Full TT Fixed my Smart Lipo Disaster - sorry I waited so long for fear of a scar!

My decision to do a full tummy tuck is decidedly...

My decision to do a full tummy tuck is decidedly my final attempt to repair the damage to my stomach caused by Smart Lipo (the worst thing I've ever done to my body). It all started in 2007 when I wanted to fix some trouble spots that I could not deal with by exercising. I am of small frame, low body fat, very athletic and physical, and I eat well. I went to see a prominent, well-advertised doctor in La Jolla who sold me on the perfect solution, Smart Lipo. What transpired is the opposite and the man ruined my body - particularly my already flat stomach. The irregularities even showed through tank tops . . .I have been beside myself for 6 yrs and desperately seeking a solution. I even went to L.A. to see Tara Reid's doctor who fixed her BOTCHED lipo!! The fat grafting did not work for me b/c there was too much tissue damage - it did not make it worse but was wasted expense.

FYI: Anyone considering Smart Lipo should read my review and story which I won't repeat here.

At any rate, I tried anything and everything over the last 6 yrs to fix my abdomen . . . nothing really worked although some things provided a little relief. I went and interviewed a few doctors last year about a Tummy Tuck but was just not interested in a hip-to-hip scar . . . vain I know. I discussed the mini-tuck and tried to persuade several docs that it would work but they all resoundingly said, "No, it won't work for you - the mini-tuck gives mini results." I consulted several docs and reviews on RealSelf over the last year and a half and still could not bring myself to pull the trigger.

Recently, I ran into a good friend that had just had a TT. She has the same frame as me (although she is 15 yrs younger) and she was willing to offer me support, guidance, and a peek at her scar. We spoke at least 50 times about the procedure, her doctor, the recovery, etc. I finally agreed, 6 months later, to go and have a consult with her doctor, Dr. Michael J. Brucker located in La Jolla.

When I met with Dr. B, I shared with him that I was very nervous and certain that I did not want to have that big, ugly TT scar. I have never had kids and felt betrayed by my first doctor and angry that this was the final straw to fix the appearance of my abdomen. I have always had a bikini body and at one point was a bikini and sportswear model. Dr. B showed me tons of photos and went over the entire procedure in detail. He answered all of my questions patiently explained how the procedure is performed, what kind of results I could expect, and how the recovery would go. Dr. B also poo-pooed the mini-tuck. ;D What he did do was explain exactly how he would attempt to get my scar very low but also plainly stated what he could not do for me due to limitations of available skin. Dr. Brucker agreed with me that I am very fit and needed NO muscle repair - something that delays recovery in most patients. I was very grateful to have met him and for the consult.

Dr. Brucker was very thorough and at the end he held my hand and told me, "most women think the outcome is worth the scar." He went on to say that he COULD fix my abdomen and help me feel whole about my body again.

You know what? I believed him. And, having seen my friends scar, I knew he meant what he said. So, on my way out I booked my surgery for the following week. I could not believe it . . . Me? TT? How did I get here? I looked at my aweful tummy every day and realized how traumatized I've been over the last 6 yrs . . . even in clothes. The dents, scars, ripples, and generally ugly appearance had made me completely,self-conscious and depressed.

The office staff was very kind. Everyone took their time with me and helped me through the process patiently. I had my pre-op by phone and the anaesthesiologist was great - he even came to see me on one of the follow-up appts just to ask how I my recovery was going.

The day before surgery, I was bitten by a spider and it almost derailed my procedure (see photo). Fortunately, I talked the doc into going ahead b/c the bite was on a section of skin that would be removed anyway. He was nervous but finally relented.

On surgery day, my hubby delivered me to the doctor. Hubby took 5 days off to take care of me ;D The surgery took about 3 hours and I awoke with really no complications or nausea. My friend, the one that referred me, offered to care for me so I stayed with her. I had my hubby by me some supplies, juice, raspberries, etc. The next day, my post-op visit was simple and I got to see my smooth tummy for the first time - I developed tears of elation. They changed the tape, checked the drain, redressed the compression garment and away I went.

