When I first heard about Tummy Tucks awhile back, I was terrified at the thought of it. I remember reading an article about it and telling my friend that I’d never do that. Well, here I am now, about 10 years down the road from that moment. If I had to give someone advice, it would be to never say never. Since then I have had three children, two of which were cesareans, I have both lost and gained weight and I finally came to the conclusion that this tummy tuck procedure was going to be my only solution.
I took the initiative to call and meet with a doctor in Dallas, TX that I read was good, but I was so disappointed in that consultation, maybe it was the poor bed side manner or the feeling that it was a rushed consult without knowing exactly what I want, but I was instantly turned off. I decided to get a second opinion.
I spoke to my husband about what he thought and he supported whatever decision I made. During our conversation he did mention his coworker’s wife whom just had a “Mommy Makeover” with Dr. Hervé Gentile. The “Mommy Makeover” is basically a package of procedures done in one visit, which includes the most common procedures that most post pregnancy body issues need addressed. The typical procedures include a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or lift, liposuction, and thigh/butt lift. I researched Dr. Gentile and got a chance to speak with Janet (wife of my husband’s coworker) about her experience and I was very happy to hear nothing but good reviews and a fabulous outcome. Not only did I learn he does tummy tucks, breast augmentations, and many other cosmetic procedures, but the “mommy makeover” was his specialty! Dr. Gentile has over 20 years experience, not just in south Texas but internationally too! I knew Dr. Gentile was the best doctor for me. I made sure to check with The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to make sure that he has received the appropriate training and passed the exams required to be board certified, which demonstrates experience and competence in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. It turns out Dr. Gentile is triple board certified! I wouldn’t accept anything less, this was my body we are talking about!
After consulting with my family, researching reviews, and pre-educating myself about these procedures, I finally called and made a consultation appointment to see Dr. Gentile. He and his staff were extremely welcoming and friendly from the moment I called to the moment I walked in. During the consultation he enquired what my expectations were and what I wanted. I explained to him the whole post baby body thing and not wanting to unrealistically look like a Barbie, but to just feel like myself again. He thoroughly explained to me the guidelines from preparations and step by step procedure to recovery and costs.
Dr. Gentile, explained to me that because my abdominal muscles have been stretched out and apart so many times, the muscles have weakened which is part of the reason why it was so hard to get my pre baby body back. The abdominal muscles need to be re-situated back in their original place and tightened which prevents the sagging, pouch tummy look. He also needed to remove excess fat and additional skin that is loose which is stretch marked up, so that sounded great to me! It was highly recommended that I proceeded with the traditional abdominoplasty, which involves recreation of a new belly button, since everything was going to be pulled and moved tightly into its new place. I was not afraid of scarring because the cesarean’s that I had, left me with a scar so prevalent. I am not sure if it’s because of the way it was sutured after the baby’s came out, but it left me with this pouch that seemed like no matter what I did, would not go away. So, because of this, a fading, hidden scar was the least of my concerns. My breasts were also a concern after nursing three children. They were huge when full of milk and then when the milk dried up, the breast shrank and hung. Not my idea of a beautiful mothers’ body. I never felt the same about my body after the kid’s; I had almost surrendered to the idea that this was my body for the rest of my life. I did not want to surrender; I was ready to get my body back!
He told me that I would need implants and a breast lift in order to achieve what I was looking for. I was interested in the most natural looking breasts. but also the safest choice. Since I am a mother and need to make sure I am not at risk for potential infections or dangerous rupture, I chose to get the Saline Implants with a high profile, so they look perky and young again! Dr. Gentile explained that he recommended placing the implants partially beneath the pectoralis major, because it decreases the possibility of scarring that can develop in tissue surrounding the implant. It also optimizes breast visibility with a mammogram. Dr. Gentiles knowledge and detail made me feel absolutely comfortable with continuing on my journey to a new me!
Dr. Gentile assured me that he was able to take care of all of my problem areas in one surgical visit and the recovery time wouldn’t be such a concern since I was worried about being able to get back to my full time job as a mother. He estimated that I would need to rest for up to 10 days and avoid lifting or any strenuous activities for a few weeks. However, he said try to not be in bed or sitting all day, because healing and health is best when there is some light exercise such as walking. I had set up for my mother to take care of the kids for me while I rested at home and I set up the house beforehand to stock up on ice packs, a handheld shower head, and shower chair. My husband made sure to have my post meds, antibiotics, and pain medication ready for me. I made sure to have plenty of lose clothes on hand for best comfort and a compression belly bandage to wear all day unless I bathe. Dr. Gentile does not recommend a bra after implants for a few days after the procedure, because it helps with the natural descending of the implants. The doctor explained to my husband the aftercare he would be assisting me with including the drainage tubes that need to be emptied and after wound care. Ultimately, healthy eating habits and exercise will optimize long term results.
He went over precautions and/or pre operative preparations with me such as avoiding smoking, because it does slow the healing process and contributes to complications, avoid any blood thinning medications or herbal supplements such as Advil, Motrin, Vitamin E, etc. All of these things should be avoided at least two weeks before and two weeks after. I mentioned to the Doctor that I occasionally get migraines. so I was a bit worried incase I got one near procedure day, but he said if I absolutely need to take anything, I can only take Tylenol. Luckily, I didn’t have to since I didn’t get a migraine, but it was good to know because my migraines just debilitate me.
I met with my internist to run some pre-op testing including blood tests and an EKG to confirm I was healthy and cleared for surgery. I then met with my anesthesiologist who was as sweet as a doll. These visits were important to make sure I was healthy and safe to undergo anesthesia, since I’d be under for a few hours. He also explained the general anesthesia I would be under and the grogginess I would feel when I would wake up.
Dr. Gentile’s financing options were such a relief! I was able to stay in my budget and also make monthly payments. His fees were not over the top, but weren’t too cheap that I’d question his quality of care. He is a real stand up guy, a caring doctor with great attention to detail. He went far and beyond to make sure I understood the importance of each step leading up to, during, and after the surgery.
I’m not going to lie and say that it was so easy and painless, but I don’t think I could have done it with anyone other than Dr. Gentile. I am ecstatic with my results and so impressed with him and his staff on such a wonderful experience they brought me through. The post-op visits, phone calls, and follow ups made me feel like I was apart of their family, even though that kind of sounds corny. This was the scariest thing I have ever anticipated, but by far, easier than I ever imagined. Aside from my supportive helpful family, I am so grateful for Dr. Gentile and his staff and I will continue to recommend him and his team to all my friends and family, especially the mommas out there that think their life is over after having kids. Thanks to Dr. Gentile, My life is just beginning!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Herve`!