My tummy and boobs have been the best thing that i have ever done!! The whole experience with Secret Surgery was first class!! I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to get more surgery with Secret Surgery in the future.
Mrs L from Northern Ireland
Angela Chouaib, MD and founder of Secret Surgery Ltd., has recently been had an exclusive interview with Business Traveller – and in it, she told the story of how Secret Surgery began. It’s one that should interest all of our readers, since Angela began her story just like most of you – unhappy and looking for somewhere to have high-quality, affordable surgery. Want to know how she turned this into the opportunity of a lifetime? Read on to find out…
“My name is Angela Chouaib. In 2009 I was in the same position as many others are now – trawling the internet, leafing through piles of medical marketing literature and altogether overwhelmed by the options available to a woman considering cosmetic surgery. Surely there was an easier way? I remember asking myself.
My frustration was compounded by more than just the search for a perfect plastic surgeon. Having shed 10 stone through weight-loss surgery, I now had to face the long wait until I’d ascended the NHS waiting list. The length of time I would have to wait would be two years. I needed an alternative solution. There were so many factors that I had to take into consideration in making a decision, from the cost of the procedure to the safety, skill and reputation of the surgeon.
In April 2010 I flew from the UK, to have my long awaited tummy tuck. Any previous reservations I had were unfounded – not only was the customer care exemplary, but the treatment exceeded all my expectations! I returned a short time later for a breast reduction and uplift and Vaser Liposuction to reshape my thighs.
When I returned home from my second procedure, I couldn’t help but feel the hospital and surgeon deserved more recognition. Back in the UK people were paying exorbitant rates for treatments they could receive in Poland for a fraction of the fees, and with the same level of expertise, safety, and professionalism as was offered in the UK.
My life changing and positive experience of elective cosmetic surgery in Poland was to be the proud banner I would wave for other women researching safe, overseas cosmetic surgery options, after all I learnt in the process of my extensive research that choice is something we should be entitled to as long as it is always a safe well informed one.
I spoke about my experience very positively in many forums, groups, and mediums; I soon became an information point for other women considering their options, by speaking truthfully I removed the stigma associated with overseas cosmetic surgery, and dispelled the myths that circulated in the press and media. It was at this time with great passion, enthusiasm and belief, and as a result of my own journey of transformation that Secret Surgery Ltd was born.
Since the beginning of my venture, I have created strong links with surgeons the length and breadth of Europe. I have set up support groups here in the UK to allow people to meet face to face or online to discuss concerns, I have sourced fully qualified practitioners at the forefront of their profession, and accommodated the needs of clients looking for the right procedure and surgeon to achieve their personal objectives – just as I was looking for, several years ago.”
How did you get introduced to Secret Surgery? I first met Angela at her gastric & plastic support group when I went with my partner Elaine who was completing her journey by having a tummy tuck, we discussed gastric wrap that week & I thought to myself – I want and desperately need that! A friend was travelling out to Prague so I eagerly followed her journey & wonderful weight loss so I set to hard saving. In October 2012 I managed to book my surgery for 15th January 2013 – a new start for a new year! I couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over so I could start my pre-op diet on 1st January.
What happened nearer the time of your surgery? 1st January arrived & I started on my diet of soup & yoghurt which I found surprisingly easy but I did suffer with ketosis, mainly smelly breath. Finally we’re on our way on 14th January but it decided to snow at Gatwick but there was no hiccups and we arrived in Prague at lunch-time.
How was your arrival? We were met by Paul who took us to the clinic, he has limited English. When we got to the clinic we were met by Tina who checked us into our apartment which was very comfortable, she answered any questions and showed us where our surgery buddies were. Once we were all unpacked we headed into town on a tram and the underground, we found Tesco which was great as our companions got their provisions, this was lucky as we found out the restaurant on site shut at the weekend. I had most of my pre-op checks (BP, Temp, urine, ECG, weight, peak flow, MRSA check, bloods).
How did the surgery itself go? On the morning of surgery I was up early in the shower eager to meet Tina at 7am, we went through paperwork & signed consent form, had a group consultation with Prof Fried as there was four of us having surgery that day and one the day after, seen by general Dr, psychologist, and then had ultrasound scan and also had gastroscopy, this wasn’t a nice procedure but is necessary & doesn’t take long. I was then taken to my room which you share & there is an en-suite bathroom between 2 rooms. I was given a gown & sexy white stockings, given pre med medications & within minutes pushed into theatre, Elaine was told I would be back in 4 hours. All the theatre staff were extremely friendly with ok english, I was set up in theatre & the next thing I knew I was chatting to a lovely male nurse in recovery, I always chat in recovery. I was back in my room in 2 hours!
Great! And what about post-op? My recovery went really smoothly, in the evening i was allowed to suck on a ice cube which was great, the following day I was allowed fruit tea & broth. The following morning I was given tiny balls from 2 capsules but I really struggled to swallow these as took too much water & was promptly sick, I spoke to the Dr’s & Prof Fried & he said I could take them whole but to take them slowly. The nursing staff were really nice but some of their English was difficult but they understand sign language. Later on this day I was discharged to our apartment which was lovely. I slept loads in the apartment, it was so cosy. The clinic was very clean & 4* standard.
That’s excellent. Would you recommend your experience? My overall experience was very good & would recommend this weight loss procedure to anyone struggling, I’ve lost 2st 13lb since 1st January & feel so so much better. I’m on my journey to a healthier, happy life.
Today I woke up to a wonderful email from a special lady that is in Poland at present. She had her procedure a week ago it said:
I can’t knock the service Secret Surgery has provided. I feel like a completely new person, and I mean that honestly! Angela you have made it so easy for me to do and I sincerely thank you for your help, guidance and support. I will defo be doing extra bits and you will b top of my contact list!
Tell us where it all began. My story started in March 2007 when I had a RNY Gastric Bypass surgery for super morbid obesity. At my heaviest I weighed 26st 10lb or 180 kg. I struggled to walk, move around in general and my life had come to a stand still at 38 years of age.
