40 Y.o., 5'9" 150 Lb No Kids. BBL with Dr Hughes. Beverly Hills, CA

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*Treatment results may vary

Pretty much since puberty I had been "cursed" with...

Pretty much since puberty I had been "cursed" with wide hips and a big butt. I say cursed because, being 40, I grew up in a time when Kate Moss was the ideal and Cindy Crawford at a 19 BMI was a "bombshell". I actually had a couple of modeling agents in my teens (5'9" and about 115-120 at the time) say they might have some work for me if I could get my hips under 36". Seriously?

Fast forward 20 years, it's finally cool to have a big butt, and Father Time has cruelly left mine a hollow shell of its former self. It also appears to start halfway down my back, due to the love handles (which, surprisingly, are not that loveable at all). Thanks, middle age hormones!

I'm really not sure exactly when I decided to look into a BBL, but once I started looking at pictures on RS, I was hooked. Lose inches off my waist and love handles, and get my nice perky butt back at the same time? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!!

I am just over a week pre-surgery, but I will attempt to recount everything up to this point over the next couple of days. Next entry will be my first consult with Dr Hughes, and my reasons for choosing him without even bothering to talk to anyone else.

Why Dr Hughes, and 1st consultation.

I know that most of the women here who have a BBL or other major surgeries see at least a few surgeons before making their decisions. I didn't.

I have noticed from reading hundreds of BBL reviews over the last 2 years that the correlation between first impressions and final results is something near zero. Some of the nicest and most caring doctors are the ones who produce disappointing results, and some of the true artists don't always make the best first impression.

I decided to find the best surgeon I could, in terms of results, patient satisfaction, ease of communication, smoothness of process, and background. In the end, Dr Hughes was #1 on all counts. I had read that his Culver City facility was shabby (true) and that he was arrogant (not true at all), but everyone agreed that he did amazing work, and he has better education and more experience than any other doctor I considered (I only looked in Canada and the US, and only at board certified and insured PS's). My plan was to go for a consult, and unless something really bothered me, or he did not think I was a candidate, I didn't really need to see the runners-up.

I went for my first consult in his former location in Culver City last November. I knew the clinic wasn't exactly Beverly Hills caliber going in, but I was still struck by how downmarket it seemed for a top plastic surgeon's practice. The waiting room was small and wasn't particularly comfortable, and it really felt more like a walk-in clinic than a cosmetic surgery practice. On the other hand, it looked and smelled clean, so although it wasn't impressive, it wasn't overly worrisome. I'll review the new location in my next entry, but for now, let's just say its a bajillion times better.

I waited about 15 minutes to see the doctor, which wasn't an issue at all. When he did come in, he had clearly just got out of surgery, so better that he didn't just drop what he was doing to get to a consult on time, lol. (I subsequently learned that 15 minutes late is "LA on time" anyway). I found Dr Hughes to be really professional and friendly. He was pleasant and even joked with me and my friend who I had brought for moral support. I appreciated that he was straightforward and realistic with me about my expectations. He did a brief exam and I told him what I wanted done. He explained why some of the things I thought I wanted weren't a great idea, and what he would do differently to get results I would be happy with. Originally I wanted to get lipo of the outer thighs, but he said that there wasn't enough volume there to harvest a significant amount of fat without risking some skin laxity, which I obviously don't want. I believe at the time we agreed to do the flanks, back, and abdomen. I left the consult excited about my new body.

I went to discuss the money matters and scheduling with Adam, who was also very friendly and professional. We didn't settle on a date because I wanted to confirm with my husband; we were planning to move to LA and I wanted to find out when the move would be finished and I'd be able to go through with the surgery without leaving him stuck with all the work of unpacking on top of taking care of me. When I did talk to my husband about it that evening, he actually asked me to put it off and wait until we were settled in and established in LA. I was disappointed to have to wait, but decided to hold off.

