Wednesday, August 10, 2016

a visit with a plastic surgeon

I posted a few weeks ago that I was going to visit a plastic surgeon to talk about excess skin removal. Well, I went last week and I'm here to give you the low-down.

Bob went with me so he could hear what the surgeon had to say about the procedure and recovery time. Since he's the one the burden falls to after surgery, that makes sense.

I started getting a little nervous as we walked into the waiting room. I was second-guessing myself as to whether this is something I really want to do and is necessary. Then when it came time to go into the examining room, I had a flight urge. But once the doctor came in, I was fine. 

When I walked into the examining room, I saw a cabinet, which had a bunch of saline breast implants on top, all lined up from smallest to largest. (Yes, I touched them! Although I waited until the doctor stepped out for a minute.) It was pretty much what I expected, as I had watched Botched the night before for the first time.

The doctor came in and asked me what I'd like done. I told her I has gastric bypass a couple years ago and would like to have the excess skin removed. She donned her gloves while I stripped. She then proceeded to poke, prod, and feel the excess skin on my abdomen to get a sense as to how soft and loose it is--that's how she can tell if there's still a lot of fat under the skin. She then recommended a panniculectomy and abdominoplasty. She explained that a panniculectomy would only remove the skin, not tighten it. I have a lot of loose skin under the breasts, which can only be tightened by abdominoplasty, so I would need both procedures done at once. There would be some liposuction also to remove any lingering fat in that area--the more loose skin she has to work with the better. It was weird to hear her say that my excess skin would be "in a bucket." But that's what they do. It's waste. The upper portion would be lipo-ed and pulled down like a shade and the belly button would be relocated (that freaks me out!). I would have two drains for about two weeks in order to drain the excess fluid. I would be totally out of work for about two weeks. Then it would depend on how I feel. She then took a bunch of pictures to include in the insurance file. For one of them I had to hold my abdominal skin up so she could see underneath it. She answered my questions and was very nice and informative. Overall, I'd say the exam went well. It was a bit embarrassing, though. I know Bob has seen my body a million times, but it's totally different when it's in a clinical setting.

The next step is to see if the insurance will approve it, which will take about a month. If it's approved, I then have six months to have it done. I'm thinking January/February. The doctor said that they've been having good luck with insurance approvals lately, so we're hoping for the best. It's possible that the panniculectomy will be approved, since it's medically necessary, but not the abdominoplasty, which is cosmetic. If nothing is approved then I will need to put it on hold and save the money. 

I've decided I want to do this and I feel it's necessary. I've had some rashes under the excess skin, it's sometimes uncomfortable to sleep since I'm a side-sleeper, and it limits my range of motion when working out. Some exercises I can't even do yet and others are difficult. Also, it's a real pain shopping for pants. 

Wish me luck!


  1. I will hope it does get approved. :) I've seen a lot of people have this surgery on the teevee, the results are usually excellent.

    1. Thanks! It's scary to think about the pain afterwards, but I feel like I need to do it.

  2. Thanks for the update! It is something i am thinking about long term too. I am down 50lbs by the way! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

    Did the doctor say anything about scarring? That is one thing i am most concerned about but you didn't mention it so maybe my fear shouldn't be that big...

    1. Congrats on your weight loss! That's amazing!! And thank you. :)

      We actually didn't talk about scarring. There were a few things I didn't think to ask, and that's one of them. The incision will be at the pubic line, which would be covered by a bikini bottom (not that I plan to wear one! LOL). I've seen the scar on the former PA at my bariatric surgeon's office (I asked to see it) and it was barely noticeable. Had she not pointed it out, I wouldn't have seen it. I imagine it won't be a horrible scar, but it will be red line across the public area for awhile. I'd rather have the scar than the extra skin.

    2. That's what i was thinking too. I'd much rather have a scar than all the excess skin. My big concern with me is my arms - i have a feeling i will need something done on all the skin on my arms and i was worried how that scar would look. Thanks for your thoughts! I'll have to do some digging of my own too.