Full TT Fixed my Smart Lipo Disaster - sorry I waited so long for fear of a scar

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews
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My decision to do a full tummy tuck is decidedly...

My decision to do a full tummy tuck is decidedly my final attempt to repair the damage to my stomach caused by Smart Lipo (the worst thing I've ever done to my body). It all started in 2007 when I wanted to fix some trouble spots that I could not deal with by exercising. I am of small frame, low body fat, very athletic and physical, and I eat well. I went to see a prominent, well-advertised doctor in La Jolla who sold me on the perfect solution, Smart Lipo. What transpired is the opposite and the man ruined my body - particularly my already flat stomach. The irregularities even showed through tank tops . . .I have been beside myself for 6 yrs and desperately seeking a solution. I even went to L.A. to see Tara Reid's doctor who fixed her BOTCHED lipo!! The fat grafting did not work for me b/c there was too much tissue damage - it did not make it worse but was wasted expense.

FYI: Anyone considering Smart Lipo should read my review and story which I won't repeat here.

At any rate, I tried anything and everything over the last 6 yrs to fix my abdomen . . . nothing really worked although some things provided a little relief. I went and interviewed a few doctors last year about a Tummy Tuck but was just not interested in a hip-to-hip scar . . . vain I know. I discussed the mini-tuck and tried to persuade several docs that it would work but they all resoundingly said, "No, it won't work for you - the mini-tuck gives mini results." I consulted several docs and reviews on RealSelf over the last year and a half and still could not bring myself to pull the trigger.

Recently, I ran into a good friend that had just had a TT. She has the same frame as me (although she is 15 yrs younger) and she was willing to offer me support, guidance, and a peek at her scar. We spoke at least 50 times about the procedure, her doctor, the recovery, etc. I finally agreed, 6 months later, to go and have a consult with her doctor, Dr. Michael J. Brucker located in La Jolla.

When I met with Dr. B, I shared with him that I was very nervous and certain that I did not want to have that big, ugly TT scar. I have never had kids and felt betrayed by my first doctor and angry that this was the final straw to fix the appearance of my abdomen. I have always had a bikini body and at one point was a bikini and sportswear model. Dr. B showed me tons of photos and went over the entire procedure in detail. He answered all of my questions patiently explained how the procedure is performed, what kind of results I could expect, and how the recovery would go. Dr. B also poo-pooed the mini-tuck. ;D What he did do was explain exactly how he would attempt to get my scar very low but also plainly stated what he could not do for me due to limitations of available skin. Dr. Brucker agreed with me that I am very fit and needed NO muscle repair - something that delays recovery in most patients. I was very grateful to have met him and for the consult.

Dr. Brucker was very thorough and at the end he held my hand and told me, "most women think the outcome is worth the scar." He went on to say that he COULD fix my abdomen and help me feel whole about my body again.

You know what? I believed him. And, having seen my friends scar, I knew he meant what he said. So, on my way out I booked my surgery for the following week. I could not believe it . . . Me? TT? How did I get here? I looked at my aweful tummy every day and realized how traumatized I've been over the last 6 yrs . . . even in clothes. The dents, scars, ripples, and generally ugly appearance had made me completely,self-conscious and depressed.

The office staff was very kind. Everyone took their time with me and helped me through the process patiently. I had my pre-op by phone and the anaesthesiologist was great - he even came to see me on one of the follow-up appts just to ask how I my recovery was going.

The day before surgery, I was bitten by a spider and it almost derailed my procedure (see photo). Fortunately, I talked the doc into going ahead b/c the bite was on a section of skin that would be removed anyway. He was nervous but finally relented.

On surgery day, my hubby delivered me to the doctor. Hubby took 5 days off to take care of me ;D The surgery took about 3 hours and I awoke with really no complications or nausea. My friend, the one that referred me, offered to care for me so I stayed with her. I had my hubby by me some supplies, juice, raspberries, etc. The next day, my post-op visit was simple and I got to see my smooth tummy for the first time - I developed tears of elation. They changed the tape, checked the drain, redressed the compression garment and away I went.

I took pain meds for the first three days only. Sitting in a recliner all day is boring but I managed to get to bed and that was comforting. Sleep was rare and LMN movie boredom set in. All I could think about was what I looked like under that CG. 3 days later, another check-up and all continued to look great. Same routine again . . . but hating that ridiculous recliner. . . and hungry and cannot go potty. Frustrated!!! I took Ducolax to get some relief. More fruit, prune juice, water, water, water. ;D

Today I am 11 days post-op and feeling great. I have zero pain or discomfort and looking forward to getting back to work and sleeping normally. I am so happy I did this procedure. My post-op went perfectly today and I was able to have my drain removed, stitches out, and get a looksie at my tummy. Shockingly, I'm NOT swollen . . . who'd have guessed? It looks great so far. I would recommend this procedure to anyone who wants to feel better about themselves following any trauma to the abdomen or childbirth. As Dr. B stated, "most women feel the outcome is worth the scar." I could not agree more - I am so happy I finally did it and kinda sad that I waited so long . . . I wish I had done this 5 yrs ago.

I really never thought the TT would do as much as it did for my self-confidence . . . I could not be happier with the procedure and will be happy to offer guidance or answer questions.