And where does Brett come into it? I have two children and I noted my son Brett was also starting to put weight on and I blamed myself as a parent for poor food choices resulting in my son ballooning to 17st 10lb and a size 44 waist at 16 years of age. When my son saw the weight dropping off me following my surgery, he too took drastic action and started dieting and exercising. In 6 weeks he dropped to 10 stone 12lb and a size 28 waist. Within a year of my surgery I had dropped 84kg but both my son and I were left with a large apron of skin. We both applied for funding in 2008 to our local PCT for cosmetic surgery but were refused funding.
How did you find Secret Surgery? Six appeals and four years later I came across Angela Chouiab, the managing director of Secret Surgery, via a discussion group on Facebook. Angela had experienced weight loss surgery and funding issues herself in the UK and had gone to Poland for her own surgery in 2009. From the onset of talking to Angela you knew she was a genuinely caring, empathetic person who was eager to help.
What convinced you to go with us? I initially got a quote from Angela for myself in 2012 but was anxious about going abroad for surgery because of the media portrayal of surgeries abroad. However after further discussions with people on the secret surgery group and the outstanding support Angela offered to patients, I decided to book for my son and I go to to Poland on the 6th February 2013.
Was it difficult making all the arrangements? Angela arranged everything for us down to the last detail and was available night and day for any questions or anxieties I had. My son and I flew to Wroclaw on the 6th February and was met by our driver Jack who spoke perfect English. He took us to our apartment that Angela arranged for us. Having somebody to sort out every detail for you takes the stress and pressure out of trip.
How did everything go once you had arrived here? The apartment was lovely, clean and tidy. We received a call from Aga who was the translator and support for us in Poland and arranged for us to cone into hospital on the 7th Februrary 2013 for our surgeries. Obviously I was doubly anxious because my son was having surgery too and I wanted everything to go well for him. Aga was lovely and beautiful with it and introduced us to DR Waclawawowicz who looked at our tummies and gave a realistic and honest account of what was achievable through the procedure. He advised that my son would also benefit from vaser liposuction to his hips to achieve an amazing result.
What did you think of the hospital? The hospital was AMAZINGLY clean to a standard I have never seen in the UK. I was shown my room and Dr Waclawawowicz agreed to come and visit us later to answer any questions. Aga Poprawska and the staff all made us very welcome including the lovely Hanna Gregorowicz who booked us in and made us both feel welcome.
Did you feel supported during your stay? Yes! Angela also put me in touch with other ladies from the UK prior to flying out so that we could all meet up and support each other. This was really useful for me as both ladies Cara and Carolynn were at different stages post op which helped me see what my son and I would be experiencing very soon. Our room was 120% clean and beautifully welcoming.
How did the surgery itself go? We spent the day settling in and were told every step of the way what would happen. My son opted to go for surgery first and he was told when, how long this would take, that he would be put in recovery next to me which reassured him. I was also reassured by Dr Waclawawowicz prior to my surgery that Brett’s surgery had gone well, which reassured me prior to going into surgery. I woke in recovery next to my son and we were both cared for overnight by a lovely nurse overnight who came hourly to change dressings, empty drains and administer pain killers.
And after the op? We then returned to our room the following day to recover. Throughout this time Aga continued to visit and support us night and day and Angela rang daily to check how we were and to update the support group of our progress. On day two post surgery Jack collected us and took us back to the apartment collecting medication from the pharmacy for a small fee.
How are you doing now? We are now on day 4 post op. we have had a trip back to the hospital for dressing changes and met by Aga and Dr Waclawawowicz who were pleased with our progress. We are overjoyed at the results so far and are so thankful to everyone at Secret surgery for everything they have done for us.
Oh, lovely! Anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Dr Waclawawowicz and Aga even came and sat with us in the patients lounge for 30 minutes just talking about our experiences, where would you get that service in the UK? Although our journey is still ongoing I can honestly say that I would not hesitate coming back to Poland through Secret Surgery for any future surgery. Angela, Aga, Hanna and Dr Waclawawowicz are now my friends and I hope to remain in touch once back in the UK. You have all contributed to positively changing my son and my lives and feel overwhelmed at the life changes this surgery will bring to our lives. Thank you so much!
Today, Carole is here to tell us about her experience with Secret Surgery. Carole came to us for a tummy tuck first, and then came back for liposuction to complete her new look. You can read her story below.
How did it all start? After having a tummy tuck 5 weeks prior to my lipo it was time to go back to Poland for round two of my transformation. I had lost 8 stone in weight and my legs were a baggy, saggy mess!
And what did you want to have done? I was due to have lipo on the front, inside and rear of my thighs as well as around my knees. The first stage (front & inside of thighs) was supposed to have been done 5 days after my tummy tuck but due to my blood levels falling below a safe limit for surgery, I had to reschedule for all the Lipo to be done in March. As much as I was disappointed, I was also pleased that the surgical team were not willing to gamble with my health.
That’s good, and what about when you got here? March came and we arrived in Poland to 5 inches of snow, my medical was at the hospital on the same day and my bloods were normal… Phew! The morning of my operation Dr W came and asked me to show him exactly where I wanted the fat taken from, I showed him the areas that were a problem to me and he drew on these areas.
How were you feeling before the op? I was an emotional wreck before I went to the operating theatre, I couldn’t stop crying. I don’t know why I got myself so worked up, maybe it was because I knew it was an epidural and I wasn’t going to be asleep. After a few deep breaths and a good talk to myself I managed to calm down and was taken to the theatre.
How did it go? After my pre-med and sedation, I suddenly found that I had slept 2/3rds of the way through the operation. When I awoke Dr W was finishing off my legs and I was shown the fat they had taken out.. Yuk!! but it was very interesting to see.
Oh wow! And afterwards? I was taken to recovery where I stayed overnight, I was extremely sore and very swollen and thank God I had pain killers to help me cope with the pain. The next few days were very painful and I found myself walking Like John Wayne, sitting was difficult especially on a hard surface like the toilet! I didn’t sleep for long intervals for as soon as the painkillers wore off, I need more.
Did you heal quickly? It’s incredible that after about 4-5 days I was walking slowly into the town square, although still in pain I was able to cope with it. I found the recovery for this procedure was a lot quicker than the tummy tuck and I was able to get back to work a couple of weeks later. My legs are still a little bruised and swollen in places 4 weeks post op, but my support wear helps keep my legs secure and I can cope quite well with everyday life and work.
