New Jersey Woman Has Radical Body Sculpting Surgery
“When a patient has a large amount of skin and fat of the lower abdomen, it is really a vicious cycle. It prevents her from exercising and leads to more weight gain. This procedure allows us to break this cycle and give patients their lives back. Helen is an amazing woman who always puts others first. The first thing Helen asked me when she woke up was, ‘How are you feeling Dr. Ashinoff?’ Her great attitude really helped the recovery process.” Dr. Ashinoff
For Helen Lockhart, it was a near-death experience that resulted in her gaining a new life. Lockhart, who has been overweight her entire life, had reached a high of 370 pounds (she is 5’2 ½” tall), resulting in a series of infections in the skin of her lower abdomen. In May 2011, one of those infections resulted in a 104-degree fever, a subsequent week-long hospitalization, and I.V. antibiotics. “It almost killed me,” declared the 45-year-old Whiting, New Jersey resident.
That’s when her primary care doctor told her, “I think I know someone who can help you.” That someone was New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Russell Ashinoff of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, NJ.
Lockhart described her first meeting with Ashinoff, “He spoke to me for a few minutes and asked to see the infection. Most doctors would just pull off the cover and look, but he took care to place a blanket over me.” His kindness immediately impressed her.
Following her recovery from the infection, she went to the offices of The Plastic Surgery Center, where Dr. Ashinoff explained to Lockhart, her mother, and her sister, the operation that would remove the excess skin of her lower stomach and repair her abdominal hernia. This skin, which hung to her knees, was the site of recurrent infections and severely restricted her ability to move around.
On September 27, 2011, Helen Lockhart had her post-bariatric surgery. The surgery was designed to take off the excess skin and fat from her lower abdomen. The weight Dr. Ashinoff took off, coupled with what she has lost through subsequent diet and exercise, accounts for 86 total pounds.
According to Dr. Ashinoff, “When a patient has a large amount of skin and fat in the lower abdomen, it is really a vicious cycle. It prevents her from exercising and leads to more weight gain. This procedure allows us to break this cycle and give patients their lives back. Helen is an amazing woman who always puts others first. The first thing Helen asked me when she woke up was, ‘How are you feeling, Dr. Ashinoff?’ Her great attitude really helped the recovery process.”
Following the surgery, she spent nearly three months at Laurelton Village Rehabilitation Center in Brick, New Jersey, where they offer all types of physical therapy. Her experience led her to plan on returning to volunteer to assist other patients. “They called me the cheerleader of the floor since I was always encouraging other patients.”
Currently, Lockhart walks outside a half-hour daily, supplemented with a build-up of more walking time on her indoor treadmill—all of which she has been able to do as a result of her surgery. “I can walk better, breathe better. I can do everything better,” she testifies.
“The surgery was a lot to do, but I’m glad I did it, and I’d do it again. I’m very happy,” says Lockhart.
As for Dr. Ashinoff, Helen Lockhart reserves the highest praise, “He’s the kindest and compassionate man ever.”