SIX Weeks Post-op & ECSTATIC with Results, New Pictures

All of you who have posted your experiences have...

All of you who have posted your experiences have helped me more than you will ever know!! I've had elective procedures in the past but never was I as terrified as I was this morning when I checked in for my full Abdominoplasty procedure to be performed at my plastic surgeon's office.

My doctor and his nurses, who I have known for 15 years, told me they had not received a lot of pain complaints from their patients. Although I trust them, it was hard to believe because of all the super-duper pain comments I've read online.

Please realize I've only been home for 5 hours so the residual anesthesia and Tylox I took a few hours ago are dulling the pain, HOWEVER, I'm amazed at how little pain I have right now. I've been to the bathroom 3 times already, ate lunch, drank 2 bottles of water, and my husband brought my little Yorkie to keep me company in my private recovery room!

I'm 49 years old, 5'9", weigh 162 pounds, and have minimal body fat. The rolls of skin from under my breasts all the way to my pubis made me feel unattractive. Unlike a lot of cases, I've never had children nor major weight loss/gain. My doctor said my skin just turned loose from the muscle and there was no amount of diet or exercise that would have resolved the issue.

I promise to let you know how I'm feeling in the next few days. I expect the second and third days to be uncomfortable but I'm hoping to avoid the excruciating pain I thought I would have.

77 hours later and I've just had my first peek at...

77 hours later and I've just had my first peek at my new belly! There is still a lot of gauze over the incision so I can't see the lower belly but when I took off the binder to wash it I was able to see my upper abs! So far, so good! It's flat & tight! Well, that's what I paid for, right? 

The discomfort is subsiding quickly and I'm down to pain pills every 8 hours. I'll see the doctor Tuesday and, hopefully, have the drain removed. Then I can post some pictures of my incision. Thanks again to everyone for the support and understanding.

YIPPEE!!! The dreaded drain was removed when...

YIPPEE!!! The dreaded drain was removed when I made my first post-op visit with the doctor. He looked at my stomach as the nurse was taking the tube out of my groin and said, "Damn, that look good, doesn't it?" I said, "I think it will later" to which he replied, "I think it looks great right now!"

I don't have much swelling and will continue to wear the binder for at least a month. Doc said I may experience some swelling now that the drain is gone. My pain level is minimal. The pubis is most uncomfortable due to blood and fluids settling there. Ice pack at night helps!

Will I be happy with the results? I believe I'm going to be ecstatic unless something changes drastically. Right now, my stomach is flatter than it has ever been in my life, including when I was a teenager. Doc says there is no way to get around genetics except cosmetic surgery :) Gotta love him!

Well, I keep waiting for something negative to...

Well, I keep waiting for something negative to report because of all the unfortunate stories I've read.........the only thing I can say is I have a small amount of swelling, lower belly and pubis, since the drain was removed last week. I had my belly button stiches removed on Friday and my husband and I moved to our lake house. Of course I did more unpacking, cleaning, and organizing than I should have, including entertaining people on Saturday night who knew nothing of my surgery. In fact, I have chosen not to let most people know....my husband and one girlfriend were my caretakers and noone else knew.

As you can see from these 10 day post-op pictures, there is swelling in the lower areas, my incision site is just beginning to shed scabs, most of my bruising is resolved, the belly button is healing nicely (but slower), the dreaded drain site is less irritated. The creases are from my binder...just couldn't leave it off long enough for them to go away! It really does become a friend!

I've requested my 'Before' pictures from the nurse because I forgot to take any at home. I will post them when I receive them. I had four small/medium rolls of skin above my navel and a large, sagging roll below. Also, I had a vertical scar from just below my navel all the way to the hairline. Just over two pounds of skin was removed during my procedure. The large mole you see on my rib cage was just under my breast pre-op.

Overall, I am pleased at this point, although anxious for the swelling to reduce and my mandated recovery period to be over. This board has been so helpful to me and I hope others who are considering this surgery will research their options and reach out to those of us who have been through the surgery.....talk to people with both good and bad experiences....so you can make an informed decision and have realistic expectations!

I will post three week pictures in a couple days....

