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Vertical Cut Tummy Tuck & Diastasis Repair on 37 Small Framed Mom - Utah

I am a 37 mother of 6 who recently had a vertical...

I am a 37 mother of 6 who recently had a vertical cut tummy tuck, or fleur de lis tummy tuck, to fix diastasis recti, umbilical hernia, stretch marks, and loose skin. Getting a vertical cut on my stomach rather than the usual, low, horizontal cut, was an oddity in the surgery world, especially for my small size. I am 5' 4" and weigh 100 pounds. However, I had the above mentioned issues. Dr. cut 8 inches off horizontally and the results are early, but AMAZING!

After looking over some other “reviews” I...

After looking over some other “reviews” I thought I might put more information about myself and my surgery.

I am the mother of 6 with kids ranging in ages from 19 years old to 14 months old.

Dr. Seller and I chose to go with the vertical cut tummy tuck for several reasons. First, I had quite a few stretch marks above my belly button that would still be there, but pulled down to a lower position, with a traditional horizontal cut. If I have to look at those ugly stretch marks still anyways…what is the point of having surgery. I’m betting on a clean, white scar that I will barely notice in comparison. If that doesn’t happen, anything will be better than what it was before.

Second, I have a very long torso and my belly button sits kind of high. So, my doctor would have had to make a vertical “seam” anyways, if I had gone with the traditional horizontal cut, in order to sew up where my old belly button had been.

Third, with my diastasis or muscle repair, I have probably lost an additional inch or two off of my waistline. In a traditional tummy tuck, this would have left me with even a little more skin horizontally. However, vertically cut, he was able to just cinch it all in once the muscles were repaired.

This option was not discussed with any other doctor that I consulted. I don’t think it’s very common and usually only an option on obese people who have lost a ton of weight. As I mentioned before, I am very small framed, 5’ 4” and weigh 100 pounds, and THIS particular surgery will not leave me disappointed with the results as a traditional tummy tuck may have. My friends and family that I have shown off results to have all said, “hmmm…maybe I need to go with a vertical cut!”

That being said, I am not a bikini wearing Mom. If I were, this may not have been such an easy decision.

I had no lipo suction done at the time of surgery. I did not end up needing drains because there was little, if any, skin trauma from the surgery. I have a 3 inch horizontal scar right at my pubic line and a vertical scar running from that point to about 2 inches below my breast line.

I have recovered quite well so far. Most of the first 5 days were spent in my recliner. On day 6, I have been up a good part of the day and taken only one pain pill around noon. I, of course, can not lift anything. However, I can clean up a little after kids, make lunch, work on the computer, go up and down stairs, pretty much anything that does not involve lifting or bending over.
I am looking forward to having working stomach muscles again! I’m sure they have been a part in the back problems I have dealt with on and off for the past 8 years. I’m just amazed everytime I look down at my new tummy!

Dated: September 11, 2012 My surgery is...

Dated: September 11, 2012
My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. My dear husband gave me a Priesthood blessing tonight. I am not so much scared for the actual surgery, but more anxious about the unknown of it all. How will it turn out? Will I be happy with it? Will I notice a big enough difference to make it worthwhile? Have I chosen the right doctor? Will he sew up all my muscles like I want him to? How will the recovery be? I’ve read different things, some people say pain not too bad during recovery if keep up on pain meds, others say first few days SO painful. Which will I say? Some people say just taking a shower that first week totally zaps all your energy and wears you out. Really? I totally can not even imagine that! After my babies, I am pretty much up and at em by the next day, no laying in bed for me. Will I not feel like getting out of bed for weeks after this surgery? I know my stretch marks are not all going away with this surgery. Will I notice the ones that are left? Will they still wrinkle when I bend? Will my incision be straight? Will the scar fade or stay red? How will I take care of my baby (14 months old) for the next month? My biggest concern is getting him in and out of his crib. I just don’t know how that’s going to work out! And, I’m totally not ready to give up naptime for him yet, for this. Luckily, and hopefully, my 19 year old will be home most days to help out with this. Then of course there are the real worries. Ones like, what if something goes wrong and I leave my kids without a mother all over my vanity. I know my hernia and muscles are being repaired and as well, but neither one of these things is deadly or absolutely necessary, so could I be setting myself up for a lifetime of problems unnecessarily?


My sweetheart took me to my favorite, Chick-Fil-A, for dinner tonight. I slept until around 4:00, at which time I awoke and had a hard time getting back to sleep with all the thoughts running through my mind.

