Breast Lift (No Implants) and Tummy Tuck, 55

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*Treatment results may vary

I've been curvy since high school with full C cups...

I've been curvy since high school with full C cups and soft tummy. After pregnancy, my breasts swelled to DD and my tummy was covered with stretch marks. I finally decided to make the leap and get the mommy makeover. After 4 months of researching Drs., interviewing highly recommended (and expensive) Drs in Scottsdale, Puerto Vallarta and Tijuana, we accidentally came upon the office of Dr Ricardo Vega in the Grand Hotel in Tijuana. Dr Vega is professional, caring and really listens. He and his staff are English speaking which put my mind at ease since my Spanish is minimal. We had our first consultation about 2 months before which gave us lots of time to do extensive research on the Dr online before committing. We drove from Phoenix Saturday with the expectation of staying in the hotel the full two weeks to recover. The 11th floor is all medical...including medical beds, a refrigerator, microwave in the common area and a friendly staff on duty 24/7. On Monday we met for the final consultation and blood tests. Dr Vega was very thorough and spent considerable time marking, asking me questions, standing back and checking...I felt like I was in the hands of a caring and professional artist. The next day was the surgery. We came down from our room and met the driver at Dr. Vega's office to be transported to the hospital. Of the entire procedure, prepping for surgery was the most uncomfortable. The room was a bit chilly and the nurses basically had me stand on a pad naked as they swabbed me down with antiseptic. Then I climbed onto the operating table, curled up and was asleep in a snap. When I woke up, I was in the recovery room and my husband says my first remark was that I felt no pain! The first day was pretty smooth and I was transported back to the hotel and settled into my hospital bed with a lovely view of the golf course. That second night was the hardest. While laying in bed I felt fine, just the annoying pressure from the compression garments, but getting in/out of bed to use the restroom was very slow and very painful. I also found that the medications gave me an acid stomach so crackers and bananas were a blessing. I am on day 4 now and each day has been better. I can't stand straight yet but I can maneuver in/out of the bed more easily and I've seen the Dr/nurses every day since the office is just a few floors away. The nurses even came up yesterday to help me shower and change bandages. I can't express enough how wonderful the service is. Not only from the medical staff, but the hotel as well. There are restaurants all around and the room service makes the stay very comfortable at a reasonable rate.
So to date, it has gone beautifully. I'm amazed every time I look down at what a spectacular job the Dr did. I asked for higher, rounder breasts and they are perfect. It's hard to tell much about the belly button and tummy tuck but from what I see so far, I'm more than happy. My husband keeps laughing because I can't stop gawking at the beautiful work by Dr. Vega. For the quality, the cost and the extraordinary service, I would highly recommend Dr. Vega and his staff. He and his staff are hidden gems.

Day 11 post mommy makeover

We are still at the Grand Hotel, having booked the full two weeks rather than travel. I highly recommend it...the price is best if you book directly and Dr. Vega's office is on the second floor which makes it incredibly convenient. His staff is amazing, I see them almost daily either for a check up, a massage or just stopping by to say hello. I had surgery 3 months ago at Mayo clinic in Scottsdale and I only met the Dr once! What a difference in service. Dr. Vega and his staff almost feel like family. They have gone above the norm, loaning me a wheelchair for a week, sending the nurses up to my room to help me shower (and even braiding my hair), and being available to answer questions when I drop by. It has been an unexpectedly wonderful experience.
About the healing process, the first few nights were difficult. I did need to ask for additional painkillers just to help sleeping. It wasn't so much that the pain was intolerable as it was that it's just hard to sleep with the aching. Most of the pain of course was in the tummy tuck. It was slow getting in/out of bed (thank goodness we have the hospital beds that raise/lower automatically). The stitches and skin are tight so I'm still walking bent over which is also tiring on my lower back. The massages and a gel called Voltaren Emulgel which is an analgesic have helped. My breasts feel fine except that one gets a bit of an ache now and then which Dr. Vega says is a result of stitches to the muscle tissue. We tried ice packs but they didn't stay cold long enough...what did work was cold soda cans. Maybe because it's metal but it stayed cold longer and we always had plenty in the fridge in our room. I propped the can on the blanket under my breast and it worked, lol.
So here are some of the things that worked really well, and some that didn't.
- we went on a juicing diet about 3 weeks before the surgery. It wasn't planned, we just happened to dig out the juicer one day and decided we might as well. This proved to be a real blessing in two ways: first, we were healthier than usual before the surgery which I think has made recovery much easier and second, it was a cleanse. Between new foods, antibiotics and painkillers, getting...well..."stopped up" was not only uncomfortable, it was painful.
- to save some additional money, we brought a lot of our own food, canned and boxes mostly. The things that worked: vegetable soups, applesauce, crackers (especially nice to have bedside when you take the medications), tea (decaf), prunes,, apples protein shakes (I got mine at Red Mountain because I can mix with water not milk), tuna, and PB&Js. What didn't work: anything carbonated, or dairy or beans. Obviously anything that will make you bloated or acid stomach. Even yogurt the first few days turned out to be too much dairy.
- Netflix. We watched a few sports but watching Netflix movies in English was a lifesaver. It's a great excuse to binge-watch on your iPad. The hotel wifi was great.
- golf clubs. Not for me, but it was one of the selling points for this hotel. There is a private golf course next door so I could send hubby out for a couple hours and nap. He feels better and so do I. The only other local entertainment we found was a soccer stadium, casinos, dog racing and shopping. The beaches are not visible from here and the Dr doesn't want you out and about anyway so it's limited. Plan to be a bored.
- a wrap around skirt and button-down shirts. Not as many as I thought I would need.
- Paper towels, microwaveable bowls and kitchen utensils...for restaurant leftovers.
More about the location...The 11th floor of the Grand Hotel is all medical rooms so it makes it such a comfortable experience. We have met many foreigners here for bypass and other surgeries who have been very happy with the service. There is a receptionist on our floor 24/7 so you don't have to go to the lobby in a bathrobe ever. The hotel food isn't that great but the restaurants nearby are excellent. There's a Walmart and smart and final close as well for general supplies.
Hope this helps with your considerations. I definitely think it was the right choice for me.

