After a lifetime trapped in her body, Charisse changed her relationship with food and lost 192 pounds. Left with painful loose skin, she researched plastic surgeons with body lift experience in Houston and reached out to Dr. Basu for help.
Over 300 pounds at her heaviest, Charisse recalls the moment on a cruise ship that pushed her to change her life. As her body grew smaller, the extra skin became an uncomfortable daily reminder of the person she left behind.
With Dr. Basu’s help, Charisse planned a body transformation in three stages, beginning with a circumferential body lift, fat transfer, and arm lift. Eighteen months later, she underwent a breast lift and back lift, and is now preparing for a thigh lift for the third and final stage of her transformation.
Today Charisse is a self-described “gym rat” who dances competitively and refuses to believe there is an age limit on investing in confidence.
See Charisse’s before and after photos
Read more about Body Lift surgery
Read more about Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Bob Basu
Take a screen shot of this or any podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment to receive $50 off any service at Basu Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics.
Basu Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics is located in Northwest Houston in the Towne Lake area of Cypress. To learn more about the practice or ask a question, go to basuplasticsurgery.com/podcast.
On Instagram, follow Dr. Basu and the team @basuplasticsurgery
Behind the Double Doors is a production of The Axis.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
This is Behind the Double Doors With Dr. Bob Basu.
Dr. Bob Basu (00:12):
Today, my guest is someone very special. She is a patient who had a remarkable story and we’re honored that she is willing to tell it for our audience. And for those who are thinking about doing what she did. Welcome Charisse. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, Dr. Basu, thank you for having me on your podcast. I’m excited to be here. And a little bit about myself. I am in my mid fifties, I spent many, many years of my life as a heavy woman who was kind of trapped in that. By the grace of God, found my way out and found my way to you. Had a big change in my life, and it’s opened a lot of doors for me.
Dr. Bob Basu (00:47):
So you mentioned that you lost a lot of weight before we met. Tell me a little bit about that, how did you do that?
I found myself in my early fifties and I was over 300 pounds and just couldn’t break it. I mean, I dieted, I fought the fight and I could lose-
Dr. Bob Basu (01:03):
50 pounds, I lost 100 pounds before. But I could never maintain that, it seemed like it was just beyond my reach. One night I had a really kind of a divine intervention, God delivered me from my food addiction and revealed that to me. And from that day forward, it changed the way I ate and the way I saw food and the way I used food. I used to use food for every kind of emotional need. So if I was sad, I ate, if I was happy, I ate. Everything was about eating. And even if I took a trip, my trips all revolved around where I could eat or how I could get the most food. And then it changed. I stepped out and started using food for nutrition and only for nutrition and started exercising. I started dancing, I became kind of a gym rat and just changed things. And I say every day is, thank you God, for my weight loss and my healthy life because it’s still the most precious thing to me.
Dr. Bob Basu (01:57):
So how much weight did you lose in total?
Altogether, about 192 pounds.
Dr. Bob Basu (02:02):
Wow, amazing. Amazing. And you’ve kept it off and remained healthy.
I’ve kept it off for over four years. Now. The difference in who I was and who I am is crazy.
Dr. Bob Basu (02:12):
Charisse, you mentioned that you lost close to 200 pounds. Can you tell me the first procedure that you opted for?
Well, the first procedure that I ever had that had to do with weight loss was the circumferential body lift. I didn’t have any procedure to lose weight. That truly was a divine thing, God truly did deliver me from a food addiction. I did not realize I was addicted to food, which sounds funny because I promise you anybody that knew me or was around me for more than five minutes, knew it was no different than being around an alcoholic. You can see that they’re drunk. Well, I was constantly eating, in search of food, planning food. And so that was the weight loss piece of that. But the very first procedure that I had was with you, the circumferential body lift with my arms and that. And I’m grateful for that.
Dr. Bob Basu (02:59):
And for our listeners, a circumferential body lift is really multiple procedures in one. It includes an extended tummy tuck that transforms the front and includes a waist reduction in a lateral thigh lift. It also includes a lower back lift and a buttock lift as well, too. And for a lot of patients, we can do gluteal or buttock augmentation at the same time. So a circumferential body lift is really a 360 transformation for the entire lower torso. And so truly a transformative procedure.
It really is. It’s amazing. It really is amazing. You have to see it to believe it. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve taken my clothes off for. But that helps people understand that it’s okay.