Dated: September 12, 2012 - Surgery Day had to...

Dated: September 12, 2012 - Surgery Day
had to check in at Lakeview Hospital at 9:45 this morning. My hubby and I drove the kids to school and then headed out this way. My oldest son will be watching the little ones this morning and my Mom will come over for the rest of the day around 11:30.


Upon arriving at the hospital, we had to wait. And, wait. And, wait. Dr. Sellers finally came in to visit with me around 1:30 or so. His first question to me was, “So, did we decide to just make the one horizontal cut or the vertical one?” Interesting that this was the first thing he discussed. When I had been in his office, and I had suggested the idea or asked about the idea, I got the feeling from him, my hubby, and his nurse that I was a little crazy to think about that. They DO do tummy tucks like that, but few and mainly just on very large people who need like a total body lift. I however, wondered and have wondered the past few weeks since, if I would be happier with that cut over the low, horizontal one. So, when he asked me about it first thing, it just felt right to me. My dear husband, Dr Sellers, and I quickly came to the decision that I would be getting the long vertical incision with a short 4-6 inch incision at the pubic line.


This decision was made because of the following reasons. First, it may be able to remove ALL of my stretch marks. I probably have a good 2-3 inches of stretch marks above my belly button that would be left behind with a traditional tummy tuck. I was not really happy about that. I kept wondering if I’m going to have those stretch marks anyways, wouldn’t it be better just to have the 1 vertical scar rather than the 4 inch wide/possibly 4 inch long patch of stretch marks left behind? Second, I am very long waisted and apparently have a high belly button. Most peoples belly buttons line up with the top of their hip bones. My belly button sits about 1-2 inches above that spot. The problem with that is when he cuts the belly button area, he was going to have to do a vertical incision/stich up approximately 3-4 inches anyway just to get that old belly button hole sewn up. Third, although I had quite a lot of loose skin below my belly button, the skin above was stretchy horizontally, but not so much so vertically. Therefore, that skin could not be pulled down a lot, resulting in the left behind stretch marks.


So, I left for the operating room around 1:30ish and woke up in recovery around 5:30. Time stood still for me during that time. I, of course, remember nothing. I will be staying the night at Lakeview, since it was only an additional $200 for this option. Kind of a no brainer for me for safety reasons as well as taking a break from 6 kids for the evening! My hubby will be staying overnight with me and actually has his own bed in my room.


When I got to my room, I took some nausea medication as well as some Lortab. My pain is mostly soreness in the muscles above my belly button. Those ones were split significantly more than the lower muscles. In fact, I have felt no discomfort in the lower muscles or incistions. My vertical incision appears to go from pubic area to maybe 2 inches below my boobs and my horizontal incision is right at pubic hair line approximately 4-5 inches. I have an abdominal binder on with steri-strips and a small piece of gauze covering them.

One good thing is I didn't end up with drains. Because I had no liposuction done and the Dr didn't have to lift the skin up from the tissue to fix my muscles, he didn't feel like there was a need to put drains in. Horray! I was NOT looking forward to this part of the recovery!


I, of course, haven’t seen the incision (I’ve peeked under there a little bit, but don’t dare look), but I am feeling very confident with the results and with the surgery that we decided to do. Only time will tell, but I’m expecting to be happy.

Dated September 13 - 1 Day Post Op I don’t...

Dated September 13 - 1 Day Post Op

I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse night sleep! I wouldn’t even say it was pain from my surgery that kept me up all night, it was just “hospital living”. Several things. First of all, the leg compressors they had on my calves were highly annoying. They constantly reminded me that I could be developing a deadly blood clot in my leg. At times, I guess just from the pressure of having them on, my legs felt “tingly”, which worried me and made me wonder if they were too tight and cutting off the circulation. Ok, maybe I wasn’t thinking totally clearly with all that medication, but still! Then, to have it feel like someone is taking your blood pressure on your leg every 15 seconds while trying to sleep, just doesn’t work.

My next complaint is the loudness of the hospital. When I, or anyone else for that matter, push the “nurse call” button on my bed, it dings outside my room rather than at the nurses station. No big deal if it’s only ME calling the nurse and she comes right away. But, when the people around you are ALSO calling the nurse all night, and you can hear their “beep…beep….beep…” until the nurse finally gets to their room…annoying! Last complaint, the nursing staff. I heard people talking here and there throughout the night, but at 6:30 this morning, several nurses were having a very loud, laughing, 10 minute discussion in the hallway near my room. Seriously?! Don’t they know where they work? Don’t they realize that people who are recovering from surgery have a hard enough time sleeping that we don’t need THEM interrupting our sleep that early in the day! I thought it was very rude and weird that this concept would not dawn on them.

