Karen B., 62, vividly remembers report card day in sixth grade. “In those days, your grades were listed with your height and weight,” Karen explains, and the teacher would read them out loud as he handed the report to you. “I remember jumping out of my seat and running to his desk in tears, begging him not to read mine.” Karen was 12 years old and 126 pounds. “I was the biggest girl in the class. Always,” she says.
Smart and ambitious, Karen excelled in school, eventually earning a B.S. in chemistry and becoming a nurse. She married a Marine in her early 20s and they had two children while he built a successful business. Through it all, Karen felt powerless over her weight, which fluctuated between 220 and 280. “I would diet, work out and then gain it back,” she says. Finally, in 1989, she had gastric bypass—then a new procedure—and lost 120 pounds. “But the brain is funny thing,” she relates now, “and you can find ways to circumvent the surgery and eat what you want.” Over the next two decades, the weight crept back. “When I retired three years ago, I was hanging out at about 215.”
Then, during a routine physical, Karen was diagnosed with diabetes. Shocked and upset, she spent the next year researching on the internet. “I found a good diet and a trainer at LA Fitness. I also started taking Byetta, a diabetes medication.” Over the year, the weight came off steadily. “I hated working out. Hated it,” Karen laughs. But ultimately, her weight got down “to the low 140s” and stayed there for two years.
Now at her “perfect weight,” Karen was thrilled, but when she looked in the mirror, she saw “all these sags. I looked like a melting snowman. My 10-year-old granddaughter would say, ‘I love your arms, Grandma!’ and would swing the skin back and forth!
“I didn’t want to grow up to be a saggy, saggy old lady,” Karen says. So she asked a friend who was in a gastric bypass support group if anyone had come to talk to them about plastic surgery. “She gave me Dr. Boynton’s name and said he seemed wonderful. So I called his office.”
Ten months and two surgeries later, and the results speak for themselves. “I want to run through the mall naked!” Karen laughs. “I have not stopped smiling.” Here, she explains the details of what Dr. Boynton did to give her “a body I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have.”
Tell me about your first meeting with Dr. Boynton.
First of all, the thought of showing someone an old body with all this saggy droopy skin on it made me want to die of embarrassment! I’ve spent my whole life trying to tuck it in and not show it. But you walk in his office, and everyone is so nice. He meets with you while you’re dressed, so you can get to know him. He tells you about his philosophy and his training, and you can just feel that he has a good spirit. I thought, ‘I can handle this!’
What surgeries did you have?
Dr. Boynton likes to do things in stages. He’s very careful, which I like. The first surgery was a tummy tuck and some liposuction on my flanks and lower back. He told me he likes to start with the tummy—the core. After having two babies my muscles were spread apart, so the muscle repair was a big deal. He did a breast lift in round two, as well as a breast augmentation and my upper arms.
How was the recovery?
Surprisingly easy. Dr. Boynton had explained that he was using Experil, a new drug that keeps you comfortable for 72 to 96 hours after the surgery. He injects the drug along the muscles and the incisions during surgery so when you wake up you really feel great. I’m a geek, so when he told me about it I went on YouTube and watched procedures being done. I was very impressed. After the first recovery, I asked him if he could use Experil again when he did my breast augmentation and he actually researched it and learned the technique for breasts at my request. I couldn’t believe he did that.
When were you able to get up and leave the house?
One and a half weeks after the second surgery I went to the mall, still with my compression garment on, because I wanted the woman at Victoria’s Secret to measure me. I wanted to see what size I was. She couldn’t believe I was out. She said, ‘no one is up like this two weeks later!’
So what is your new size?
Well, I went to Black House White Market the other day and I bought a new pair of pants, because literally everything is falling off of me. And they were a size four. A four! I’m someone who used to be over the moon about a size 10. I showed my husband and he was like, ‘did you ever in your wildest dreams think you’d be a size 4?’
What’s your husband’s reaction to all of this?
My husband is the most wonderful person. He has told me my whole life, ‘I love you no matter what you weigh.’ And he has loved me unconditionally no matter what. What makes him happy now is seeing how happy I am. That’s the kind of guy of guy he is. I said ‘honey, you have your trophy wife and you didn’t even have to get divorced and lose half your money to get it.’
What about friends? What do they say?
People who haven’t seen me for a while have said, ‘Oh my god, what have you done?’ And I just say, ‘I lost some weight and I kept it off and I had a little something something done.’ And then I hand them Dr. Boynton’s card. I went back to see my co-workers after my tummy tuck and they could not believe it. Three of them asked for his card.
Do you plan to have any more surgeries, or are you done?
In the fall we’re going to do legs and butt—get the sags off and finally finish it. We’re not quite there, yet, but as long as Spanks exist I can fake it til I make it!
What’s your overall impression of Dr. Boynton?
I have worked with hundreds of doctors over my 32 years as a nurse and assisted on many surgeries, and I can tell you he is number one in every respect. I feel like I am in such competent hands. But more than that, he’s very real and down to earth. You can talk to him. One day I came into his office with my 10-year-old granddaughter. She has a lot of physical disabilities, and the first thing he said when he saw her was, ‘You have pink river shoes on!’ And that just melted my heart, because most doctors—especially surgeons—won’t do that. They are too rushed and harried and they have no bedside manner. His heart is right there.
