I asked my friend who is a doctor for a plastic surgeon recommendation. My friend said he knows several nurses who have gone to Dr. Klink and they are all happy, and more importantly, he never sees his patients in the Emergency Room. I thought that was the best review you can get and made a consult appointment for the next week.
At my consult the doctor confirmed that I had lax abdominal muscles that needed to be pulled to the center where they belong and thought I would be very happy with the procedure. He also asked if I would be interested in a breast lift at the same time, which is a very popular combination. I've had very large breasts since age 12, so they had grown quite saggy over the years (I was almost 39 at the time of the procedure). I talked it over with my husband and he was not happy about the breast lift idea because he liked them "as is", although he said he'd support me no matter what. I considered it for another couple months, then scheduled the procedure - the full Mommy Makeover.
The morning of the procedure I was VERY nervous - more nervous than I had expected. Dr. Klink's surgical nurse Kat is the BEST! She was very good at putting my mind at ease. She rubbed my arm to calm me when she felt I needed it (and I needed it!) and was so warm and caring. The anesthesiologist was also very nice and chatty which was odd, but nice. I asked him to explain how anesthesia works, and he did, which made me feel much more at ease as they wheeled me into the OR.
When I woke up from the procedure, I had to go to the bathroom and wanted to get up immediately. Kat tried to get me to just "go" because I had a catheter in, but I said I couldn't do that I needed to get up. So she immediately got the catheter out and helped me up and I walked over to the bathroom and went by myself and walked back to the little post-op bed by myself. She said she was amazed...no one ever does that. I was amazed by how I felt! I felt like he had taken 100 pounds off of me! For the first time since I could remember my shoulders and back didn't hurt! I almost felt like I was floating I felt so light. I can't describe how amazing, life-changing it was! I was beyond happy...I was euphoric! Why had I waited so long to do this???
I was very concerned about pain from the beginning because I cannot tolerate Vicodin, Percocet or Codeine. I was prescribed a Tordol nose spray (can't remember what the spray is called) which I was to use twice daily for 3 days. It's essentially super-Motrin, but you can only take it 3 days in a row. After that I used the lowest dose of Codeine (only a half of a pill every 4 hours) for a few days and then I went to regular Tylenol. I really wasn't in a lot of pain. The first post-op day was very uncomfortable, but not SUPER painful as I had expected. I wonder if the reason I did not experience as much pain as others is because I was already in a lot of pain before the procedure??? In any event, I think the drains where causing a lot of the discomfort for me, more so than the surgery I think. I had to have my husband deal with the drains because just the thought of it made me want to throw up. Speaking of...I also had to have a few anti-nausea shots at my daily check-ups because I could not tolerate food for about a week post-surgery. I pretty much lived on Gatorade, Ginger Ale and Saltine Crackers for a week and a half.
I had borrowed a walker and cane, which was not necessary - I really wasn't in a lot of pain. I also borrowed a shower chair from a friend and that was VERY helpful. I don't know how I would've showered when I had all the drains and stitches. I brought toiletries and clothes for a few days downstairs so I wouldn't have to go upstairs (in case I was too painful), but after the first day, I was able to walk upstairs to take a shower with no problem.
I must mention...my husband and children were all very supportive and very helpful. They always asked if I needed help, they made their own lunches, I had arranged for one of them to cook dinner each night for the first week. My husband did any necessary shopping for me and took me to all my follow-up appointments...I didn't even have to ask. I am very blessed and grateful. I don't know if I would recommend this procedure unless you have daily help from friends/relatives or have older children who can fend for themselves while you are on the mend because you pretty much just feel like laying around for a week or two.
I was off work for 13 days, which was about right...14 would have been better...and I worked from home for another two weeks thereafter. If you cannot work from home, you may want to take more time off or ease back into work with half days for another week. More than pain, I felt VERY tired for the first month. I took daily naps every day for the first month - I had to - I was so tired!
For the first 4-5 days I had to wear these squeezey booties the doctor sent me home with, that would squeeze my feet every 30 seconds or so if I was laying down. They help stop the formation of blood clots. Even so, I would get up to walk every 4 hours...even in the middle of the night. My husband would set his alarm and would make sure I got up to walk around. It was boring and tiring, but it's better than getting blood clots. The squeezey-bootie machine makes a fair amount of noise so it was hard to get to sleep with those things on. I was happy when we were able to give those things back on Post-Op Day 5. I had daily check-ins for 5 days, then every other day for awhile, then every few days (very thorough - made me feel like I was getting good care). After my drains were out I did develop some fluid behind my scar which had to be removed via syringe, but it didn't hurt. I almost passed out when I saw the needle they used, but they distracted me and promised me it wouldn't hurt and it didn't. I think they had to do this on two separate occasions, but after that I was fine.
My feelings on the results: I don't know why I didn't do it sooner! I was initially a little unhappy with my breasts because I went from a 36-DDD to a 36-C, which was more of a reduction than I expected. The doctor warned me there would be some reduction and said they would settle out to their final size at about 6 months post-op. I'm now 18 months post-op and I am a full 36-D (36-DD in some brands) and I am VERY happy with the results - this is exactly where I wanted to be. My breasts are now perky, my formally flat nipples are now "outies," the shape is very natural and terrific looking - my husband is also very happy and says I look better than "porno girls." I now have to change clothes in my closet because if my husband even thinks I may be partially nude, he's all over me and I can't get out of the house on time for work. I don't know if it's because I feel better or if he just likes what he sees better, but our sex life has gone from pretty good to amazing! We are both very happy and it is the best money I've ever spent - there is nothing else I've ever done that has provided such a boost to my self-confidence and improved my life so drastically. 18 months later my back and shoulder pain have not returned, I still have a great, flat, defined abs, and my breasts keep looking better as time goes on.
One word of caution: if you plan to have a tummy tuck following a large weight loss please make sure you have kept the weight off for a long time (years not months) and you are comfortable with your new lifestyle and you feel you can keep it up for the rest of your life. I know others who have not maintained a healthy diet and exercise regime and they gained weight and it's as if they had the surgery for nothing. That would be devastating to me and is one of the motivators that keeps me on the treadmill every day.