12 Months ago yesterday I had my plastic surgery. I had a Radical Tummy Tuck, Mons Lift, Breast Reduction, Breast Lift and Fat Transfer to give me boobies. 12 months on I feel very differently about the whole process to how I did at the start. I want to make a few points that I really believe are vitally important for people to know and understand if you have lost a massive amount of weight and then go down the road of plastic surgery.
- Size does matter – this is a really strange concept to me. I hate comparisons and I actively advocate NEVER comparing your journey with someone else’s. BUT, where skin surgery is concerned if you are going to look at someone else’s results and covet them for your own – you better be comparing the same kind of starting point and the same end point prior to surgery or disappointment may follow! The results of someone that had 40 kilos of excess weight to lose and the results of someone that had 80 or 90 or 100 kilos of excess weight to lose are not the same thing and they are going to be vastly different! Everyones weight loss is amazing, awesome and incredible – that is a fact – And I don’t believe that anyone is better etc based upon the amount of weight that they have to lose – however these things DO impact results when we are talking about plastic surgery.
- When it comes to skin surgery SOOOOOOooooooo many things impact the final results. The results of someone that has had multiple pregnancies but never been overweight is going to have a different result to someone that has been overweight with multiple pregnancies and the higher the starting weight, the more the skin has been stretched and the lower the finishing weight the more noticeable the sag. The length of time that the skin has been stretched also has an impact on the final results too. I knew all of this BEFORE I had my surgery. In my head I understood that stretched skin from being super morbidly obese for nearly 20 years AND having had our 5 kids was going to have an impact upon the way that my skin would respond after surgery. But I didn’t really understand this. I thought I did – but I didn’t. You think because you are paying out serious dollars to have this surgery, that you are going to look pretty fricken amazing by the end of it. The reality of that, for me, did not materialise! I did not look how I wanted to look or how so many other people look. People have told me that I should blame my surgeon for that. He told me to expect revision – I guess I assumed that would happen if things went wrong – not that was going to happen because of the state of my skin. That was probably a breakdown in communication.
- Communicate your desires clearly to your surgeon. Ask a lot of questions and write down the answers. Ask where your incisions will be. Ask that it be explained to you thoroughly. Ask what kind of things can go wrong. Ask what you can expect from them in a worst case situation. Ask how wound break downs are treated. Ask how many times you will see them post operatively. Ask what kind of compression garments they recommend and how long you have to wear them for. Ask what kind of dressings they use and ask to test the dressing out to make sure that you don’t have reactions to it PRIOR to your surgery. I wore my dressings for a week before my surgery to make sure that my fussy skin was going to be okay with them.
- MAKE SURE you are healthy going in to your skin removal surgery. Make sure that your most trusted health care provider (for me that is my GP) says that it is a good idea to have the skin surgery. Don’t do it if you have even slightly dodgy blood test results. Be as healthy as possible for the best possible healing and outcomes afterwards.
- Collagen. I had a LOT of collagen protein in the lead up to my surgery and in the healing phase. It is the one thing that I can say that I did differently to the 26 surgeries that I have had in my lifetime before my skin surgery and it was the ONLY TIME I did not get a wound infection. My incision was gigantic and I was very concerned about that particular aspect of things. I healed beautifully – and when I consider all of the complications that I had post operatively, the healing beautifully thing meant the world to me. The only issue was that I did spit a stitch a few weeks later but again it was fine and healed up well. The brand of Collagen Protein that I use is called Tasteless by Feel Good and it has been fantastic for me.
- Expect revisions and expect that it is going to take time. Also expect that it is going to cost a lot of money. There are all kinds of ways to have skin surgery. Some weight loss surgeons in Australia do offer skin removal (usually just tummy tucks) to their patients and they are often done as a revision surgery so there is very little out of pocket cost. Some general surgeons do skin removal then cosmetic and then plastic surgeons. There is also a program called The Access Program and if you have private health insurance then this may provide a lower cost alternative if you are willing to travel to Sydney. https://accessprogram.org.au
- How much does it cost? Tash can I just ask you, Tash would you mind telling me, Tash is it too much to ask to know – I totally understand when I get those inboxes and direct messages but the answer to those questions is that I don’t talk about the cost of my surgery. Honestly, the best thing to do is to pick your surgeon and go and have a consultation with them. The initial consultations vary a lot too – anything from $200 – 450 dollars BUT if you want to know how much your personal case would cost with a particular surgeon then it is the best way to go. My general rule of thumb is as follows – for persons with private health insurance the GAP that you would be expected to pay for a low cost tummy tuck would be 1-7k, medium cost 7-11k and high cost 12k and over. That is WITH private health insurance covering the hospital and theatre costs and a small amount to the doctors involved. My theatre costs were astronomical and thankfully covered by my private health insurance because my surgery met the criteria to be considered medically necessary – because I had to be taken back to theatre in the middle of the night so that I wouldn’t bleed to death, my original gas doctor was not available so they had to call someone else in and I ended up paying a second Gap cost for that doctor.
In saying all of those things, I am glad that I did have the tummy tuck. I wish that it had been a better result and I wish that I was not having to have another revision surgery in the future but “wish in one hand, spit in the other” as my Nan used to say. I wanted to include some pictures so that you can see how my skin is now. It is confronting and it is why I need more removed but hey thats life. I lived, I get to enjoy my life with my family and that makes it all worthwhile.
Love Tash x