Dr. Bob Basu (03:42):
So Charisse, was there an exact moment that pushed you over the edge where you said, “I’m going to do this now. I’m going to do something to remove this loose skin.” Or was it gradual?
No, there was a moment. I like to travel and I like to take cruises. And so I was on a cruise ship and I’d find myself on the cruise ship, sitting up on the deck and watching all the people dance. And a variety of ages from young to old. But for whatever reason, I saw myself as incapable. I had danced probably the first 15, 20 years of my life. And that was my passion, that’s the thing I love to do most. And I had lost that when I lost myself through getting heavy and all that journey. And I looked across the deck and saw these people dancing. And I thought to myself in my mind, “If they only knew that someday it was going to be their last moment to dance. Nobody told me when it was my last moment and now I’m too old.”
I really thought I was too old. I had put myself in this mindset that because where I was with my body, I must be old. And when I got home, I found my way back into dance. It started with changing the weight loss part of it. And through the weight loss, I wanted to change my body and I wanted to be able to dance and have the availability to wear the costumes. But it really was that moment on that cruise ship when I realized what I had lost and I thought at the moment that I’d lost it forever. Only to realize later that it wasn’t forever, it was really self inflicted and that I just had to make the right choices. And I had to step out and do the work and utilize the resources to make those changes. Now, as you know, I dance competitively, there’s not a problem with my age or my physicality. I just feel like God gave me a second chance.
Dr. Bob Basu (05:25):
So before you had the plastic surgery procedures, how did the extra skin impact you socially before surgery?
It’s funny, I always thought that if I lost the weight, I wouldn’t care about the skin. Because you’d just be so grateful to not have the weight, but you do care. First of all, it’s painful. People don’t realize that I had a lot of weight around my waist and that weight sagged and it sagged more and more over time. I’m convinced that if I hadn’t had it removed, it would eventually hung down to my knees. It was kind of like everything else, gravity works against you. And so at night, sometimes it would be so sore, I would put heating pad just to make it quit aching from where it hung.
So I wore a lot of clothes that would suck it up. A lot of spanks, a lot of girdle type garments, just anything that might hold that skin in. But then it also changed what I could wear. So what my upper body and waist might fit into, my lower body wouldn’t. So I would have to have things made a certain way, so that I could disguise that. And I was very self-conscious about it because I felt like I was one person who was still trapped in this body that wasn’t quite right. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure it would ever be right.
Dr. Bob Basu (06:33):
So I was almost back where I was except I didn’t have the weight, I still felt like I was locked into a bad situation.
Dr. Bob Basu (06:39):
Do you remember how you found us? And what research did you do? And ultimately what made you choose us for your plastic surgery?
I’m glad you asked that. Because I am super picky and I am a researcher. So first thing I did is I got on the internet and I started searching plastic surgeons in my area and I narrowed that down. The only thing that scared me in the beginning was these surgical suites. And that really scared me, the concept of not going into a hospital to have such a significant procedure. I thought, “My gosh, and what if something happens to me?” And so I found myself again, back on the phone asking questions. And I learned very quickly that if you’re running the right kind of surgical suite and it’s subject to the inspections and all the different things, that it’s actually probably better than the hospital because it has a lower infection rate. And then I came in and then once I met you, you took so much time to talk to me. You weren’t hurrying me, you didn’t put me in a box. You just let me evolve and ask the questions that I had. It was very organic and I felt like I mattered. And so that was the cherry on top.
Dr. Bob Basu (07:44):
Well, we’re very thankful that you trusted us with your journey. So thank you very much. Let’s talk about your surgical experience. Tell us about the day of your surgery. What was it like for you, for your first surgery?
The day of my surgery was a pleasant surprise, actually. I was concerned that I was going to be very nervous and apprehensive. You gave me what I needed the night before and I slept through the night. And I got up that morning and I was so surprised that I was excited to go to surgery. And my daughter drove me and we talked the whole way. And when we got there and it was very explained to me, we took pictures, you drew all over me. And I’ll tell you the truth, I understood the procedure, but the magnitude of it was really exposed when you began to draw on me. And then I really saw the change, it was even better than what I was anticipating.
And then the other funny thing was, I was excited to meet the anesthesiologist. And just as I walked in, she came over to greet me and it’s the last thing I remembered until I woke up at my daughter’s house. But it was wonderful, very calm and relaxing. Everybody made sure I understood what was happening. And they told me what was going to come next and they introduced themselves to me. And again, I felt like I really, really mattered and that mattered to me. So I felt special.