I took pain meds for the first three days only. Sitting in a recliner all day is boring but I managed to get to bed and that was comforting. Sleep was rare and LMN movie boredom set in. All I could think about was what I looked like under that CG. 3 days later, another check-up and all continued to look great. Same routine again . . . but hating that ridiculous recliner. . . and hungry and cannot go potty. Frustrated!!! I took Ducolax to get some relief. More fruit, prune juice, water, water, water. ;D

Today I am 11 days post-op and feeling great. I have zero pain or discomfort and looking forward to getting back to work and sleeping normally. I am so happy I did this procedure. My post-op went perfectly today and I was able to have my drain removed, stitches out, and get a looksie at my tummy. Shockingly, I'm NOT swollen . . . who'd have guessed? It looks great so far. I would recommend this procedure to anyone who wants to feel better about themselves following any trauma to the abdomen or childbirth. As Dr. B stated, "most women feel the outcome is worth the scar." I could not agree more - I am so happy I finally did it and kinda sad that I waited so long . . . I wish I had done this 5 yrs ago.

I really never thought the TT would do as much as it did for my self-confidence . . . I could not be happier with the procedure and will be happy to offer guidance or answer questions.
You look absolutely awesome !
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TY! 
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Day 12

It was worth it . . . recovery and all. I feel great today.
You look amazing!!!
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TY.
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You look amazing!! I know you must feel a 1000 times better.
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Day 13 belly button

Feeling great today. I was able to side sleep on both sides last night and got a full night's sleep. I thought I would share what my bb looks like so adding a photo today. Sadly, I'm more swollen than I've been since doing this . . . it'll go away.

Never thought I'd see the day . . .

I bought this bikini 6 yrs ago and just removed the tags this morning - NEVER thought I'd see the day . . . sad I waited so long. I'm 50 and fabulous! lol At any rate, I'm posting this to support anyone who's just not sure about a TT. It's been a far more pleasant experience than I ever thought it would be . . . seriously.
50, never would have ever guessed that, looking good. It is so good you caught that seroma and got it drained, it does hurt like hell but worth the drain for sure.
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TY for the compliment . . . I surely needed it tonight.  Ugh, doc said the seroma may return next week . . . I wish he had left the drain in longer as it was not really bothering me.
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Oh bummer :((.. I hope it doesn't come back!! U look great, but I know this healing is definitely a marathon not a sprint.
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Almost three weeks

Well, I did not rest as I should have and have been up doing too much - the swelling is up and it's not as good as it was last week. I had to have a second seroma drained.
You look great! What is the name of the binder and where did you get it?
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U still look great - hope no more Seroma. What kind of binder is that? I hate this bulky Velcro binder. It's hard to hide under clothes
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I bought it on nomorerack.com . . . I don't know exactly, you just scroll down til you see it - it's a waist slimmer and VERY comfy.
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3 weeks post op

Returning to normal activity - minimal morning swelling and sleeping comfortably. Still wearing my compression garment at night and two body shapers during the day. Love my results.
Very touching story! thank you for sharing...it helped me a lot..at 38 I was wondering what am I putting mysefl through with the TT BA BL Lipo...I am signing up for another surgery atleast 5-10 years down the line..is it worth it... Your review answered it for me! thanks a lot
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Awesome!!
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Looking good!!
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4 weeks po

Looks a lil better every day - still swollen.
You may be swollen but I can't see it. I know that's not comforting, because feeling swollen is the pits, but dang girl you look great. Can't wait to see you post-seroma days!
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Me too!! lol
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Where's ur seroma ? I don't see any bulges
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4 weeks PO today

Looking good! Your scar is so light already! My scar looks red and angry! Lol.
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I have not put anything on it yet - going to start with Bio-oil tomorrow.  TY.  How have you been? 
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You look amazing!!
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Minor setback as swelling subsides

I see some irregularities now that the swelling is subsiding . . . it's a lil depressing - I looked better swollen! LOL
I hear over and over 6 months you have to give it 6 months. This is very hard for any of us. I still swell like hell and hope that this will be done in 6 months, 6 months, just keep saying 6 months.
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Not sure I can handle 6 months of worrying - lol, I was happy the day I tried on my fav jeans - just 4 days ago!  I'm swollen and taking Tumeric, Bromelain & Papain . . . not helping thus far. 
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Hi threes: I agree with the earlier posters. I would give it time to heal before drawing conclusions about the end result. A lot can happen between now and a couple of months down the road. Hang in there, and perhaps talk to your ps for advice, but I think waiting might be key here? Hugs to you, and I think you look fabulous!
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Scar is fine - healing nicely.

