I've been researching this for 3-4 years and...
I've been researching this for 3-4 years and finally going for it! My initial intent was to have a tummy tuck with lipo and muscle repair. My surgeon said he only ever does a TT with a combined bbl using fat transfer to maintain symmetry so this ended up being an added bonus at no extra cost. Considering that I have never had a butt this is more and more appealing to me as time goes on! I wanted to have some additional procedures done but my PS said no as the surgery I am having will take approx 4 hours and that risk of complications increases with longer surgeries. My surgery is booked for Dec and I'm both excited and terrified! After a lot of thought and research I have opted to travel to Brazil to have this done. Has anyone else on here traveled here for this or a similar procedure?
Pre-opp photos- 2 months to go
So I have the financial part taken care of, my tickets booked (on points) and my hotel is paid for. I just finished my first marathon which feels great but no matter how much exercise and eating right, I can't get rid of the 'gut' and obviously the stretch marks either! You can see from my pics that my belly button was pretty much turned inside out while I was pregnant with my son (at 18!) so I've never really had a 'normal' torso. PS has indicated that the skin will be pulled down and a new belly button through the new skin. Really hoping I get the results I am expecting in my head :)
test results back today
My family doctor here in Canada agreed to do all of my tests here at no charge. No idea why, but I freaked out for a few minutes before I confessed my intent to have plastic surgery done.... even harder telling her I had decided to travel to Brazil to have it done. Then I got angry at myself for worrying about being judged! Dr was very supportive and had all my stuff done here so I didn't have to pay extra. Chest xray, ultrasound, bloodwork, EKG, bloodwork, the whole deal. Then I spent all of last night with Dr. Google looking up all my results and what they mean. Overall I found out that I'm in great shape :)
I'm feeling so much better about everything today. Since I'm traveling to Brazil to have this done, I have been obsessively reading everyone posts about traveling abroad and doing this alone. I really just don't want to bring anyone with me. Have told a few close friends but not my family. I got really worried reading posts of everyone saying they were unable to move without help and not even being aware or remembering the first few days after surgery. I spoke with my PS and he suggested that I could stay in the hospital as long as I want at an extra cost (that was ridiculously reasonable!). He also offered to arrange for a nurse to stay with me at my hotel. Ultimately peace of mind is worth it for me to stay in the hospital for at least the first four days as see how things go. Feeling much better about everything today and simply looking forward to this journey!
14 more sleeps!!
Getting excited and anxious at the same time.... 14 days to go before my surgery. Was worried that I wouldn't get my travel visa in time but just heard it will be delivered by Friday so now that I know this is 100% 'a-go' I am beyond excited. Since I'm doing this solo I have opted to stay in the hospital for 4 days after surgery so this has made me feel much better. Can't say enough about the PS I have chosen. Very warm, accommodating and answers all of my questions (even stuff about where to get a SIM card for my cell phone and where to find local restaurants). My diet has always been very good but for reason I am all of a sudden finding it harder to stay away from 'bad' foods recently. I guess having the idea in the back of my mind that it will all be sucked off in a few weeks...makes it easier to give into temptations. But...I'm running more than ever and going to my weight classes so it's all good. I read someone's post on here that they did a liquid diet for a few days before surgery to help with digestion, etc. After surgery so thinking this makes sense and plan to give it a try.
So I arrived in Brazil the night before my surgery with 20 mins to grab a quick shower after traveling for 15hrs. My nerves were a wreck. The office was right around the corner and it was such a relief meeting the PS in person. What an amazing human being. So personable, dedicated to his craft, and just an all around amazing person. His English is perfect and he took a lot of time to just help me relax and answer all questions.
Of course it was hard to strip down and get all these photos taken but hey...over coming our fears is a wonderful gift we can give ourselves. But was wishing I could have at least had the diner and a bottle of wine first!! Haha
Pics are of me back at the hotel right after. Lighting is bad but I plan to get the pics from him that he did at the office and will post later.
Wish I knew Before TT....
A few things I wish I had known before my surgery....
1) Although not everyone is the same, liposuction really hurts. Not everyone experiences the pain the same way. In my case, we couldn't find pain meds that worked really well. I ended up using oxycodone and that stuff is horrible. Although it did manage the pain and I seemed fine while I was on it...after I stopped I realized how much it affected my thinking patterns and memory. I'm not someone who likes to take pills of any kind so I was happy to be finished with them. For what it's worth, my PS said that the pain I experienced was not typical.
2) Swallowing air is a 'thing' with abdominal surgeries. I had a 24 hour period where every time I swallowed it felt like I was swallowing a huge bubble of air. Felt like I was blowing up like a balloon. The only thing that helped was to get up and move around but this was 2-3 days post op so all I really wanted to do was lay down and sleep. In hind sight this was probably good for me since it forced me to move but it was so uncomfortable.
