I knew when I had weight loss surgery that if I manged to lose a good amount of weight that I would need to have plastic surgery to deal with my loose skin. As someone with an apple shaped body who has been obese since I was a small child, there was no possibility the skin would go back into place. I have had the 'apron' stomach since I was in my teens and the only way to fix that is with surgery. No amount of exercise or moisturising would ever help!
I have now lost 50 kilos (110 lbs) and kept it off for over a year but the loose skin and apron stomach have a big impact on my confidence. I am so happy to have lost the weight and would take the loose skin over obesity any day of the week, but it does make life very difficult. It is very painful on my lower back to carry such an excess amount of skin on my stomach. Not to mention that shopping and exercise are not pleasant and being mistaken for being pregnant constantly isn't much fun either.
I have whinged and moaned about wanting abdominoplasty for the last couple of years, but have dismissed the idea because of the cost. I have found it hard to find much information on the surgery here in Australia, but I have heard people say it has cost anywhere from $5000 - $25,000. I can't seem to get any clear information and it seems depend on the state you live in and who you select as your surgeon. I have decided it is finally time to investigate this for myself and find out if it is in any way affordable and if I am even a good candidate for surgery.
Ideally I would love to have abdominioplasty, a breast lift, inner thigh lift and an arm lift, but I would be happy to just get abdomnioplasty if that is all I can afford-- which is the most likely outcome! Maybe one day when my finances are a little healthier I can go back and get my arms, thighs and boobs done.
So I am seeing a surgeon for a consult next week and then another two at the end of the month. This is going to cost me approximately $180 per consult (getting $75 back from medicare), so I am already stressed about the cost! I have put together a list of questions to ask, what do you think? Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any experience or advice to share? Feel free to email me if you don't feel comfortable leaving a comment. I will be sure to report back with all the information I get for those who are interested.
Please wish me luck, I am terrified the surgeon is going to tell me I am delusional and too fat for surgery and I will be completely embarrassed. I know I should be more worried about the cost involved or the actual surgery, but of course I am just worried about the humiliation factor!
Some of these questions taken from here.
- Are you a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons?
- Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
- How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure?
- If so, at which hospitals?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure? Is there any reason why I wouldn’t be a good candidate?
- What will be expected of me to get the best results?
- Is there anything I can do now to help me prepare for surgery?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- How many abdominoplasty surgeries have you performed in your career? How many did you perform last year?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- Would you recommend liposuction to enhance my results?
- Do you expect me to get good results at this weight or should I lose additional weight before surgery?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- When can I expect to look and move normally again? (ie. when will swelling go down)
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- How long will the surgery last and how long will I be under anaesthesia?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my tummy tuck? Who will cover any revision cost?
- How many revisions have you had to perform?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
- What medications are prescribed for pain relief after surgery?
- If I need anything outside of normal office hours post-op, will I be able to get in touch with you or your staff?
- How long would I expect to stay in hospital?
- How long would I expect to take off work?
- Will I get a medical certificate for sick leave or will I need to use my annual leave?
- How long until I can take an international flight after surgery?
- How much will surgery cost in total? What about extras?
o Post-op garments
o Post-op check ups
o Additional medication
- What, if any, of this surgery is covered by medicare?
- Does this surgery have an item number for my health insurance?
- How long would I typically wait once I decide to book surgery
- Would it be best to have arm/stomach/breast surgery done at the same time or in separate surgeries?
- What cup size would I expect to be if I had a breast lift?
- How many kilos of skin would you expect to remove from me during surgery?
- Will my lap band need to be moved during surgery?