Extended Tummy Tuck - Worth Every Penny

Hi everyone. I've been an avid reader of all of...

Hi everyone. I've been an avid reader of all of your reviews, the surgeon q&a's, and the forum. I hope my experience goes as well as some of yours and that I can learn from the wealth of knowledge here on RS. About me: I'm a 29 y/o mom of a 17 month old daughter with a divorce pending (we've been separated for over a year...). I know the surgeons are generally adamant against doing TTs on women not done with having kids, but as a young-ish almost single woman about to re-enter the dating world, I really feel that I need the boost in self confidence that so many of you have gotten from your procedures. That's not to say that I am definitely having more kids, as I had a rough pregnancy, traumatic delivery, and horrible PPD, but if I find and fall in love with a man, I may want to have another... Who knows? All I know is I am really upset every time I look in the mirror and while putting on clothes in the morning. The thought of being intimate with a new man with my huge flipping stretches out tummy terrifies me. Ok, enough of that. Time to be positive. :)

I'm 5'6" and 175-185 depending on the day and the scale. I know I'm overweight but the decision to have this surgery just recently materialized (like last week). I'm active duty military and they are currently paying me to go to grad school in preparation for my next job. The school I go to has a 5 week winter break and it dawned on me last year that if I ever want to do this, given my personal and professional situation, the time is NOW! I figure that the TT and lipo will take away a lot of my problem area and will motivate me to continue to improve my health/body afterwards. I am concerned with the healing time as I have a physical fitness test scheduled in early February but I'm hopeful it goes well and I heal enough to workout hard in 6 weeks.

I have three consultations scheduled in the next two weeks. Two are scheduled in St. Louis (one with Dr. Kofkoff and one with Dr. Hoffaker) and one the following week with Dr. Hawes. Dr. Kofkoff has amazing reviews and good pictures, but he also has a higher price tag than the other two. Dr. Hoffaker also has good reviews though there were a few mixed ones. Dr. Hawes has less reviews available (that I could find anyway) and the reviews are mixed. However, he has the lowest price tag. I should note that both St. Louis surgeons require an overnight stay while Dr. Hawes does it out-patient which explains the difference in price. I know I won't know the exact cost of my surgery until I do the actual consultation, but all three offices gave me an estimate so that I could work in getting financing in place.

All three offices have available OR times available for me. Hopefully those times will still be available when I'm ready to schedule. I feel a little pressures to schedule a date now but I do think its important to meet with the surgeons first. I am a horrible BS detector (I give everyone the benefit of the doubt - explains my failed marriage...) but my mom will be joining me and she's an expert. :)

One thing I am trying to figure out is about my daughter. We're attachment parenting and she still nurses when I come home from school and at night. Have any of you nursed after having your TT? She's old enough that she can climb up on the recliner loveseat with me to nurse without needing me to pick her up, but I'm worried that she'll unintentionally press down on my stomach or knee/kick me while moving around... Guess I'll ask the doctors next week.

Ok I need help. Badly. I had consultations with...

Ok I need help. Badly. I had consultations with the top two surgeons on my list (and two of the best in my city). I have never had cosmetic surgery before and don't know how to choose. Tell me what you think -

Surgeon A: He wants $11,000 for a standard TT with MR and limited lipo of my abs and regular lipo on my flanks. He is a conservative surgeon and wants me to be realistic with my expectations (which I do, I just wish he was more optimistic)...

Surgeon B: wants $14500 for an extended TT with MR and a more aggressive lipo of abs, waist, flanks, back, and inner thighs. He has a calm demeanor but a more positive attitude saying ill be very happy with the results and it will be a huge difference.

So... What would you do? An extra $3500 is a huge issue but I can make it work if necessary. My surgery will be dec 10th, regardless which surgeon I choose. I dont know why one surgeon thinks standard and the other says extended, but thats the way it is. I appreciate Surgeon A's idea of being conservative in surgery. I don't want complications, but I want to look/feel better! And I want a surgeon who knows what he's doing, not one who knows what to say to get me hooked. But I can't decide if that's what surgeon B is doing. Ugh! Help?

Decided on a surgeon - it came down to results (by...