Excellent. Any final comments? I am just beginning to get back to exercise and although taking it slowly, I am getting there. I have had a great experience with secret surgery and the staff from the company and the medical staff in Poland. I am now saving for my 3rd procedure next year. Thank You to everyone concerned.
Today, we have a very brave lady here to tell us her story about Secret Surgery. Her experience with cosmetic surgery didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned – though it turns out for the best in the long run, she’s very glad she came to us for help! Find out more about Debbie’s plastic surgery rollercoaster ride, below.
How does your story start? Upon deciding that I was fed up with looking in the mirror at someone who looked a lot older than I felt, that wasn’t me, I decided to look into my options. Fillers etc were fine, cheaper but a less permanent/lasting effect so surgery was I decided the right option for me. Now where to go, I started my search in England and quickly found out that it was expensive, far more than I thought it would be.
And how did you find us? I decided to look further afield and remembered an article around secret surgery, I looked them up and liked what I saw, not least of all the price and support offered were excellent and after a bit of research and umming and ahhing made the booking.
What about when you got here? I arrived in Poland, nervous but very excited. I went straight to the hospital and after a couple of tests settled into my room to await the surgery the next day. I received a text that evening to say that there was an issue with my blood test but I put that out of my head and settled down. In the morning I went with the surgeon who informed me that my blood count was too low and that, regrettably, they would not be able to carry out the surgery. It was suggested I see my GP upon my return to the UK as this is not normal.
Oh no! What happened next? My disappointment was immeasurable and while the sensible part of me knew the right decision had been made I was devastated and desperately hoped that it was all a bad dream and that it would go ahead. No such thing happened and back to the UK I came, minus the surgery!
How were you feeling at this point? I was impressed by the fact that they did not just “take the money and run” my health was the priority to ensure the best possible outcome and recovery process, – although at the time I did not necessarily agree with them! I did go to my GP and after various tests I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, a condition that I knew nothing about and had absolutely no symptoms for!!
Did you go back to Secret Surgery? I went back to Poland once my iron levels were restored to normal levels, feeling far better than I had in ages – even though I had not been feeling unwell before!! My surgery has been a success and I am well on the way to being fully healed.
And how was your experience with us? The service I received when I was in Poland was wonderful, my dietary requirements, which I was a bit worried about, were fully catered to (yes, I am now one of those “fussy” people!!) Anyway the moral of the tale – get yourself checked out before you go abroad, it could save you money and a lot of heartache and disappointment.
Thank you Secret Surgery for organising everything and that the surgery went really well. Mr Marwan Saifi and his staff were true Professionals from beginning to end and I am happy to recommend them to anyone. I shall keep in touch as I will need more surgery on my crown area in the near future. Once again thank you For your help. PETE FROM MANCHESTER
Today, Trudi from Kent is here to tell us her hilarious story about eye lid correction surgery with Secret Surgery!
How did you find us? I found out about Secret Surgery on the web. It was started by Angela Chouaib, who founded it after her amazing weight loss when she took on the commitment to help others in her position. It’s cheaper than surgery in the UK, even when you take the holiday into consideration! It’s worth noting that prices in the UK are often broken down into sections, which means that if you want the full surgery it can often be double the cost!
How did you find the UK team? They were great – people shouldn’t be afraid to ask anything; they’re friendly and approachable. Joining Facebook is also a great idea – there’s so much support and information on there.
What about the team in Poland? Dr. W speaks pidgin English and wears reindeer jumpers at Christmas! They’re all totally professional, well-educated and experienced. Dr. W really does know what he is doing – he does very neat stitching, although he can’t knit! There’s also Aga, who is basically your friend while you’re there, and Jack, the lovely taxi driver who speaks great English. He’ll even sneak chocolate and crisps into the hospital for you if you want!
Speaking of the hospital… It’s spotless, modern and every room in it is en suite. The staff are attentive and friendly, and the food is ‘different’ – but Jack and Aga will bring you in something else if you ask!
How did you find your travel arrangements? Angela explained everything about what was included in my package. I had to buy my own food on board the plane, and was careful not to exceed the baggage allowance – or you’ll get charged extra!
And what about your apartment? I took a European plug adaptor with me, so that was fine. They provided towels, free wi-fi and a kitchen area, though there were limited English TV channels. You can also have food supplies arranged for your first night there, with everything put in the fridge for you.
What about the eye lid surgery? I felt like I could ask Dr. W anything, and had to wear a gown – don’t forget to keep your knickers on! I walked down to theatre with a nurse, and then remained awake throughout the surgery so that Dr. W could ask me to open and close my eyes throughout. He aligned my eyelids – I went down with wonky ones and came back with matching eyes! The operation doesn’t hurt at all.
And how has your recovery been? Straight after the operation, I laid down for three hours and my eyes swelled up like I’d been at it with Mike Tyson for 12 hours! I was given a tube of cream to rub on them, and was able to go out for afternoon shopping the same day. That night, I also went for a meal out with all the other VIP guests – who all said I didn’t look as bad as I thought! Now I’m on painkillers every day for my neck, but my eyes didn’t hurt at all! The only thing I had to be careful about was not scratching them when they itched. Here’s a trick for the swelling – save used teabags in the fridge and then wet them and put them over your eyes with a night mask!
My swelling went down quite well. I had my stitches out on the Monday and then was back at work on Tuesday and nobody noticed any swelling! One month on, I still have a small red line where the stitches were but make-up covers this.
Any final remarks? The operation was a complete SUCCESS, and my droopy eyelids have been sorted!
How does your weight loss story start? After being an overweight child, overweight teenager and overweight adult… three children later and even more overweight, enough was enough!! I had tried every type of weight loss method possible and my weight at 19 1/2 stone was effecting my health, my job and my happiness. In 2007 I made one of the best decisions in my life and paid privately to have a gastric band fitted. Although I lost a total of 7 ½ stone and kept the weight off, I never realised the effects that loose and baggy skin would have on my life.
And was it then that you started looking into surgery? Two years ago I started my research into plastic surgery as I needed a Tummy Tuck and a leg lift. I had various consultations in the UK with different outcomes, but one thing was the same all the time, the fees were exceptionally high.
