity is pretty forgiving as you can see in my before pictures. I refuse to place the blame on how my body healed. This is obviously yet another case of an unsatisfactory result from a modified tummy tuck with floating belly button. So many women who get this procedure done are not happy afterward and with good reason; there are few of us who are truly good candidates for it and I wish doctors were either better informed or more honest about that with their patients. Surgery for many is a one time shot as it takes much for most people to carve out the finances for cosmetic procedures. Clients rely on the expertise of the plastic surgeons to advise us and inform us about things we may not find on our own. Like how once you float that belly button you have compromised the blood supply and if you need future revision surgery you risk necrosis of the belly button. In other words, it's a one shot thing. And if there's any possibility that you may not be the absolute perfect candidate it would be better for you to go with the full tummy tuck. Yes, you can find that information out on your own, but I believe there is a responsibility on the side of the surgeons to be upfront and honest about that information. Story after story I see with these modified tummy tucks where women are going through the same thing I am. It's sad and doesn't need to happen.

At this point, I am just about ready to begin consulting with surgeons to talk about options. Reverse tummy tuck perhaps? I don't know. I do know that I will be doctor shopping with much more experience this time and hopefully I will find someone I feel really good about who can help me. After seven kids and a (mostly) kick ass body, I had high hopes for the surgery being simple and a one time thing. I hope by sharing my experience more women will become aware of just how many of us should avoid getting a modified tummy tuck.

I should point out, that even though I may look like I have gained weight since my initial surgery, I haven't. I am still 130lbs and 5'4". Unfortunately, the result of the surgery has made my midsection appear heavier. At least I think so, as does my husband who knows (knew) my body better than anyone.

I'll update again once I speak to a few doctors and walk my mind through whatever it is they tell me.

2.5 Years later and I'm ready to find a doctor for revision surgery.

I still get radically different answers about my options depending on what surgeon I talk to. I'm learning more and more that their answers are not based on fact but rather they're a reflection of the surgeon's skill level and comfort zone. If they don't know how to do something, they advise against it rather than point me in the direction of someone more skilled. Of course, this is a generalized statement and I'm not speaking for all surgeons, just some of the ones I've contacted. One thing I know for sure is I don't want to have it done here in Costa Rica. I'd rather travel to have things done by someone I can really trust and feel confident in their work. Currently looking in the U.S. If anyone has recommendations I'd love to hear them!
Dr. Oscar Suarez

If I could go back and do things over, I would do more research on possible negative outcomes rather than just researching procedures gone well. I would've known then that most doctors are not fans of mini tummy tucks because patients are hardly ever satisfied with the results. I also would've asked more questions, rather than assuming the doctor knew exactly what I wanted and that we were on the same page. More communication for sure, as the disappointment of healing and seeing things look worse is hard on the mind. I would've also consulted with multiple doctors and given myself more options.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
2 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (22)

