Getting Rid of This 'Twin' Belly - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 322 reviews
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Hi all! I am 50 yrs old, 5'3" and approx. 170 lbs....

Hi all! I am 50 yrs old, 5'3" and approx. 170 lbs. Plastic surgery isn't new to me as I actually had an implant exchange on August 7th of this year, I didn't find this site until right before my surgery and didn't to a profile or review of it. However, I went from 425cc saline under the muscle to 800cc silicone under the muscle, so the top half is looking pretty good! I didn't get enough upper pole fullness with the 425s and they were 12 years old so it was time to replace them. My new hubby likes BIG so I went as big as I could go without special ordering the implants. Hopefully they won't end up just making me look fatter when it's all said and done! haha I didn't have time then for the recovery involved with a TT, so opted to get the implant exchange 1st and do the TT a little later. That should also ease the healing and pain since I'm not doing them simultaneously. I booked the end of Sept. because my PS had a TT special, provided you have it done prior to the end of Sept and the 25th is the last possible date. Due to other obligations, grandbaby due, etc. earlier dates in Sept. were not an option. I have wanted the exchange and TT for years but couldn't afford it when my weight was lower. Menopause hit 3-4 years ago and I gained about 30 lbs that nothing seems to budge. I've always said it is ridiculous to get a TT if you aren't at a good weight, but at this point I don't have much confidence that I will ever get back to the 135 to 140 range I would really like to be in. Earlier this year, it took me 6 months of extreme dieting (doctor monitored) with diet pills and a calorie intake of approx. 1100 to 1200 a day along with exercising at least 5 days a week to lose 10 lbs. Then June happened! It was a crazy busy month, we had 3 big family weddings (1 at a resort out of town which kind of turned into a vacation, and 1 of which was my son's so lots of stress), we sold our house and moved to another state and low and behold by the time June was over with I'd gained back 7 lbs of what I'd lost!! So anyway, when my PS announced some specials, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and just go for it even though I hadn't lost the weight I wanted to lose. Got the implant exchange and now looking forward to TT/lipo. But, I now have a niece getting married on 10/18 which will result in me taking 3 flights only 23 days after my surgery and unfortunately I will be traveling alone. I'm getting really nervous about whether or not my PS will recommend me doing the surgery then if I'm going to need to fly so soon afterwards. I'm also afraid that my family would frown upon me not attending the wedding just because I chose to have elective surgery, and yet I can't move the surgery date back any further or I lose the discount. My husband is not working right now so its the perfect time to have the surgery as he'll have time to take care of me. Once he goes back to work, that won't be an option until he builds up vacation time again. Decisions, decisions! I'm going back for my 3 week follow up this Friday so will discuss with my PS at that time. A little more info and history on me. At 5'3" I'm obviously at least 25 lbs heavier than I should be although I do have a more muscular build. I've had 3 pregnancies, the last of which was full term twins. 2 weeks before they were born, my belly measured 53" around, so you can imagine the amount of stretching and straining my body endured. My stretch marks looked like seersucker fabric and although I only gained 42 lbs, my body never bounced back. My weight has yoyo'd over the years as well, so that hasn't helped my fat distribution and has resulted in some possible skin elasticity issues. Right now my stomach just looks fat and I have some weird looking little fat rolls below my hip bones that look atrocious in any kind of a swim suit. My inner and outer thighs are fatter than I would like and the dreaded bra bulge is pretty ugly at this point too. If I had my way, I would lipo all of it when I have the TT but from reading here I understand that most likely won't be an option. The PS definitely recommended lipo of my flanks when I get the TT done so will be getting that at a minimum. I may see about getting the bra bulge area done then too and wait and see how everything else looks 6 months or so afterwards and then decide where else lipo might be needed. I'm starting to get the baggy knee look which I hate, but I'm not sure if lipo will help or hurt with that since I'm concerned that my skin may not shrink if I had lip there which means I would still have flabby knees they just wouldn't be as fat!! So anyway, I guess I'll know more about whether or not I can actually still have my surgery on the 25th after this Friday and I'll also decide more about any add'l lipo based on what he can/will do. I'm not really nervous abut having the TT/lipo, just worried about the results since I know I won't be able to lose much between now and then. I haven't been able to exercise any since having the exchange as they don't want your blood pressure going up due to the bleeding it may cause. So after my f/u when I expect he'll release me to start exercising I will have less than a month to lose whatever I can before having surgery (I hope). Even if I hit it really hard I don't expect that I'll be able to lose more than 3 or 4 lbs, my body pretty much refuses to let any of this fat go without a huge struggle and I rarely eat more than 1500 to 1700 calories a day even when not actively 'dieting'. That's my story and I'll update here with some photos and more info as I get it. Thanks for reading about me!!

