36 yo mom of 2: Mini Tummy Tuck w/full muscle repair and Lipo - Raleigh, NC

This is a long-winded way of saying that I highly...

This is a long-winded way of saying that I highly recommend Dr. Pyle. I consulted with him about a breast lift and tummy tuck, but ultimately I decided to just do the tummy tuck. His procedures were priced reasonably and were in line with the other quotes that I got. His nurse, Molly, is great. I email and call her with questions and she responds promptly. If you want more details, read on!

First of all, I never, ever thought I would be a person to get plastic surgery. Never. I am a feminist and struggled with changing my body just for looks, but I have been self-conscious about my stomach since I was a kid. Then after two pregnancies I had trouble losing the extra 20 pounds of baby weight that had been there for 8 years. Finally, I lost the 20 pounds and it felt SO good. I had forgotten how that felt. I felt confident in myself again, and there is just really nothing like that feeling. So, I now believe that as a feminist I have empowered myself (even though it was through vanity-lol) because I feel so good about myself because of my new look. I have to say that after only 2 weeks I am 100% thrilled with my decision to get the tummy tuck done and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I went to 4 different doctors for consultations. 3 of the doctors were older guys with many more years of experience than Dr. Pyle. They all recommended a full tummy tuck for me. When I met with Dr. Pyle, he thought a combination of a lipo and a mini tummy tuck (with a belly button "float" and repair of both the lower and upper abdominal muscles) would work best for me, even though minis are generally disfavored (and not done very often) in the plastic surgery community. I felt comfortable with him and he explained everything clearly and answered all of my questions. 2 out of the 3 other surgeons were not very personable or warm, but Dr. Pyle was. He felt like a real person. Most of the others did not.

After the consult, I researched the mini online and there were not very many positive comments. So I emailed Dr. Pyle's office to ask again why he believed the mini was right for me. He emailed me back personally and explained the reasons, and it made sense to me. I was torn, however, because all three of the other surgeons were adamant about a full. My gut told me Dr. Pyle was the guy, but I was still reluctant. This is such a big decision.

After about 6 months, I finally decided I was going to go through with the procedure. I just had to make a decision about who I wanted to be my doctor. It really came down to Dr. Pyle and one of the older surgeons. So I made a second consult with Dr. Pyle to ask him even more questions. I told him that 3 other surgeons recommended a full. He examined me again, and ultimately he stood by his first instinct which was the mini with lipo.

What I realized was that Dr. Pyle is a younger surgeon with less experience than the old guys, but he is trained in and performs the newer, modern techniques. I liked that. The old guys stick with what they know and what they have been doing for the past 20 years. Dr. Pyle used the drainless technique, and I liked that the mini scar would be shorter. I think not using the drains has made the recovery MUCH easier and less painful and annoying.

I can already tell a difference after only 2 weeks. I am still pretty swollen and have some pain when I do too much, but I returned to my office/desk job after 11 days post-op. It really helped not having the drains in and the Exparel made the first few days much more tolerable. Honestly, the recovery has not been as bad as I thought it would be. It has not been pain-free, but the pain has been manageable.

I had rotator cuff surgery a few years ago and it was MUCH worse. It was just a very bad surgery experience and terrible recovery. I swore I would never have an elective surgery again after that. I had a problem with anesthesia during my shoulder surgery, so I was super scared about the general anesthesia. I told Dr. Pyle I would be more comfortable with a MD anesthesiologist instead of a nurse anesthetist. He completely understood, and they said they arranged for an MD to be the anesthesiologist on my surgery day. He was super, too. I felt comfortable with him.

Last night my husband commented on my new shape. I saw a difference after a few days, but this was the first time he could really see the difference. He said, "He totally changed your proportions!" Your boobs look huge and your waist looks tiny; you look so skinny!" (I am not a skinny person by the way; more of an "athletic" build with curves; I have been described as "statuesque"). So the hubby is very happy too. I can't wait to see how things look as my recovery progresses!