Some wish pics

Even though I know I am limited by my bone structure, age, skin tone, etc., a girl can dream, right?

Less than a week now...

I'm starting to get nervous. I find coming here helps, though. Seeing so many women who went through it and are thrilled with their results is really reassuring. I'm also noticing for the first time how many women have got BBL with a different doctor and then go to Dr Hughes for a revision, and although I feel for them and the pain/expense of a second round, it makes me even more confident in my choice. I admit I haven't read all 9k reviews, but the only revision I've seen after Hughes was someone who got exactly what she wanted the first time, and then decided she wanted more. I know that's really common with breast implants, and it seems to be a thing with the BBL as well. Booty greed is real, lol.

There is one review with a lady who feels her butt is too big, and that one worries me a tiny bit; I really don't want a huge rear end, just a round perky one like I had before. I am a bit bigger than my personal ideal right now, though, so if it is too big I can always just drop 10-15 lbs. If it looks good, I will stay at this weight, which is so much easier to maintain than 135 at my height. It will be nice to not be on a perpetual diet. I have literally been counting calories since I was about 17 years old.

I think I have most of what I need for post-op. I have 3 maxi dresses and 2 large pairs of track pants. I bought bromelain, arnica, anti-nausea pills, stool softener, miralax, "chux" pads, a grabber and a boppy pillow. I already have basic first aid stuff like isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, polysporin, and scar cream. I plan to buy a case of gatorade and several 6 packs of Ensure. I have doubled my multivitamins and added a 65mg Feosol iron supplement and some effervescent vitamin C.

If anybody notices anything missing, please let me know. I haven't bought any garments yet, because I don't know what my post-op measurements will be, and I have no idea what to get. I'm having lipo of the abdomen, flanks, back, and inner thighs. If anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it. I know the vedette 929 is popular, but I don't know if most of the ladies who used it had inner thighs done.

I will try to add an update today with my pre-op experience, and if I can muster up the guts, maybe even some before pics.

Pre-op appointment

I'm indecisive. Like, really, really indecisive. I will spend a full day on the weekend shopping online, with a list of needed items and every intention of finally picking up the items languishing on my shopping list, only to abandon the cart at the end, without purchasing a single thing. I have probably spent more time thinking about whether to buy a shower organizer for my bathroom than I did deciding whether to sell my house and move to another country. I'm telling you this so you will understand why once I make a decision, I move quickly so I don't have time to change my mind.

On October 15th, I was bored and going through old emails to see which mailing lists I should unsubscribe from. I came across a RS email. Though I hadn't been visiting much since springtime, I followed the link and came to the BBL review section and there I realized I really did still want to get the surgery. I contacted Dr Hughes via email the next morning, and got a call back from him within the hour. We decided that since I had already done a consultation, I would just send some updated pictures and he would give me a quote from those. I can't remember exactly how long it took to receive the quote after sending the pictures, but it was definitely faster than ordering a pizza. He said he would lipo back, flanks, abdomen and inner thighs, and gave me a quote for the procedure, and asked if he should have his coordinator set it up. I spent a couple of hours agonizing, but then said "great - let's set it up" . Lorena contacted me that same day (after hours on a Friday even; I guess Dr H is not the only workaholic in that office), and by 9 pm I had a date set, deposit in and pre-op booked for the following week. When I started the process, I figured they would probably be booking for next spring, but when Lorena said they had an opening on November 9th, I grabbed it. I had 3 weeks and 4 days to prepare for the surgery.