How did you find us? As I had my Gastric band fitted abroad, I decided to research into the possibility of having cosmetic surgery abroad too and that’s when I stumbled across Secret Surgery and I am so glad I did.
Why? Right from the onset when I contacted Angela, she seemed to have my best interests at heart. I sent photographs of my tummy and legs via Angela to Dr W in Wroclaw. The Dr decided that Vasor Lipo would be a better option for my legs and could certainly do the Tummy tuck and muscle tightening required.
What happened next? After speaking with my husband and family, speaking to other people who had treatment via Secret Surgery’s Facebook page and doing some online research, I was quite confident that Secret Surgery was for me and I paid my deposit.
And what was your experience coming here like? My Journey to Poland with my husband was arranged by Angela and her team and from the onset was very professional and very well organised. Arriving in Poland we were met by Jack our taxi driver who was polite and very helpful, after being taken to our very modern and comfortable apartment we spent the afternoon in the main town square which is a five minute walk from the apartments.
And what about the surgery? The following day I was taken to the hospital and met Aga from secret Surgery, she helped me with the medical forms and administration that needs to be completed and took me for a consultation with Dr W. Aga was there to translate for the Dr who spoke a small amount of English and was a lovely man, his main concern was that I got the results that I wanted from my surgery. He also found a hernia which didn’t know I had and decided to repair this during the tummy tuck. The following day I went to surgery for my Tummy Tuck, hernia and muscle repair and after just one day of recovering could not believe the fantastic results of my lovely new tummy.
Excellent! Were you pleased by your experience here? The hospital was fresh, bright and very, very clean and although sometimes there was a language barrier between myself and the nurses, they always managed to make themselves understood and were really nice. I was very impressed with the standard of hygiene and cleanliness at the hospital in general and also during treatments and dressing changes.
That’s fantastic to hear. I am three weeks post op now and am looking forward to going back to Poland in March for my vasor Lipo on my front and back of thighs. Thank you to everyone concerned for making my Surgery journey so far a very positive experience.
How did it all start? Where do I start – I think I should be first of all saying a big thank you to Secret Surgery and Dr W (a God!), Aga, Hanna and Jack for making a dream come true – my tummy tuck and hernia removal!
I had gastric surgery 2 years ago abroad as I got refused on the NHS and I could not afford the prices in the Uk so off I went on the start of my journey. After losing over 6 stone things were looking bleak as after years of yo-yo dieting my skin was ruined – I was a mess!
What happened next? Again I got refused on the NHS, so I looked at tummy tucks in the UK and Ireland and the cheapest I found was 9 thousand pounds! First of all I had not got that kind of money and second, I was very nervous of the fact that you were in and out of the clinic in 48 hrs in some cases, so on that note I started to look abroad again.
How did you come across us, then? I had met loads of new friends on weight loss surgery pages online and I kept seeing the same words – SECRET SURGERY – so I asked a few people what it was and I was given nothing but positive responses! I asked to join the Facebook page which was just amazing, it was totally private and it was normal men and women all sharing their before and after pictures and every one was very keen to help answer any questions I had!
I called the owner of the company, a lady called Angela Chouaib, in Feb of 2012 and I asked her so many questions her head must have been spinning! She went through everything I asked her and more so I decided there and then Secret Surgery was the company for me!
What happened when you got here? The day had arrived! Jack picked me up with another few ladies who I had spoken to for a long time on Facebook it was great to meet them at last. We were so happy that we were all in this together and of we went to the hosiptal. There we were met by Aga who took me to see DR W and I had my consultation and we both agreed on to what i wanted and to what he could do.
And then? Off I went for X-rays, ECG bloods – the lot! I got a min health check which was also great and everything came back fine. I was so excited I had to ask for a sleeping pill as I wanted to go and have my surgery there and then! I had a great night’s sleep. The next day I took my pre-meds and had a shower, and my surgery buddy said that when they came down to fetch me I was out of it! The next thing I remember I was waking up in recovery and everything was done and dusted.The nurses were amazing, and were always checking to make sure I was OK.
And we hear you had a surprise around the corner? Yes! The next day I went back to my room where Dr. W and Aga came to see me. Was I in for a shock – I had a hernia the size of my hand wrapped on my bowels which could not be repaired, so it had been removed! Thank you to all, God knows what would have happened if it wasn’t found!
How did you feel after the surgery? I felt amazing, I was walking about very slowly and I thought I was going to be in agony but I was just a little uncomfortable. Dr. W and Aga were in checking the wound and dressing it – they were all over us!
Any last comments? I was so well looked after it was amazing. If anyone is thinking of cosmetic surgery, please do your homework – there are cheap cowboys out there and you only have one body! I am glad to say I found the best in Secret Surgery, and I will be going back!
Angie Matthews, one of our aftercare nurses, is here with us to talk about her experience with Secret Surgery – the ins and the outs of working at this side of the fence. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to actually work in the cosmetic surgery industry – here’s an inside look at one of our most important ladies!
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? As an NHS nurse one of the biggest challenges I face is the financial constraints of the job, and the time restrictions I have as a consequence. To carry out a job to the best of your ability, but with very limited equipment, poor staffing levels and an increasing demand on a nurses time, is very difficult. Nursing has changed dramatically over the years, and sadly finances has had an overwhelming bearing on the choices that are made and the care that we can give .
Nursing is a vocation, it’s about caring for the sick, holding the hand of the dying patient, not about the endless mountains of paperwork thrust upon us. There is nothing worse than wanting to sit and listen to a patient, and giving them quality care, but being forced to sit behind a desk doing paperwork. This is one of the reasons I jumped at the chance of working with secret surgery. The emphasis is purely about total patient satisfaction. As a wound care nurse for post operative patients, I can spend an appropriate amount of time listening, supporting and advising as well as carrying out the clinical duties of wound care. Secret surgery patients are given one to one care when they are followed up, I feel that my entire attention can be given to that one patient I am caring for. Its a complete contrast to the demands I face as an NHS nurse.
What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is the people I meet. The diverse ranges of personalities, and life experiences that make each person a unique individual. Working with secret surgery and meeting people in particular, who have experienced major weight loss, is one of my favourite groups of people. That’s because I can empathise with them. I am a person who too has experienced major weight loss and corrective plastic surgery. I know exactly how it feels to suddenly be in a new unrecognisable body.