Dr. Bob Basu (08:57):
Fantastic. In terms of your recovery, who was helping you with your recovery at home?
My daughter. And she did a good job and same thing. A lot of support was given to her to make sure she knew how to assist me with my drains and how to chart everything and how to keep up with my medication. And then, Susan, my nurse, she called a couple of days in a row after surgery to make sure that my pain management was under control and everything was good. And I was following what I was supposed to do. And really supported my daughter, never did we feel like we were just out there by ourselves, winging it. We always felt like we had support. And I really felt like I was in good hands because I knew you were just a phone call away.
Dr. Bob Basu (09:35):
You raise an important point, like a lot of people are concerned about opting for elective surgery. Whether it be plastic surgery after weight loss or any procedure because they’re worried about the pain. And can you share with us a little bit about how your experience with pain after surgery was?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). There was pain after surgery, but again, pleasantly surprised. I have a family history with narcotic issues, I don’t personally, but I had a family member that struggled with that. So you and I talked about it and you enabled me to pick Tramadol for my pain medication, which is a fairly light, mild pain medication. My pain was so managed from the things that you do during the procedure that I really didn’t need a lot of Tramadol. On the first surgery, which was that circumferential body lift, I took pain medication for basically two days and then I transitioned over to Tylenol. And I think whatever secret thing you do while we’re on the operating table, it works well. It works very well.
Dr. Bob Basu (10:32):
I think part of that special sauce is we love using long acting numbing medicine.
Dr. Bob Basu (10:37):
It’s a medication called Exparel, that dissolves slowly over time and it really numbs out the tissue and the areas where we’re working for at least 72 hours. It’s been a big game changer for all of our patients having body contouring procedures. So I think your proof positive that we can have patients have rather extensive procedures, like a full circumferential body lift and they are only taking pain pills for maybe one or two days after surgery, if that.
Dr. Bob Basu (11:03):
So the nerve blocks work like a charm. Recovery is also a big, important concern for patients. How long did it take before you felt like you were truly back to normal after your body lift procedure?
I would say after about somewhere around that third or fourth week, I was feeling pretty good, but I wouldn’t have said I was completely back to normal. It probably really was more like four to six weeks. It was probably another 30 days in the gym before I was dancing the way I’d danced before. But I felt great the whole time. And so I always knew that it was just a matter of working back to where I’d been.
Dr. Bob Basu (11:38):
If you listen to our other episodes on our podcast, you’ll know that I often say in some procedures that you have to accept some degree of scar to achieve that transformational form or scar for better form.
Dr. Bob Basu (11:50):
Can you describe your scars? And would you ever go back or do you feel like the scars are totally worth it?
The scars are 150% worth it. I would never miss the blessing that I had by doing the procedures. So I have a few little scars. I’m going to tell you something, when I’m standing in my bathroom mirror in my birthday suit. But you let me get dressed and go somewhere, I look like a million bucks. I would do-
Dr. Bob Basu (12:13):
It a thousand times over. Yeah, it’s incredible. I mean, it really is. There’s days I just feel like I won the lottery, to be honest.
Dr. Bob Basu (12:23):
Well, you’re the perfect patient and it makes me so happy to hear that. Not only are you healthy after your weight loss, but you’re living life to the fullest after your plastic surgery procedure. And you’re right, that’s what it’s all about.
Dr. Bob Basu (12:34):
It’s living life to the fullest.
Dr. Bob Basu (12:37):
Did anything surprise you after surgery? Was there anything you were not expecting?
Well, I think the only thing that surprised me is how I saw myself. You know, I expected…So let’s take the first surgery, I expected to see improvement. But I didn’t expect the magnitude of improvement that I had. And so that was shocking to me. I thought I would never feel about another surgery like I did the first one, that was so dramatic for me. But the second one was actually more dramatic. When they took all my bandages off the first time and I stood there, it took everything in me to not cry. I still stand in front of the mirror, my daughter told me the other night, “Mother, put clothes on.” I just can’t believe that it’s me. And so you cannot prepare yourself for the excitement of what it’s really going to be like. It’s 10 times better than you’ll ever think. And so it’s really amazing. And I really do stand in front of the mirror and just think, “I cannot believe that this really is me.”