My pre-op was set for 10 am on Friday the 23rd. I showed up at about 10 minutes before the hour and was immediately impressed to see the difference between the old Culver City clinic and the new digs. I wasn't surprised, though, as the office is in the heart of Beverly Hills, just a short walk from Rodeo Drive and the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The waiting room was small but well appointed and my husband and I were offered coffee or water within minutes of arriving. I got started on the paperwork while we waited for Lorena, and she was ready before I was finished, so there was no extra waiting time. Lorena was very sweet and really knows her stuff. She went through the forms with me and explained everything I needed to know and do before the procedure. I had a list of questions about the pre-op guidelines, and she was able to answer almost all of them. She really helped me feel more at ease about the surgery. After going through the paperwork with Lorena, we were joined by Dr Hughes, who was as friendly and professional as at the last meeting almost a year earlier. He did another quick exam, and was a bit dismayed to see that I had lost 4 pounds since emailing the pictures a week previously. I have spent my entire adult life dieting, and have never lost that much weight in a week before, and now that I was trying not to lose, the fat was melting off! He still seemed optimistic, though, and I decided to make every effort to regain the weight before surgery (which I have done, plus an extra 4 to boot). He answered my remaining questions, I paid and had blood drawn, and then it was time to go to Chipotle and stuff myself as full of guacamole as physically possible. Strictly for medical reasons, of course ;)

Before pictures

So even though putting pictures of my butt in a thong on the internet terrifies me, I know how much before pictures helped me in finding results that might be realistic for my body type, and evaluating a doctor's work post BBL.

These pictures were taken at 150lb, about 5lb less than I weigh now. My current measurements are 38" bust, 32" waist, and 41" hip. I'm hoping to see a dramatic decrease in my waist, and more projection in side view, with a smoother hipline (i.e. no hip dip).

Tomorrow is the big day!

My surgery appointment is tomorrow at 9am. I am a little nervous but mostly just anxious to get it done. I have a couple of Dr Hughes' before and after pics saved on my phone to show as wish pics, but unless he wants specific pictures or goals, I think I'm just going to let him do his thing. He has done enough of these that I think he has an eye for what works on different body shapes, and I have always had the philosophy that you hire the expert and then stand back and let him do his job.

Today I am just focusing on preparing for my surgery and the recovery. I'm deep cleaning my bedroom and bath, getting all my various supplies unboxed and ready, and setting out some clothes that I hope will fit over my swollen post-op body. I'm wearing a maxi skirt and a light zip up hoodie to the clinic tomorrow, because they said no snug pants and nothing that has to go over my head (not sure why the second matters, but they are the experts). I bought 3 inexpensive maxi dresses and a package of tank tops to go under my binder, but otherwise I am not buying anything new until my swelling is down.

I ordered about 2 dozen entrees from a vegan meal delivery service, so my husband and I will have lunch and dinner taken care of for the first week. I'm trusting him to make cereal for breakfast without setting the kitchen on fire, lol. I also bought a case of Gatorade and some Ensure protein drinks (the active light shakes are dairy free). I'm probably going overboard, but I like to be prepared, and even if I don't need it for recovery, it will all get eaten eventually.

I can't wait until tomorrow!!

Today's the day!

Well, I've got my meds and my loose clothing, I have my ride home booked (no way I can squeeze into the back of the Challenger) and haven't had anything to eat or drink for 12 hours. My bed is set up with underpads and all my creams, pills and other supplies are ready to go. My husband is driving me to the clinic in about 15 minutes.

Strangely, it still doesn't feel 100% real. Maybe it's better that way because i might be freaking out if it did :P

I will try to post pics today if I'm not too out of it; if not, I'll definitely post tomorrow.

Day 1 pics

It's hard to see the difference because I am super swollen in my abdomen and torso, but my hip measurement is currently 45" up from 41. I will post more pictures when the swelling is down a bit.

First few days of recovery

Surgery Day
The day of surgery was actually worse than I was expecting. I was in a lot of pain in the recovery room, and the post anaesthesia shivering went on seemingly forever. I had a burning pain in one thigh where the lipo was done, but thankfully the rest was more sore than painful. I had a nurse pick me up and drive me home, and stay with me for the rest of the day and overnight. I wasn't necessarily expecting to need medical help, but I wanted someone who would know what is normal and what is a sign of trouble. I didn't want to be emailing the doctor at 4 am freaking out over nothing. She was great; she helped me get settled, checked my incisions, and made sure I took all the meds on time, and checked on me periodically through the night. I was very sore and moving was tough as it brought on a more sharp, tearing sensation that was awful and a bit scary. I weighed myself Tuesday morning and was 167.4, up 12.4 from before the surgery.