To not know how to dress yourself, or how to “wear” the new you. That’s why I love secret surgery, who encompass all aspects of weight loss and change, and provide support not only physically but mentally too. I don’t know of any other company, who would help you get that new trim body, advise you on diet and exercise AND employ a fashion expert to teach you how to dress the new you. The honesty of SS is uplifting.
What’s your favourite procedure to see performed? My favourite procedures to perform vary in the settings I am in. I love old fashioned “clinical” nursing. Procedures such as staple & stitch removal, dressing changes, drainage tube removal and catheter insertions. I would say the most rewarding procedure however in the clinical setting is what we nurses refer to as TLC .
Tender loving care, whether it be holding the hand of a patient just diagnosed with cancer, or supporting the family of someone ill in hospital. Sadly in the NHS the time constraints placed upon most nurses, means paperwork is often at the forefront of our day. As after-care nurse for secret surgery, I don’t have to worry about dividing my time as individual patients have individual care. The person whom you are attending to is your only focus at that time.
What do you think you might have wanted to do other than nursing? I am often asked, if you hadn’t become a nurse then what would i have been? For me the only answer there is a teacher. A huge part of my job involves teaching, whether it be patient education or mentoring student nurses and health care assistants. I love this aspect of the job, I find it rewarding. Health promotion with patients can be difficult. Losing weight allowed me to put myself in the shoes of the obese and be more empathetic. There is nothing worse than someone telling you what to do, than someone who doesn’t know how it feels to be you.
What kind of surgery would you go for yourself? There are so many things about my body that i could change, but then i might end up not being me. I could see how easy it could be to become “addicted” to surgery, so i am glad to see that secret surgery will not indulge someone like this.
After meeting one of the renowned surgeons Dr W, I was very pleased to find out that he wont just automatically agree to change a persons features. They will need to prove why they it done, and also have very real expectations of what they expect the outcome to be. Seeing the outcome first hand of consultations, put me at ease. I think if I ever were in the position to want affordable surgery abroad, then i think i would opt to have a breast uplift. Drastic weight loss has left me with nothing more than empty droopy milk bottles!!
How do you like to relax after a long day? Relaxing after a long day nursing can be difficult. It is not a job that allows you to clock off at 5PM and forget it till tomorrow. You have peoples lives in your hands literally, and so emotionally it can be very challenging as well as the physical demands on a person. It is important to me to spend as much quality time with my husband as possible. He too is in a highly stressed and challenging profession, and so we both are in the privileged position of understanding what that is like. We like to socialise with friends, eat out, or simply chat over a cuppa. I like to keep up to date with technology and have my own support group for other people who have had weight loss surgery. Sharing experiences of what can be an emotional roller coaster is invaluable and something I very much enjoy.
How did you find us? I started researching tummy tucks in August 2012 after having had 6 children my tummy was full of excess skin. I contacted a few different company’s both here in England and abroad, then stumbled upon secret surgery.
And you liked what you saw? From the first telephone call I was put at ease and that was that, I had chosen my company, Cath and Angela arranged everything from the surgery, apartments, flights to having food delivered at the apartments all I had to do was turn up at the airport. When I arrived in Poland I was met by Aga, who is genuinely a lovely and caring person, she ran through what will be happening and when over my 7 day stay.
What did you think of our facilities? The hospital was very clean the staff were are great even though the language barrier with some nurses was a little hard at times but they were fab!! The food was great, and after my operation Dr W came to check on me and my scar every day, there was some pain but the nurses gave painkillers as soon as I asked them for it, I was over the moon with the results from the second I saw which made all the pain worth while.
Were you comfortable here? The apartments were fab, very clean and spacious with upto date decor and very comfy to recover in, I had 2 fantastic surgery buddies even though they were there with their partners they all took me under their wings and looked after me as I went alone.
And what about since you got back to the UK? I have had continued care on my return and I must of asked a million and one questions since I booked my procedure and always had responses without me feeling like I’m being a pain!
Excellent! Any final words? All in all this has been one of the most biggest things I’ve been through and I couldn’t imagine going with another company the care of Angela, Cath, Aga, Dr W, Jack (the taxi driver who is great) has made it one of the best experiences of my life so I thank you all at Secret Surgery for my new tummy and my new life!
Today, Rachel from Wolverhampton is here to tell us about the rollercoaster ride she’s gone through in losing ten stone and finding herself again after many years! How did her experience with Secret Surgery go, and – will she be coming back?
Tell us how it all started? At a fraction under 22 stone and only 35 years old, I was miserable. I had two herniated discs in my spine, I could barely stand… even walking around the supermarket was just too painful. It wasn’t a life – I had to do something about it, so in April 2011, I had a Gastric Bypass, and it was the start of my new life.
And then what happened? Fast forward 18 months, I’m 10 stone lighter, much healthier, but stuck in what can only be described as a deflated, wrinkly old fat suit. I still felt ugly, and ashamed, and I knew what needed to be done, so I started looking for surgeons on the internet… this is where I found Angela and Secret Surgery.
Great – did you find our Facebook group? I joined the Facebook group, which I have to say, is one of the best things ever. I had the chance to talk to other ladies, and even some men who had the procedures I was interested in. I looked at the amazing results they were getting and I knew it was the right decision to make, so I sent my photos, explained what I wanted to be done, got my report back, and booked. From start to finish it was all so easy, not having to worry about a single thing, other than getting to the airport on time. Everything is done for you – flights, accommodation, transfers… the most stressful thing is working out what to pack!
And you liked the staff, didn’t you? Jack, the lovely taxi driver, is great, and so helpful. The beautiful Aga can’t do enough to help, and Dr W is a genius also, very funny and approachable, which is something you don’t get with a lot of surgeons!
But what of the hospital? The hospital is lovely, small enough that you don’t feel lost, and very very clean. The only thing I will do differently is bring my own food to the hospital next time – they don’t seem to understand breakfast, and I for one can’t do bread, cheese and tomato first thing in the morning!
And the accommodation? The apartments are lovely, light airy, and comfortable, close to the town, and ideal for Tesco, which is just a 10 minute walk up the road, great for some light exercise after surgery.
