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Just like happiness… beauty radiates from within.
If you don’t love yourself, no amount of plastic surgery on the outside can make you feel better on the inside.
I know a lot of people who blamed the woes of their life on being obese. They believed that everything that did not go their way was due to their size. Once they have had a bariatric procedure and were rapidly losing weight they begin to focus on their empty skin.
For some it borders on obsession! ‘Wow, Stephanie you look fantastic – you have lost so much weight!’
‘Oh yeah, but look at all this skin that hangs from my arms!’
PLEASE PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN!
There is NEVER a reason to hold up, then flap your arms, suddenly stopping so the hanging curtain of skin continues to swing back and forth. That is an extremely unattractive look and unless you are being attacked by a swarm of angry wasps, no one needs to see that you can do that. Can we agree on that? If you keep your arms down, no one really notices your ‘Batwings’.
Please don’t try to find something to hate about your physical appearance. In fact, while you are losing weight, try hard to find something new to LOVE – like emerging collarbones, or fewer chins or HIPBONES or a dimple where your thigh meets your butt on the side. It is much more productive with a happier outcome!
Care for a Spanx?
Many of us would benefit from reconstruction, or a cosmetic procedure or two, but will not have opportunity. Let me share that there are fantastic body shapers out there and wonderful ways to smooth the bumps and bulges. So this discussion is in no way meant to make anyone feel sad about their appearance. It is what it is and it’s part of what makes you special. There are no perfect people in this world… and you are one of them!
Smooth as cottage cheese
Please be happy, love yourself, and treat yourself with kindness in life with or without plastic surgery. Very few people look as if they are on the cover of a magazine. Real people have bumps and bulges and squish coming out of the top of their jeans. In fact, the people on the magazine cover don’t look like their magazine covers. I promise you that Kim Kardashian does not have a smooth butt!
More Wattle than a Thanksgiving turkey!
After bariatric surgery many of us are left with fairly large flaps of loose skin. Skin that compromises our movement. Breasts that have completely deflated. Stomach flaps called panni’s that smack against the thighs.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to budget for plastic surgery, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. When you take the happiness one gets from a reconstruction and divides it over 25 years, rarely does one get to use the tax return on something with such long lasting results. A trip to Myrtle Beach lasts a week, a new car is worth nothing in ten years but lovely new breasts, or an arm or body lift can give you a satisfaction that you enjoy for the rest of your life.
A great tailor!
The following images are courtesy of my friend and favorite ‘bariatric’ plastic surgeon Dr. Shuster, down in Hollywood Florida. He happens to do the nicest bariatric specialty procedures that I have ever seen. Over the years, I have seen the end result of thousands of post ops who have had plastic surgery and Dr. Shuster is Magic! I would fly to him from anywhere.
Best Bariatric Batwing Removal & Body Lifts!
Bernard Shuster, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Shuster Plastic Surgery
4001 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, FL, 33021 USA
You are worth it.
Once we are 18 months post op and our weight loss has stabilized, we are ready to consider reconstructive surgery. Wait until you stop losing so you obtain the best result.
After losing 143 pounds, I had a stomach flap that I didn’t like. I wore body shapers and tucked everything in the front of my pants. My hanging skin didn’t compromise my life, nor was it life threatening, but I didnt like it. I dragged my feet because of cost, but my husband encouraged me to have my extended abdominoplasty – meaning my incision extends past each of my hipbones by about 6 inches around my torso so it’s a long tummy tuck.
I found a fantastic plastic surgeon who was very proud of his tiny invisible stitches and I do not have any scar. You absolutely cannot tell where I have been cut. It was the best money I have ever invested in myself other than my gastric bypass surgery. I had my extended abdominoplasty eighteen months after my bariatric surgery. My abdominoplasty goes around my flanks past my hipbones to take in some of my side skin. I researched, chose my surgeon carefully, and was fortunate that his skilled hand produced as near perfect result as anyone could hope for.
When it goes wrong
My best friend thought she chose wisely as well, but her extended abdominoplasty performed by a different surgeon three days after mine went horribly wrong – she quickly developed tissue death called necrosis. Within 72 hours, the area from her belly button down to her pubic bone turned from red, to brown to black and opened up a gaping wound so deep you could see the yellow fat and her stomach muscles at the bottom of the hole. Turns out that her surgeon was too aggressive, took too much skin, left her open for too long, pulled her too tight and this caused tissue death. He was not used to dealing with bariatric patients. It took an exhausting battle with her insurance company for coverage to repair the damage, a search for a surgeon competent and bold enough to fix another surgeons mess, two surgeries and two years to heal. She still deals with the emotional scars. If you have ever watched ‘Botched’ on E!, you know what I am talking about.