Recovery Day 1
The first day after surgery, Tuesday, was much better. I felt sore and had to move slowly to not get the tearing sensation, but otherwise I was feeling pretty good. I got some housework done, did a little cooking, and had a shower. I had booked the nurse to come in once a day for the first 5 days to check on me and help me shower or change dressings, but I probably could have done it on my own. She put some arnica gel on all my bruises and some Burt's Bees Belly Butter to help prevent stretch marks (I thought I saw some, but it's hard to tell with all the bruising).

Recovery Day 2
Yesterday was not as good as Tuesday. The soreness was worse, and I just felt really tired, plus my back was killing me from sleeping on my stomach with the extra weight. I am normally a stomach sleeper so I didn't think it would be a problem, but the extra weight bearing down on my lower back forced it into a slightly arched position and made it very painful. The binder really started to dig in in the back where it buckled as well. When I took it off to shower, I had three very raw welts across my back. I ended up adding more padding in the form of 5 chux pads in the front and 5 in the back. It is still very tight, but almost cozy, at least in comparison to before.

I weighed myself yesterday morning and was 168.7, up 1.3 from the day before. I think it may have been the protein shakes and bars I was having, which are both high in sodium. I asked my husband to pick up some tofu and I will be using that for protein, at least until the swelling goes down. I have also cut out starches, gatorade, and added sugar. I am going to try to stick to fresh fruits, veggies, tofu, unsalted nuts, and water until the swelling subsides.

Recovery Day 3
Today the pain and soreness are greatly improved, but the itching has started. It's mostly around my hips, but my legs and backs are starting to itch as well. The swelling has gone back to the level it was at on Tuesday, so I am going to continue with the salt, added sugar, and starch free diet for now. I feel like I could probably go out and do errands today if I needed to, but with all the padding I look ridiculous, so I am going to try to order some lipo foam today to put between my tank tops and the binder to hopefully stop the welts without making me look crazy.

I am starting to see some difference in my torso now; it's still somewhat swollen but the shape is much better without the love handles. I really like the way my waist is still fairly high like it was before, and very smoothly slopes down into the hip area. I will try to get some pictures after my shower today. Most of the swelling is now in my legs, which look absolutely gargantuan. Glad I bought those maxi dresses!

Day 4 - starting to see the difference

So it is Friday, the fourth day of my recovery. Things are going very well. I think it may be in part due to me receiving my compression garment last night. I had ordered one when I got back from surgery, but the size chart in the amazon picture was totally different than the one on the package, and I ended up with a garment 3 sizes too small. I exchanged it and the proper one came yesterday. It was an epic struggle to get it on, but once it was done up I felt a lot better. My thighs hurt less and my stomach was flatter than with the binder alone. I think the binder may have been too big, though, because I have already shortened two of the three straps by 4" and I still need to go to the smallest position to feel like my stomach is completely supported. Now I am wearing the garment with an ab board under it, and the binder on top. I will probably end up altering the third strap at some point as it is getting a bit loose. My weight today is 165.8 (down 1.6lb from day one) and my waist and hip measurements are 31.5" and 43.25".

Day 4 pics

Here are some pictures in the compression garment. I feel like they don't show the changes fully and I look curvier in person. I was going for a shape change more than size and I think once the swelling is gone it will be just what I wanted.

Swelling and bruising of the WHAT?!?!

