50 YO, Denver,4 Kids, 1 C-section, a Hysterectomy & the Tummy to Prove It! Full TT (no drains!)/Lipo/MR - Golden, CO
My surgeon was Dr. Andrew Wolfe and he was...
I've never written a review on a public forum like this…especially for something as personal as cosmetic surgery. But I really appreciated the perspective of being able to read others' experiences, and know it helped me prepare for my own procedure, and manage my expectations and recovery once I decided to take the leap and finally just do it!
I'm 50 yrs old, weigh 155 lbs, 5'9", am a happily married mom of 4, and Mimi to 8 perfect grand babies. I have always struggled with my weight but when my last baby was 3, I lost 70 lbs. and have kept it off (give or take 10 lbs) since then. After 4 pregnancies, 1 c-section, 1 tubal pregnancy, and a hysterectomy, and in spite of my best efforts, I had a stomach that could not be exercised or dieted into submission. And like so many other reviews I've read, I thought about doing a tummy tuck for years. Finally, I decided to just look into it and found it surprisingly affordable--not cheap, by any means--but not the $25,000 I was expecting, either.
The first thing friends ask is, "Did it really hurt?", and I can honestly say the pain was entirely manageable. The best way to describe the discomfort I felt was soreness in my upper abs and the sensation of tightness. The most pleasant surprise was that there was never any discomfort whatsoever from my incision. It was completely numb along the whole incision line and around my (new!) belly button. For those who have had a c-section, it's very similar. So it took a little practice to figure out how to move in and out of bed, go the the bathroom, etc, using my arms and legs, rather than my core/stomach muscles. But it was not intolerable, and the pain medication definitely helped! Just take it as directed and you'll be fine. The combination of Percocet and Valium was a really effective way to manage my pain and I made sure I stayed on top of things by setting reminders on my phone so I'd remember when it was time for each medication rather than waiting until I was really hurting to take it. I have a tendency to be nauseated by pain medication so I was prescribed a patch for nausea to put on the morning of surgery, had Zofran (dissolving tablets) to take when I got home, and I never had any trouble, except one morning when I forgot to eat a little dry cereal before taking pain medication. I was up and around (as opposed to laying in my bed and napping off and on all day) within 3 days. I was definitely moving slowly, but felt well enough that I didn't want to lay around in bed anymore. On the day of my 1 week post-op appointment, I was really happy for the excuse to get out of the house. The gauze and over my belly button and the clear bandage over my incision (it looked like a strip of packing tape) was removed and replaced with steri-strips. I was told to gently massage my incision to promote circulation and reduce scar tissue, and I've done that each day. As the pieces of steri-strips have started to peel and come off, I've been absolutely amazed at how thin and light my scar is.
Now that I'm 4 weeks post-op, I'll still take Advil as needed, and it really helps with the soreness and swelling I sometimes feel at the end of the day. Like many others, I continue to wear the compression garment I came home in 24/7. It adds a little bulk under my clothes, but I just feel better when I wear it. I still sleep in the same position as I did the first night after my TT--a few pillows under my head, a few pillows under my knees, and a pillow on each side of my stomach. I make a little hole in the center of all the pillows for my bum, and feel very supported and comfortable. We have a queen-sized bed and even with all the pillows, there's still room for my husband.
*I had a full tummy tuck (drainless), PAL (power-assisted liposuction), muscle repair, and the fee I quoted includes above procedures, anesthesiologist fees, OR/surgicenter fee, downpayment, and all pre and post-op care.
5 wk post-op w/Dr Wolfe
We are fortunate to live in an area with lots of great cosmetic surgeons...but just do yourself a favor and see Dr Wolfe for a consultation. You can count on a great Dr, great medical & office staff & a great experience overall.
7 wks post-op photo and…gulp..."before" photo from my patient file
Although I haven't gone back to yoga class, I have been on a quick 4-day vacation that included hauling luggage, grandkids, groceries and lots of walking, and I felt fine. I notice on days that I'm more active that my stomach feels tight and puffy by evening, but Ibuprofen takes care of it.
I'm so grateful to not have had to deal with some of the complications I've read about regarding incisions not healing properly. Is it just dumb luck or could it be that drain-less TT's and dissolvable stitches have lower rates of post-op infection/necrosis? I'd be interested in knowing if there have been any studies done on that subject.
I'm down one jeans size and that's exciting. I'll wear my CG with my old jeans or no CG and I can fit into the new, smaller ones. It still blows me away when I look down and there's no belly, or when I sit down and my belly isn't folded onto my lap.
I love my results and if I can answer any questions or offer encouragement, I'm happy to do so. This has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I wouldn't hesitate to take the leap, knowing what I know now. It hasn't been a walk in the park, but it hasn't been anything I couldn't handle, either. I'm just really happy I did it!!
8 wks post-op photo
Today I got a massage and didn't have any trouble at all when I decided to try laying on my stomach for the first time since my surgery.
Thanks, everyone, for your private and public messages of encouragement. It's been fun to answer questions, get to know so many of you, and be a part of this supportive community. Most important, I'm so grateful to Dr. Wolfe and his staff for a pleasant, stress-free experience that delivered results I didn't think were possible!!
This is the part of my whole experience where I could just go on and on about the quality of care I received. First of all, Dr Wolfe, and Dr. Vath are two of the very few surgeons in the Denver metro area that perform drain-less tummy tucks. I had heard other surgeons explain why drains were necessary and was a bit skeptical about the concept of a drain-less tummy tuck. Dr Wolfe explained that the technique of "quilting" the abdominal and underlying tissue results in a surgical site that does not have spaces where fluid can collect, and causing your own lymphatic system to take care of the fluid normally collected by the drains. It takes a bit longer in the OR, but pays off in the final result. I LOVED the idea that I didn't have to go home with drains or staples that would later need to be removed. I have a scar that is really thin and is a very light pink color. My recovery was quick and I am thrilled with the results thus far. There were a few times when I called the office with questions and my calls were always returned before the end of the day. Everyone I came in contact with from the staff at the front desk, to Cheryl, my patient coordinator, to the nurses, were courteous, friendly, and professional. I never waited more than a few minutes for any of my appointments and both offices/waiting areas were neat, organized and comfortable. I hesitate to give five stars in every category because I think I'd be a little skeptical if I saw another reviewer give five stars. But I have to be completely honest and say that this practice exceeded my expectations on every level. During the whole process--from initial consultation, pre-op, day of surgery and post-op visits--I had the chance to speak with several staff members who told me that they have worked for Dr's Wolfe and Vath for 10-15+ years. That fact alone speaks volumes regarding how they run their practice. Maybe something will change during the next year as the final results become more apparent, but for right now, I just can't think of anything they could have done differently to improve my experience.