Day 12

It was worth it . . . recovery and all. I feel great today.

Day 13 belly button

Feeling great today. I was able to side sleep on both sides last night and got a full night's sleep. I thought I would share what my bb looks like so adding a photo today. Sadly, I'm more swollen than I've been since doing this . . . it'll go away.

Never thought I'd see the day . . .

I bought this bikini 6 yrs ago and just removed the tags this morning - NEVER thought I'd see the day . . . sad I waited so long. I'm 50 and fabulous! lol At any rate, I'm posting this to support anyone who's just not sure about a TT. It's been a far more pleasant experience than I ever thought it would be . . . seriously.

Almost three weeks

Well, I did not rest as I should have and have been up doing too much - the swelling is up and it's not as good as it was last week. I had to have a second seroma drained.

3 weeks post op

Returning to normal activity - minimal morning swelling and sleeping comfortably. Still wearing my compression garment at night and two body shapers during the day. Love my results.

4 weeks po

Looks a lil better every day - still swollen.

4 weeks PO today

Minor setback as swelling subsides

I see some irregularities now that the swelling is subsiding . . . it's a lil depressing - I looked better swollen! LOL

Scar is fine - healing nicely.

Not happy with the dents on upper abdomen . . . very disappointing to say the least. I will have the center of the scar above the mons pubis revised next year (need to wait til 8 mos post op) and the scar on the left hip is high so may revise it lower . . . other than that, hanging in there.


Close up of scar - it is darker b/c I put Bio-oil on it . . .

Felt well enough to dress and do my hair today!

I am almost 5 weeks po. I dressed and left my cgs at home. Had a long but productive day - now back in cgs, pjs, and in the recliner.

It's smoothing out again . . . boy that was horrifying to go through . . .

I changed cgs AGAIN and now the rippling/irregularities seemed to have calmed down. I cannot emphasize enough to find the right cg. Anything that makes a dent, constricts blood flow, etc., can cause issues in healing. I cannot wait for the swelling to go away and for time to pass.

PRE-TT photo . . . just found this . . . ugh.

This was taken 1 month before I finally decided to do the TT. It tells a great story - tan does not fix things.

Before and Afters - 5 weeks out

Here is the real before and after . . .

June 2013 and August 2013 5 weeks po

5 weeks PO close up of scar

Happy with scar - redness is from tape.

Recovery from this procedure sucks - putting it bluntly. But WORTH it.

Up, down, rest, don't rest, seroma 5 times, smooth, happy, not smooth, not happy, seroma Hell, ugh. Swelling? Not so much. Scar? No big deal. Ugh!!

More seromas drained and new compression piece

I am now wearing a spongie insert inside my cg to help with irregular swelling and seromas. I am to wear this configuration til the seromas go away. Ugh! I am happier with the appearance of my tummy tonight though so I guess that is the point. I will be good . . . I will be good. ;D

This recovery leaves a lot to be desired but I would not change a thing about my TT decision even if I could go back in time. I am very happy with my doctor for sure.

Epi-foam sheets ordered

My doctor gave me a self-adhering foam sheet to put on my abdomen (helps with irregularities). I believe what he gave me was made by Biodermis and is called Epi-foam. I ordered a set of three sheets today. It's very comfortable inside my cg.

Bad news - surgery needed to close up seroma.

Ugh - the seroma will not close on its own. The next step is to surgically close it . . . wondering how that's going to go and if I will have to start over with compression, drains, etc.

Trying again - day 1

I underwent revision surgery today. Dr stated there was a lot of thick scar tissue that had to be removed and the large seroma pocket was seen up. I'm more painful this time but not hunched at all. Praying it heals properly.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 3 months from first and 1 of rev.

I had mine redone yesterday. There was a lot of thick scar tissue which had to be removed. Doc opened all but 4" of the first incision. I have more pain but am not hunched over. Also, two drains. He also had to see the seroma down which made dents where they are tacked - I'm tired but can't sleep - starting over completely. ;/ Lets talk over the weekend.


Seroma was *sewn up

4 days out after TT revision

Praying I do not develop another seroma - my entire TT had to be repaired at just 3 months out. I. Am in more pain and have to drains this time around.

5 days PO


5 months and two FULL TTs later, I look normal again.

Side by Side - June 2013 before - and Dec 2013 after 2nd full TT

I pray that my story prevents one person from suffering the horrible disfigurement of Smart Lipo. Two Full TTs and 5 months layup - after 6 yrs of trying to correct the situation. I am finally happy now.

OK I am 3 months out from 2nd Full TT and yesterday had 2nd BA revision

I'm really happy with my tummy finally . . . this was a long road but so worth it. I had the vertical scar removed yesterday and changed my implants from Textured to Smooth. I'm groggy but here you go.

1 year later

My TT has healed well considering I needed to refinements. The center scar is darker because that section was done last and is just out 6 months. I'm very happy overall. Also, I just had the bra line back mid-lift done and needed another belly button revision. I have not peeked at it yet.

Forgot last photo

Same as before.

Oct 2014 new photos

I'm so happy I finally did the TT.

I've met only a few doctors like Dr. Brucker. He is kind, patient, honest and genuinely interested in his patient's success. I would refer anyone to this doctor for any procedure.

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
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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