Fantastic! Any final comments? My results are amazing and I couldn’t be happier. I am happy and more confident, something which I haven’t been in years, and it has given me the boost I need to have further surgeries to fix the problems associated with huge weight loss. I really cannot recommend Secret Surgery enough, I tell everyone who will listen…I cannot wait to head back in March for my next two procedures!
This week we have another gorgeous patient of ours here with us to tell us all about her Secret Surgery story. Her name is Krissy, from Yorkshire, and she’s got great things to say about the Secret Surgery clinic, staff and her accommodation apartments – so listen up!
How did you find us initially? “I started researching tummy tucks in August 2012 after having had 6 children my tummy was full of excess skin. I contacted a few different company’s both here in England and abroad, then stumbled upon Secret Surgery.”
Tell us about your first impressions. “From the first telephone call I was put at ease and that was that, I had chosen my company, Cath and Angela arranged everything from the surgery, apartments, flights to having food delivered at the apartments all I had to do was turn up at the airport. When I arrived in Poland I was met by Aga, who is genuinely a lovely and caring person, she ran through what will be happening and when over my 7 day stay.”
And what did you think of the hospital and its staff? “The hospital was very clean, the staff were great even though the language barrier with some nurses was a little hard at times but they were fab!! The food was great, and after my operation Dr W came to check on me and my scar every day, there was some pain but the nurses gave painkillers as soon as I asked them for it, I was over the moon with the results from the second I saw which made all the pain worth while.”
You said you liked the apartment? “The apartments were fab, very clean and spacious with upto date decor and very comfy to recover in, I had 2 fantastic surgery buddies even though they were there with their partners they all took me under their wings and looked after me as I went alone.”
What about when you returned to the UK? “I have had continued care on my return and I must of asked a million and one questions since I booked my procedure, and always had responses without me feeling like I’m being a pain!”
Great! Any final words? “All in all this has been one of the most biggest things I’ve been through and I couldn’t imagine going with another company the care of Angela, Cath, Aga, Dr W, Jack (the taxi driver, who is great) has made it one of the best experiences of my life so I thank you all at Secret Surgery for my new tummy and my new life!”
Tracey, from Lincolnshire, is a beautiful young lady who is here today to tell us all about her unique experience with Secret Surgery. She’s got a story and a half for us, so anyone considering surgery should read on!
Take us through your experience from the beginning. “My experience with Secret Surgery was second to none. Aga fetched me from the airport and took me straight to the hospital where I had a full medical check-up before anything. Dr W. was honest and tells you the worst case and best case result with Aga translating for you.”
Sounds good – seems like you were impressed! “Needless to say I was put at ease immediately and my operation went ahead as planned.”
Did the operation go well? “Well, I am a very impatient person, so I wanted pictures taken before they wanted to show me. There was a lot of swelling, so when I first saw them I was shocked and a little upset. Saying that, the day after the swelling had gone down slightly, and I was happier.”
Ah, good! You left feeling pleased? “Before I left for home I was ecstatic at the difference that having the apron gone had made. It’s still swollen and I am trying not to do too much, as well as keeping in touch with all the lovely people I met while I was out there! We laughed until we cried, and shared some lovely times – I wouldn’t hesitate in going out for more procedures in the future. The city itself was very beautiful, with all the architecture of yesteryear!”
We’ve got another exclusive patient story today, this time coming from gorgeous Helen! A lovely lady, Helen is here to tell us about her experience with Secret Surgery, having returned home to the UK post-surgery in December.
What did you get done? “I had a breast lift and also my nose was reshaped.”
And what do you think of the results? “I have to say, I couldn’t be happier with the results – the mirror is now my best friend!”
Did you feel good about the hospital when you arrived? “I knew I was in safe hands with Dr. Waclowowicz, who made sure he understood exactly what results I wanted to achieve, and actually surpassed my expectations with my nose.”
And was the level of support you received good? “The help and advice I received from Secret Surgery before and after my procedures has been second to none, making the whole experience, from my initial booking to arriving back in Liverpool, so easy and stress-free!”
Hi! It’s Angela here – and I’ve got a very special milestone to share with you all. Four years ago this month I weighed in at 20 stone and was extremely unhappy and unhealthy. I knew that 2009 was the year I had to start a new chapter and take care of myself and with the help of Mr Marcus Reddy (Bariatric Surgeon) in London I had an RNY gastric bypass and this gave me a 2nd chance at living a healthier happier life. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and lost 10 stone in 10 months and have maintained a normal BMI ever since.
I was then lett in a deflated fat suit and once again took the opportunity to have my re-constructive plastic surgery in Wroclaw in with Dr Wojciech Waclawowicz 2010 and this really was the icing on the cake. I was the happiest I could ever remember being… My kids had their fun, loving mummy back and my husband had a new and improved sexier wife too!
After achieving everything that I have I felt that if I could help one other person feel as fabulous as I do then I must help them and Secret Surgery Ltd was founded in November 2010.
As well as helping my own clients I now help patients of surgeons from around the world (including UK) who dont have anywhere to turn and have no moral/emotional support and this is what I enjoy doing most. I hope I can continue to make a positive difference to other people lives in 2013….
I’m so blessed to be able to help others and want to say the hugest thanks to everyone that I call my friend for being there and supporting me throughout my journey and helping me be the person I am today… Much love, Angela xxxx
And here are some comments from my friends and colleagues…
Angie Matthews: Its hard to believe you are the same person as the first pic. Happy oppiversary, and congratulations on all you have achieved. Secret surgery is now helping people whose shoes you were once in, and that makes it extra special x
Rebekah Woodcraft: You look amazing great advert for secret surgery, well done xxxx
Suzie Marie Fitzhugh: U’ve done gr8 and look so amazing and u r a beautiful person inside and out xxxx
Clare-Louise Cuppy Saville: Simply Amazing! Congratulations on your 4th anniversary, you are an inspiration and mentor to us all,
Trayc Imagestylist Randall: Happy 4th birthday you truly are a walking advert for your business and you look totally amazing XX well
Mandi Allen: Happy oppiversary to you xx you are an inspiration. Thank you for your support x
Elaine Hill: Happy 4th birthday darling, its because of you smiling that has made many other women and men walk around with a smile, you are an amazing lady with a heart of gold. Xxx
Melanie Stewart: Well Done Angela x wow what a transformation and a great acheivement in just 4 years x and i am one of the people u have helped ive lost 2stone 4lbs since beginning of November and i cant thank u all at Secret Surgery enough. Without ur help i would never of been able to turn my life around into the right direction as that is certainly where im heading after i had my wrap x x x x THANK YOU x x and WELL DONE U!!!! My weightloss results are just AMAZING x every ‘weigh in’ is so exciting i have lost every time x x never has that happened in my life x x x
Jane Newcastle: The biggest congratulations for achieving your healthy BMI so quickly but more than that for maintaining ever since, your determination to hold onto to the new life was my inspiration and I’m still hoping to be able to get there myself! xx
Debbie Cressey: You have achieved so much Angela! I’m glad to have you as a friend to inspire me too x
Today, Jo from Norwich is here to talk about her experiences with us at Secret Surgery – how she came to find us, what she thought of us, and what she’ll be telling people about us in the future! If you’ve been mulling surgery over but need that extra push to make up your mind, just read our exclusive interview below for the extra inspiration that you need.
