Brenda Krimmer likes nothing better than getting outside on her lunch hour for a brisk walk along downtown Cincinnati’s scenic riverfront. The 25-year employee of Great American Insurance Company who once weighed 280 pounds now walks with ease and pride. She has developed a new sense of self-confidence in her appearance thanks to two procedures at TriHealth that helped her lose excess weight and excess skin.
Her transformation began in 2015 at age 50, when she had gastric bypass weight loss surgery with George Kerlakian, MD, with TriHealth Weight Management at TriHealth's Good Samaritan Hospital. During her first year after surgery, Brenda altered her eating habits, walked vigorously and lost 100 pounds.
“Before the surgery, I was taking cholesterol medicine and metformin for diabetes,” Brenda says. Now, the only “medicines” she takes are daily vitamins. As pleased as she is about her weight loss success, Brenda wasn’t happy with extra folds of skin on her abdomen, legs and arms that didn’t shrink back into place when her weight decreased.
Brenda and her husband, Pete, began discussing what she could do to get rid of the extra skin. After Dr. Kerlakian’s office recommended some plastic surgeons, Brenda made an appointment to see Binh Nguyen, MD, a plastic surgeon at the TriHealth Cosmetic Surgery & Rejuvenation Center.
“Dr. Nguyen was great,” she says. “He’s very personal. I couldn’t ask for any better doctor. I called once when we were still in the decision-making process and left a message on a Saturday. Dr. Nguyen called me back himself the same day. What doctor does that?” she marvels.
When Brenda expressed to Dr. Nguyen a desire to have skin removed from her legs, stomach and arms all at one time, Dr. Nguyen said it was not advisable to do three major surgeries at once. He emphasized safety first and counseled her to focus on two of her most severe problem areas. They decided on an abdominoplasty and thighplasty.
The first procedure, a Fleur-de-Lis abdominoplasty, is named for the shape of the skin removed, in both the upper and lower abdomen. The surgery requires a cut that runs under the bikini line and a vertical incision down the abdomen to remove the skin overhang and tighten the waist line. The thighplasty involves incisions on the inner thigh from the groin to the knee to lift and tighten the thighs. It takes a surgeon with both technical skill and aesthetic talent to re-sculpt the body to achieve its best possible appearance.
The early-morning surgery in March 2018 went well, and Brenda was fully awake by mid-afternoon. Although most patients stay overnight, Brenda wanted to go home. “I felt good,” she says. “I didn’t want to stay. I went home, and Dr. Nguyen called me that night. I told him that I was taking medicine to stay ahead of the pain and I’d see him at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. When I arrived for my appointment, he looked at me and said, ‘Amazing!’”
Brenda had surgery on a Monday and went back to work eight days later. Although she admits she pushed herself a little too hard in getting back to work so quickly, she is thankful for the overall result. She is totally pleased with the tightness of the skin on her stomach and her legs.
Although she is still recovering her stamina, “I’m very active. I bowl on Wednesday nights, and I’m much more comfortable. It’s easier to get around and maneuver. I feel better and get a lot of compliments. My neighbor recently told me, ‘You just look great!’”
Brnda’s advice to others considering the dilemma of extra skin following major weight loss is “You need to feel comfortable in your own body. Walking was uncomfortable for me before, but I’m not one to sit idle. Doing these procedures gives you an incentive to get out there and do things. I’m keeping up with my 2-year-old grandbaby. I get down on the floor and play with her. I’m very pleased with the results.”