Not happy with the dents on upper abdomen . . . very disappointing to say the least. I will have the center of the scar above the mons pubis revised next year (need to wait til 8 mos post op) and the scar on the left hip is high so may revise it lower . . . other than that, hanging in there.

Scar

Close up of scar - it is darker b/c I put Bio-oil on it . . .
Hi, sorry for all your going through but you still look gorgeous! Hang in there.
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I also has stomach irregularities from lipo that causes me to get TT as well. The docto said he got most of the irregularities but there would be a chance I would need fat grafting in certain areas if not fixed. I hope you heal well in the next few months and know that truly you are not the only one in this boat...:) hugs to you!!!
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TY Salliee . . . I hope to see your updated pics and thank you for your kind note.  I am trying to understand this since I looked great 5 days ago and suddenly - BAMM there are the ugly indentations.  
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Felt well enough to dress and do my hair today!

I am almost 5 weeks po. I dressed and left my cgs at home. Had a long but productive day - now back in cgs, pjs, and in the recliner.
Looking super tiny by the way :-)
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TY - I'm size 4 now - comfortably.  Weighed in at 126 lbs today.
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You went out the whole day without Cgs? I still haven't attempted that at 7 weeks! Lol.
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It's smoothing out again . . . boy that was horrifying to go through . . .

I changed cgs AGAIN and now the rippling/irregularities seemed to have calmed down. I cannot emphasize enough to find the right cg. Anything that makes a dent, constricts blood flow, etc., can cause issues in healing. I cannot wait for the swelling to go away and for time to pass.
Everything smoothed out? Yay good for you! Curious about your appointment tomorrow! Are you still going to ask about it?
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I'm going next week - gonna tough it out . . . plus, what if it returns?  I'm resting today (cleaning house) trying to stay vertical to avoid any creasing of any kind which includes NO sitting today.  Reclining will commence when I'm tired. 
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Don't say that it will be fine! Plus it has to be better than before right? That is what I keep telling myself! Keep me on the loop and keep recling friend!
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PRE-TT photo . . . just found this . . . ugh.

This was taken 1 month before I finally decided to do the TT. It tells a great story - tan does not fix things.

Before and Afters - 5 weeks out

Here is the real before and after . . .
Ugly again today . . . ;/  This sucks - but check out my photo from this past June - 30 days before I pulled the trigger to do the TT.
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Your stomach looks 100% percent better women!
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Thank you - I just found that before pic. 
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June 2013 and August 2013 5 weeks po

I know you won't like to hear this since you want your stomach near perfection after all you have been through, but if I only had 1 minor flaw, I would accept that as success! You look soooooo marvelous already. I'm soooo happy for you and I hope my results are close to yours! Much love and hugs to you!!!!
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TY . . . I hear you.  However, I've spent 6 yrs of constantly trying to get rid of the damage and I looked really great a week ago so yes, I am disappointed that the irregularities are coming back.  They were masked by the swelling or the cgs caused it . . . either way, now I must do something to fix it again.  I'm mostly happy. 
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5 weeks PO close up of scar

Happy with scar - redness is from tape.
Scar looks great!!
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Wow.....such a great improvement! Thanks for sharing. You look great.
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TY . . . the recovery leaves much to be desired but I am 99% happy with the results.
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Recovery from this procedure sucks - putting it bluntly. But WORTH it.

Up, down, rest, don't rest, seroma 5 times, smooth, happy, not smooth, not happy, seroma Hell, ugh. Swelling? Not so much. Scar? No big deal. Ugh!!
You are healing wonderfully (even if you don't think so. Your scar looks great! What are you using? (I'll be 7 wks on Tues)
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I'm not using anything - just allowing it to heal on its own. 
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Wow! It looks really good for using nothing!!!
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More seromas drained and new compression piece

I am now wearing a spongie insert inside my cg to help with irregular swelling and seromas. I am to wear this configuration til the seromas go away. Ugh! I am happier with the appearance of my tummy tonight though so I guess that is the point. I will be good . . . I will be good. ;D

This recovery leaves a lot to be desired but I would not change a thing about my TT decision even if I could go back in time. I am very happy with my doctor for sure.
What is the spongie insert called? I still see a little indentations on my tummy too. You look really really awesome!!!!
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I'm going to try to find out today.  I was going to try to Google it but it will be easier to ask the doctor. 
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Epi-foam sheets ordered

My doctor gave me a self-adhering foam sheet to put on my abdomen (helps with irregularities). I believe what he gave me was made by Biodermis and is called Epi-foam. I ordered a set of three sheets today. It's very comfortable inside my cg.
Wow! You look great--definitely on the flat side now! I'm so glad your doctor is caring for you still. I hope your seromas subside soon.
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WOW WOW WOW!!! You look amazing!!
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Your look fabulous and scar looks really good!!!
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Bad news - surgery needed to close up seroma.