Tell us how it all started. “For about the past 10 years I had been considering surgery – even went to a few consultations. Unfortunately the people I met never gave me any confidence to proceed and some of them seemed so full of their own importance I don’t think they even know what I went for.
And how did you find us at Secret Surgery? “I came across Secret Surgery on the web and joined the Facebook group. I then spent a few weeks reading the surgery feedback and members conversations and through this learned all about Angela and her team. I booked my trip with Angela and she did the rest… and off I went to Poland for my surgery!”
And what was it like when you got here? “Aga picked me up on the first morning and took me to the hospital where I met Dr W. Despite the obvious language barrier, my first impression of him was what a lovely gentleman he was, with a genuine interest in his patients. Aga was a perfect translator and made the consultation and my expectations very clear. Following this, I had a medical examination with the hospital doctor where they checked my heart, blood and some other bits, no doubt. I had a bit of a shock when he said to me ‘Good morning, please take your clothes off’ but we did laugh about it afterwards!”
What did you think of the facilities? “The hospital was very quiet and clean, my room had its own bathroom and the cleaning ladies came in every day to do their bit and I was pleased to hear that the hospital only accepts patients for operations, which means that there is only the smallest risk of infection.”
Great! And the operation? How did that go? “Surgery went well! Dr W came to see me as soon as I came round and told me how pleased he was with the result, and that I would be very happy. That was really nice to hear, especially as I was covered in bandages. The drugs were good as I felt no pain. I was discharged after 2 days and stayed in a lovely apartment. Every day for the next 6 days I was collected by Aga, who took me to have my dressings changed. Each time, my wounds were examined by Dr W as he supervised the changing of the dressings, which was done very carefully and with great attention to my comfort and safety.”
And since you got home? “Following my return home, Angela has been in touch to check that everything is OK and has been available to answer any questions or concerns that I have. I have no hesitation in recommending SS to anyone that is thinking of surgery. The whole team was extremely friendly, professional and nothing was too much trouble.”
I attended the wonderful VIP Trip to Wroclaw and I am appalled by the way the article has been written and disgusted by the behaviour of the so called professional reporter/photographer.
The inaccuracies within the article are beyond belief. The reporter should apply to Walt Disney as her fictitious writing skills are amazing.
In December I had the pleasure of attending the Secret Surgery VIP trip to Wroclaw. I was there in my capacity as an aftercare nurse but I am also employed as a manager in the NHS and have my own private aesthetic practice. I was surprised to read the article printed a few days later in The Sun as it bore little resemblance to the weekend I had been on. Whilst I do have an interest in Secret Surgery I am also a registered nurse and as such am bound by my code of conduct which means that I always put the interests of patients first.
Jennifer Tippett was given access to personal information disclosed by individuals who in some cases had told no one else of their journey or indeed any past or planned surgery. Much of what she wrote was embellished or just plain lies, for example no 17 year old who attended had a consultation with the surgeon regarding a ‘nose job’. A huge opportunity was missed to show the fabulous skills of the surgeons at EMC who perform life changing surgery for the patients who choose to go there.
“These are patients who in some cases have already had several consultations in the UK and been exposed to some particularly poor medical practice such as that highlighted in the Keogh report published on 31st December which highlights high pressure sales tactics and ‘special offers’. I did not witness any such practices at secret surgery unlike here in the UK.”
Having met the surgeon individually and had the chance to look around the hospital I must say how impressed I was with their exemplary practices and the beautiful, immaculate and clean hospital, it is such a shame that Jennifer chose not to mention any of this but instead mentioned a patient who had returned to have surgery corrected ‘free of charge’. Again this was simply not true.
Jennifer likened the atmosphere to that of a hen night and if by that she meant a group of women enjoying themselves in a lovely part of the world just before christmas then yes, that is exactly what the weekend was. After all some of those attending had lost huge amounts of weight and were considering more life changing events in the future. Perhaps they should not have been enjoying their new found confidence with new and supportive friends? And perhaps they would have thought twice before opening up to Jennifer if they had realised how biased and superficial her article would be.
Miss D, what was your overall experience of Poland? “From the very first moment I contacted Angela to actually arriving in Poland, the experience was 1st class. Arriving there I was quite nervous but to be met by such lovely people as Jack – the best taxi driver in Poland – and Aga, the most kind and caring person you could meet, was great. And Dr. W – what can I say? He’s a genius!”
What were you most worried about? “I was more worried about Dr. W seeing me undressed than the actual surgery! But he puts you immediately at ease and after a few minutes with him my nerves had vanished. The hospital staff are great and the aftercare amazing. Dr. W takes great care in making sure you are healing correctly.
Any last words? “I’d like to thank everyone at Secret Surgery and everybody in Poland for my surgery experience – it wouldn’t have been the same without any of them!”
So the VIP weekend to Wroclaw was nothing more than a booze up with woman who were not intelligent enough to research the surgery/surgeons they were having?? …………. Well where on earth was i, as this is a total contrast to the weekend i attended!
I attended the trip as Angela thought it important for her aftercare nurses to see first hand the facilities at EMC and the standards of treatment that Secret Surgery patients expect to recieve. She invited us along and had planned a very regimented itinary in order to maximise the knowledge and experiences we would share with the polish team and recieve in return.
