My consultation was in March 2016. I was extremely nervous. My husband hadn’t even seen me standing fully naked in over five years and now I had to stand naked in front of a total stranger. I felt really down about myself, but I knew that I had to take this first step in order to start the process or it would never happen. Dr. Epstein was really wonderful at the consultation. He has a calm presence and puts you at ease. He also has an amazing ability to look at you and be completely sure of what procedures would contour your body in the best possible way. He’s extremely professional and patient and I didn’t feel like I was being delivered a sales pitch. You can tell he truly loves doing what he does. During the consultation we discussed the Vaser lipo-tummy tuck and he also recommended the vaser lipo on my flanks and a fat transfer to my buttocks and hips. I also requested the consultation to include a discussion of a breast lift, but afterward I decided for financial reasons to break up the two procedures. I will definitely be going back to Dr. Epstein for a breast lift in the future. My stomach was my greatest concern and I was also very excited to get the vaser lipo on my flanks and the fat transfer. I also want to mention that at the time of my consultation I had lost fifty pounds. I wasn’t at my goal weight, but I was close to it. And I tried everything to get to my goal weight. I worked out with a trainer for over a year, ran races, I did a few different juice cleanses, no complex carb diet, vegan diet, restricted and counted calories. I had loose skin and pockets of fat that just didn’t want to leave my body. It was very frustrating and at times I was very discouraged that I was putting in a lot of work, but wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to. And let’s face it, even if I lost everything I wanted to, you can’t fix loose skin. After meeting with Dr. Epstein I was impressed with him and his Vaser 4D lipo-tummy tuck experience. Leaving the appointment I knew he would be my doctor and I never wanted to meet with any other surgeons or have a standard tummy tuck.
My surgery date was scheduled for June 28, 2016. I saw Dr. Epstein again prior to the surgery and he answered any remaining questions I had. I had a lot :-) He was very patient and answered everything. I never felt rushed. I also thought that I might need to include lipo on my back, but when Dr. Epstein looked he didn’t think that was necessary for me. He said he would try if I really wanted him to, but I listened to his advice and didn’t have him lipo my back. Now, at six weeks after my surgery I can see he was right!
The nurses and anesthesiologist prior to and on the day of my surgery were phenomenal. They are extremely kind, thorough, and competent. They immediately put you at ease and understand the importance of the surgery. They want you comfortable and safe. Dr. Epstein marked me up before surgery and it was a surreal experience because I couldn’t believe I was actually getting the surgery I bookmarked on my computer so long ago! As Dr. Epstein was doing the mark up I could tell he was really excited for me and what my outcome would be. I truly think that he is an artist. He can somehow look at your starting point and see what your final result will be even before he gets you into surgery.
After surgery, I was in the recovery room for a couple of hours. I think I was in surgery for five hours, possibly more. My husband was there to meet me in recovery and I planned to stay in a nearby hotel with Jennifer, one of Dr. Epstein’s nurses. Jennifer is an incredible nurse. She is kind, comforting, patient, empathetic, hard working, and thinks clearly and quickly even while staying up watching me all night! I told her I don’t know how she does what she does, but she does it so well and confidently. Similar to Dr. Epstein, you can tell she truly loves what she does. Any patient would be very lucky to be in her care.
I never felt any pain in my incision. Dr. Epstein uses Exparel during the surgery that lasts I believe 72 hours. The most soreness I felt was from the lipo and my lower back just from walking hunched over. But, the pain medication they prescribe really works well. I don’t remember how many days I took it now, but it was not long and at some point I switched over to extra strength Tylenol. I had one drain in and it stayed in for three weeks which is pretty long and that does not happen very often, but it can happen. Annoying, yes, but it was how my body was healing and I’d rather have a drain in longer than have had a seroma. Dr. Epstein also recommends lymphatic drainage massage with ultrasound therapy post surgery. I started them in the second week and I found it really beneficial. I also drink a ton of water and I started walking around my neighborhood at three weeks with Dr. Epstein’s approval. Nothing strenuous, but I also feel that has helped with my recovery. I need to move and get some endorphins flowing, so even if it’s all in my head about it helping I will take it! That first walk was not easy, but I continued nearly every day and I walk much farther and very easily now. At eight weeks I will ease into working out more.
The immediate post surgery and the first couple of weeks is challenging and you will need help in the beginning. And if you have small children you will need a full time care-taker for them. My husband took off work for two weeks and he was an enormous help! I would do all of this again in a heart beat. I always felt that the surgery and recovery is such a short period of time compared to what I would get out of it and how long I would enjoy my new body. I know that some women experience sadness or even regret after surgery and that is totally normal! But, I never did. Not one day went by that I felt sad or regretted my surgery. Partly, I think that is because of my positive attitude. But, I also think it’s because I could see my new body shape right away even with the swelling. I was blown away by what I saw right off the bat and as each week passes and the swelling goes down it gets better and better. Clothing that I wore directly after surgery is too big on my waist now. I am already more confident and I love my flat stomach, slim flanks, and especially my butt! I never had a nice shape in my butt even at my heaviest weight.
I highly recommend Dr. Epstein. He’s truly a rarity. Other plastic surgeons just aren’t skilled in the Vaser 4D lipo-tummy tuck. I’m forever grateful and thankful that he is so talented and experienced because the surgery has totally changed my life for the better.