I previously had gone to UW Transformations for fractional laser surgery on my face secondary to acne scarring when I was younger. I was pleased with that and asked that doctor whom he recommended there for body contouring, and he immediately advise me to go with Dr. Rao. I made an appointment with Dr. Rao and he was quite friendly. It took him very little time to analyze my abdomen and make a recommendation. He advised that the "extended" version of the abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck") was right for me because of how much larger I had been before. Basically, instead of going hip to hip like in a normal tuck they go flank to flank on your back. He gave me his email address and then said I needed to get a pre-op physical with his PA-C and coordinate pricing and scheduling with his business office.
I was surprised at the quote -- only $7750 -- as I was expecting more. For having the procedure done by a board certified surgeon who is recognized as one of the best plastic surgeons in Madison, through a medical system known as the best in the state, I thought it was a great price. I scheduled it for 10/23/13 to coincide with the end of my outdoor tennis season and after a half-marathon I wanted to run.
The pre-op physical with LuAnn was easy and she is great. She also gave me her email address and phone number for any post-op concerns. I weighed 174# the week before surgery.
I showed up with my parents on the 23rd, pretty nervous but ready to go. Dr. Rao used a marker to mark up my tummy, he explained the procedure to my parents and me quite well and then the anesthesiologist came in and explained what they would be doing. I don't remember much after that.
I woke up in recovery and felt good, unless I moved. My abdominal region was pretty sore! They said that they did NOT have to do muscle repair which was good, a faster recovery. That did not surprise me because for the year prior I had done a tone of core exercises on a near daily basis. They gave me some light snacks, monitored me and let me have some visitors before sending me home with my parents. I was given a prescription for Oxycontin, I believe, and that worked out well for me in terms of pain management. I was also given instructions on wound care, what my limitations were, etc.
I had a pretty routine healing over the next few weeks. I did NOT have a drain installed because the procedure went so well. I was happy about that but sometimes that meant fluid did leak out of the incision and I just had to make sure I put gauze where it needed to go. It's not the most glamorous procedure, that's for sure. I looked great the first night but then the swelling started and I felt / looked pretty bloated for a few weeks.
I had a 10 day and 3 week post-op follow-up and they were happy with the results, told me I could resume light cardio and at my 6 week post-op they said I didn't need to come back until I was 4 months out. At that visit they were so pleased that they said I was basically done unless I needed to come back in.
The scar is big. I am starting to use Kelocote on it and also have had some light/IPL treatments on it by a natural medicine guy. Both are helping but the Kelocote is expensive. It looks better every day. My current weight is 169#, so the difference in the before and after pictures is about 4# which is remarkable compared to the difference in how it looks. I also have continued to work out so there was some conversion of fat to muscle in there as well.
I was very pleased with Dr. Rao and the whole procedure. As a guy, one of my concerns was sagging in the pubis. He did a great job on that area. As a result, my incision is higher than most. I can live with that trade-off. The scar is higher on one side than the other and as it fades it is barely noticeable. I have a flat stomach and a scar that is rapidly fading. I couldn't be happier and, to me, a free revision to fix a scar that is going to become barely noticeable is simply not worth the effort or down time. I'm happy just the way things are.
Dr. Rao is very clinical, open and has a great bedside manner. LuAnn helped me out when I panicked a few times with regards to draining and recovery. I can't believe the improvement they did to my body. The whole UW Transformations experience was great, I highly recommend it.
I will post more pictures as the scar fades.