Julia on the beach post-op.
Julia*, 55, doesn’t cover up at the beach. But this wasn’t always the case. “I was looking in a mirror and my boobs were just hanging there,” this flight attendant and mother of three recalls thinking, about two years ago. Julia knew working out and dieting would not resolve this issue, so she decided surgery was “the perfect choice.” It was an opportune time for her to have this done, as her skin was “already stretched out” with “deflated” breasts and a saggy tummy from three C-sections. After extensively discussing her options with Dr. Jeffrey Ditesheim, Julia scheduled her surgery.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Did you always want to have plastic surgery?
I haven’t always been obsessed with it. I thought that if i took care of myself in my 20s and 30s, I would benefit from it in my 50s. Eating healthy and working out always helped my physical appearance.
How did you meet Dr. Ditesheim? What was your consultation like?
I used his aesthetician for years before I looked at him for surgery. He is so informative. You have very few questions when you leave his office. My biggest concern was to come out of the surgery looking believable. Dr. Ditesheim listens to what you want.
What surgery did you ultimately decide on?
He did breast implants and a tummy tuck. I went in to Dr. Ditesheim thinking I would just have him do a lift, but I didn’t have enough breast tissue to do that.
What implants did you get?
I got silicone implants, which were suitable for my extra skin. I wanted to be close in size to how I was in my 20s. I didn’t want to be any bigger than that. The surgery was performed at the doctor’s office, because I don’t have health issues and wasn’t at risk for anything. Dr. Ditesheim was meticulous about his work. He marked up my body like a map. The surgery lasted for about eight hours.
Breast Augmentation and Tummy Tuck by Dr. Ditesheim.
Did you have a smooth recovery with the breast augmentation?
There was no pain in my chest– I never felt a thing. They said I would have to put cold compresses on my chest every couple of hours for the pain and that it would feel like an elephant was sitting on me.
Did you ever use the cold compresses?
I didn’t. I was waiting for the pain to start, but it never did.
How was the recovery for the tummy tuck?
A small drain was inserted to get rid of the extra fluid and Dr. Ditesheim gave my husband instructions on how to use it. I had the drain for about seven days.
What kind of pain did you experience for the tummy tuck?
It was painfully tight for about a week. It felt like my C-sections, but I followed the doctor’s instructions to a tee. I had to get up and walk every hour for two weeks. With that kind of surgery you instinctively want to bend over, but the goal is to be as straight as possible every day. If you walk straight, it feels like your stitches are going to pop out, but they’re not. When I was laying down, I didn’t have that much pain. I went on an international trip about three weeks later.
Were you happy with the results? Receive any compliments?
Here’s the thing: People didn’t know I had anything done. They couldn’t figure out what was different about me and kept saying stuff like, ‘Wow, you look great. Did you lose weight? You look so happy.’ I was happy. That year we went to the beach and it my first time I ever wore a two-piece swimsuit and walked on the beach without covering up. That was very cool.
Would you recommend plastic surgery to other FOFs?
Yes. But be realistic about the results you’ll get for your age. You’ve got to go into surgery feeling okay with yourself, rather than thinking, ‘I’m gonna have this done, and it’s going to make my life OK.’
You seem very willing to talk about the surgery!
We don’t have to be ashamed of it. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to look the way I do at my age without a little help. It’s not realistic. So why pretend? I’m happy to tell people if they ask me. If they don’t ask, I don’t tell.
Any final words?
I’m gonna tell you, I am so, so happy that I did it after turning 50. I feel like my body was already stretched out. It’s the best time of my life. My kids are gone, and it’s just me and my husband. It’s a wonderful time. The financial part of it wasn’t an issue– it wasn’t like I was taking away from college funds!
A note from Dr. Ditesheim:
After menopause, your body can change in ways that don’t make you feel good or sexy or normal. This 52-year-old woman told me that her tummy started bulging after menopause and that the last time she put on a bathing suit and felt good was five years before. She thought It would be fun to wear a swimsuit again. After her mommy makeover (a tummy tuck and breast augmentation), she was back to work in a few weeks. After a year, she was glowing and told me, ‘I love the results, I love my breasts, they feel like my own, the size is perfect.’
Having plastic surgery, (tummy tucks, liposuction, breast reshaping or face procedures) can give you a sense of confidence and freedom that was hidden or lost. Being able to wear a bathing suit comfortably or fit into clothes that make you feel sexy, attractive, and feminine is something you deserve. An experienced plastic surgeon can make a plan that addresses your frustrations and is right for your body. Always ask: Is this the safest plan? How predictable will the recovery be for me? Women who have predictable results and predictable recoveries are always the happiest patients.