50 Year Old Grandma! Getting Drain-less Extended Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair and Exparel! - Golden, CO

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I have a son 32, and a daughter 31, gained weight...

I have a son 32, and a daughter 31, gained weight with both. Got to goal weight a few years ago doing low carb, then was forced into a low fat diet and gained it all back. Have been back on low carb since January, am down 40 pounds, have about 40 to go to be at goal. Went ahead and started researching a tummy tuck. I am a research fanatic (it's my OCD, if I don't know the answer, I will find it), and have looked at every possible way to get a tummy tuck, the different techniques and of course, researched doctors galore. One never returned my call, another that was a strong possibility I met when I took my husband to him for a hand surgery issue. While he was obviously talented, I didn't feel comfortable with him for this surgery. Another I researched and loved sight-unseen and my consult with him only confirmed my choice, Dr. Steven Vath from Denver. He is certified in both plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, which is a double blessing. My consult was great, Dr. Vath personally escorted my husband and I to his office to begin the consult. I already knew most of the information, and had initially thought I wanted a mommy makeover. After talking with him, I told him I was hesitant about getting "the girls" done as they don't bother me and my husband loves them as-is. He said that I shouldn't do anything with them when I feel like that. He then took us to the exam room and we looked at my tummy together in a mirror. I had thought I would need lipo also but he said no, but that an extended tummy tuck would be beneficial as my apron goes around the side a bit. Dr. Vath was thorough, patient, kind, and listened! He took his time, answered every question, was pleasantly surprised that I knew as much as I did. I spoke with him about weight loss after surgery, he said I could lose 20-30 lbs after surgery without affecting the tummy tuck, so to be within 20-30 lbs of my goal by surgery date. I booked that day. Kari, his assistant, was with us in the room when he went over my procedures with me, and has been wonderful at answering emailed questions as soon as possible. She loves her job and it shows. The whole staff at The Center For Cosmetic Surgery in Golden, CO has been wonderful! Instead of being afraid of my upcoming surgery, I'm excited! Photos will not upload so I will add those at a later time.

Pictures, ugh!

Photos wouldn't load when I started my review so trying again. Stomach completely relaxed. Seeing these makes me wonder if I should be waiting until I've lost more weight to have surgery, am 40 lbs to goal but feel so much bigger than that.


I rescheduled my surgery from October 14 to November 9th. I have 2 weeks of vacation for the surgery and that will put me at the week before the holiday so if I work from home those 3 days, that will give me 3 full weeks at home. It also gives me more time to get more weight off beforehand, yay!

Pre-op done! No turning Back!

Had my pre-op appointment on Monday the 26th. Everyone was wonderful as usual, the hardest part about it was the before photos and paying the balance of the bill. The hardest part now is being off of nicotine, had quit smoking in 2011 but used nicotine lozenges ever since. Still felt wonderful but no nicotine allowed for possible healing issues. Switched to the patch for a week to get used to not having lozenges in my mouth all the time, and now quit the patch as of Monday. I feel okay for the most part but my eating has gotten crazy, have gained 3 pounds already and I just don't feel good. I have an anxiety disorder anyway, now quitting my nicotine right before surgery, its not like the surgery is stressful or anything right? LOL! I'm hoping someone out there can relate! Anyway, catching up with work as I'll be out until after Thanksgiving, still a few things to buy for recovery, time is running out fast!

Easier than expected!

The staff at the surgery center were nothing less than fantastic, everything was smooth and easy. Next think I know I'm waking up in recovery, it's done! The following pics are from Wednesday so the 2nd or 3rd day after surgery depending on whether you count surgery day or not.

Things going well but still concerns?

3 or 4 days in I noticed the sore spots in my mouth, assumed it was from the narcotic meds so quit taking them. I've got known allergies to some so we knew it could be an issue. I can still take Valium and the pain is bearable no no big deal. When taking pics to update I see bruising on my tummy that wasn't there before, is this the necrosis I've read about? This worries me. I put in a call to my doc who says not to be concerned, that necrosis would be black, at the edge of incisions, not bruising in other areas. I feel better, but still not good, think it may be one of my "blues" days. This has gone better than I could have expected so far, need to relax and enjoy it.

First Post-Op Done!

