Kim's Tummy Tuck (Full)
Surgery results and benefits vary per individual. Specific results cannot be guaranteed.
What made you consider having cosmetic surgery?
I’ve had children, and because of complications with steroids and a Cesarean, I was left with quite thick stretch marks and scars on my stomach. Both of these left me with an overhanging belly.
I wanted it removed because I know sometimes later on in life it can cause problems because when you have stretch marks and you’ve been on steroids the skin thins and it’s more likely to break.
What was your process for gathering information and starting your research?
I was in nursing and I had seen a surgeon in the past, so even though the operation had changed since I’d last seen a surgeon I was somewhat familiar with the surgery.
So basically, I went online to look around. I didn’t really speak to anybody because I didn’t know anybody that’d had it done.
I looked at some sites, and obviously I went onto Medbelle’s site and read the testimonials and things like that.
I did sort of try to Google it, but I think you have to take a lot of what you read with a pinch of salt with complications and what they could be.
I approached it with the mindset that if I wanted it done, I could have it done.
One thing that sort of hit me when I looked was my age (I was 60 at the time), but Professor Whitaker easily addressed that during my consultation and put my mind at ease.
Why did you opt for the procedure you chose?
I was going to have a tummy tuck after the birth of my last baby. I had seen a surgeon and was ready, but my father was ill and had a stroke. Because I was looking after him, I couldn’t really take the time out not being able to lift him, so it all went by the wayside.
Then I suddenly thought at 60 years old “you know, if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it.”
I was always unhappy with my stomach, so I started looking for a surgeon and finally went for a consultation.
The decision was purely for me.
How did you find your initial contact with Medbelle?
Everything was excellent. I will say that.
My Patient Care Adviser David was always my point of contact. Having one point of contact, you build up a rapport with them.
Even if David didn’t know the answer to something that I asked, he always found an answer for me and informed me of it.
What was the initial consultation process like?
It was fine. I went to the hospital in Swansea. The consultation was very thorough. Professor Whitaker was excellent when I saw him.
I went to see him with my eyes firmly open.
I said to him “I don’t want to put myself through this at my age if the results aren’t going to be great.” He told me exactly what I could and couldn’t expect.
What did the surgeon discuss with you during your consultation?
First, he took my medical history. Luckily, I’m quite fit so that was simple.
He examined me and described exactly what the results would look like.
Because the Professor knew I was an ex-nurse, he did show me exactly what the operation would entail.
He ran me through the admissions procedure, the operation, and what would be required post-op. So he basically ran through everything in that time.
After looking online, I was a little nervous about my age, but Professor Whitaker assured me I’d be surprised how many people decided to put off surgery earlier in life and then decided in their 60s “well yeah now’s the time. If I don’t do it now, I might not when I’m older.”
He said after surgery the stretch marks below my belly button would be gone and the ones above he couldn’t do anything about but obviously they’d be brought down lower on my stomach.
He did say that it would probably leave quite a scar because I had some keloid scarring from the cesarian.
As I explained to him, I wasn’t having surgery to get into bikinis, it was just for me to be more comfortable because I had an overhanging belly.
It lasted around 20 minutes or a half-hour. I found the entire appointment very relaxed.
What was it that made you decide to book your treatment with Medbelle?
I had done some research on Professor Whitaker, and it seemed to be the best person to go for a tummy tuck in this area (South East Wales).
I was also quite impressed with the way I was handled when I rang Medbelle up. Everything was done for me.
I think for a lot of people it could be that they’re put off because if they don’t go ahead with surgery, they have to pay for the initial consultation. If money is tight for people, a consultation could be quite expensive.
But with Medbelle, you don’t have that because the consultation is free. I suppose it’s a sort of security blanket. You can go and find out and get an accurate picture of surgery and then make your mind up rather than making your mind up to spend a certain amount of money just on the consultation.
That wasn’t that important for me, but I can imagine that weighing on peoples’ minds.
How were you feeling in the lead up to your surgery?
I was fine. I’d wanted to book it more in the winter because I didn’t know what the corset you have to wear after was going to be like but I did know I didn’t particularly want to wear that in the middle of summer when it’s really hot.
Can you tell me about the contact you had with your Patient Care Adviser and what kind of relationship you had with them in the lead up to your surgery?
I think we had a very good relationship.
I could ring David at any time. If he couldn’t speak to me then he always rang me back. If I had a question he didn’t know the answer to he found out for me.
He was very professional but in a friendly way.
What was the pre-operation appointment like?
It was in Swansea. It all went well. I had my bloods taken, I was asking questions, I had an ECG and everything else.