Dr. Bob Basu (13:34):
So Charisse, you’ve got a lot of experience with this, you’ve done your homework. What would you tell someone who’s thinking about having any kind of plastic surgery after losing a lot of weight? What advice would you have for them?
I’d tell them to live their life. You may not even think you do. I never saw myself as a victim, I always saw myself as a victor. But I can look back now and see that I lived my life somewhat on some things as a victim/ like thinking that I couldn’t dance anymore or thinking that I couldn’t work out hard or that certain things wouldn’t be right for me because maybe I was old or what have you. That’s all lies we tell ourselves.
And so I think the same thing holds true for plastic surgery. I have more people ask me at my age, did I think that that was really an appropriate thing to do? As if I’m fixing a keel over dead? I’ll say, “Of course, it is.” If you wake up on planet earth alive and well, you need to live your life in your best life. We’re supposed to have our best life, our best days are in front of us. And so if that’s plastic surgery so that you feel empowered to do something or you feel more confident about yourself, then I think that’s exactly what you should do. I don’t think that we should let anything, whether it be our age, anything like that limit us. We need to make those things happen and make our dreams come true.
Dr. Bob Basu (14:46):
Great advice. So one more question, what would you tell someone who’s listening about how to look for a plastic surgeon?
Well, I think exactly what I did was the right thing. Start with looking in your area and find someone. If you can get a referral, go with the referral or if you know somebody. But do your homework and be responsible, this is your life and your health. And so it’s not just a matter of, can you afford it? I don’t want to address that for a second. I’ve had a lot of people say, “Well, I’m going to go over here because they have this buy one, get one free. Or if you do it on this day, it’s half price.” And I was like, “Is that really where you’re going to put your health and your best effort?” We have to be good consumers, no matter what product it is we’re shopping for. So if somebody starts to research and they do good research, the right doctor’s going to always rise at the top. And so they just have to do their research. I’m real big on that.
Dr. Bob Basu (15:36):
Great advice. I couldn’t say it better. It’s fantastic advice. I think it’s an important point, weight loss contouring is a process. I know everyone wants to snap their fingers and have one surgery and you’re all done. But I think it’s important for patients to prioritize their areas of concern. We look at their overall health status and we do try to do multiple procedures at once, but sometimes it’s really wise and safe to come back and fight another day and stage things.
Dr. Bob Basu (16:01):
Charisse has been very kind to allow us to share her before, after pictures. We have tons of her before, after pictures illustrating her transformation. So check out the show notes to see her transformation. Charisse, I want to thank you for visiting with us on our podcast. You’re an inspiration to many of our listeners and you’re an inspiration to me as a surgeon. Your story is completely inspiring and you’re the epitome of a transformative life and living life to the fullest. So thank you so much for being with us. Thank you so much for telling your story.
Thank you, Dr. Basu. I’m just honored and I’m so appreciative of all that you’ve done for me. You’ve changed my life. I told … I can’t … the anesthesiologist, is it Dr. Firat?
Dr. Bob Basu (16:42):
Dr. Firat. That’s right.
Dr. Firat. Yes, I told her at the grand opening, I said, “Y’all, don’t realize it, but y’all make people’s dreams come true. You’re dream makers.” And so you can call yourself surgeons or whatever, but you’re dream makers. And I appreciate that. It’s changed my life exponentially and I’ll be forever grateful.
Dr. Bob Basu (16:59):
Gratitude on this Thanksgiving weekend. It’s about gratitude.
Yeah. It is.
Dr. Bob Basu (17:04):
Basu Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery is located in Northwest Houston in the Towne Lake in area of Cypress. If you’d like to be a guest or ask a question for Dr. Basu to answer on the podcast, go to BasuPlasticSurgery.com/podcast. On Instagram follow Dr. Basu and the team @ BasuPlasticSurgery. That’s BasuPlasticSurgery. Behind the Double Doors is a production of The Axis. TheAxis.io.
Contact us today to learn more about Houston body lift options with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bob Basu.
About the Podcast: Behind the Double Doors
Dr. Basu’s aesthetic surgery podcast is called Behind the Double Doors: The Houston Plastic Surgery Podcast. On this podcast, Dr. Basu takes you beyond the doors of the operating room to learn about plastic surgery and non-surgical medical aesthetics. Hear from Dr. Basu and the team of professionals who support patients before, during, and after surgery and learn what really goes into taking care of patients and ensuring great outcomes.
Behind the Double Doors can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and anywhere else that you listen to podcasts.