My Plastic Surgery Diary: The Consultation

Anonymous_1 on 23 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

As a blogger for RealSelf, I can walk the walk. I've had two cosmetic procedures: LASIK and bariatric surgery. Both changed my life: the first, because I can actually see when I wake up in the morning, and the second, because I'm half the size I used to be and enjoy life so much more as an active person who can run, hike, swim, play tennis and eat sensibly. [Oh, and shopping for clothes is far more fun now.]

Now, post-bariatric surgery, I'd like to do a bit of nip & tuck to take care of some of the excess skin left behind, so I set up a consultation with a plastic surgeon's office. Not just any surgeon, but a board-certified physician's office. Yes, I've done my homework on RealSelf -- and am frankly afraid of going with anyone else but a certified expert.

[This is not my first consultation; I had one about 5 months ago, but it was too soon after bariatric surgery, and I was still in the midst of losing weight. Now that I'm at my goal weight, I'm ready to get serious.]

Going into the consultation, I knew what I wanted: an opinion on a thigh lift, tummy tuck, lipo and arm lift. Do I need them, in which order should I do them, cost, healing time, pain factor. All of this is covered on RealSelf from the perspective of patients and doctors, and I'd read many reviews. Now I was ready to hear firsthand how this applies to me.

The surgeon's office was modern, serene and tasteful -- and had a killer view. I was shown into a private office, and met with the surgeon's nurse, who performs surgery with him and does the consultations. She has nearly two decades of experience in cosmetic surgeries.

And amazing skin - apparently a result of Vitamin E treatments. I'm a convert.

She got right down to business.

I was shown presentations on the procedures in which I had interest. How to prepare in the months and weeks beforehand; before and after photos; risks [lots and lots of risks]; what to expect on the day of surgery; the recovery process; what results should look like, and how soon I should expect them.

Along the way I also learned about compression garments [unattractive], drains [yuck] and scarring [really not very pleasant to look at in the first few weeks, but over time scarstummy tuck compression garment seem to fade a great deal]. In other words - the good, the bad and the really, truly ugly.

Was it scary? Yes - I didn't realize how serious some of the procedures were until we talked about them in such depth. Did I mention drains seem very unpleasant?

I also hadn't given too much thought to scarring until she showed me photo after photo of good scars and scars that don't look so tremendous [results vary, of course, even thought the doctor does his best].

The recommendation for me was to start with a thigh lift. The tummy tuck was downgraded to a recommendation of a mini tummy tuck, and we ruled out arm lift together [scarring would be unattractive - best to keep doing Pilates and hope for the best] and lipo [not enough fat, if you can believe that].

We then talked costs, and how to pay for procedures. Ah, the fun part.

To conclude the visit - which took about 1 1/2 hours - I received handouts of all the presentations we went through, along with cost sheets that included estimates.

The next step is to review the materials, which I'm in the midst of doing, and then make an appointment with the surgeon himself to talk timing, ensure all of my questions are answered - and most importantly, to gain his professional opinion on what I should get done.

I am left a bit torn. Part of me wants to rush headlong into it; the other is being practical, and thinking about the cost involved, and the scarring. If this is elective, is it something I really want to do to my body, or do I want to continue to exercise and eat right and see how it goes? I am currently leaning toward the latter, but I'm one bikini photo away from a thigh lift. Gotta look good in those beach shots.

Stay tuned as I continue the journey - and feel free to ask any questions!

Photo from Flikr, neonflower*