Getting excited!

Like many of you I can't seem to stop reading the reviews on here, I think it's helping me get mentally prepared. On the one hand I'm not really scared of the pain, nut I am scared of the unknown, I'm not sure if that is better or worse! lol My PS did put my mind at ease about traveling so soon after my surgery and even said he has a colleague working in the area and he'll provide me with that name and number in case I have any issues while I'm gone. I was originally going to do just the TT and flank lipo, but thinking about adding lipo of my bra bulge area and maybe my hips to make sure everything is nice and in porportion. I would have him do lipo of inner and outer thighs but in AL they can only do 4000 (cc's I think) and I don't want him to do any area only half way just because he has several areas to cover. I'm not sure how much 4000 is, but I want the best that can be done in the areas he's going to be working on!! Would love to find some other lovely ladies who are having surgery around the same time and keep in touch. My hubby is getting a little tired of hearing all my chit chat about everything surgery related!!

1 Week To The Flat Side!!!

Yes, it's one week from tomorrow and I can't wait!! A little nervous and not feeling prepared at all, but most of the actual preparation will have to be done the first of next week when we are home again. I've decided to go ahead with lipo of the bra bulge area and outer thighs/hips in addition to my flanks. I don't want to look all lopsided or unbalanced when this is all said and done!! Will be adding some pics as soon as I can get some taken. They won't be pretty...if they were then I don't guess I would be here would I??? LOL Happy Humpday to All!!!

Selfies aren't great

But they're all I have for now. Hoping hubby will take some longer shots for me tonight. Like most of you I find these really difficult to share. But I know that I searched and searched for someone with a body similar to mine in hopes of getting a glimpse of what my outcome might be, so maybe this will help someone else with similar body type, weight, etc. I'm starting to get anxious, just a few more days now. I really just wish it was over so I could start healing!! Best of luck to all you beautiful Real Selfers out there who have surgery next week and I hope all of you that are on the healing side are getting lots of rest so you can become the best you can be!!!

Need Advice Please!!

OK, I need a little advice from all of you that have been there. Surgery is scheduled in 3 days!! I originally intended on having a TT and lipo of the flanks. The PS was running a deal where he threw the lipo of the flanks in for no chg with the TT. I've been debating on whether or not to go ahead and do some add'l lipo to the bra bulge area, outer hips/thighs and just have him sculpt me from my armpits to mid thigh. However, I was initially under the impression that each add'l area would be $800 and that if they did the outer thighs in conjunction with the flanks (included with TT cost) then that would include the hip area so there wouldn't be an add'l charge there. However, the first add'l area is now going to be $1800 and the flank/outer thigh combo will not include the hip area so if I want the whole area done then I'm looking at $3400 more. I also want the Exparel shot so the cost just keeps climbing. If I'm going to spend that much $$, what is $800 more to do inner thighs too which will take the grand total to just under $10 grand. Should I just bite the bullet and do it all or should I stick with my original plan to do the TT and flanks and see where I am when everything settles and then go back for more if I'm not happy??? Help!! Doctors office wants my decision and I don't know what to do!??

Pics might help

Adding some pics since the others don't give a good overall perspective.

Made it to the FLAT side!

Yaaaayyyyyy, Made it to the flat side and recovery is under way. I was not even nervous before surgery which I thought was really odd, but I guess it's because I've wanted it so bad for so long! The morning of surgery was easy, just answered a bunch of questions, discussed again with my doc what I wanted done and got marked up. Gave my hubby a kiss and walked down the hall to surgery. Woke up as they were putting my compression garments on. I could feel tugging and pressure, but no pain anywhere. We spent the first night in a hotel and that was difficult as it might have been easier to sleep in a recliner. But I had my bedrest pillow and several others to help support me. The toughest part was the bed was up high and bring so short, I couldn't get my butt back far enough to lay back and be in a good place. We devised a method where I sat on a pillow case on top the sheet and my husband got behind me on the bed and pulled the pillow case as I helped lift my body with my arms to get me back on the bed far enough. It wasn't always comfortable, but it got the job done. Hubby woke me up every few hours that first night to try and prevent bloodclots and I was walking a pretty good ways by the time morning arrived. I walked with him down to the fron desk prior to check out that day and went for my f/u with no problems., Doc said everything looked great and reminded me of what to expect. All in all, it went very well!! I actually got to see my tummy that day but from above and couldn't tell too much about it. Since then hubby has taken a pic and i think it looks really good. DEFINITELTY looks a lot flatter!!! The pain has been tolerable and I'm trying to space the pain pills out. Been staying up quite a bit during day, getting up and down by myself for the most part and of course walking hunched over is the worst part as my back is screaming for some help. Heading to bed for a nap now, I hope everyone else is happy and healing well too!!! Thanks for all the love and support of you beautiful people on here, this would have been much more difficult without you!!!

