{Life Changing Plastic Surgery Stories} FOF Chris C.

FOF Chris C., a 52-year-old Indiana hairdresser, liked her body in high school. While many of her classmates were insecure, Chris–above-average height, slender and well-endowed–was confident. So why, decades later, did she decide to have three different plastic surgery procedures: Breast augmentation, tummy tuck and breast lift?

“Having kids changed everything,” Chris says. Breastfeeding three babies, three C-sections and a hysterectomy left her breasts with far less tissue and her stomach looking like “a jigsaw puzzle.”

“There were scars left to right and up and down,” Chris told us.

Ten years ago, she decided to take action and met with Dr. Gus Galante, a board certified plastic surgeon, for her first consultation.  She says it was one of the best decisions of her life.

Dr. Galante has done his part to make me look the best that I can. I’d do it a thousand times over.”

How did you find Dr. Galante?
Dr. Galante and his office manager were long-time clients at a salon where I worked in Schererville. We became really good friends. But, never in a million years did I think I’d have work done.

What treatment did you have first?
I had a breast augmentation around 2003.

Breast augmentation performed by Dr. Galante on Chris.

What made you decide to do that?
I breastfed all three of my children and, as a result, didn’t have much breast tissue left. That’s what happens…you lose it. When Dr. Galante’s office manager came into the salon, I’d talk with her about having an augmentation. She suggested I consult with the doctor.

What did Dr. Galante recommend?
At that point, we decided solely on the augmentation and that maybe down the road I’d have a breast lift.

What size were you before?
I was a C but it was just skin–there was no tissue at all. Dr. Galante gave me a saline implant, and I ended up a Double D. My breasts filled up my bras again, and lingerie shopping became fun again.

You also had a tummy tuck?
Yes, about a year after the breast augmentation I went back to Dr. Galante. The skin on my stomach looked crazy because I had three C-sections. I also had a little bit of excess skin, which the doctor removed.

Abdominoplasty performed by Dr. Galante on Chris.

Were you happy with the results?
The results were wonderful. Dr. Galante did a great job removing the excess skin. I don’t have big, thick scars. After the surgery, he had me wear special foam tape religiously and now you can’t see the scars at all.

What were the treatment and recovery like?
Everything was good. The surgeries were done on an outpatient basis.

Tell us about the breast lift you had last year.
When Dr. Galante put in my implants he said I might eventually want a lift. Ten years after the augmentation, the implants didn’t move, but due to gravity, everything else did. So, I had my breasts lifted this past October.

“This is the patient 10 years after her breast augmentation,” Dr. Galante says. “You can see how the age-related changes have affected the shape of the breast. She underwent an implant exchange with a slightly larger volume and a breast lift to improve the shape.”

At one point you never dreamed you’d have plastic surgery, but now you’ve had three treatments. Why were you hesitant?
I had three kids…and kids are expensive! The cost [of plastic surgery] is not cheap, but it was worth every penny. As a hairdresser I felt it was important to look my best. You’re not going to have your hair done by someone whose appearance isn’t good.

You used Dr. Galante for all three treatments. What do you like about him so much?
I’ve known him for years. I trust him wholeheartedly. He’s down to earth. He’ll tell you right off the bat if he doesn’t think a treatment is right for you or if what you want doesn’t work with your body proportions.

What do your husband, family and friends think?
My husband thinks I look great. My oldest daughter just had a baby and said when she’s finished having kids she’s going to Dr. Galante. My college-aged clients say they want to look like I do when they’re my age! I’ve sent three or four of my clients to Dr. Galante. I was confident about how I looked before, but knew that I could look even better.

A note from Dr. Galante: 

“Chris’ story is not uncommon to women who have gone through several pregnancies. The breasts may undergo involutional changes and may appear deflated. The tummy skin and muscles stretch out. These patients consult with me to get the figures they once had before children.
Performed separately or simultaneously, these procedures make up what’s commonly referred to as the “mommy makeover.” Chris was emotionally and physically an excellent candidate for these procedures.”


Dr. Gus Galante

322 Indianapolis Blvd., Suite 103
Schererville, IN 46375

Tel:  (219) 322-3131
Fax: (219) 322-9494
Email: info@galantemd.com


{Life Changing Plastic Surgery Stories} Dr. LoTempio made this woman “whole again.”

Lauren Cahn, a yoga instructor from Westchester, N.Y., was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Little did she know, it was just the beginning of a nightmare that would last almost eight years.

Lauren opted for implants immediately after her mastectomy but a botched implant job left her breasts looking “hard as rocks” and “square.” To add insult to injury, one ruptured just a year later.