And trust me, you never want to go to a doctor that a nurse wouldn’t go to!
What would you tell an FOF who was considering surgery?
It’s never too late. I’m an evangelical Christian, and I remember going to a big camp meeting in 1981 with a popular evangelist minister. He had everyone close their eyes and think about the desire of their hearts. Mine had always been to be a normal size. He said, ‘I will pray for everyone here, and if you hang onto that, it will happen.’
Well, it took 32 years—diabetes, exercise, bypass surgery. It wasn’t overnight, but all this time has made me appreciate it that much more. I mean, unless you’ve lived in double your body, I don’t know if you can really appreciate size-four pants. This is the first time ever in my life that I actually feel desirable and alive and sexy. Before, that wasn’t even in my realm of awareness.
Dr. Mark E. Richards
Ageless Impressions – Plastic Surgery Institute
11300 Rockville Pike Suite 912
N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852
Tel: (301) 468-3458
What you should know:
For over 20 years, Dr. Mark E. Richards (Board Certified Plastic Surgeon) has provided patients throughout the US and overseas with quality of life and appearance-enhancing options. Nothing pleases him more than to see a wholly rejuvenated client go out of his front door and into the world with a new look and a new outlook on the future.
Dr. Richards works with high-profile clients with utmost confidentiality and secrecy. He has received multiple national recognitions for the excellence of his plastic surgery results. Some of the many national accolades for his cosmetic surgery successes throughout his career include U.S. News and World Reports “Top Doctors” list and the Consumer’s Research Council of America’s “Guide to America’s Top Surgeons” as well as articles in USA Today and Parade Magazine, among others.
Dr. Richards develops and teaches innovative plastic surgery procedures that can offer optimal results with minimal scarring. He uses the safest and most effective treatments possible. A visionary and a caring surgeon, Dr. Richards understands that cosmetic surgery is a major undertaking for his patients and strives to give them a sense of security and assurance as they embark on their life- changing journeys.
What are the best options for a saggy neck and jowls?
Good question, as this is the biggest giveaway of an FOF’s age. Traditionally, FOFs have gotten facelifts as a solution to this problem. However, facelifts can be invasive and have a long recovery time. For the past four years, I’ve been performing a procedure called the “Natural Lift” as a way to avoid or postpone a facelift. I remove a teaspoon of jowl fat and 2 tablespoons of neck fat. It’s a 45-minute procedure, done with local anesthesia and requires minimal recovery time. Consider it the ultimate cheat and prevention for aging.
What are the latest innovations in liposuction? Can you have liposuction anywhere and everywhere?
Yes, you can. This past year two new non-invasive devices have come onto the market that melt fat away when you use them over the skin. They allow you to shrink even the thinnest layers of fat cells in parts of the body that used to be difficult to reach through liposuction cannulas (tools). The device I use is called VASER Shape which feels like a hot stone massage.
What type of implant is better or which do you recommend: Saline or silicone?
I prefer silicone and implant them in my patients 99% of the time. With silicone, the deflation rate is low and they feel more natural. Most women getting augmentation have very little breast tissue and the breast is made up of mostly the implant. In the rare cases where someone with bigger breasts (for example a size B) wanted to go to a size C, then I might use saline.
I’ve heard of a “vampire facelift,” what is this?
Despite its name, the vampire facelift is actually a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, rather than a facelift. It uses the patient’s own blood, which is rich in antioxidants and collagen, to make the skin more radiant. Often times, people combine this treatment with fillers for the ultimate facial rejuvenation. The vampire facelift is the same treatment top athletes such as Tiger Woods have had done to their joints to promote healing and increase vascularity. The way it works is blood is drawn, then the Platelet-Enriched Plasma (PRP) is separated and concentrated. The PRP is essentially tattooed back into the middle layer of the skin to promote radiance. My favorite protocol of this procedure uses the Dermapen. (For more about Dermapen, read below.)
As a teen, I had very bad acne and now I have scars, pitting and large pores. What do I do?
My favorite new device to reverse damage from acne, is the Dermapen. It stimulates collagen in the middle layer of the skin, plumping acne pitting. It’s the only therapy that helps with deep pitting. It can level the top edge of the pit to the bottom. Also, it’s great for fine lines and wrinkles on the upper lip. It can be used on all skin types, is much less expensive than laser devices and does not cause heat damage to the surrounding, healthy skin.
Do you build up resistance to Botox to the point that it stops working?
First of all, there are 3 neuro-modulators on the market today—Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin—each have their own unique properties. You cannot build up a resistance to neuro-modulators. However, the more you use them, the less you need them because you train your face not to make certain movements. For this reason, it’s important to get treatments regularly. I have been using neuro-modulators on myself for 12 years and now I only need to get it done twice a year, whereas when I started I was getting four treatments a year.
Dr. Sharon Giese
114 East 61st Street
New York, New York 10065
Tel: (212) 421-3400
Fax: (212) 421-3435
Click here to view Dr. Giese’s patient before and afters.