Exparel - Definitely!!

I've seen some people asking about the Exparel pain shot, and although I have nothing to compare to, I can't imagine having the surgery without it!! I was nauseated after leaving the surgical center and although it hurt to throw up it wasn't an unbearable pain, it surely would have been much worse without the shot. I've been fairly ambulatory since right after the surgery and I can't say there wasn't any discomfort, but my pain was primarily in the lipo areas which are easily worked out by just getting up and moving around some. There were 3 specific situations that my actual stomach hurt and none of them were anything even close to being excruciating. Any movement that involves twisting of my torso such as getting in and out of bed or in and out of a vehicle hurt momentarily and this was the most painful. The second was going from laying down in a semi reclined position to sitting. Even with my arms wrapped around my husbands neck and him supporting as much of my weight as possible I still couldn't avoid using my stomach muscles some, which still hurt momentarily. The last thing is laughing and coughing. As I'm sure you all know, we are supposed to be doing some deep breathing and coughing regularly to keep our lungs clear and coughing still hurts some but it is definitely bearable. My son came to visit the other night and had me laughing which hurt some too. I finally had to tell him that he had to leave if he couldn't quit being so funny! Obviously I enjoyed the entertainment and company but wasn't up for having a sore stomach from it either. In my opinion, if you are going to spend thousands of $$$ on surgery, then paying an extra $500 to lessen the pain, reduce the amount of painkillers needed and increase your mobility it is worth every penny of it!!! And by the way, although I have prescriptions for both Percocet and Valium, I don't need them anywhere near as often as they were prescribed and I attribute a certain amount of this to having had the Exparel shot!! If you can swing it, definitely GO FOR IT!!! You won't be sorry!!!!!

Drain Away Please!

Ok, so everything is going pretty well. I am having some swelling but nothing that isn't tolerable and for the most part I am getting around fine. Had my f/u with my PS last Tuesday and was still putting out too much fluid to get the drain removed. At that time I was OK with it because I wasn't moving around as much, but now it's really getting old!! It's located in my pubic area just above the fold of my upper thigh which means every time I sit or bend it somewhat aggravates the area. It is much redder than any other area and I'm sure it's just because I'm constantly irritating it. I've tried to move the tube and keep it low and in an area where it will move the least but it's still a constant aggravation! I'm doing everything myself now, showering, getting in and out of CG, getting up and down, etc. and even doing some cooking. Also started walking outside this weekend, walked almost a mile with hubby yesterday morning as well as this morning and evening both. I definitely prefer walking in the morning, the evening walks are more difficult as I'm running lower on energy at that point. I have been putting out less fluid but it's still over the 50CC required to remove the drain. Go back again on Tuesday this week so praying it goes below 50 in the next 2 days. I'm off all prescription meds and talking Tylenol as directed. Laughing doesn't hurt anymore although coughing and sneezing are both still kind of rough, especially if doing it more than once or twice in a short period of time.
I bought a couple of Hanes CGs at Target yesterday because they are seamless and seemed like they would work ok when I get the drain out and can finally lose the black iron maiden I've been wearing. Wore the tank CG to sleep in last night and woke up half way through the night feeling like I couldn't breathe. Removed it and went back to sleep when I could finally relax. I think I'll save that top for the day time for awhile. Although I will say that I noticed right away this morning that some of the fluid/swelling that I'd been having in my bra bulge area was gone after wearing it for several hours last night...always have to focus on the positive!!!
Still following many of my RS sisters and it seems most everyone is doing pretty good barring a couple small issues. Praying everyone has had an enjoyable and restful weekend and that everyone is ready to get this next week started!!

Drainless Please!!

