At 38 years old I am in better shape than I ever have been - Tummy tuck - Birmingham, AL

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I am mom to two wonderful boys and our youngest...

I am mom to two wonderful boys and our youngest just turned four. After he was born and the baby weight started to come off it was already apparent to me that some surgical intervention was going to be required to get my pre-baby bod back. I had a surgical consult with another plastic surgeon in Birmingham shortly after I stopped nursing (about 8 months postpartum) and had a bit of sticker shock (almost $13 K plus facility fees) at that initial consult for abdominoplasty and mastopexy. I should tell you that I'm a surgical RN...and that quote included a "professional courtesy" discount as I had worked with one of this surgeon's colleagues on the trauma and reconstruction side of plastics.

Looking at his "brag book" I really wasn't that impressed with the results, and the thought of having to travel out-of-state to see a aurgeon I knew and tristed just wasn't in the cards with a baby at home and hubby who traveled extensively for work. After that experience I put a laser-focus on my exercise and nutrition to see what changes I could make on my own. Fast forward to present day and I now run about 10 miles a week, do intensive cardio in the gym on my non-run days, light weights, and yoga/Pilates to keep things interesting as well as maintain flexibility. At 38 years old I am in better shape than I ever have been, but have had several laparoscopic surgeries (tubal ligation, hiatal hernia repair) that have left me with scars on my belly and also am frustrated that excess belly skin and sad boobs (left to their own devices, they tend to stare at the floor) mask great muscle tone from the hard work I have put in. Not-so-fun fact about weight loss- the sag has gotten worse as my body fat has decreased. Ugh. My initial surgical consult with Dr. Hedden is tomorrow morning and I have definitely done my homework this time around. I am excited and looking forward to discussing options and outcomes tomorrow with him. Will post with updates and photos here soon. Stay tuned!

Met with Dr. H this morning. It was about an hour...

Met with Dr. H this morning. It was about an hour after my scheduled appointment time before I actually saw him, but having worked in medicine for a long time I know how easily physicians get behind- especially surgeons. I have read a few other posts on here complaining about wait times- and maybe it's good to bear in mind that routine patients will occasionally have to wait that long because your surgeon either 1) has more of a surgical mess to deal with once they have a patient opened up on the table, thus requiring more time/effort/skill than the average case; and/or 2) someone came into the office with an acute issue, i.e. accidentally yanked out a surgical drain, early infection, etc. These issues will always take precedence over a perfectly healthy, incision-free patient sitting in the waiting room, so my best advice is to plan accordingly.
Anyhow...I really liked him and his nurse. He's very efficient but thorough and kind, and answered all of my questions quite thoroughly. He showed me exactly where the necessary incision line for the abdominoplasty would be based on the demarcation of pendulous (loose) belly skin. This was a briefer discussion as I had done my homework and pretty much knew what to expect...I'm all too familiar with every inch of my "mama apron" haha. Then we discussed pros and cons of breast lift with/without a small implant simultaneously placed (better to do it in my case where my tissue volume loss was in the top hemisphere of each breast) and what kind of incision would yield the best results (V-shaped, aka lollipop). Cost of abdominoplasty was $5500, and $6500 for the mastopexy with small saline implants placed. Alternately the quote mentioned $7300 if I chose silicon gel implants- but since I am not trying to significantly increase breast size Dr. H felt that the saline implants would be the best bet. Cash paying patients are required to make a 10% initial payment in order to schedule surgery, with the remainder due 2 weeks prior to surgery. Pretty standard stuff.
Unfortunately my original plans to have surgery done in the next 8 weeks or so are going to be postponed somewhat...upon examining my abdomen Dr. H found a supra-umbilical hernia, likely from one of my laparoscopic surgeries, as it was immediately underneath one of the little incisional scars. This was the equivalent of a big turd in my punchbowl, to say the least. He of course can do the repair (and our insurance covers that portion) when he performs the abdominoplasty...but as a surgical nurse I also know that if he gets in there and the herniation includes bowel or is anything more than a simple repair with mesh that I could be in big OR suite in a cosmetic surgery center may not be equipped for what I need depending on what he finds, and incarcerated bowel tissue can end up being a, pardon the pun, shitstorm of a surgical procedure. All surgeons are primarily trained in general surgery and so they know what to do, generally speaking, but a surgeon who has been creating new boobs for 15 years is not exactly a first choice to fix something that is more of a general surgeon's forte. Not slamming my plastic surgeon in any way here...just speaking as someone who has 15 years experience in the OR and ICU. You wouldn't call your electrician to fix your toilet, right? At this point I am going to mull things over this weekend but my first instinct is to hold off on the TT and call a general surgeon on Monday to evaluate and then fix the stupid hernia.

Saw Dr. Michael Beckenstein today and I can't...

Saw Dr. Michael Beckenstein today and I can't stress enough how different this experience was from my initial consult with Dr. Hedden. Not only did his office run on time, but the staff just seemed less rushed and he took quite a bit of time speaking with me TWICE- once prior to me getting undressed (always nice to chat with someone fully clothed, lol) but then again in the exam room where he thoroughly examined my abdomen as well as specifically palpating the area of herniation. We discussed my concerns about the hernia and while he as completely qualified (if not more) as any general surgeon to perform the herniorrhaphy, he offered to have the general surgeon of my choice on standby to scrub in if needed. Needless to say this was more than reassuring. Additionally, when I asked him about the breast lift and BA he asked me what my goals were and then said he didn't think I needed it. Imagine that...a plastic surgeon talking someone OUT of a procedure. It's probably needless to say at this point, but I have found my surgeon. I am booked for March 6th and while I am a little nervous, I am more excited- and relieved- than anything. Moral of this story? DON'T rush this process! It's a huge investment of time, money, and health, and botched results can be extremely hard to fix. You owe it to yourself to really research your surgical options and realize that just because a surgeon is good doesn't mean that he/she is necessarily the best for YOU and your specific needs. I am going to repost my photos and the rest of my story in the abdominoplasty section with my new surgeon. Can't wait to share my outcome with all of you:)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Hedden was recommended to me by my primary care physician. Ultimately I chose another plastic surgeon who is dually trained and board certified in not only plastic surgery but general surgery due to my specific surgical needs.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait times
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