So I've been wearing my garment and it seems to be helping with the thigh swelling as well as keeping my skin smooth under the binder where the binder buckles and ripples. I knew that being an open crotch compression garment, it would cause some swelling in the open area, but OMG it looks (and feels) like I've been hit between the legs with a baseball bat!!! The bruising is a deep purple so dark it is nearly black. Not the mid-grey bruise colour referred to by "black and blue", but actual black.

Has this happened to anyone else and if so, how soon did it go away when you took the garment off? I'm wondering if it is too small, but the size chart says I could even go one size smaller. I'm not sure if I should try it again when the swelling goes down, buy a different one, or just forget the compression garments altogether.

No photos in this post for obvious reasons, lol.

So grateful for RS

I realized today how much I have been relying on RS reviews to know what to expect from my procedure and recovery. I am sure I would be bawling over my hard, flat lumpy butt right now if I hadn't seen countless other women go through it and end up where they wanted to be. I also wouldn't have known about stuff like arnica gel, boppy pillows, or those grabbers (I carry mine everywhere, lol. )

I was originally not going to write a review. Only my husband and one friend even know I'm doing this. But I thought about how much reading other reviews helped me, and thought maybe if I document my story it might help someone else, even if it's just by putting them to sleep when the pain meds don't, lol.

One thing from reading reviews that worries me a bit right now is the considerable proportion of women that seem to go batshit crazy on days 6,7,&8. I'm on day 5 now, so I'm bracing myself for the worst. At least if it does happen, I will know that it's common and only temporary. If I start posting tomorrow about how I hate my butt and my doctor is a monster and I'm getting a divorce, just ride it out with me :P

A week post-op

I will try to get a full update in later today, but for now just sharing some new pics. Still very swollen (11 lbs higher than pre-op) but I can definitely see some nice changes. I was worried about my butt coming out too big (I only wanted to fill in the hip dip and make it a little less flat), but it looks fine and once it settles I think it will be perfect for me.

2 week update

So far, my recovery has been pretty textbook. At 2 weeks, my pain is virtually gone, I'm getting back into my routine, and I absolutely hate the way I look. I would be depressed if I didn't know that nearly everyone feels like this at 2 weeks. I think because the pain and most of the stiffnessand swellng are gone, it's easy to forget that the healing process still has a long way to go. I just keep reminding myself of all the other reviewers that hated their too high, flat in the middle, lumpy hard butt at 2 weeks, and loved their results at 3 months. I'm just glad it's winter and swimsuit season is still a long way off.

If you are scheduled for this procedure, it might not even be a bad idea to put a reminder in your calendar for 2 weeks post-op along the lines of "i know you are freaking out right now and wondering if you made a huge mistake. It's going to look a million times better in a few more weeks. Step away from the mirror and chill out"

2 week pics

Back view is a bit of a disaster right now, but I like the front and side so far

4 month update

Sorry I took so long to update, I kept thinking I'd wait a couple of weeks until I was back to my pre-surgery weight and then add some pics for comparison. You'd think after 25 years of "waiting to drop those last 5 pounds" I'd realize it's not going to happen, lol. I'm currently 155 lb, which is about what I weighed on the day of surgery, but I had put on a few pre-surgery, not for extra fat to harvest (I wasn't planning to go big anyway), but because I had read about the risk of loose skin from doing stomach lipo close to the surface and I figured a bit of extra buffer might lower my risk. Loose skin was something the Dr warned me could happen due to my age and skin tone.

My measurements right now are 38.5 - 30 - 43, which I am very happy with. That leaves me with a waist to hip ratio of 0.7, which is statistically the ideal for female attractiveness. And we all know that nothing is sexier than a statistical ideal :P I still would like to lose that 5-6 pounds, and hope the weight comes off proportionally.

My lipo areas look perfectly smooth and tight and there is no way anyone could tell I had it done. I'm so happy with the way my midsection looks, the lipo alone would have made this whole process worth it. My butt looks very proportional and much more perky and rounded. No one has guessed I had anything done, but I have been asked if I lost weight or if i'd been working out. Perfect. My mom even asked me where I was buying my pants, lol.

