36 Year Old Mom of 5 is Ready for Full Tummy Tuck at Penn Plastic Surgery Clinic - Philadelphia, PA

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My children are 7, 9, 11, 14 and 19. 4 out of 5 of...

My children are 7, 9, 11, 14 and 19. 4 out of 5 of my babies weighed over 8 pounds. I am 5'3.5" and 159 lbs. I've had two non pregnancy related surgeries that left me with a vertical scar from belly button to pubis. I have a lot of loose front belly and scar tissue that leave me with what is best described as a front butt. I'd like to look down and see my lady-bits without a hand mirror. I'm tired of hiding behind over-sized clothes. I'm sick of wearing waist-cinchers and sucking it in. I will never accept this belly, so it's got to go.

I had my consultation with Chief Resident Surgeon Dr. Jonas Nelson and also met with Dr. Murphy. The program has 250 applicants of which, 3 are chosen to participate. Dr. Nelson was 1 of those 3 selected. That's 3 out of 250 or a 1.2% chance of him being selected. That's top notch.

I will see him a second time before surgery. A Board Certified Attending will oversee the abdominoplasty.
The procedure is reasonably priced. (A private office I service as a Medical Courier, charges $5000 for the physician's fee alone.) My hospital fees will cost the most: $3600. Due to my scar tissue, my procedure may take a bit longer. The fees depend on the amount of time needed in the OR. Without this program, I wouldn't be able to afford the surgery. And if it weren't for RealSelf.com, I wouldn't have know it even existed.

After having my first child, the elasticity of my belly was shot. My body will never be the way it used to be pre pregnancies; however, it can be better than what it is. Most of my old scar and stretch marks will be removed. We all deserve to be happy with ourselves. Nearly 20 years is far too long to be unhappy with something that can be fixed. Time to fix it and forget it.

Random thoughts 2 weeks to go

So, my surgery is two weeks from today. I've paid my Physician's fee deposit and full balance for anesthesia. I am prepared to settle up for the remaining balance once the Chief Resident Surgeon's Assistant calls me to take my payment. The hospital fee is due 1 week pre op.

I purchased a new mattress set because I was waking up to stiff body parts from sleeping on the old lumpy one. Now between the bed risers and tall mattress, my bed is way too high to consider climbing into post op. I researched step stools for about a week. If it's still too much of a challenge, I'll be couching it for a while.

I plan to return to work 12 days post op. Since what I do involves some lifting of medical supplies and mail, I'll have a helper. I shouldn't lift more than 10 lbs for about a month. Since it will be nearly 2 weeks when I return, I'll likely have the helper for 2 weeks.

My dad is coming into town from Va to help me. Plus, my 20 year old will be assisting me with my younger kids, meal prep, etc. My ex husband may lend a hand as well.

I recently cut my hair short. I had long hair for about a decade. 3 years ago, it was just above my rear-end. About a year ago, it was mid back. Now, it's a chin length bob. When I actually take the time to style it, I love it bc it's cute and sassy. But when I'm a bit lazy with it, I sometimes think to myself, "I can't believe I cut my hair!" but hair can grow back.

It got me thinking...

I can't ever imagine having such a thought after this belly is cut off! I will not regret cutting the loose skin and fat. And I ain't neva growing it back!

If I had to choose, I'd be bald-headed with a flat tummy over having hair to my butt and a jelly belly.

Preparation and Payments

So, after perusing the reviews on here, I narrowed down what supplies I may need. I've purchased a compression garment from Leonisa.com. I had a 10% OFF coupon for being a first time customer and received free shipping. I bought a Wound Care Kit from CVS, some earplugs to keep my belly button open, Scar Away silicone strips for softening the scar later on, and Vitamin E skin oil for once I'm healed.
My new Uline hand-truck arrived. It'll make whatever medical supplies my helper and I retrieve, easier to transport.
My step stool came too and is a great piece of furniture... However, it was secured in a box with a border and darn near an entire roll of packing tape. It has never taken me longer to open a package in my life.

I'll be meeting with Dr. Jonas Nelson again on Friday and the big day will be the following Thursday.

Because I'm under 40 and have no serious medical conditions, I will not require labs. Plus, I had a physical in April. Just in case, I had my Primary's office fax over blood test results from April since they're valid for 4 months. I figured it couldn't hurt.

In the past, I've tried Renu Herbs by Robin Anthony for detoxing and cleansing. So, I decided to get some of her tea to use once I'm off pain meds. I viewed a video on here suggesting that you should cease taking all supplements, except for Vitamin C, two weeks prior to surgery. So, I'll resume my multi's, Biotin, and B12 after.

You can stagger your payments a bit, but you really should have the loot already set aside for the big event.
There was a fee for my initial consultation. There are likely fees for each additional visit.
Once a surgery date was set, I paid a deposit to secure it.
I received a letter that broke down the due dates of my remaining balance.
First, I had to pay the remainder of the Physician's Fee/Abdominoplasty
Then, I had to call Anesthesia 2 weeks before surgery to pay for 3 hours.
Finally, I had to call Patient Access/Cashier Dept 1 week prior to surgery to pay for the 3 hours in OR.

Since everyone's situation is different, I didn't include actual costs. The ladies on here who have also gone to the Penn Plastic Surgery Clinic both had lower costs and different circumstances. What I can say is that the cost of Anesthesia and reserving the OR, is based on time slots. I.e., Two hours costs a certain amount etc.