Had my first post-op on Tuesday the 17th. I questioned the bruising on my tummy and it seems I have a hematoma. There seems to be conflicting information as to how to take care of it but I will be seen again this coming Wednesday to determine how to best handle it. The only thing I use for pain is a Valium once in awhile, my appetite is way down and I'm just happy to be able to have more time off of work to rest and just feel the best I can.

14 Days Post-op

Back to work today, just working from home. I could really use some energy lol. Sometimes I wonder if the surgery removed some of my motivation, but then I think maybe for once I'm taking care of myself and taking my time healing the best I can. We'll go with that :-) Here is an updated tummy photo, not sure if there is change, anxious to see how the appointment goes on Wednesday to have it checked out.

Hematoma Check

Okay, so my appointment over this hematoma was a long one. Nurse used a gigantic needle/syringe and attempted to aspirate but only got a few drops. Dr. Vath was in Florida so his colleague Dr. Steinwald looked at it & he was ready to operate that day if necessary. He sent pics to Vath, they discussed for quite awhile. In the end, it was decided that I will go back on Wednesday to see Dr. Vath and it sounds like the options will be to aspirate when it turns to liquid, and if it becomes bothersome needing aspirated too often they can do a catheter thingy. Dr. Steinwald's approach was more aggressive and yet appealing to get it done and over but yet scary. Thanksgiving morning Dr. Vath called me, was afraid I would be spending the holiday worrying about this so wanted to talk to me to be sure I was okay. Dr. Vath said that the hematoma will resolve itself on it's own with no intervention. There are several different approaches doctors take but the only time he will intervene is if it is very painful (like pushing on a nerve), still actively bleeding or causing some bad issue like that. If it's big and you're really uncomfortable, they will do the needle/syringe drain thing to make you more comfortable. Mine around my belly button is a rock. It's numb so about the only issue it's causing right now is making me look all wonky crooked lol. I was concerned about this having to get it drained repeatedly like I've read about and he said no, that people are confusing a seroma with a hematoma. He said once the hematoma liquifies and is either absorbed or suctioned out, it's done and gone (unless of course there was a new active bleed but that is a different story alltogether). He said surgery would put it all better right away but it's also risky, the surgery itself, plus the tissues are all still swollen so you're looking at high risk issues of healing trying to close you back up, etc. where it WILL resolve on it's own so if you can handle the wait, it's worth it. So, I will be happy with that, see doc on Wednesday just so he can confirm it all in person, I am to keep working from home until further notice, the pressure from this hematoma puts a lot of pressure on my incision and so the lesser the movement the better right now. All of my steri-strips are still in place, but I do have some leakage in spots along my tummy, mostly in the center where the most pressure is from this hematoma. I haven't told the boss yet but hoping it shouldn't be an issue.

What About Bob?

I was telling my dear friend (whom I met on here but have yet to meet in person), about my hematoma and I said "my hematoma thing-a-ma-bob". She said "well at least you've named it" so ever since, it is known as Bob. I went to see Dr. Vath on Wednesday so he could see Bob in person as he was out of town at the last appointment. He also tried to get more out of there but there wasn't much liquid enough yet. He said otherwise I look quite good and he's very happy with my progress. We talked about how Bob causes extreme nausea sometimes, in fact I arrived at this appointment feeling pretty awful, had extreme nausea all the way there and just couldn't kick it, riding in the car only made it worse so I was feeling pretty crappy by the time Dr. Vath made it in to see me. He prescribed me more anti-nausea medication and some antibiotics as the incisiion, although it looked very good, also had some redness he was wanting to get gone. Although my appointment was last Wednesday (the 2nd), I took new pics today to update. Since Wednesday the redness around the incision is all but gone, it was low swelling time this morning and my belly button is no longer scabbed so looks better. I see Dr. Vath again this next Tuesday and will then see about going back to work in the office instead of working from home. Hoping the nausea issue is gone by then, my office is upstairs, nearest restroom is halfway across the shop building downstairs....
Denver Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Vath has an amazing personality, is humble, friendly, knowledgable, honest and listens! He's only interested in what you want to achieve and tells you what he thinks would help you. He's honest if he feels you don't need a procedure and answers questions thoroughly. His assistant Kari is friendly, knowledgeable and is available to answer questions before and after the consult. I am excited to start this journey to a new me!

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