I am taking Lortab every 4 hours…not sure on the dosage. My nurse didn’t wake me up in the night for medication, so at one point, I spanned almost 5 hours and felt it. After that, I started to watch the clock myself and ask at 4 hours.

Dr Sellers came in this morning around 8:00. He said the surgery went great. He again confirmed the decision to make the vertical incision was the way to go. He said that once he sewed those muscles together at the top of my stomach, which had been separated about 2 inches, it would have only created more loose skin horizontally…however, with the vertical incision this was not an issue at all. He also said something about had we done it the other way, my belly button incision would have had to go nearly to my new belly button…so again, good decision to go with the vertical incision to begin with.

My stitches on the horizontal incision are on the outside. The vertical incision has dissolvable sutures on the inside. Both areas are covered with steri-strips. I am free to shower at any time now, but will probably wait a day or so, because mentally it just doesn’t seem right to me at this point.

At 10:00 or so, it was time for us to leave the hospital and return home. Good and bad, I guess. More comfortable at home, but more chaos as well. Upon walking into my house, my baby saw his momma and walked towards me. He stopped at my leg and gave me his “uuuhhh” grunt which translates to “pick me up!” Sadly, I could not. He was not happy about that. My hubby picked him up and he cried. I leaned in and he gave me a nice, long hug, stopping with the fussing immediately. We couldn’t stay like that forever though, so Grandma moved in to take the baby. He threw quite a fit for a minute or two, but then it was done and he was fine.

I planted myself in my bedroom recliner and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the day. Every once in awhile, Baby will come up next to my chair and I’ll reach over and pat his back. He likes this…and then he’s off to make more trouble somewhere! I tried to sleep throughout the day, but it rarely happened. I was however, able to sit there and rest, which was what I really need. I think Daddy's already had it with being a “stay at home Dad” after just this one afternoon. Lots of work with a 14 month old in the house! He’s ALWAYS into something! I said many times before this surgery, “Are you SURE we shouldn’t wait until Baby gets a little older and easier?” But, my dear husband reassured me there is never going to be a “good” time for this type of thing. He may be reconsidering that response now. Too late!

Speaking of my sweetheart, he’s been so tender and supportive of me throughout this process so far. Helping me in and out of bed, slowly and gently. I just looked at him last night as he was getting ready to spend that same “unsleepable” night in the hospital and felt an overwhelming sense of love for him. I am truly blessed to have such a giving, wonderful friend and partner to spend forever with!

Last night, my Mom spent the night to help out with the kids. Love her! My parents are always so supportive and helpful when the need arises.

As far as pain meds, I am taking 7.5-325 mg of Oxycodone every 4 hours. My instructions say take 1-2 every 4 hours. Once I took 1 ½ pills…it made me feel quite loopy, so I will probably stick to taking 1, but maybe 1 every 3 ½ hours instead. At that 3 hours mark, I can really start to feel the pain coming on again. I haven’t really had much of an appetite today. I’ve eaten a piece of French toast, yogurt, Hostess cupcake, watermelon, and a piece of wheat toast. Maybe I’m afraid to eat, because I’m afraid to have to go to the bathroom. My doctor advised me to use a stool softner, so I’ve been taking Colace now for a week or so. Still…. It’s hard to describe the pain I’m feeling. It’s there. It’s not deathly by any means, but it’s pain.

6 weeks post op, and I am loving my results! I...

6 weeks post op, and I am loving my results! I feel like my posture is much better and my backaches are gone now that my core muscles are working properly. I happily trade my loose, stretch marked skin for a long vertical scar. I don't think I have a single stretch mark left....amazing! No way I could have had these results with a normal, horizontal tummy tuck. Too much extra skin and stretch marks above the belly button.

My doctor took 8 INCHES of skin off vertically. Again, amazing to me considering my size. I am 5' 4", weighing 105 before tummy tuck. Never gained weight except for 20-25 pounds during each of my 6 pregnancies.

My post-op belly button is not ideal. It is flat and I wish the doctor maybe had made the circle a little smaller. However, again, the trade off for this new tummy is incomparible! Because of my herniated belly button and the fact that I have virtually no fat against my stomach, a flat belly button is my result. Ok with me.