My hip dip did return, like I was worried it would, but it's possible that it isn't graft fat loss, but some gain on my "saddlebag" areas that is throwing off the proportion. I have my fingers crossed that a small weight loss will help smooth that area and make it look rounded again.

I was worried a bit that my cellulite had gotten worse, but after seeing side by side photos I could see that even though the indents were slightly deeper (keep in mind, my butt was completely flat pre-surgery) they look much smoother and are less noticeable. I went to see Dr Hughes today to see whether there was anything that could be done for it, and he does have a procedure, but I think I may be making a bigger deal out of it than it's worth. When the guy who would get paid to do the procedure says you look great and reminds you that "the perfect is the enemy of the good", he's probably not just being nice. My husband has been saying that all along, but of course I didn't listen, lol. I'm definitely going to at least wait until I am under 150 before making any decisions about the cellulite treatment. I tend to have an all or nothing personality and I can totally see myself spending all my money on increasingly tiny flaws, only to end up looking like one of "those" ladies, who take it too far and end up looking weird and plastic. I totally respect Dr Hughes for not jumping to make a few extra bucks off my insecurity.

Overall, I am very pleased with my result. I am going to come up with a final rating before the 6 month mark, I promise, but so far it's an 8/10. That's 3/5 for my parents and the aging process for the raw materials, and 5/5 for Dr Hughes for what he was able to do with them.

I took some new pictures today, and you can see that compared to the last set, my butt has dropped to a more natural looking position. It's not totally smooth like some of the younger women who post here, but it's a big improvement from the starting point.

I'll post more pictures when (okay, fine, IF) I get back to the weight I was at in my before pictures. I'm sure it will be only a few more weeks ;P

9 month update with pictures

So, it took a bit longer than I expected to get back to my starting weight, but I am finally there.

For anyone who hasn't read my review so far, I started out very ruler shaped and wanted a subtle and natural boost. I think that's what I got. I'm disappointed that the hip dip is still there, but I know hip grafts are especially tricky and tend to lose more volume than those on the butt. I tried to recreate the before pics as much as possible, to show the changes.

I currently weigh 145 and my measurements are 37.5-28.5-41.

I am really glad I did this. I wasn't 100% sure until I saw my before pictures again, and remembered how unattractive and old I felt. My body certainly isn't perfect now, but I can honestly say I like how I look, for the first time in at least a decade.

Selling leftover supplies

So now that my surgery is a distant memory, it's finally time to get rid of my leftover stuff. I am selling it as a single lot, so what you'll get is:

1 vedette style 135 size 38
1 fajas d'prada 11047 size 2XL
1 boppy pillow
5 pieces lipo foam
1 white binder size M
8 unused large chux pads
I unopened bottle Miralax
I unopened bottle magnesium citrate.
1 black ab board
1 grabber 18" end to end (not long enough to get things from the floor without bending, but it still came in handy)

Most of it is in excellent shape, nearly new. The vedette has a bit of wear on the edges of the lace, but otherwise great condition. I'd say the binder is only fair, though. The bone channels have been repaired after the bones started to poke out, and it's been worn a lot more than anything else. It's probably best as a back-up to wear while washing your main binder.

Size-wise, the garments were very tight but wearable over swollen 45" hips, now comfortably snug (but not high compression) over 41" hips.

All the wearable items are laundered, but I have cats so there may be a cat hair or two (just a warning if you are highly allergic)

I spent over $300 on all this; I don't plan to use it again, and I'm too busy (ok, lazy) to sell the items individually, so I am selling the lot for $50. Please don't ask me to sell you individual items, it comes together. If you will be in LA you can pick it up (I'm about 2 miles from Dr Hughes's office), or I will ship, but buyer pays the shipping cost.
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

I highly recommend Dr Hughes.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 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
4 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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