My Tummy Tuck Story -Before, During and After Surgery With Dr. Tarick Smiley
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
At my heaviest, I was 185 pounds. I started getting very heavy into fitness and changed my eating habits. At my lightest, I dropped down to 140 pounds. Then it happened...I was about to give birth to my little baby boy and my weight shot up to 200 pounds during my pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I remember thinking to myself 'I'm going to want a tummy tuck when this is over.' I knew my belly was getting stretched out a lot.
After delivering my child, I began exercising again and was able to lost 35 pounds. Looking in the mirror, I still was not satisfied with my baby pooch and the way I looked. I start researching tummy tuck surgery online (again) and became very excited knowing my problem could be fixed. I had been saving money in anticipation of having plastic surgery, so I wasn't concerned with the cost. I just wanted to find the best surgeon, who could help me eliminate the loose skin I had.
During my research, I stumbled upon Dr. Tarick Smiley, who I later learned is a very well respected board certified plastic surgeon. I found him on Instagram, looked at all of his before and after pictures, read reviews posted by his tummy tuck patients and eventually convinced myself he was the plastic surgeon for me.
I sent an email to his office requesting a consultation. I was told the consultation cost $200 and it would be deducted from the overall cost of my surgery. I scheduled the consultation but received a call a week later asking if I wanted to have a virtual consultation instead. I agreed to it.
The consultation consisted of me sending over my before pictures. I sent over my front and side views. I received an email back stating that I needed liposuction and a tummy tuck for the best results. The tummy tuck alone was $8,900 and liposuction was an additional $2,000. My pre-op appointment was scheduled and I put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve my surgery date. I did not have to pay the $200 consultation fee because I ended up booking my surgery through the virtual consultation.
Before I could have surgery, I needed to have a pre-surgery appointment. At the appointment, they took blood work, asked about my medical history (conditions, medications I was on and more) and explained what would happen before, during and after surgery. Then Dr. Smiley came in and looked at my body. It was then that he stated I should get liposuction done in my bra strap area and lower back. I agreed, because I did have some back fat and didn't want the rolls caused by it. After he left, a nurse came back and had me sign lots of paperwork and answered some additional questions I had. She also advised me that I needed to pay for my second compression garment. The garment was $200. I would wear my first compression garment provided by the surgeon for free during the first week and the second garment would need to be worn for 6 weeks after that. The total cost of my surgery was $13,100.
I was scheduled to have my surgery one week after my pre-op appointment. They called me the night before my surgery to tell me the arrival time. I had to arrive at the surgery facility on Friday, September 8th at 8am. They reminded me that I needed to shave my pubic area, pull my hair up, not to eat or drink anything 8 hours before surgery, shower and wash my hair without putting on lotions, hair products or perfume. They also reminded me that I needed to have someone drop me off and pick me up.
The morning of surgery, my cousin picked me up and dropped me off at the place of surgery, which is in Upland, CA. The general anesthesia doctor spoke with me when I arrived and asked me a few questions. Then the nurse took before pictures and they took me to the operating room where I was quickly put to sleep. When I woke up, I was still a bit high from the anesthesia. I had to wait until it wore off before I was allowed to leave the surgical facility.
My first follow-up appointment was the next day. They wanted to check to ensure I didn't have a seroma or any other abnormalities that could delay the healing process .
My tummy tuck recovery was a bit of a roller coaster. The first week post-op my back hurt so bad I could not get comfortable. I had to sleep with two pillows under my head and two under my legs. I could not shower or remove my compression garment. I could barely move around the house. I walked with a hunch because I couldn't stand up straight. I had to walk around with two drains that collected excess blood mixed with some fat. I had to empty my drains every 8 hours or when they were filled 3/4 of the way. I had no appetite the first week ,so I ate very light. Much of this had to do with the prescription painkillers I was given, which suppressed my appetite.
The second week I could shower for the first time and I was now wearing garment # 2, which was far worse than garment # 1. This garment was super tight and I felt like I couldn't take a deep breath with it on. It took me about 5 mins to put it on and the same amount of time to remove it. By the second week, my appetite was back. I even began walking a little bit, hoping it would help me heal more quickly.
Week 3, I was still feeling the effects of having liposuction. My belly button began to leak fluid from a small seroma. I went to have it checked out to make sure I didn't have an infection. I am now ending my third week recovery. The nurse doesn't believe I have an infection but I was put on antibiotics as a precaution. The belly button is the slowest to heal, so I am monitoring it daily and keeping it covered with a pantyliner for leakage.
I will update my experience as my recovery progresses.