Plastic surgeons don’t use wire
A few years later another friend allowed a retired general surgeon to perform multiple procedures for a deeply discounted rate. I have never seen such horrible scars – all resulting from what should have been cosmetically pleasing procedures. The surgeon actually used twisted pieces of wire to close her extensive wounds. It sickens me to know that this vulnerable and trusting woman put her faith in this doctor to be physically and emotionally damaged beyond repair. This woman cannot hold out her arms to drive a car because of the thick ropes of scars under her arms and has gynecological implications with similar pulled rope scars on her thighs.
Board Certified in WHAT?
Once you have made the decision to do it, make sure you do it right. There are doctors doing plastic surgery that are out of their specialty – meaning they are not formally trained in the extensive specialty of plastic surgery. They didn’t go to school to become a plastic surgeon. FIND A BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON, period. No exceptions. Doctors are often specialized in a named specialty, but the key is to find one who is board certified in plastic surgery.
Dentists and day spas? No way
Any doctor who takes a plastic surgery course can begin to take patients and perform cosmetic procedures. My dentist does botox injections. While I love him as a dentist and I am very certain he knows all about the structures of the face, there is an aesthetic touch that he is NOT trained for.
Don’t allow your nail person or spa person to inject anything into your face. While that sounds like a no brainer, there are folks having procedures with people who are not even medical professionals. IT. IS. YOUR. FACE. What if they mess it up or you get an infection.
Eye Doctors for EYES, Accountants for TAXES
Bariatric post ops present very serious challenges and it is very important that if you are going to have reconstruction, that you choose someone who has dealt with what you bring to the table. Even regular doctors have specialties; meaning they know the parts they specialize in. You don’t let a gynecologist operate on your thyroid, do you? Ditto for plastic surgery. Find a guy who specializes in what you need.
I have seen many people for whom plastic surgery should have been a happy event and instead it turned horribly wrong because they didn’t know how to tell the right doc for the job.
You are the customer
Go to several plastic surgeons. Don’t be intimidated because they are doctors. YOU are interviewing THEM to see if you would like to hire them. Have a short list of body issues that bother you. Present them in order of what bothers you most and see what the surgeon has to say about correction and how he would handle it.
Ask where the scar will be, how long the scar will be and ask how many of this procedure he has gone in the past 6 months on bariatric patients. I do not want to have someone reconstruct my arms when he has NOT done a single procedure of this sort in the past 6 months or even 12 months. Ask directly and don’t be shy.
Show me the photos
If a surgeon has done 5 of the procedure you ask about, he will be proud to tell you. IF the surgeon hems and avoids answering, there is a problem and it’s good that you are finding this out NOW.
If the surgeon has done what you consider a reasonable amount, ask to see HIS patient photos of the procedures. If a doctor does not have photos or will not show you… this is not the doc for you. Leave.
I have folks say that photos don’t matter as they will only show you the good ones… no kidding! I want to see what the surgeon is capable of and if he can turn out results that I think look good, that is what I am looking for. If his best results are not what I think are worth having surgery for – I have learned valuable information!
What’s wrong with H’s?
You and the surgeon need to share the same idea of what great breasts look like. If the surgeon loves big ole stripper boobs and you don’t see pictures of his work beforehand, guess what you are going to wake up with? Yep, where is the pole!
Your cousin may have chosen a true Picasso when she got her nose done. Well, maybe not Picasso, if her nose is still in the center of her face. If she has a beautiful nose, he may be the right person for your rhinoplasty but not your body lift!
Attention Wal Mart Shoppers!
Also, in regards to insurance. Plastic surgery is one of those things where you get what you pay for. You don’t want to shop for the cheapest as the results last for the rest of your life and the $1000 you save means nothing when you take into account what you are risking. While the most expensive plastic surgery is not necessarily the best, the cheapest may not be the worst. It’s not a way to make an important decision – you will live with the results forever.
What can I get for $500?
You may be able to negotiate a great cash price on the procedures you would like, but you are going to find that the best surgeons who have earned their reputations are not going to accept an insurance payment. They don’t have to. This is business… and those who are most talented can demand a higher price.
After all our hard work, we deserve a beautiful result! I am very particular in regards to making any of my personal medical choices. I know that practice makes perfect and that unless I am in an emergency situation, it only takes a little time and effort to find out which doctor or surgeon is best suited for my medical need.
Remember that you are in charge. You do not have to settle for substandard care and you always have choices and options.