3). Having zero appetite is common. I was told that since I had muscle repair done and everything was 'tight' everything gets pushed together including all your organs and it can take a few days for everything to settle down. The result for me was that I had almost no appetite and when I did, I ate a few bites and then I was full. This lasted for almost a week in my case.
4). It can take up to a week or more to have a bowel movement. TMI, I realize but Omg, it feels amazing once you get the first one over with.
5). Don't use finance companies. Take the time to save your money and pay for it yourself. I see a lot of ppl on here recommending finance companies so I looked into it initially just for interest. Even the reputable ones charge extra fees that they are not up front about unless you ask. I was given a very low interest rate but when I started asking questions, they require you to purchase all types of insurance with the loan. It's crazy and not worth it. Just wait for your surgery until you can pay for it yourself. You will feel much better and there will be less stress.
6). The PS you choose (and the entire medical team) makes all the difference. You need to feel comfortable to ask all the questions you need to and have a connection with those who are helping you along this journey. It's a major life change so invest the time to choose the right one for you.
So I will be 30 days post op on Monday but finally have some time for updates. The morning of the surgery my PS's wife, Dr. Marina (who is also a plastic surgeon and part of the team who did my surgery) picked me up at the hotel and went with me to get an ultrasound and then off to the hospital. Again, I really can not say enough about the group of individuals who did the surgery and those who took care of me in the days during and following my procedure. Marina stayed with me to check into the hospital and translate everything and make sure I was comfortable. After seeing my room and my 'home' for the next 4-5 days I went upstairs where I met Dr. Rodrigo again and he retraced some of my markings and made sure I was 'ok'. Of course I was a little nervous but certainly nothing that I couldn't handle. I didn't feel the need for any meds or sedative, etc. The walked me into the operating room and I got on the table. The anesthesiologist (who I had met previously through Skype and while checking in) explained what they were going to do and I was out in less than 5 mins. I woke up later in recovery and I had a few issues with allergies to a few medications but it was sorted out quickly and the medical team was by my side through the entire process. Obviously in the first few hours, you don't remember much but they eventually got me settled in my room and I was able to rest.
First few days after surgery
Since I traveled to have my surgery, obviously I had some extra concerns like communication back home, potential language barriers, etc. It took a few days to sort out my phone but I can honestly say that everyone from the driver who picked me up to my PS made sure that I got everything sorted out and made sure my phone worked so I was able to call back home. Both PS's, anesthesiologist, physiotherapist, drivers, etc. spoke excellent English and they even hired a translator who came to the hospital around supper time and worked until late evening. He was a young man about 18 years old and he was amazing. He spoke excellent English and helped me pass the time but visiting with me and I was also able to learn a lot about Brazil during those discussions. He even helped the nursing staff by waiting on me hand and foot! Can't say enough about the nursing staff, they were amazing and helped through a pretty difficult 3rd night. I experienced a fair amount of pain in the days following until we got my medications sorted out. My PS checked in on my every morning and night and even by phone during the days (as did the anesthesiologist). When no one was around to help, I learned a few words in Portuguese and attempted to use google translate. Overall I didn't feel communication was a barrier and the staff took excellent care of me. I am very glad though that I opted to stay in the hospital for the first 4 nights as I'm not sure how I would have managed without their 24hr care.
A few people have been asking about my scar- this photo was taken a day after surgery (before my first shower) from my hospital bed. Obviously I have a 'new' belly button but you'll notice no stiches around the outside as they do a technique where there are only stiches on the inside so they aren't visible. Lots of swelling in this picture but even then I was happy with the results and my scar is very low.
7 days post op
I had my surgery on Monday and moved to a hotel a short distance away by Friday afternoon. The hotel was great and I felt very safe and hotel itself was beautiful with breakfast included. They were very accommodating and the food was very good with the exception of one meal (hamburger) I had ordered. After the some of the swelling started to subside, I took these photos. I ended up having lipo to everywhere (stomach, flanks, back, and inside of thighs). Resulted in a fair amount of bruising as you can see from the picture of my leg but this didn't last long as my PS had promised. The close up photo is of my scar which I find to be very neat and tidy and low which makes me very happy! I should mention that in the days following, the medical team (including my PS, physiotherapist, and Anesthesiologist) made sure that I had plenty to do and was getting out of the hotel room daily. In fact, I got to see a lot of Brazil, did some amazing shopping, went out for dinner, etc. I was pretty busy and moving a lot. I think this was good for me to get out and SO enjoyed my time spent in Brazil. I travel a lot and it seems crazy to say that this was by far one of my favorite trips considering I went there to have surgery but it was really the people who made my stay an unforgettable time :) It also helped that it was 34 degrees C and sunny everyday while it was -10 C and snowing at home!
Post op time in Brazil
A few pictures below of my hotel... as I mentioned overall my stay was amazing. I even spent an entire afternoon at the spa getting a mani, pedi, and my hair done :)
Will post some more recent photos since I've been home recovering.