Minor Adjustment New Date

So, I met with Dr. Jonas Nelson today. He met with me on a day he wouldn't ordinarily at a time he wouldn't typically. I truly appreciate a doctor willing to accommodate his patient's schedule to the best of his ability.

Anyway, we went over some points we'd previously discussed, plus covered some new questions I posed.

1. What's up with the free-handing and the W-incisions I've seen on some of the tummy tuck after pics online?
2. How is it determined that a T-incision is necessary?
3. Why isn't a guide or stencil used to create an aesthetically pleasing incision?
4. Tell me more about the muscle repair?
5. Belly button look matters to me, what say you?

It went a little something like that.
Can I tell you, the man answered every question, plus the few that popped into my head on the spot (the others were written down in advance).
His answers:
W-incision is to avoid too much tension in the center where wound healing is sometimes challenging.
T-incision is sometimes necessary to get to the umbilicus.
Everyone's body is different, so a cookie-cutter stencil wouldn't do.
Muscles are sewn together. There's plication- folded together and then stitched.
He'll do his best with my belly button which may present a wound healing challenge for me because of my existing scar from previous surgeries.

Ok, so after grilling the handsome young surgeon, we adjusted my surgery date to Friday, July 17 (a day later) because it worked better for all involved. I want everyone's head in the game and the best outcome possible.

Tomorrow's the Big Day!

Ok... so, I'm excited and a bit nervous. I'll be in good hands.

This afternoon, I received an automated call detailing all I need to know about tomorrow.
My arrival time is 10:55 a.m. and surgery is scheduled for 11:25 a.m.
Nothing to eat after midnight. I can have water up to 2 hours prior to the procedure.

I Rarely take off from my medical delivery route. This will be a bit of a vacation for me.
My 5 kids are going to be my little helpers when I get home.

I'm Ready!
Updates coming soon with post surgical pics!

I survived my tummy tuck!

I'll post details later. I wrote a lengthy post and then lost it. Here are a few pics at least.

The skinny on my tummy tuck

My surgery was scheduled for 11:25 a.m. on Friday. I don't recall being alert until around 6 p.m. I was told that I immediately complained of pain.

I was given two 2mg of Dilaudin aka Hydromorphone every 3-4 hours and Valium every 8 hours.

At no point during waking hours was I pain free. I struggled with teeth chattering pain. That does not mean you'll have the same issue.

I am also on Clindamycin for possible infection prevention and 4mg of Ondansetron plus a patch for nausea.

I vomited 3 times and thought I popped something.

My incision is in tack and is quite lovely. Belly button seems a little low and small, but cute. We decided to lipo 300cc from my flanks. Only 2.5 lbs was excised from my front butt.

I had my follow up yesterday and had to reup on pain meds. Drains aren't coming out until I produce less than 30ml of fluid for 2 days straight. I'm around 50 ml.

Was having a rough time with lack of bowel movements. Nothing from Thursday to Tuesday. I stopped eating because the pain and bloating was getting out of control. Took Renu Herbs Colon Cleanse, Dieters tea, Smooth Move tea, Milk of Magnesia and water water water. Had to resort to an enema.

Now, I'm back on track with bodily functions and pain regulation. Was up at 1:15 a.m. cleaning the dining and living room.

Doc Nelson removed all my old scar tissue and scar. Heaven sent.

I got into my compression garment today. Had been in 2 binders they cinched me with at the hospital.

Serious about getting these drains out and getting back to work with my helper next week.

Be strong!

Compression Garment Struggles!

Ordered something online from Leonisa in a Large. Seem to fit comfortably until I slept in it. Felt like it was cutting the circulation off to my labia and inner thighs.
Went to Latin Fashion and got a Stage 2 post surgical compression garment that seemed to provide instant relief. It became uncomfortable at 3:00 a.m. too.
It's as if my thighs swell at night.
I tried a corset I bought from Latin Fashion last August to sleep the rest of the night in. I'll have to wear the full piece during the day.
I'm still producing too much fluid to have my drains removed. My drains are sewn in at the ends of my incision. This sometimes hurts with the garment on.
Stuffing gauze and padding to try to help.
Over $300 worth of garments and still just struggling.

Compression garments

Pics 1week 2days after TT

Can't have garment off for an hour before I start swelling again.

Day 15

Still healing and swollen, but I'm finally more comfortable.
I've discovered some really good uses for the contents of my wound care kit.
I decided to blog about my experience too. For some reason I feel less censured on my blog so you can check it out if you'd like.

Day 16

Things are going well. Here are some updated pics. I still have swelling. It's early yet. Stay tuned...

Updated pics

Some recent pics and Belly button pic as requested. Still have a little pooch below the incision. I understand the size of your internal organs can have some bearing on how flat you can become. I was told my stomach was enlarged and my uterus too, but that was some time ago. I hope that won't be an issue for me. I plan to get back into FitCamp and try CardioCamp too. I want to be as flat as possible, but I am realistic about my expectations.

Much Improved!

Before = Front Butt.
After = Complete scar removal and no more Front Butt.

How do I like my new tummy?
I love it and the swelling isn't completely gone yet. I'm 3 and 1/2 weeks post op.

The flatside

Lipo 250cc's approximately 5 ounces!

I went in for a TT revision because there was some extra cushion left at the bottom of tummy above my scar. Doc suggested lipo instead of excising the small area that was buggin me. Took meds to take the edge off. Was numbed with a local and pumped with tumescent fluid. Have to be in a binder for 2 months pretty much around the clock except for showers.
Dr. Jonas Nelson

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