Comfortable in her own skin

Last Modified: 9/25/2019

This story was shared by B. Clark, a PPG – Plastic Surgery patient.

After a sleeve gastrectomy, I lost 115 pounds over three years. To complete that journey, I wanted to remove the excess skin that was hanging on my abdomen and legs.

About a year ago, I began looking at plastic surgeons. I even explored options out of the country. I learned about Kevin Berning, MD, PPG – Plastic Surgery. He had 20 years of experience and had worked with a lot of burn patients. I’m a nurse practitioner, so I know how fragile skin can be, especially for a burn patient. If he can handle that, I knew he could handle my case. It was important for me to know my doctor had longevity and worked on critical cases.

The experience

My consult was in November. When I first came in, the nurses were so welcoming. I felt like I’d walked into a family room. When it was time for my exam, you know, it can be an uncomfortable situation. When Dr. Berning came in, before he did anything, he sat down beside me and asked me what I was interested in. I told him that I wanted to get rid of a lot of skin. He asked me what was most important to me, and I told him it was my abdomen. He explained and walked me through the entire process, including how they prepare the abdominal walls, where the incisions will be and what the scars would look like. He was very conservative and classy. The entire consult was seamless.

I had surgery on February 8. I was nervous but excited. The people in the operating room (OR) were phenomenal – like none I’ve ever met. I remember one of the team members said, “You ready for a new body?” I didn’t know any of them, but they were so great. Another nurse put her hand on my hand and said, “Sweet dreams, you’re going to wake up beautiful.” The surgery was six hours long.

The recovery

The follow-up process was also seamless. The staff was so complimentary and helpful. They would tell me what to expect and what was normal. One of the nurses had been through skin removal surgery, so she knew right where I was, which was really nice.

Today, I feel like a rock star! I’m 46, so I’m not a kid anymore. I had a child when I was 19, so my body had not been, in my own eyes, what I wanted it to be. I didn’t feel beautiful. Now I feel like a kid again. I have a belly button! I just want to show it to everyone. I have a new lease on life. I feel awake and alive and in control of my body again. My clothes fit right, and it’s just a fun feeling.

I would tell someone who’s thinking of having the surgery not to wait. Same with the weight loss surgery. The weight and the skin holds you back from so many things in life. Don’t let it.

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