Liposuction procedure performed by Dr. Wallace.
“I always swore I’d never get plastic surgery,” says 53-year-old Beth*, from Dallas, TX. “But somewhere around the age of 50 I woke up and changed my mind.”
A jewelry designer and mother of two, Beth never wanted to look “overly done,” a look she sometimes sees in Dallas, she explains. But after having two kids and emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, she was “left with a not very pretty scar” on her abdomen and some other body issues that had been bothering her. “I’m your basic pear shape,” Beth says, “with smallish, B-cup breasts and what I call my Buddha hips.” Over time, she felt her shape was growing increasingly unbalanced. “Between the scar tissue and my widening hips, it was difficult to find ready-to-wear clothes that fit.”
So Beth decided it was time for “a little mommy makeover” and went for a consultation with Dr. Charles Wallace, a Dallas board-certified plastic surgeon. Here, she ta exactly how she got the “natural look” she was looking for.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
How did you choose Dr. Wallace?
I know him from college, so I always call him when I need medical advice. He did surgery on my daughter’s ears when she was a teenager, and removed a tumor from my husband’s throat so there wouldn’t be scarring. Afterwards, it looked like it never happened—it was awesome.
Were you self-conscious about going to a friend?
People always ask me that but, actually, not at all. Not at this age! I mean, I’ve had kids. And in the office, he’s all business. Very professional. I trust him: He believes less is more. He’d never push more on you than you need. That was very important to me.
So what exactly did you have done?
I wanted the scar tissue cleaned up and I wanted my stomach nice and flat. So he did a mini-tummy tuck and some lipo on the lower abdomen, upper legs and hips. I also chose to have breast augmentation.
Why did you decide to have your breasts done, too?
I had always been on the smaller side, and after breastfeeding both kids, my breasts had lost volume. I went from a B to a D after the surgery.
How did you determine what size to get?
Dr. Wallace showed me a photo book that featured models and real people. I didn’t want really big. One of my breasts was bigger than the other, so he also made them even. He was able to insert the implants under the muscle, so it looks very natural. I’ve noticed that when you hug people who have implants it can feel surprisingly hard, but mine don’t. They just look like they did back when I was nursing and full of milk!
How was the recovery?
The breast augmentation was nothing. The lower part required a bit more care. I was pretty much laying around in bed for three or four days. You wear drains that have to be monitored for a week or two. That part’s a little cumbersome. But I took the pain pills and slowly got off of them and that was fine.
What do you think of the result?
I love it. I think it looks natural and proportioned and appropriate. Exactly what I wanted.
Breast augmentation performed by Dr. Wallace.
How much did it cost?
Let’s put it this way: It was quite reasonable when compared to prices I heard from my friends. It was less than a year’s tuition at my kids’ private school!
How has your life changed?
The biggest thing is dressing. I’m able to go to Neiman Marcus and find something that fits. Before I usually chose looser tops or A-line styles to disguise my stomach and hips. Now I can wear tops and dresses that are fitted all the way down. My silhouette is more proportional now.
What does your family say—your husband?
My daughters were very happy for me. My husband thought I was crazy to get elective surgery. He was worried. But he quite likes the new boobs. They were secondary to me—that was the candy I had to give him to get the whole thing done! He was excited the next summer when I wore a bikini a few times. It had been 25 years. I mean, I’m not going for a string bikini… but at least I don’t have to get the Miracle Suit again!
Would you consider having more work done? What about on your face?
I have no desire to have more surgery right now, but this past Christmas Dr. Wallace did Ultherapy on my lower chin and jowls. It’s non-surgical. They give you painkillers and then use ultrasound to re-generate the collagen level (without affecting the surface skin). The results are incredible. Tighter, fuller—almost like I had surgery! I want to do my whole face now.
What would you tell another FOF who is considering surgery?
To get the most out of the procedure, you need to get in as good shape—mentally and physically—as you can. I had been doing Pilates for a year before my surgery, so my stomach muscles were strong. That’s why I only needed a mini-tummy tuck. A full tummy tuck involves a more muscle reconstruction, and I’m not sure I would have wanted to do that.
Also, I’m glad I did it now—in my 50s. If I had done it when I was younger, it might have been for the wrong reason—because I wasn’t confident in myself. In my 50s I’m happy and comfortable with who I am. I’m not doing it to attract a man or keep my husband. It was just a reward for myself… sort of like getting a really, really nice used car!
A note from Dr. Wallace:
The body changes that can be expected after multiple pregnancies frequently lend themselves to the exact combination of procedures that I performed on Beth—an extended mini-tummy tuck with some liposuction and breast augmentation. A mini-tummy tuck differs from a regular tummy tuck because it is done with a shorter incision, without attention to the muscles and without moving the belly button. This combination of procedures is what some may call a “mommy makeover,” and can be executed and replicated with unparalleled success. Beth was a good candidate for these procedures because she is in great shape mentally and physically and had an otherwise excellent physique. Exactly what is appropriate for the patient is going to depend on their individual issues.