I will post pics in a few weeks when the results are really showing. You won't be disappointed with Dr. Pyle. Good luck to you all!

Early post op pics

17 days post op

Early Post-op pics

Pre op

3 weeks post op

I have been a little unhappy and disappointed over the past week, especially because I'm concerned about the lump above my belly button. I don't think it's a seroma because it's been there since day 1 of surgery. I was hoping it was swelling and would go down, but it feels different than swelling-a little hard and muscle-ish feeling. So hopefully it will get better asap! Our pool opens in 2 weeks so I want to look decent in a bathing suit :)

3 weeks post op

First peak at Scar-4 weeks post-op

Doc told me to keep the original surgical paper tape on as long as I could. It finally fell off yesterday, and I got the first glimpse of the scar. I am VERY happy with it! I love the placement which is nice and low and the length of it does not cross where my panties/bathing suit will be. It is pretty thin, too. I can't wait to see how it heals.

4 weeks post op

Seeing a little improvement, maybe?

4 weeks post op pics

Looking a little bit better I think? Still have the lump which doc says is swelling. I feel like they blame everything on swelling!!

5 week post op pics

I'm still discouraged. I'm not seeing much improvement. My waist looks great from the lipo, but the TT results aren't where I want them to be. I hear that like 85-90% of the swelling should be gone by now? Ugh.

Clothes too big and weight down 1 lb since pre-op

I forgot to mention that I can tell a big difference in how my clothing fits! I went down at least 2 sizes. Everything is too big but I don't want to invest in many new things yet before my final result. I did go to Old Navy and bought a couple of cheap dresses to wear in the meantime.

6 weeks post-op

I'm 6 weeks post-op, and I haven't seen too much progress over the last few weeks. I had my 6 week follow-up appointment this week and doc says things are looking good, but I'm still swollen. He said this is the hardest part since I'm feeling good but the results aren't showing yet. But I'm already really happy with my waist contour. He says even that will get better as I'm still pretty swollen in the flanks. The tightness in the abs is awesome. I can't believe I don't have to walk around sucking in all the time! That makes the surgery worth it right there. I still have a pooch under my belly button and I have a lump above the belly button, but I think both are improving. I love the position of my scar, and I'm still using the paper tape on it. I wore a bikini this weekend and you couldn't see the scar or tape at all. It was perfectly hidden. I also got waxed yesterday and I told my wax lady to avoid the scar. Doc said waxing was ok now. Doc said I didn't have to wear the CG anymore, so I didn't wear it one day and I got super swollen. So it's back on for now!

Scar at 6 weeks

Scar at 6 weeks-Happy with the placement and how thin and straight it is. Hoping for some fading soon.

7 weeks post-op

7 weeks post op

Week 9 pics

Not seeing much change. I'm still worried about the lump above the belly button and extra skin on upper abdomen. I'm not thrilled with the belly button shape. I wish it was more vertical. I thought when he pulled it down it would have stretched a bit more vertically. I'm still swelling above incision and my sides still get sore from the lipo. My muscles are feeling great and I was able to play tennis last week.

Holy Crap I am a size 4!! Down 3 pant sizes!!

I was a 6 in high school. Then I was an 8 for a while during college and grad school, then a 10 after kids.

I bought shorts (size 4) and jeans (size 27!!!!!!) the other day. I was in shock. My husband doesn't understand what a big deal that is!!! I went to the 8 sizes first....too big. Then I tried the 6...too big. Then the 4...just right! I can't imagine shopping for size 4s. Excuse me, sales lady, can you get me this in a size 4 please?!

That makes me feel a little bit better that I still have a pooch of swelling...

But I still want it gone :)

Week 10 1/2 pics

Still not much change. Hard and swollen below belly button. Weird lump still above belly button. My hips and flanks still get sore and swollen from time to time from the lipo. I guess this is pretty close to what my final result will be. But I'm very happy with my size and the way clothes fit.

I need to get back into my exercise program. Maybe that's part of the problem!