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Your body was amazing even for one child, nonetheless, seven kids!! I would be very upset too, you results should've been amazing for being in such good shape. Seven kids and thousands of dollars out is upsetting. I am sorry you had to go through this:( Wish you the best on you revisions! Keep us posted!
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It's not your skin I don't believe it either. Thank you for sharing!
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I'm so sorry to read this. I don't see how your skin can be the problem, I'm not an MD but I looked at your 'befores' and you had amazing skin considering you have seven babies, a lot of women have more damage than that from one! Maybe this is why the PS decided to do a mini procedure, but it would have been better to do nothing! It is very unfair for them to try and misplace blame, 7k may be cheap for North America or the U.K but it's still a lot of money. Good news is it does look fixable but that's easy to say when it's not me going through this. Best of luck to you.
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I've never even heard of such a thing. How is it ur ps doesn't feel responsible for this?!?!?! I would fight it!
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I don't know. Right from the beginning the language him and his assistant used was always putting the responsibility on my skin. But this is Costa Rica. Not too much I can do about it besides let him know how I feel, which I did, and try to be honest about my experience so that others might benefit. You can't sue doctors here, that's why the cost of surgery is only a fraction of what it is in North America. I was warned about this by a surgeon in Canada who often performed revisions on women who had bad results because they came here for cheaper surgery. My motivation wasn't a smaller price tag, it just happened to be that by the time I was in the financial position to have the surgery we were living here. My surgeon came highly recommended and has all the right credentials. I did lots of homework and felt so confident in my decision. :(
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That really sucks! Morally ur ps should have a hard time sleeping at night knowing he didn't give I ur best possible results. Good luck to u and I hope u find a ps to fix this (((hugs)))
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I'm sorry things didn't come out the way it should of. I take it you had a mini tuck? Ur doctor should of known if you needed a full tummy tuck or mini. They know best......right? I hope you find a better PS and much luck to you!
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Thank you! I am hopeful, still. :) And yes, I had a mini with a floating belly button.
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** the school the surgeon went to*** sorry it's not mother I have no idea what the iPad is trying to correct, lol.
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Hi, I am so sorry that you didn't have a good outcome for your tummy tuck. I don't believe in modified tummy tuck, either you need one or you don't , extended, standard, and sometimes mini depending on how the tummy looks.... I would defiantly do loads of research before getting surgery again, really research the surgeons. I have been wanting a tummy tuck since I was 15( since my first child) and I have been researching the procedures since then, just now I need more things done other than a tummy tuck. But I really research the procedures, the plastic surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the facility,mother school the surgeon went to I verify everything.... Good luck in your search and hopefully you find a good one this time.
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Thank you for your comment. I've been doing research for many years as well. On this particular surgeon I did much research. He's considered one of the best surgeons in all of Costa Rica (where I live) and has wonderful credentials. One of my friends runs a business for medical tourism and this doctor was top on her list. Many people have amazing results with him and can't say enough good about him. I admit to being a little naive in my thinking regarding whether or not a mini would be enough. I had a personal trainer and was in tip top shape and it did appear that the skin excess was mostly under the belly button. This is what I mean when I say that we as the clients do rely on the expertise of the professionals because I do think a skilled surgeon should've/would've caught that there would still be too much skin above the belly button and told me. That was not the case. This doctor was going on and on about how amazed I will be post op at my results and how excited he was to perform it. I believe he meant what he was saying and didn't expect the result I had any more than I did. I need a doctor next time who can see further than I can because of his experience. I can see some red flags in hindsight that I will take with me into any future appointments. I've learned a lot through this experience. Thanks again for your comment! Good luck to you should you decide to go ahead with your surgery. :)
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I'm so sorry :0( I hope u get the results u hoped for soon! Good luck to u and keep us posted (((hugs)))
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The photos of the bruises made me wince. OUCH.
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They look horrible, don't they? Luckily, I couldn't really feel them at all.
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My very observant husband just pointed out that in my before and after breast shot the 'after' shot is reversed. You can see by the beauty marks I have above each breast. I think he knows them better than I do. :/ lol
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I just took some more pics, will post them today. To answer your questions... I *wish* I had small kids! They were 8-9 lbs all of them! I've always with little effort was able to shrink back to my normal 125lb range. My skin has been good to me, also. It wasn't until after baby #3 that anyone could tell I had children by looking at me naked. But 7, SEVEN takes a toll on the body. ;)

I was not afraid of the surgery, but super nervous about being put to sleep, which when the time came, I didn't even know happened. Then afterwards, the only thing that really freaked me out was the drain tube. Didn't think it would, but it did.
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Hi, wow 7 kiddos and your before body didnt look like you have 7 kids; you must of had small babies. I myself have 6 children and i look like i have had 6 children; unfortunalty lol. Were you scared at all for surgery? How was your experience from the timeyou walked in the door to get your surgery done to the time you woke up? hows recovery ? well anyways, cant wait for you to post more pics of your new body.
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Gotcha! No problem. That's why I asked first. :)
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Am I allowed to post an external link to a blog I made for my healing process?
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We prefer you keep your story here on RealSelf rather than directing folks off site (though we, of course, don't own your story and you can tell it anywhere you want). Thanks!

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Thank you for sharing your story and photos here on RealSelf! Like Sassy said, you deserved this. Please keep us posted on how you're recovering.

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Wow, seven kids! You definitely deserve this makeover! Sounds like your recovery is coming along. Happy healing!
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