I will post three week pictures in a couple days. The difference in the scar is phenomenal since my 10 day pics! I've been using a lot of cream....Vitamin E, cocoa butter, but recently, shea butter! It is a natural remedy for healing and has affected a huge improvement. I've ordered ScarAway silicone strips and will begin using them in a couple days.

Otherwise, I'm almost back to normal activity level just 20 days post-op. Still wearing the binder 24/7 but feeling more and more confident without it for short periods. I'll have a difficult time wearing it for two more weeks.

There is still a 'kangaroo pouch' in my lower belly and pubic area. It swells during the day and goes down at night. My pants fit tightly with the binder underneath so I expect them to fit well, or loosely, when the binder goes in the trash.

Today I hit the four week mark and I'm almost 100%...

Today I hit the four week mark and I'm almost 100% physically back to normal. Worked in the yard yesterday and need to start exercising to get my stamina back because I still get exhausted by the end of the day.

It's hard to see the improvement in my pictures from 10 days to 4 weeks but most of my 'kangaroo pouch' swelling has subsided. The scar is improving daily with only a small section in the center that hasn't laid flat yet. The color is still very pronounced but I expect it to take months to recede. My belly is f-l-a-t and I feel like a new woman!!!  I have a waist again and my clothes fit so, so much better.

One huge suggestion for post-op is to buy a different compression garment within a couple weeks. I chose the Squeem Illusion Camisole and it is SO much more comfortable than the medical, velcro garment plus it fit under clothes a lot better.

UPDATE - May 9, 2009

Six weeks post-op with no swelling and back to normal activity. If I didn't have this huge scar plus look & feel a thousand times better, I wouldn't even know I'd had surgery!! I started exercising again a couple days ago which made me feel even better. I still wear the camisole compression garmet for a few hours each day but it's becoming more uncomfortable than helpful.

It's difficult to see the improvement from the pictures but my scar is almost flat except for a 1/4 inch indentation in the middle. The color hasn't changed much even though I've been wearing silicone scar strips. Most of the 'lumpiness' is gone from the incision site.

I don't know how I could be happier with my decision, surgeon, & recovery! Now I wish my flanks, hips, & thighs matched my new tummy! At 49 years old, I can't expect perfection so I will continue to exercise and watch my diet.

Good luck to all of you considering this procedure!

NEW DISCOVERY - I'm 11 weeks post-op &...

NEW DISCOVERY - I'm 11 weeks post-op & thrilled about the results of my tummy tuck experience. I feel so much better. I've posted my progress along the way so if you are considering this procedure, please read my entire story.

After 6 weeks I was ready to start exercising again but didn't feel I could perform aerobics, kick boxing, or jogging so I researched Pilates & Yoga. I'm interested in core strengthing due to scoliosis in my spine. I live in a remote area of the SC mountains so could not join a club or take classes. Ultimately, I purchased a Pilates chair & have been using it for the past 3 weeks. It was slow at first because you really have to use your abdominals but now I feel incredible. It has reduced my back pain, improved my posture and helped me lose another size.

I've never tried Pilates before and just wanted to share this with all of you who may be wondering what type exercise suits you best after having a tummy tuck.

UPDATE - 08/08/09

4 1/2 months after full TT w/muscle repair, no liposuction

The incision site is still not a thing of beauty to behold but it's MUCH improved after wearing silicone strips the past 3 months. I try not to look at it too often & wearing the strips helps. I guess one day I'll wake up & forget to put new strips on and that will be the day the scar quits glaring at me :) The overall experience & outcome are absolutely worth a hip-to-hip scar that noone except my husband sees!! Tanning in a bikini is the BOMB!!

Greenville Plastic Surgeon

Compassionate, experienced, board certified doctor who enjoys helping people feel better about themselves. He will not perform cosmetic surgery unless he feels you will benefit from the procedure.