Have a f/u with PS today and I am praying he takes this drain out!!! I am sooo tired of it getting pulled on or pinched every time I move!! He said I had to be below 50ccs and I've been hovering right at 50 for the last 2 days, I'm praying that is close enough!!! Going to ask how much exercise I am ok to do and when I can do some laser hair removal in my pubic area. I'm sure he's going to say at least 4-6 weeks, but it may be longer than that. Does else have any experience with that? I've had a couple of treatments so it won't be new for me, but not sure when it will be ok to assault that skin again! Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!! Right back atcha and good luck to all those having surgery today, see ya on the flat side!!!!!

FINALLY drainless!!!

OK, so after what seemed to be hours of waiting (this is my only complaint about Dr. Hedden) my PS came in and after discussing the fact that my output is still just above 50cc per 24 hrs, he looked at my drain site and said the drain had to come out. He said it looked like some cellulitis might be setting in and the last thing we need is an infection. So, even though I wasn't the leasr bit nervous about the surgery, I WAS nervous about removing the drain! I've heard too many pain stories I guess but the nurse reassured me it would burn for just a few seconds, told me to take a deep breath and before I could get a deep breath it was over with and I didn't feel a thing!! No burning, no pulling, no weird sensation in my tummy, nothing!! I was so thrilled and we laughed about my fear having been unfounded. So, not having any idea what cellulitis is I just assumed it may be a minor infection and wasn't concerned. PS gave me a script for Bactrim, some ointment for the drain site and belly button and told me if I started to run a fever or feel bad to call them. I went on my merry way and then IMd my sister who had a major reaction to the cellulitis news. Seems her boss had it and it was pretty major and took several months to get rid of. So, I did some research and as it turns out, cellulitis is a bacterial infection which generally affects the lower part of your body. It can involve just the skin or the skin and tissue. If not treated appropriately it can spread quickly and can spread to your lymph nodes and blood stream. Once there it can be life threatening. Now, as for mine, the area is red and somewhat inflamed, but does not seem to be hot to the touch and I've been monitoring myself for fever, it's been 97.1 and 96.9 so I think I'm ok there! But, I will say that now that I know it's more that just some 'little' infection I will be very careful about taking the meds as directed as well as using the ointment and keeping a VERY close eye on the area!! He released me to do most physical activities with the exceptions of core work or crunches and heavy lifting. Tape is still on so I haven't gotten to see my scar yet and they want the tape to stay on until my 4 week checkup so for now all I can do is trim the areas that become loose. I'm anxious to see what the incision looks like, but also want the best possible results so def following Drs orders!!!
I hope all you RSers are having a great day and everyone is on the road to recovery (or farther!!)

Muscle Repair Pain-When Will It Go Away???

Good Morning to all my fellow tummy tuckers, I have a question for you... When did the muscle repair pain go away completely?? Mine had seemingly gotten better for a few days but now for the last week it seems to have reverted back to a constant soreness that is really getting old!! If I sit too long I have to stretch the stomach muscles when I go to stand up because they are so tight. It actually feels good to do that sometimes and then other times it hurts. Rolling over in bed still requires grabbing a hold of the head board and helping my body roll to the side which is aggravating because I basically have to wake up every time I want to roll over. Coughing, sneezing and laughing all still hurt too, especially sneezing! I guess maybe I'm expecting too much at this point?? I don't know, but at 5 weeks post op shouldn't this be getting significantly better? I can handle the swelling and taking care of the scar etc. but I hate taking pills and I don't want to have to take Tylenol etc. every few hours to keep this nagging soreness at bay. Anyone have any suggestions???
Thanks to everyone here for all the support and care you've shown over the last month and a half!! My husband has been great, but there is nothing better than sharing my own experience with someone who has been there as well!! Hope everyone is doing wonderfully on this fine Monday morning and for those who are having surgery today, I'll be waiting for you on the flat side!!

Along with many others, I am of the opinion that Dr. Hedden is an excellent plastic surgeon. After several consultations with him, he did my breast revision in early august as well as TT and multiple areas of lipo in late September. I am thrilled with everything to this point, although I do still have some recovery time left from the TT. He answered each and every question and I had and was perfectly fine with making last minute adjustments to the areas of lipo I chose on the morning of surgery. His prices are competitive and his work is top notch!! Although he doesn't 'advertise' it per se due to the cost involved, he does offer the Exparel shot for TTs and I highly recommend it. He doesn't sugar coat things and wants to make sure his patients have a clear understanding of what recovery will consist of and provides them with realistic expectations for the outcome on their choice of surgery. I've already recommended his services to several people who are interested in plastic surgery and if I have a need for more in the future, he will be the first call I make!!!

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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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