Day One post surgery

3 weeks post surgery

Happy with the results but recovery feels like it's taking forever. Cheering myself up looking through swimsuit magazines, lol.
Update on the medications:
Done with Avelox (antibiotic) and Clexane (anti blood clotting). The Voltaren (anti inflammatory and analgesic gel) was helpful for the bruising from the liposuction. I am still taking Danzen (inflammation and ant blood clotting) for two more days. I did request to switch from Mavidol (pain killer) to Ibuprofen which is easier on my stomach. The one over the counter I am still on but not sure about is Wobenzym tablets. I googled the ingredients but they all seem to be enzymes for improved digestion. Waiting to hear if I really need this for 40 days.
So a few of the "winners": ibuprofen worked better for me for pain. The Voltaren gel really helped on the various bruises. The big winner was Bio helps with the scars and scabs and just feels wonderful having hubby give me a massage twice a day (Drs orders :). It is also good as an anti aging oil in general. It was expensive at Walmart (2oz/$10) but we found deals on Amazon (10oz/$20). I will probably continue using that after the healing.
Update on the healing: still sore and twinges here and there as the stitches tug a bit. Tummy feels really tight and it's a bit scary as I worry it won't relax...but I hear that is normal. I found that putting the silicon bandages on a few spots with scabs or stitches helped to prevent painful snags on gauze or clothing. I can lay flat now and started very limited stretches in bed which is what the Dr suggested. Walking quite a bit, using my fit bit to try to increase a bit every day. It's not difficult now that I can stand straighter but standing for a period still makes my back ache. Some bruising remains on one breast and a bit of swelling but no pain. wearing the compression bra is still a must because a regular bra would rub the scars under the breasts and bare is still painful.
Making plans to shop for swimsuits in a few months.

3 weeks post surgery image

Putting bio oil on twice a day and the scabs are coming off. The scarring looks redder in the photo especially with the oil. It's a bit jarring to see all the scars but they are healing nicely. Some swelling has gone away and the numbness in most areas except the belly. Had about a day and a half with some pain in the crease between my upper thigh and hip...made it difficult to sit. I think it was a sensitivity from some stitches so after an overnight cold pack and dermoplast (which has a numbing agent also), it's been significantly better.

3 months post op

It's difficult to remember what it was like pre-op! I'm disappointed that my hips have not smoothed out yet and the scars could've been better if I hadn't had quite so much splitting. I can sleep on my sides now and for the most part I am starting to feel normal. My stomach is still taught but it's not so uncomfortable. Those complaints aside, I'm so happy with the results. Everything I try on fits better and feels better. It was a really good call to get the surgery in the fall, clothes did a good job of hiding the padding and I didn't have to worry about overheating. I sleep well and it's just way more fun getting dressed in the morning. I'm still very happy that I did it...even with the scars (which only my husband is going to see anyway...and the gobs of viewers here I guess) but it is worth it.
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Ricardo Vega is professional, kind and knowledgable. One of the things that impressed me most is that he stays current on his skills, regularly attending conferences. We asked him about a new procedure and he knew exactly what we were talking about and was able to address our questions comprehensively. He is sharp and sincere. His staff is wonderful, especially Carmen who also spoke excellent English, putting communication concerns to rest. I was very fortunate to have found such a wonderful 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
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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