A date with the doctor, a year after

 Dr. Dennis C. Tan. The cosmetic surgeon behind the mask.

It was a “most fulfilling date” that took more than a decade—a very long ten years, to finally happen.

Muffin top was what I was, though it never was obvious hidden under clothes and disguised by the towering height and lean physique. It was different when clothes were shed. The man in the mirror was a pear.

My waistline was taken in the 80s after a non-professional (read: my way) weight gain program when summer breaks were a six meals a day and sleep days. It was successful but mass distribution was erroneous.

Exercise and proper diet became an addiction in the 1990s and the 2000’s. From the time I built muscles until my head appeared to be shrunken to the time I went on a slimming diet, my waistline was still absent, and worse, my LDL was way above average level. I had to win it back and the only way I can liberate my waist from its informal settlers was by a drastic measure— liposuction. Dr. Dennis C. Tan to the rescue.

My handsome date on July 5, 2013 had fun harvesting the fats from my belly.

I’ve known Dennis from way back when he was in medical school at Davao Medical School Foundation. Upon graduating he took up his specialization in Aesthetic Cosmetic Surgery at the King Chulalongkorn University Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. At 42, he’s pretty much one of the top go-to guys in Davao for those wanting and needing enhancements. 

“The intrigue of beauty,” the doctor replied when asked why he chose to be a cosmetic surgeon, a unique discipline of medicine focused on enhancing appearance through surgical and medical techniques, “and I want to help patients become more appealing for their age, to look their best for that age, which can boost self-esteem and give a more positive body image.” Then he added, ”But looking one’s best does not mean becoming 19 again. It is essential, from the start, that we don’t offer any delusions of a return to youth or molding anyone into a twin of their ‘idealized’ person.”

The good patient at the BM & DG Cosmetic Surgery Center. Ready to shed off the unwanted belly fat.

He works as surgeon and CEO at the first state of the art ambulatory cosmetic surgicenter in Davao, Bethany Medical & Dental Group, located at Level 2, Suite 8, Carlson’s Plaza, corner N. Torres & Lapu Lapu streets. The one-stop aesthetic center is supported by a team of Filipino doctors— surgeons, anesthesiologist, internist, dermatologist and dentist, who takes pride in its holistic and traditional Asian services in treating and entertaining clients with assorted aesthetic & cosmetic needs. Health and beauty-conscious Dabawenyos need not go far away for that home for cost-effective makeovers.

Since practicing cosmetic surgery in the city eight years ago, Dennis has gained the trust of numerous clients from ages 18 to 70, both locally and abroad, which he gained by word of mouth from other gratified clients.

The number of referrals is still growing especially upon knowing that it’s about 50% cheaper compared to the other major cities like Manila and Cebu. “Our OFW and out of the country patients could attest to that. Our patients usually are motivated to travel here since the cost of our procedures are very affordable even if they include their plane fares and hotel accommodation on top of the cost of their procedures. We aim to give the best price for all the procedures that we do,” said this surgeon.

From the long list of procedures the center offers, liposuction, breast augmentation, nose lift, eyebag removal are the services regularly requested. His favorite though is Liposculpture. “The gold standard when it comes to the removal of fats is still liposuction, and Liposculpture is where the surgeon can go beyond removing and suctioning out excess fats. He becomes an artist sculpting human bodies for the most appropriate shape by analyzing and doing a three dimensional approach to achieve balance and pleasing result on the body. It’s a very safe and fast procedure and we do most of it with the patients fully awake.” he said. 

That said, I finally gathered the nerve to lie on the table at 48 years old, after ten or so many years of toying with the idea. I was an ideal candidate for liposuction—willing (more wanting), was within 10 to 25 pounds of my body weight, still good skin elasticity, in a balanced diet and a regular exercise program, most importantly, I passed the necessary tests and got medical clearance.

Pre-liposuction mapping & documenting...

An hour and half hours after 10AM on July 5, 2013, I won my waistline back after flushing out 1.3 liters of culprits that hugged and hid my waistline for decades. Of course, avoided looking at it as it passed through the tubes that was beside me, and the scene in front of me- Dennis having fun harvesting the fats.

I’m ready & you can’t tell I’m shaking. Won’t dare look at the procedure.

“Hello there curved waist, it’s nice to see you again. It’s been a while,” I said as soon as I got up the table.

This is the "before." The "after" held 1.3 liters of my fats….YES, it was that much!

The pain? Surprisingly during my time on the table, there was none at all. My fear of pain was unfounded, and that drained me more than the procedure did. As for post-operation, there was minor discomfort and tolerable pain pretty much like the “pamaol” you experience when you do sit-ups for the first-time. I didn’t have to take pain relievers and was fine the day after. I had to wear my binder for a month though, it was to aid in fusing the skin to the muscles.

Post-op photo-op with the doctor

Believe it or not, a size of a grain of sand from the collected substance in the beaker felt like concentrated oil, very, very slimy to the feel. “That’s the steak you had for years,” Dennis kidded me. “Exercise and watch you diet from now on. Although Xenecal can block fat absorption from the food you take, there is no help with desserts as the sugar will turn to fats.” 

Surgeon, patient & support group. Doc Dennis, Boo Maramba & the doc’s wife, Dentist Carla Tan.

For a year now I did what the doctor advised and still managed to fit in size 32” jeans (from size 34-36” pre-lipo procedure). From my trampoline and hula hoops, I went back to yoga and threw in a few more high intensity disciplines as well while keeping track of what I take in—no red meat, lots of veggies and fruits, nothing fried or too oily, a few sweet treats—to keep my cholesterol in check, which jumpstarted this whole process in the first place. (LDL, you’re going and staying down!)

“The most fulfilling part of your profession?” I asked Dennis, and his answer was, “Just to see the smile on my patient’s faces, is enough fulfillment for me knowing that they are happy with the procedure that was done on them. Happy patients mean happy doctors.”

He added my name on his list of happy patients, and I’m very proud to share this experience. At my age, I believe it will always boil down to doing whatever makes me feel good, happy and contented.

How about you, what will make you happy?
Dr. Dennis C. Tan entertains inquiries about BM&DG’s choice services through landline +63 82 227-7877 and email:dr.dennis.tan@gmail.com.


For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ and http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 13, 2014.