The nurse there was really nice. I also had my post-op and everything with her so we built up quite a relationship actually.
What were your expectations for the recovery?
I knew it’s major abdominal surgery so I knew I’d have to slow down for a bit.
I also expected to be sore.
Please walk me through the day of your surgery from beginning to end.
The only downsides before the operation were being told I couldn’t eat or drink and I had to be in the hospital by 7:00. I did mention this to the hospital after that it was a bit silly getting me in at that time.
It was very early, and of course living quite a way from the hospital meant I was up at 5:00.
I got admitted straight away, that wasn’t a problem. I was put into a room, but my surgery didn’t take place until the afternoon.
The anaesthetist came around in the morning and said to me “look, you’re not going to be going down for a while.” She told the nurses to give me a little drink of water along with one of my daily medications that I normally take every morning.
The staff knew it wasn’t going to be until the afternoon, so technically I could have at least had a cup of tea or something in the morning and then got down to the hospital about 10:00 or 11:00 and there wouldn’t have been so much hanging about.
I think it was gone 2:00 by the time I finally went into surgery.
But other than that, it was fine.
I didn’t come out of the operating theatre until the late afternoon.
When I was settled, Professor Whitaker checked on me and showed me a video of my own operation. He said “I know you’re alright to see this because you’re an ex-nurse. It’s up to you if you want to see it” so I did.
As soon as I could get out of bed I was out, I was walking.
The nurses even passed comments that lots of younger people on the same day as they have the same surgery aren’t as good as me, up and about doing what you’ve got to do. I suppose a part of that comes from my nursing background as well.
In my pre-op, Professor Whitaker did say to me “you’ll definitely be an overnight and you may be in two nights. It depends.” In the end I stayed in the hospital for two nights.
The first night was fine. Professor Whitaker didn’t come and see me until quite late, about 9:30 or 10:00 at night, and then I had my drains removed.
I slept through the night again and went home the next morning. I felt fine going home. I knew I could expect to be a bit sore, to keep the wound clean, and to wear the corset. I think those are the most important things.
What was it like for you in the days and weeks following surgery?
It was okay. I was given anti-embolism compression stockings to wear for 12 weeks,.
I think that’s something that people may not know about. The corsets are talked about but they do like you to wear the stockings at home as well. The stockings are knee-high and they can be a bit uncomfortable because they are tiight.
As for the corset, I didn’t know what I expected, really. Mine was quite thick material and it’s velcroed so you really need two people to pull it on you because it’s very tight. Mine was put on me straight after surgery.
I think it would be better if it could be hooked together because then you could do it yourself, whereas the velcro you have to hold it and pull it from the other side. And they don’t always fit so sometimes the top turns over and can rub you a little bit.
But other than that, it was fine.
When I went for my post-op, they gave me another corset so I could make sure it remained firm because after you’ve worn it for a while it does loose some of its elasticity.
That was fun, mind, wearing that for 6 weeks.
At a later appointment, I did have a bit of a row because Professor Whitaker did ask “did you keep your stockings on for all that time?”
And I said “well, I did, except for when I was at work or an event where I had to wear a dress because I didn’t think these white stockings up to my knees was quite the look I was looking for.” He gave me one of his looks at that, but I had no problems at all.
Actually, apart from driving, which they said in the pre-op appointment I couldn’t do for at least a fortnight after, I was relatively normal.
I obviously had some time off, but I got driven into work to do small things. I was even able to travel to London quite quickly after having my first post-op appointment and it was cleared by the professor.
How did you and your Patient Care Adviser interact following your surgery?
We had a couple of phone calls.
I think the little parcel David and Medbelle sent me after was lovely. it’s a lovely touch, I must admit.
How did you feel about the results after surgery?
It was fab. I was so glad I had it done. My scar is still quite red, but it’s so much better than it was before.
How do you feel about your results now?
I’m so pleased with the operation. It was well worth it.
It’s a year on now and it’s fab. I don’t regret it at all. I wish I’d done it a few years earlier.
What would you say to a family member or a friend considering a similar procedure?
I’d recommend to anyone considering just to take an hour and have that first consultation.
Make sure it’s right for you and check what sort of results you’d have. I think you’ve also got to be prepared for a scar from hip to hip.
But if you’re feeling you want it done, go for it, because you will feel so much better after.
As a matter of fact, one of my colleagues asked why I’d been off and I made no bones about having a tummy tuck. I don’t mind people knowing.
He said he’d spoken to his wife about it and tried to encourage her to do it, too. I passed on Medbelle’s details to him and told her to go for it.
Also, if I’m honest it’s not as expensive as you think it’s going to be. I thought it would have been more expensive.