Week 10 1/2 scar pic

Nice, symmetrical, and flat and hides well under panties and bikini bottoms. It's redder than I'd like. I'm still wearing tape most of the time.

3 months post-op

I just had my 12 week follow up appt. Doc says everything looks good, but I'm still a bit swollen. He said I'm probably about at 85% of my final result and I was just one of those people who takes a little longer to get rid of the swelling.

I still have some areas of soreness from the ab repair and Ive still got some swelling below the belly button, especially after eating a lot of sodium or exercising. There is still a lump of swelling right above the belly button which you can see clearly in one of the pictures. It is sore there too.

I'm finally exercising 100% again, and I've seen some definition in the abs for sure. Overall, I'm very happy with the results!

More 3 month post op pics

Week 10 v. Week 13 post op comparison pics

15 weeks: Happy but still some loose skin above belly button

Overall I'm very happy, but I'm still concerned about the loose skin above he belly button. You can see it in he pics where I'm sitting down.

Oops....here are the week 15 post op pics

The side pic shows where my belly button is pulled in and the skin gathers above it. I'm really upset about the loose skin
when I sit down, but it looks nice and tight when I stand up. I don't know what to think!

I'm definitely still having some swelling
below the incision at times, and also still swelling on the flanks from the lipo. It still tingles and is sore sometimes.

5 weeks v. 15 weeks comparison pic

5 weeks | 15 weeks

You can see how much the swelling went down during those 10 weeks.

4 months post op

I'm still seeing change, but it is small and slow. Mostly it's been with the decrease in swelling. I am still swelling from the lipo on the flanks and hips and also below the belly button down to the public bone, but it is becoming less and less noticeable. Slowly but surely.

The scar is looking good and is nice and flat. I have been massaging it and I think I might start doing some silicone scar therapy because it doesn't seem to want to fade very much. I'm hoping that will help.

I'm exercising 4-5 times a week and am able to do all he hard ab exercises with no problems. I can serve and hit overheads with no problem. Just a little tight feeling here and there. My abs do get sore though afterwards. I love the ab definition. I've never had that before in my whole life- and I was a college level tennis player!

I love my results. They look very natural. They suit my body and body type. I don't look like I've had a tummy tuck-and I mean that in the best way possible. Everyone thinks I look great and asks what I have been doing. Diet? Exercise? No one ever suspects that I've had any work done. The results are drastic to me, but they don't look fake or scream out the fact that I've had a TT. And that's just the way I like it. But still need to work on that little belly button lump...

4 month post op pics

More 4 months post op pics

The other post didn't upload these pics, so here ya go.

Feeling great!

I feel like am officially 100% again. I am doing everything without thinking about ever having a tummy tuck. I'm so glad I did this. I feel very confident with my improved body. It does make me want to get that beast lift in the future! Of course now I wish I had done it at the same time as the mini TT. Oh well. The recovery for the lift is supposedly much, much easier than the TT so that makes me feel better. I have to say that this procedure and the recovery have not been bad at all. I, like everyone else, wish I had done it sooner.

I'll keep posting pics every month or so.

Scar Update With Embrace

So I bit the bullet and got the Embrace. I've been using it for almost 3 weeks. I really like it and wish I'd started it sooner. It's just as comfortable as the paper tape. (But much more expensive!) I can definitely tell it has helped somewhat with the redness/fading. And as I took these pictures I can see that it has helped smooth out the edges of the scar too.

5 month PO pics

Still swelling some in lower abdomen and flank areas from the lipo. You can see the Embrace silicone sheets peeping out from the undies.

Embrace Scar Progress!

Photo shows:
1) Before embrace
2) After 3 weeks of embrace
4) After 6 weeks of embrace.

6 month Before/After pics from Dr.

Believe it or not, my lower abs are still a little bit swollen (above the incision but below belly button). My abs are still getting sore and tender after tough ab workouts. Overall, I'm very happy. But I do wish the squishy lump of skin above the belly button would go away.

Scar is finally fading


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 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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