DIARY OF A TUMMY TUCK

Well, where do I begin. I’m currently resting in bed post a “tummy tuck” and thought I would share my experience on having a full abdominoplasty, post 3 children (all c-sections) and at the age of 38.  

I didn’t make the decision to have a tummy tuck lightly at all. My first child was a c-section, followed 21 months later by another child and another c-section. Within a year of my second child I got back to my pre-baby weight at the age of 35 which was a size 12 but the stomach issue just got worse. My waist went wider, thicker as some would say and the skin got saggier and heavier. So even though the scales were kind, I was totally out of proportion. 

3.5 years later I had my 3rd c-section and I call my “body-breaking” baby. I love my 3rd child to bits but if my abdominal muscles were separated before, they were now non-existent. I lost 15 kgs but was carrying at least 5kg in the form of my spare tyre that would not budge. By the time my 3rd turned two, I still looked 6 months pregnant and still a solid size 14.  

I was sick of complaining so I called and booked a consultation with Dr Rohan Page. I also knew how important it was to see a Specialist Plastic Surgeon because I had seen and heard so many botched surgery stories of girls seeing Surgeons who were really only GP’s. And enough news headlines to frighten me off from ever thinking of a cosmetic holiday to Thailand. I did my research and knew I wanted to see a plastic surgeon who was FRACS accredited (Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons), ASPS accredited (Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons) and ASAPS accredited (Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons).  

 I am so glad I went for my consultation, booking it was the hardest step. I chose Dr Rohan Page because it stood out for me that he had done fellowships at the Great Ormond St Hospital in London and had taught at Stanford University Hospital. I have lived overseas in big cities and to know that there was someone of his experience practicing privately in Perth was a sealer for me. He is discrete, honest and respectful. When I went in for my consultation he explained why everything I was doing could never get rid of the “mum tum” I had and I was so happy to have someone on my side!  

According to the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, an “abdominoplasty repairs the rectus diastasis (muscle separation after pregnancy) as well as removing skin from above the umbilicus to the pubis.  This not only restores the trunk to its pre-pregnancy shape, it also restores core strength, essential in converting a moderate disability to a trivial issue and allows a woman to live a life free of background pain and worry about injury.” 

So the decision was made with Dr Page to undergo a full abdominoplasty (which would be a scar from hip to hip) and a full rectus diastasis to stitch my abdomen back together which had separated to 3cms. I’m surprised my organs weren’t popping out of the gap, it always felt like it! 

He gave me all the information, went through each step medically of the process, the operation, the post-care, the recovery, each and every risk and answered any questions I had. There was no obligation to proceed or book the surgery, but I just felt that it made sense medically and that nothing I could do was really going to change the problem and did I really want to be 50 and still complaining about my stomach for another 20 years, NO! 

 We set a date for the surgery 4 weeks after the consult and his secretary gave me all the information I needed to prepare for it – all the information possible to share with my husband, hospital admission, compression garments, costs, anaesthetists, post-care appointments and off I went. 

 

PRE-SURGERY PREPARATION 

This consisted mainly of google. I googled everything to do with tummy tucks, read every forum, spoke to anyone I knew how knew someone who knew someone who had gone through it. I stalked and researched. A lot. I wanted to be as prepared as possible. And I got excited. Excited that from all that I was reading, no-one had ever regretted the surgery and many had called it life-changing. 

Having been through 3 c-sections I wasn’t afraid of pain or discomfort but I do remember reading one sentence that I took hold of and kept in mind from someone in NZ who had done through the procedure – “Let’s just say that a csection is a runny nose and a tummy tuck is pneumonia.”. 

 On the day of admission (Wednesday) I was really excited.I was booked in for 3 nights post-recovery in a private hospital and boy was I grateful for that. And I stayed there until Saturday morning and it was the best thing for me. Someone monitoring me 24/7 and a team of nurses helping me every step of the way.  There is no way I would have been able to go home to a hectic household with 3 children. And with the emotional rollercoaster you go through – it’s so nice to have the nurses to come in and give you a cup of tea (and your painkillers) and be there to support you through it all. 

Was it worth it? Yes! 

Am I vain? I wouldn’t say I am obsessed with my body image, I just hated my stomach and everyone I knew, also knew because I always used to complain about it – and it was getting boring. 

What was the result? Dr Rohan Page is my hero. He removed a 1.5kg wedge of skin from my mid-section and a further 900cc with the use of liposuction which is frequently used hand-in-hand with an abdominoplasty. I also have Dr Page’s mobile number and he is contactable 24/7 – so I have text him questions I’ve had post operation and he’s texted straight back (he also called me the night before the surgery to go over any pre-surgery nerves). 

 

16 November 2021

Our author remains anonymous for privacy reasons.