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Omg, your scar looks amazing at 20 weeks! What did you do?
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Hi Doobles,,
I had my surgery done in Bolivia and I asked my surgeon about scar issue... His response was lots of water and healthy food always helps heal things better. He also recommended me to used Mederma on many scars and its helped a lot.
I am very happy with my results.
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Is there anyone in Illinois that has had a TT?
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Hi all! I had my TT on July 12th (so I'm at almost 1 month) and things are going okay. I'm having a problem with excess fluid (dr left my drain in for over 2 weeks because I was still getting 100-150ml per DAY) but eventually had to take it out; he said he'd never had someone still putting out so much fluid but it wasn't safe to leave the drain in any further. Still, now I'm getting fluid under the skin and have to go into the office every 2-3 days to have him drain it with a big needle and even bigger syringe. The fluid is uncomfortable (not painful) and the needle draining is sort of gross & icky, but guess that's life. All that said, I still LOVE THAT I GOT MY TT!!!! I can't believe how much better my abdomen (sp?) looks and how much better I already feel about myself. It prob sounds weird to say this, but for the first time--in a long time--I feel like I look normal. Scar issue, however. I'm using the silicone gel my dr sells and wondering if I should switch to strips? I put the gel on 2x a day but wondering if strips provides additional/beneficial pressure?? Thoughts?? I took the binder off at not quite 3 weeks (when the drain came out) but want to minimize the scar as much as possible so wondering how the massage works and if this expensive ($130 a tube!) silicone gel should be replaced by real pressure. I love all your stories, by the way. QueenC, JD, maribel, all of you: thank you for posting and providing so much information and moral support--it's made a world of difference for me. Good luck to all of you at every stage and take good care!!!
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your 20 week scar looks amazing....what did u use to fade it out?
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Your scar looks great!!!
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I loved--LOVED--your progression of photos. I'm at 19 days and worried about some irregularities and inconsistent lumps, curves, etc. Your photos gave me hope that a lot of this will even out, level out, over time. You look great and glad to hear you're feeling well. I'm happy to have the belly button stitches and the drain out, but anxious to get back to full activity level. My doctor said 4 weeks originally but then, at the 2 week mark, told me I was already doing "too much," that I need to rest more, so I guess real exercise (besides easy walking) should wait a little longer. Thanks so much for posting your photos--it was very informative to see the progression of healing!
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how long before you can go swimming. but you look great the Gel+ patches are wonderfull to use to minimized the scar and help with the healing.
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Your pictures look great!!! I'm planning to have a TT at the end of the year. I'm going to check out the Dr that did yours.
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Omg I love ur results I'm getting my surgery on Monday the 10th I'm very nervous but also very excited after seeing a lot of ur great results. Wish me luck :)
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Good luck with your surgery!! Let yourself get pampered when you get home. Being nervous is totally normal, after all we are human. Just think of how awsome you will look in your bikini this summer! Let us know how it goes!! If you have any questions don`t hesitate, I will check my emails every day just in case. I know this website is what really helped me understand what I was going through was the same as everyone else. Good luck, HUGS!!
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How big were you before? i am 45 years old just had a baby 7 mos ago i am small but i do have stomic skin , my surg is the end of may? how long before you were able to lift ? you look awesome!!! befor pictures
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I was never really big. I'm 5,7 and usually weigh between 140 - 150 I have a very long torso. But even at my smallest after having my three boys, I hit 135lbs and still had sagging skin in my lower abdomen. I didn't put any before pictures up because when I was standing still (for a picture) my stomach looked pretty flat, and alot of my friends couldn't understand why I was doing this. What bothered me the most was when I was wearing skinny jeans or pants in general and I had a sagging "muffin top" so I always had to wear a shirt that was baggy at the bottom, and it really bothered me. My size was always a medium or a 9. I'm now 6 weeks post op, I weighed myself about a week ago and I wighed 148lbs, (probably because I haven't worked out since my surgery) but I have never looked better, my stomach is flat as a board and my clothes look awsome. As for lifting I`m not quite sure. My baby is three and he weighs about 30lbs and I can lift him now with my corsett on, but without the corsett I still can`t lift anything. I`m seeing my doctor next week and have to ask him about that. I got the go ahead to do weights and abs and cardio at 6 weeks but I still have some pain in my abdomen when I`m not wearing the corsett. Well good luck with your surgery and keep us all posted on how it goes!! Just remember give your body a chance to heal, don`t think you will get home from your surgery and look awsome. You have to give a few weeks for the swelling to go down. That was the mistake that I hade made going in and I got really depressed.