Decided on a surgeon - it came down to results (by pictures posted here and on his website), reviews (though my surgeon has SOOOO many amazing reviews online it makes me wary that he's too good to be true...), and price (although he's less expensive than the other surgeon, he's also doing less lipo... so if that is something I want to pursue in the future, I'm glad that I'll have funds available to get it done).

One week till surgery. :)

Thanks to my brother who came to visit for Turkey...

Thanks to my brother who came to visit for Turkey day with a cough, I have caught whatever he had and my surgeon feels that due to my cough/sore throat, that it's not worth the risk of going under. Plus, the anesthetist will probably refuse to put me under anyway. It has to do with the breathing tube going into through my throat and possibly spreading my throat junk to my lungs.

Only problem is that the window of time in my career that I have to get this done, combined with my surgeons super busy December schedule, means it's possible I won't have a chance to schedule this again for years.

Sad. :(

So I was able to reschedule my surgery for the...

So I was able to reschedule my surgery for the 27th. It's been a blur of pain, sleep, drugs and drains since then, but I am amazed at my results. The fact that I know I'm swollen and that they results will get even better is hard for me to comprehend. Check out my pics! My PS removed 5.5 lbs of skin and lipo'd about 3500 cc's from my abs, hips, and flanks. No more enormous love handles!

Hey ladies! Thanks for the kind words. Don't let...

Hey ladies! Thanks for the kind words. Don't let the pictures fool you. I have a couple windows of about an hour each day when the timing of my pain meds and muscle relaxers converge where I feel like I can walk around semi-normally. The rest of the day, I'm just as hunched over as everyone else. My main problem is not overdoing it during those times because they end up hurting me more in the end...

A couple years later and a new life has begun to unfold in front of me...

Ok, so I'm a few months past the 2.5 year mark from my surgery date. The surgery and post-op period we to by quickly. At the time, it seemed like the healing was taking an eternity. However, here I am a couple years later and everything is looking up.

Physically, I still have numb areas around my scar and my scar is still dark and visible. However, I have so many stretch marks leftover from my daughter that I could care less. The trade off for having a flat tummy was worth it. Also, my weight continued to drop after surgery as the swelling decreased. I've ended at a weight that I'm satisfied with and it feels great to exercise now.

I'm not sure if turning 30 has something to do with it, but I've developed an incredible sense of pride in my body. Both it what's it been through and how it looks now. This new sense of confidence led me into the dating world and, less than a year into dating aggressively (mostly online... It's a crazy world out there!), I've found a new man! :).

The pics are of me trying what may or not be my future wedding dress. I haven't settled but it's the first super-affordable dress I came across and I love it for the simple backyard Texas wedding that we're planning. Do I think I could have found him without having the surgery? Maybe... Would having that huge mass of folded and stretched out tummy skin and blubber have affected anything? Absolutely, because I doubt I'd have had the courage to pursue something considering how I felt about myself and my body at the time. That said, he loves me, my daughter, my scars and stretch marks and all.

Haha... Oops.

I reread my last post but for some reason I can't edit it, I guess I'm only a little over 1.5 years past the surgery date! It feels like so long ago though!! :)

I know this surgery is crazy expensive, but if you are in the shoes I was sitting in December 2012, you should go for it. I'm still paying off my surgery, and will be for the foreseeable future, but it's the best investment in my own happiness that I've ever made.

Good luck on your own journey, ladies!
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon

Found him on a google search and learned about him on RealSelf and his website. I thought he was too good to be true because all of his reviews were glowing and no one had anything negative to say. Normally, this would worry me because I'm a realist. But there was something about his personality and how dedicated he is to wanting his patients to be happy with their results that I chose him over the other PS's in the area that I interviewed. He was straightforward with me about my expectations before surgery, and the results are better than I thought possible. I'm just in awe.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 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
Was this review helpful? 2 others found this helpful

Comments (38)

