Lost 130lbs: My Experience With a Breast Lift + Augmentation, Liposuction and a Tummy Tuck
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
After losing approximately 130lbs, I was left with a lot of loose skin in my abdomen and breasts that I was very self-conscious about. It was difficult to find clothing that fit me properly, I developed rashes periodically, and the loose skin made completing high intensity workouts painful. Loosing 130lbs is a major accomplishment, however I was never able to celebrate my victory because I was still very ashamed of my body. My primary doctor had informed me that they believed that I would have a strong case to present to my insurance company to get a tummy tuck covered, therefore I began researching skin removal surgery, as well as breast augmentations, online.
After several months of research, I contacted six different plastic surgeons in the Charleston area to inquire about scheduling a consultation. Three of the offices that I contacted informed me that they would not be willing to bill my insurance company (Cigna) for the procedure. Of the three doctors that I ultimately met with, Dr. Schimpf with Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery, was the surgeon that I felt the most confident moving forward with. His scheduler could get me in for an appointment the same day that I called, and advised that they would be happy to help me file for coverage with my office. Dr. Schimpf is a very warm and empathetic surgeon, but I was most impressed with his reputation and experience with working with patients who had underwent massive weight loss such as myself. During my first consultation, I explained to Dr. Schimpf that I felt slightly overwhelmed by the process, because unlike walking on a car lot and picking out the exact features that I wanted in a vehicle, I was going to undergo surgery, as well as make a large financial investment in a procedure where I did not know exactly what I was going to end up with. Dr. Schimpf did an excellent job of walking me through all aspects of the tummy tuck, as well as the breast lift with implants, to help manage my expectations as well as ease my fears that I had at the moment. In addition to these two procedures, I also elected to pay for lipo suction of the hips to improve the contour of my waist post-op.
The staff could obtain an approval from my insurance company to have my tummy tuck paid in full, in under four weeks. Typically, the procedures that I was having performed would be done in Dr. Schimpf's outpatient facility in Summerville, SC, however, since insurance was covering my tummy tuck, my procedure was going to be performed at East Cooper Medical Center in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Since insurance was paying for my tummy tuck, I was financially responsible for the lipo, breast lift, and implants. With the anesthesiologist fees as well as the surgical room costs, my total portion was approximately $7,900.
My surgery was scheduled three weeks after we received my approval from my insurance company, and during this time, I had my pre-op appointment scheduled with Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery. During this appointment, I made my final implant size selection. This was something that I struggled with. I had severe asymmetry in my breasts prior to surgery, therefore I found it visually confusing to try on implants to determine what size I wanted to be. I found it hard to focus on the size and not the shape, therefore I asked for help in selecting the right size and advised that I wanted to make sure that my breast augmentation would not cause me back pain or limit my ability to workout in the future. Ultimately, we settled on a 500cc implant on my right side and a 350cc implant on my left side. Having gone through the surgery, I realize that I could have done a better job guiding the discussion on desired size so that my surgeon would be able to have a more accurate picture of what my goals and needs were, rather than providing him with the limited information that I was worried about going too big. I would suggest to anyone who is getting implants, that they make a list of what their post-op goals are in terms of appearance, and use these as discussion topics during your appointment.
Despite the emotional roller coaster that I was on prior to surgery, the surgery itself went great! I was in minimal pain when I woke up in the hospital, and Dr. Schimpf, and the nurses at the hospital made sure that I remained very comfortable. I had packed an extension cord to plug my cell phone into, a sleep mask, a hairbrush, my own pillow, and a change of clothes in my hospital bag. I found these items useful, especially the pillow, which I used to brace my stomach with during the drive home. I remained in the hospital overnight and was released the following morning. The hospital sent me home with several extra bandages as well as one velcro abdominal binder. I have a very short waist; therefore, I did not find that the abdominal binder was a good fit for me. After returning home, I purchased a stage one and a stage two post-surgical body suit online, and found that the body suit was much more comfortable, and reduced my swelling more than the abdominal binder did.
Considering the procedures that I had done, my recovery was easy. My pain was well managed, and with the exception of soreness in my back from being hunched over post-op, I experienced very little pain. I took my first shower two days’ post-op and slept in a recliner for the first five days post-op. I was even able to help with most things around the house after the first week if I was not lifting more than 10lbs at a time. I did make arrangements for my 45lb dog to stay with a sitter for the first six weeks’ post-op because I was going to be unable to walk her. At two weeks’ post-op, I began logging into my email to do a little work from home, but because my energy level was so low, I did not return to work until I was 3 weeks post-op.
The third week post-op was probably the most difficult week for me. It's common to become very emotional after surgery, and week three was it for me. I found myself crying a lot, which has happened to me following other surgeries in the past. Also, I was experiencing a lot of swelling since I had returned to work, and the swelling caused my body to start spitting a lot of stitches. I found this to be uncomfortable because there were places on my body, like the creases of my breasts, that I was unable to cut the stick out myself, and the area would grow irritated. If a stich or staple became particularly bothersome, I was able to call Dr. Schimpf's office, and his staff would get me in immediately to help me remove the stitch or staple. As soon as it was removed, I would experience immediate relief in the area, so I was very thankful that his office would get me in so quickly.
I am not 3 months’ post-op plastics. My body looks 100% better than it did before surgery. I have so much more confidence than I have ever had, and this change positively effects every aspect of my life from my career to the monogamous relationship that I am in. My tummy tuck scar is completely hidden by my underwear and binki bottoms, but even if it wasn't, it wouldn't bother me. Dr. Schimpf makes the cleanest and smallest incision lines that I have ever seen. My boyfriend and family have often commented that they can barely even see it, and it will continue to get lighter over time. My stomach is flatter than I could have imagined and I'm able to wear clothes, like lower cut tops and two-piece bathing suits, that I would have never dared wear before. My hips and breasts may require a little bit of revision work once we see where everything settles, but I still couldn't be more thankful for the results that I have already achieved. I will be looking at a possible thigh lift and lipo suction on my back with Dr. Schimpf in the next year, but in the meantime, I am enjoying my new body and new found confidence that the staff at Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery helped me to achieve. This is one of the best decisions that I have ever made, and my only regret is that I did not do it sooner!
Additional Information About Me:
Location: Charleston, SC
Doctor: Dr. Schimpf of Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery
Doctor's Location: 900 Island Park Dr Suite 104, Charleston, SC, 29492
Surgery Date: April 5, 2017
See all of my videos below for more information about my procedures!
Tummy tuck / mommy makeover abdominal compression binder from Isavella review:
3 months’ post-op tummy tuck, lipo, & implants - revision surgery in the future:
3 days post-op tummy tuck and breast augmentation after WLS:
2 days after tummy tuck and breast augmentation:
Day before tummy tuck and plastic surgery – post WLS: