Patient Story: Why I Fixed My Tummy Tuck at 70

By Anonymous Patient 

I’ve never been a person who allowed age to deter me from pursuing relationships, education, hobbies or plastic surgery. So at the ripe old age of 70, I had a tummy tuck revision along with liposuction. My story began in 2019 with a routine abdominoplasty, aka. tummy tuck. The recovery was easy but as time went by, it became evident that the surgeon never addressed the problems that we had discussed. As if that wasn’t enough, I started gaining weight in my waist to the point where I no longer had a waist. And my not so flat belly was protruding even more. I thought if I increased my workouts to 3 days a week, I’d get my waist back. One week I worked so hard I gave my self hip bursitis. Clearly, exercise alone wasn’t doing it, so then I cut out all sugar, salt, fat, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet, but that didn’t work either. The handwriting was on the wall. I needed a tummy tuck revision and so began my journey to find the right surgeon.

So many of the surgeons I had consulted with in Colorado had age limits. Some had proposed minimal surgery that would not have addressed the issues. One surgeon told me I was too thin and dismissed me altogether. Another was too aggressive and his outcomes were not very flattering. So it was obvious I was going to have to travel out of state to find the right surgeon. Dr. Neinstein was the 12th surgeon that I had consulted with, and I wished I had found him sooner. It would have saved me a lot of time and money

I found Dr. Ryan Neinstein online purely by accident and started following him on Instagram, Watching the transformation of his patients of all ages, shapes and sizes was mesmerizing and the idea that I could actually be one of those transformations was exciting. So I scheduled a zoom consultation with him and I was pleasantly surprised. Not knowing what to expect, I found him to be personable, vibrant and very confident in his skills. He knew exactly what I needed and the most impressive thing was that he never flinched when I told him I was 69, soon to be 70. That told me volumes about him and his practice. I knew immediately that with his level of experience and the safety protocols implemented in his practice, I would be in excellent hands.

Once I scheduled the surgery, the months that followed were filled with gathering supplies, making reservations for hotel, transportation, post-op massage, and nursing care.

My surgery went smoothly, but Dr. Neinstein wasn’t kidding when he said the first 2 weeks would be miserable. I was bent over at the waist with a drain coming out of one side and a Prevena unit on the other. I felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame and I looked like it too! My back was killing me but the Lidocaine patches alleviated that. I had no appetite and yet I was starving. I was exhausted and groggy but I couldn’t sleep. Every 2 hours I had to take another pill to stay on schedule. My nurses were fantastic and very proficient with helping me to walk, teaching me to use the inhaler, keeping me on track with medication and overall trying to keep me comfortable. They taught me to use a pillow to brace my abdomen when coughing or sneezing. The second week was as bad as the first, but at least I was home in my own bed and no longer attached to the Prevena unit. By the end of week 2, I had quit all pain meds and started taking Probiotics. That helped to get my digestive system back on track. I drank Ensure and Gatorade constantly until my appetite started to improve. Interestingly, when I did start get my appetite back, I only wanted to eat potatoes and eggs and meatball heros. Sleeping with my legs elevated was a challenge, especially because I am a side sleeper. Each day I would empty the drain, hoping the volume was decreasing. My endurance was low but I forced myself to walk 10 laps in my house every day. In the third week I was still sleeping a lot mostly because I couldn’t do anything else. Dr. Neinstein insisted I send him photos of myself daily so he could observe my progress. It is very reassuring to know that he is on this journey with me. I can ask questions and get feedback on my progress at any time. I am also in contact with nurses Ashley and Tara if I have a question regarding scar management, garments, abdomen brace and anything else. The support system has been phenomenal!

In the rehabilitation world, once a post-op patient completes the fourth week, there is a significant jump to the next level of progress, and so, true to form by the end of my fourth week, I pulled my drain out, lost considerable amount of swelling and started wearing the next smaller size garment. Nurse Ashley directed me to start using the Skinuva and Silicone tape on my incision. I returned to sleeping on my side, that’s huge! I started walking on my treadmill and progressed to walking a mile on the trails around my house daily. Once I returned home to Colorado, I started lymphatic massage with Ann at Soulstice, Ltd. She is wonderful!

Today marks the beginning of my 6th week post-op. I am back to cleaning my house, preparing meals, shopping, going up/down stairs, and getting up and down from the floor. My endurance has increased significantly, no more naps! I have already lost 10+ lbs, without exercising or dieting. Just eating healthy! I can only imagine what will happen once I return to a full work out. Dr Neinstein says it could take up to 3 months for the swelling to be gone. I’m happy to say, that I am almost halfway there!