Take two: Lauren got new and improved implants but soon after, suffered a fourth-degree burn to one from a heating pad. Disgusted, disheartened and traumatized by the whole experience, Lauren was ready to call it quits and accept spending the rest of her life completely flat chested.

A doctor recommended she meet with one more surgeon, Dr. Maria LoTempio, one of the only doctors in the world performing breast reconstruction using autologous (the patient’s own) tissue. Hesitant, Lauren sent off a few pictures to Dr. LoTempio and when she was deemed an ideal candidate, she underwent her third breast reconstruction surgery.

Lauren, who now has two of the “most beautiful, perky” breasts and a “bonus” butt lift says it was one the best decisions of her life.

When you were first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, what were your options?
There were no options besides implants. The only kind of body tissue breast reconstruction they were doing at that time was through the stomach and I really didn’t have enough fat there to create one, let alone, two breasts.

Did you get implants at the time of your mastectomy?
Yes, the cancer doctor finished her surgery and the plastic surgeon went right in. They used implants that were also the expanders. It was a terrible disaster.

How so?
Before the surgery, I had been a 32C, sometimes a 32D. I thought after surgery, I was going to look exactly the way I did before. My breasts ended up being as hard as rocks and square because there was a lot of scar tissue around them. Less than a year later, one of them ruptured and had to be replaced. I was very unhappy.

Left: Lauren in 2000 before breast cancer.  Right: Lauren after breast reconstruction #1.

At what point did you get them redone?
I kept them for three years, until I heard about another doctor who was doing silicone implants with aloederm over them for softness. I had the old implants removed and replaced with new ones by this doctor. The implants were much smaller. At first, it looked really good, but then, within a year I started sprouting more scar tissue. Everything started hardening up and looking square again. I didn’t fit into any bras.

At that point you had two breast reconstruction surgeries that you were unhappy with. Were you considering a third?
For the next four years, little by little I began looking into any other options. I read about a procedure where they take flesh from the buttocks but my understanding was I wouldn’t be able to sit or exercise for months. As a yoga instructor, this was disheartening. I don’t want to be told I can’t do something.

What happened next?
In the fall of 2009 I suffered a burn to my right breast from a heating pad. It never fully healed and by January of the next year, I was developing a Staph infection. Doctors in the hospital told me it was a fourth degree burn and that they could see my implant through my skin. I had the implant removed which was very sad to me because the whole point of having the double mastectomy was to look symmetrical. Now, I wasn’t. After a week in the hospital, 60 days of hyperbaric treatment that didn’t work, two surgeries and wearing a wound vac for two months, I had given up. I went to my plastic surgeon to tell them that I wanted to have the other implant removed and would spend the rest of my life completely flat chested. I was 43 at the time.

What did the doctor tell you when you told him you decided to be flat chested?
He said ‘You must not make that decision. You can’t give up.’ and referred me to Dr. Maria LoTempio, who he said does a surgery where they make a breast of flesh from your buttocks. I said ‘Oh no, I heard about that and it sounds really debilitating.’ He said what I heard wasn’t true.

How soon after that did you meet with Dr. LoTempio?
I spoke to her that day. I sent pictures to her because she was in South Carolina at the time. Through the photos she was able to tell me that I was a candidate for this and she could definitely make two small breasts. She sent me for an MRI to have my arteries looked at to make sure there was a good harvestable blood supply. I went to South Carolina for the surgery. I had to have it the week my youngest son was graduating from elementary school which was challenging. He was angry.

Why did you have the surgery in South Carolina?
At the time they didn’t offer it in New York. The care involved is so intense. It felt like I was the only patient in the whole hospital. This type of surgery requires a lot of watching and waiting. I was on a lot of painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills to relax me. Basically, for five days I was sedated.

How long were you in the hospital?
Seven days because they were extra careful. I was in South Carolina for another three days after that, because Dr. LoTempio didn’t want me to leave until ten days had passed. She has it down to a science. She knows exactly how many days it takes for your cells to regenerate and your blood supply to be made permanent. After that, I flew home and recovered there. I was able to sit, walk, and eventually, run and drive. I was able to do yoga within three months of the surgery.

Left: After breast reconstruction #2.  Right: 2 months post-surgery with Dr. Lotempio.

And we hear you also got an extra “bonus”?
I had a butt lift! The tissue for my breast was grafted from there. I had a little more junk in the trunk before. Now, its a little flatter on the top but I still have a nice round bottom. There’s no cellulite. It’s very tight. I wear True Religion jeans which is a brand I wouldn’t be able to wear otherwise!
And since two or three years passed, everything is still okay?
Everything is great!