Our trip included a visit to the hospital, meeting patients who were more than happy for us to attend whilst they were reviewed, checked for pain levels and had their dressings renewed. One thing i thought when i saw the wound dressing change was how exceptional the emphasis on wound cleansing was compared to the standards i have seen in public practice.
I was impressed to see that instead of leaving dressings on for days on end, or not even having a dressing……..the wounds were managed on a daily basis. This is primarily the reason that EMC has a Zero infection rate. We discussed the use of wound swabs for MRSA etc, and was pleased to here that they also are very strict in poland and will not take chances with anyone that could potentially have an infection. They would rather postpone someones surgery than risk cross contamination from another source.
Safety first is very much the impression i was left with. The surgeon Dr W was very impressed that as UK nurses we were interested enough to give up our time to go along to meet him, his team and tour the facilities. It gave us an insight and a first hand look at how professional the packages are run. When you initially think of surgery abroad, you think of cut price must mean cut safety and cut care. The total opposite is true in the case of secret surgery. The lengths that Angela Chouhaib and her team go to maximise patient comfort and safety is nothing more than outstanding.
The patients are chauferred to the hospital daily for their dressing changes, in constant telephone contact for support mentally, as well as all the physical care. Dr W has very strict guidelines on how surgery is assessed. For example, if you went to him asking for ridicolously sized breasts for your frame, he would assess your whole body, and would not do something that would leave you looking like a freak of nature, despite the obvious financial reward. He also has protocols that mean no one will be able to access more than one major surgery in one hospital visit. It is these strict protocols…………safety and comfort over money, that mean the hospital currently has a zero mortality rate. How many institutions can boast that??
What the sun journalists failed to mention amongst many things was the lengths Secret surgery go to, in order to make the whole process as smooth as possible and as anxiety reducing as possible. As a bariatric patient myself having had both gastric bypass and lower body lift on the NHS in the UK, i know only too well how extremely stressful the whole process is. Not only stressful for the patient but for the loved ones aswell. Angela included a service that can cater for a companion to keep the patients company, and offers them just as much support mentally as the client recieves. This is again an example of the extra mile that secret surgery goes.
We enjoyed meals together in relaxing restuarants, not the drunken nights that the sun portrayed us to have. I mean for goodness sake, some people had just had major surgery……..they would hardly be up to drinking poland dry!! i enjoyed half a glassof wine on the last evening, and other than that drank coke and water, as did almost everyone else. We enjoyed a shopping trip to the Renoma shopping centre which was primarily led by Tracy who gave us valuable advice on how to dress our new found figures and how to look after the inner person that maybe is still struggling with the effects that obesity left. Sadly Jennifer the journalist showed little or no interest in talking to any of us about our journies.
We had so many stories ready to share, but she wandered around the shops looking at boots and jumpers for herself and took no notice of us all. It was very dissapointing on sunday evening when both jennifer and mike did not bother to attend the extensive traditional polish buffet that had been laid on at the very exclusive Pod Freda restuarant, rudely leaving Angela to pay the bill !!
This was the last opportunity for them to do the interviews that they were there to do, but sadly work took priority, or so we thought. Facebook pictures of site seeing at the time reflected how honest they were. Not only was the report in the sun, totally unfactual & unsubstantiated, it was also very insulting and demeaning. The people that were on that trip for surgery had done months and months of research, talking to surgical teams around the world, and asking millions of questions. Everyday they post in the facebook groups of both secret surgery and Weight loss surgery friends which have become a community themselves. The support that is given and recieved is unending and given with care and compassion.
There isnt a question that Angela does not answer!I agree there will be some people out there that probably spend 5 minutes and will choose the cheapest most convienient company and not even realise what they were getting into. Secret surgery clients however are nothing like that. They are simply not allowed to be for a start. Angela and the team ENSURE that their clients are well informed of ALL risks involved. They have infact turned people away that have had unrealistic expectations of surgery and the results. When Secret Surgery clients give consent for surgery, then it is 100% informed consent.
I am a trained nurse, i would under no circumstances risk losing my pin number for a company that i wasnt sure would be totally legally and ethically moral. I think the sun report tainted what was a very special weekend.
Neil, did you say? That’s right – tummy tucks are for men too! Today, Neil’s going to tell us all about his experiences undergoing a tummy tuck with us at Secret Surgery – and as he’ll rightly tell you, tummy tucks are not just for girls!
Tell us how it all started. “I had weight loss surgery in April 2011. Over the following 12 months I lost a substantial amount of weight – 9 stone and 7 pounds. I was delighted, never in my wildest dreams did I expect to lose so much weight. I went from an extremely unhealthy 54″ waist and having to buy all my clothes at Mr Big and Tall, to a very healthy 32″ waist and I could buy my clothes absolutely anywhere – that was fantastic.”
But there was a downside, wasn’t there? “I was left with hanging skin on my stomach, no amount of exercise or dieting was going to shift it, so I came to the conclusion that I was going to need a tummy tuck.”
So how did you find us? “I started doing research and luckily for me I was discussing this with a friend of mine who had heard of a company called Secret Surgery. I joined the group on Facebook and read the reviews, all the reviews were brilliant and positive, there was not one bad review. I spoke to Angela the MD of Secret Surgery, we had a good long chat about what I wanted and what she could offer, at no time was I pressured into making a decision, it is a big step and one that needs to be carefully thought about and all options considered.”
What made up your mind? “There was one particular photograph posted by a client showing the outcome of her tummy tuck and I thought, yes, that is exactly what I want. I then made my booking and paid my deposit.”
And what happened next? “From there Angela took over everything, she arranged the whole trip from start to finish, I literally had nothing to do whatsoever other than pack and catch the plane. Once I landed in Wroclaw I was met by the very beautiful Aga, she took me straight to the hospital where I met Dr. W, I have to say Dr. W is a wonderful, kind, thoughtful gentleman, with a sense of humour, and as I later found out a very skilled surgeon. We discussed what I wanted to achieve through the tummy tuck and the best way to achieve those results.”
Any last words? “I would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to you all, Angela, Aga, Dr. W, Jack, all the staff at the hospital and last but certainly not least the Secret Surgery group on Facebook.”