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I had my surgery last Wednesday, glad to read your story it really helped to inform me on what to expect in the next few weeks. I really fell discouraged, I'm all swolen and have this gross scar I was starting to regret my decision but after reading and looking at your before & after pics I'm encouraged again. My stomach looks very simillar to your first picture so if my final product looks as good as your's I will be very pleased!! Thanks also for the info on the "Squeem Illusion Camisole". I'm gonna check with my plastic surgeon and if he gives me the go ahead I will order one. How long after your surgery did you wear that Camisole instead of the "Corset" they give you at the surgeon's office?? Thanks again!!
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Hi Ontario I had my surgury April 9 and I felt the same regret. My scar is very ugly right now and very ichy. After reading these posts I also will be getting cream to rub on and strips. How is your scar now, its April 22, it must look better.
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Hi 5248anon, I am totally happy with my results, my stomach looks amazing. I don't think I'd ever do it again now that I know what the pain is, but I'm happy now that I did it. My stomach is sooooo flat and I feel great in my clothes. The scabbs are almost all gone and I can't wait to start using my "sylicone strips", but the scar looks better than I thought it would. I'm pretty much back to normal, I can't wait to get the go ahead to start working out again. I went for a long bike ride with my kids yesterday, not sure if I was supposed to or not but I needed to do something that envloved exercise. I figure another two weeks and I should be okay to start doing cardio and light weights. I will post some new pictures on my profile when I have a chance so you can see how things look now. Let your body heal and you will be so excited about the new you, I promise!!
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Ontario, since you are over 2 weeks ahead of me you sound much happier with your results than me. I am still finding that the above and below my scar it is swollen but not a soft swollen but hard. Did you have this problem and did you cream area with anything. I have started with a Vit-E ointment the pharmacy recommended and I read massage is good. DId you have this hard swollen area above and below you scar, since you are flat now I wonder if I will go flatter. I am at 16 days now so maybe I'm expecting too much too soon. My surgeon also says to use the paper strips after scabs are gone. I plan to start some treadmill this week as I feel so lazy but I sure seem more tired, maybe this is because of lack of exercise. I still think it maybe was not worth it as I can't say I'm totally happy with the area yet because of the puffy scar area. Time will tell.
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Give your body a chance to heal. I felt the same way as you, it took me a while before I was happy with my decision. When people ask me if I would do it again I say probably not but I'm glad I did it. I'm 6 weeks in and still have a few scabbs but once they are gone I'm going to put a sylicone strip on it, it cost about $100. I used them when I got my breasts done and I barely have a scar, my husband says he doesn't see any scaring where the incision was for my breasts. I got the go ahead to start working out but when I try to run I really feel uncomfortable where I had lypo suction. Also I can stop wearing my corsett but my stomach hurts now when I don't wear it. How are you feeling when it comes to that? It hurts especially when I stand and sit (which I do alot at work). I'm still sleeping with it on. Sorry it took me so long to reply but I'm still figuring out how this works. Hope you are happy now with the results!! Take care...
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Hey you look great!! Your scar is fading really good, what did you use?
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You look great. Having belly button stiches removed, was that painful?
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us. I am looking into having this procedure done in August of 2010. So, right now I am looking at physicians. How did you come across Dr Bishop? Do you know who I could speak to at his office about this procedure? I am interested if he does surgery on out of town patients. Again, the pictures were a great help to see how it all comes together during the healing process. Maddie
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you look amazing and your scar is barely visible...congratulations! I was curious why the cost was so low..was that the total cost or just the surgeon's fee?
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Who was your provider, he did a great job, everything looks like it healed nicely.
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Thanks!!! I used Vit E/Cocoa butter as soon as the bandages came off (2-3 weeks) then started with ScarAway silicone strips as soon as there were no scabs left (3+ weeks). Yes, the strips are expensive BUT think about how much we spent on ourselves already!!!! It's a small amount of money to protect & improve our investment.
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Wow your scar looks great. Can you tell me when did you start applying vitamin e and coco butter to the scar? I had a tt two weeks ago and I still have steral strip that are coming off, but I don't know when to start applying cream.
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