Ugh - the seroma will not close on its own. The next step is to surgically close it . . . wondering how that's going to go and if I will have to start over with compression, drains, etc.
How are you feeling? Your in my thoughts. Hugs my tt friend:)
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Trying again - day 1

I underwent revision surgery today. Dr stated there was a lot of thick scar tissue that had to be removed and the large seroma pocket was seen up. I'm more painful this time but not hunched at all. Praying it heals properly.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 3 months from first and 1 of rev.

I had mine redone yesterday. There was a lot of thick scar tissue which had to be removed. Doc opened all but 4" of the first incision. I have more pain but am not hunched over. Also, two drains. He also had to see the seroma down which made dents where they are tacked - I'm tired but can't sleep - starting over completely. ;/ Lets talk over the weekend.

Auto-correct

Seroma was *sewn up
God bless you sweetie ! Hope you recover very soon.
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You are in my prayers. One day soon it will all be worth it.
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thinking of you and hoping you're doing ok with this second try. Hope it goes well for you....
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4 days out after TT revision

Praying I do not develop another seroma - my entire TT had to be repaired at just 3 months out. I. Am in more pain and have to drains this time around.
5 days PO - doc cautiously optimistic so did not remove either drain - maybe Friday. I'm having more pain this time around b/c the skin is pulled to maximum tightness. Got stronger pain meds too. Still not allowed any activity and wearing the dreaded binder. But, it's looking good - although, I was happy the first time too.
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Oh my goodness!! I pray for a speedy recovery for you....go away bad seroma!! Take care beautiful lady!
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Aw dang, good luck this time around!
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5 days PO

How are you doing, Threez? Hope you're continuing along the healing path without problems and without those darn seromas. Happy Thanksgiving!
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I am wondering too.. How are you healing??? Please share
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Yahoo glad your posting pics & keeping us posted:) hope your new pain meds works better. Pain is NO fun!!! hugs
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Finally!!!

5 months and two FULL TTs later, I look normal again.
That's awesome!!
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ty
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Wow after everything you went through you deserve fabulousness!!! Looking great!
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Side by Side - June 2013 before - and Dec 2013 after 2nd full TT

I pray that my story prevents one person from suffering the horrible disfigurement of Smart Lipo. Two Full TTs and 5 months layup - after 6 yrs of trying to correct the situation. I am finally happy now.
Amazing!!! You look fantastic!!!
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Yay you looking great!!!
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the results are great! happy healing!
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OK I am 3 months out from 2nd Full TT and yesterday had 2nd BA revision

I'm really happy with my tummy finally . . . this was a long road but so worth it. I had the vertical scar removed yesterday and changed my implants from Textured to Smooth. I'm groggy but here you go.
Hi - Definitely looks great. I am so that you updated your profile. I have been wondering how you were healing and doing. Very inspiring for all of us to watch your journey and to see that we can get some much needed improvement from areas that didn't turn out the way we had initially hoped.
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Your story is so inspiring and knowing we can go back and fix areas that are of concern is so brave! I wish you well and you look great!!!
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Glad you are happy! And thanks for sharing your story. I at some point had a thought of upper tummy lipo after TT but since then have trashed that idea ;-)...just did a fabulous body combat class after 9 weeks after TT and controling upper tummy fat and bulge with exercise and posture. Thx again for helping others!
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1 year later

My TT has healed well considering I needed to refinements. The center scar is darker because that section was done last and is just out 6 months. I'm very happy overall. Also, I just had the bra line back mid-lift done and needed another belly button revision. I have not peeked at it yet.

Forgot last photo

Same as before.
Looks great. Unfortunately I had mine done by dr scott turner in Newcastle. Still saving to fix the botched job he did. :-(
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You look amazing! What great results!
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Oct 2014 new photos

I'm so happy I finally did the TT.
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