Sort by

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, you look amazing!
  • Reply
Your results are amazing! I am military too and was wondering how your first physical fitness test went after the TT? I am so worried I wont be up for it 4 months post op. I am also fulltime grad student and will be having my surgery in December, and physical fitness test in April. Do you think this will be doable?
  • Reply
Wow, what a similarity! :) I'm not sure about the navy, but I made sure my commander agreed to the procedure, after the surgery I had my prescriptions filled on base, and I went to see my primary care provider a few days after surgery. She wrote me a profile for not taking our PT test for a month and I had to have that profile rewritten a couple times based on my surgeons guidelines. Your doctor will definitely tell you how long you need to take it easy after surgery. I want to say that I took my first test in March but I believe I had a no push up, no sit up, only walking profile. I'm not going to sugar coat it, my abs felt strained/off for about a year after surgery. It wasn't until this past June that push ups and sit ups didn't feel unnaturally painful (nothing you can't push through but it was more than annoying). I normally maxed the sit up event but my abs felt and/or became severely untrained after surgery. However, I just took a PT test two weeks ago and I'm back to maxing that event! I truly think individual results may vary on this one though... Good luck!
  • Reply
Yeah, that is what I figured. I am anticipating needing to be waived from at least the sit up portion. Thank you for your response!
  • Reply
And you look amazing today.. I am so looking forward to my mommy makeover I can't hardly stand it.. The waiting is going to be the worse part and I am not even done interviewing surgeons yet but the I have met with Dr K and thought he was pretty amazing I was quoted less than I anticipated for the procedure for extentend tummy tuck with lipo to hips and flanks min to abd, breast reduction on the right and lifts bilaterally, less than 15,000 but the extended enderal medication was an added fee which from the sounds of it from other reviews is well worth the cost. Good luck to you and upcoming wedding you dress is beautiful and looks great on you its a good choice.. :D Thank you for sharing your updated photos and your journey
  • Reply
Thank you for sharing your special journey :) I hope mine turns out as good as yours! You will be stunning in your dress on your big day x
  • Reply
My first consult was with Dr K. I think very highly of him and his results and reviews are amazing. I still have two more consults with Dr Prada and dr Nathan are my other consults that I have lined up. I am looking to have surgery late January or early Feb 2015 however it works best.. It really is not that far away.. Wishing you successful healing and glad you are happy with your results you look amazing for three days out!
  • Reply
You look great !
  • Reply
So how are you doing now?
  • Reply
You should be amazed, you look fabulous!!
  • Reply
you look great girl. so happy for you. happy healing
  • Reply
looking awesome
  • Reply
Wow you look amazing!
  • Reply
You look great! I agree with shellerz I am amazed with your posture. I'm still hunched but slowly straightening up! Continue to relax and happy healing!
  • Reply
Woohoo! Another one n the 27th club! You look amazing! You know what I am blown away by? You can stand up straight...you don't look hunched at all! What a blessing! Congrats!
  • Reply
Hello! You look great! Amazing difference and you are only 3 dpo! Hope you get lots of rest and can take it easy as you heal. Nice to see another person from St. Louis! I think we have 3 or 4 from Missouri right now.
  • Reply
Wow! You are looking fantastic!!! You must be so psyched. I am a day behind you. Here's to a fast recovery!!! :)
  • Reply
Chin up girl, everything will work out,make sure to goggle with warm water and salt for the sore throat 3x a day. Sorry i dont know of a home remedy for the cough. Hope he can book you within your time limit. Pray on it.
  • Reply

I am so sorry:(   

Keep positive thoughts going and tell yourself this is going to happen!!   Something tells me that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!

  • Reply
Oh no, Suzie1133! I'm so sorry. Hope you are able to reschedule.
  • Reply
My surgery is tomorrow....let see what happens.
  • Reply
sorry to hear about this... my surgery was cancelled twice and not because of cold.. i was all prep up and marked and then came my blood result and the surgery was canceled. happened twice because of this. i have very low Hemoglobin. buckle up and things will work out.
  • Reply
Definitely agree with Tucker, sneezing or coughing post-op is the worst thing ever! Only time I really had pain. Get well soon and good luck rescheduling.
  • Reply
So sorry. Praying you have a chance to make I happen to yourself
  • Reply
So sorry to hear- mine was postponed from nov 27th to dec 5th. I'm recovering now, and just sneezed 5 minutes ago, believe me you don't want to do any excessive coughing or sneezing during recovery; it hurts like an sob- I'm of the mind everything happens for a reason- look at my before pics- I met the man of my dreams, and he had no problem with my awful stomach - when you meet the right person it just doesn't matter- I thought about a tummy tuck in 2007- and it ended up falling through - good thing for me because it would have been ruined in 2008 and 2009 by two surgeries - hopefully either way it will all work out for the best for you! :)
  • Reply