8 Months Post-Op I LOVE the results! Not...

8 Months Post-Op
I LOVE the results! Not perfect, but SO MUCH better than what was there before!!!
I basically ended up with no belly button. I am naturally VERY thin, pretty much no fat under my skin, which can result in no belly button after surgery. Oh, well. Because of my thinness, my veins are also a little more noticeable than other women's, but again, oh well. I'm not a bikini wearer...to look good for ME and my hubby was all I was aiming for. And this surgery did it!

I am SO glad I went with the vertical cut tummy tuck. After researching further, I have seen post-op photos where there were still a lot of stretch marks (ones that had been there above the belly button prior to surgery). No doubt, I would have had stretch marks and most likely extra skin still if I had done the traditional tummy tuck.
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon

Dr has been great. He went with an "outside the box" surgery for me, a vertical cut tummy tuck or fleur de lis, in order to get the best results for my small framed body that had been put through extensive work giving birth to 6 children!

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
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Comments (18)

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Thank you for sharing. YOU LOOK GREAT! I am 4' 11 and 110 lbs. So not as thin as you but not obese. I requested this type of procedure for the same reason as you and felt that I got the same general reaction from everyone I told. "Do you really want a scar!!!" After seeing you pictures I can definitively say YES. I have been looking at, and feeling the emotional burded of these strech marks for 20 years. It is time to get rid of them for good. My surgery is scheduled for 12/11/12. I can only hope for results as good as yours. Thanks again for sharing!
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Thanks for posting!! I am the same size as you and looking to have the very same done. Looks great! Very reassuring :)
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Thank you so much for sharing! You look great! I'm having a fleur de lis tuck this coming Thursday May 16. My doctor wants to be sure he removes all of the loose skin. Your story confirms my confidence in this procedure being the right way to go!!
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After looking at your photo's, I KNOW you are going to LOVE your results! Just keep in mind, even if the surgery doesn't wipe away EVERY stretch mark...it will just be SO much better than it is today. Way to go on your weight loss. That's a really big accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself!
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Great result! Thank you so much for posting your TT journey! I am really very interested in this type of incision and would love to see how it's healing. Did you have to "fight" or convince your ps to do this for you? I went to one consultation and was nearly laughed at upon inquiring about it bc its reserved for obesity cases. Please respond ;-) Blessings!
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I've posted updated photos and comments on my profile. I kind of lucked out going this vertical route. No other doctor had even mentioned it, nor had I, at any of my consultations. However, while in Dr. Sellers office, I pulled my skin to the side and said..."this is what I want to look like"! He then mentioned that would only be possible through a vertical or fleur de lis cut...and that is really only used on people who were obese and lost a ton of weight. That was not me. I left his office with a quote for both surgeries, but he along with his nurse made it sound like I would be a little crazy to go with the vertical cut. I decided to go with the traditional surgery, but in my gut I kept thinking about that vertical cut and wondering if it would be better for me. The day of my surgery, Dr. Sellers came into the surgery prep room and said, "So, we've decided to go with the vertical cut? I think you will be happiest with that in the end." Although at that moment I had planned on the regular, horizontal surgery, I quickly changed my mind since HE thought I would be better off with the vertical cut...that's what I had felt all along. That all being said, although I never brought it up with any other surgeons, I'm pretty sure they would have been against it or would have tried to talk me out of it had I suggested it. I know it was a blessing from God that my doctor suggested this route on the morning of my surgery!
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I love your posts. I also had a vertical and horizontal incision. (for different reasons) but yours looks amazing. I have posted my pictures and I hope that my scar looks as good as yours.
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Wow, looking awesome! Nice and tone and flat
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You look great. I have never seen this incision on thin people. hmm..
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You look really good. Great decision.
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thanks for the pics/update! stellar results! :)
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Wow great pictures I'm having the same procedure on 29 th oct it's so resasuring to read your posts thank you x
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You look incredible! Your incision is already so light. I was just thinking the same about my back. Some muscle tightness I have had since my twins in my back is gone! Amazing what happens when things are put back in their proper place :)
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oh wow! amazing results. vertical was the way to go! and i think it will be beautiful scar and all! btw i sent u an inbox message :)
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Congrats! You look amazing and you have a great attitude!! Happy healing.
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You look so great and it sounds like you have had a great recovery so far....hope it continues to go well for you!
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good choice. it looks really good
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Incredible results! You had amazing abs before just waiting to come to the surface!
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