During high school I lost about 130 lbs through diet and exercise and was left with some excess skin around my waist as well as on my chest. I tried a bunch of different things and waited about a year and a half hoping that the skin would shrink back on it's own but of course it didn't. In August I started going to consultations with different plastic surgeons in my area for a tummy tuck, but they all recommended that I instead get a full lower body lift (belt lipectomy). I had my surgery on January 8th so today I am 10 days post op.
The operation went well and took about 5 and a half hours. During surgery my doctor removed a 10" wide band of excess skin from my waist and tightened the skin on my chest. Originally my areolas were much larger and I wanted them made smaller, but because of the extra skin my doctor thought doing a nipple graft would be the best option. After the operation I was brought to the recovery room where I stayed about 11 hours. I could have spent the night at the hospital but I wanted to go home and was discharged around 2:30 am. The first few days after surgery were rough but the pain wasn't too bad. By day five I was feeling much better and getting around easier. The worst pain was in my ab muscles. Because they get stitched closer together during surgery it has been extremely painful to laugh, cough, and sneeze.
I had my first post op visit on day 8 where they removed all the bandages and I got to see everything for the first time. I was hoping they'd remove my 2 drains then too because they already weren't draining much, but he wanted to leave them in a little longer. Even though I was totally prepared for it to look a little scary it was still a bit shocking to see myself for the first time when they removed all the gauze and everything. They told me I could go ahead and start taking showers again so I tried this when I got home but it didn't go so well. What creeped me out the most was my "new" belly button. It had a lot of dried blood and scabbing and when I tried to clean it up the area was totally numb and couldn't even feel myself touching it. I ended up almost passing out and didn't end up showering until yesterday. Even then I tried not to think about it too much or look at myself, haha.
Right now I'm in a compression vest as well as wearing an abdominal binder. I noticed yesterday when I was putting the vest back on after my shower that my stomach has a bit of a vertical crease, kind of like a butt in the front. I'm hoping that this is something that will resolve itself once it's healed and is just due to the swelling? The vest is very tight so when I put it on it kind of folds my stomach in and my belly button ends up disappearing in the crease. I also noticed that my belly button right now looks like just a slit and I was wondering if that's normal. I've heard of people using marbles once it's healed a bit to give their new belly buttons better shape? I have my next post op visit on the 27th of January and they'll then remove the drains and the steri strips from the incisions. I'm excited to see how it all looks when it's healed! I'm hoping my scars will fade nicely, but has anyone had any luck with things like bio oil or scar strips to help reduce the appearance of their scars?
4 weeks post op
I'm now a couple days past four weeks post op and am feeling much better. I didn't end up getting my drains removed until this past Monday, so they were in for just shy of four weeks. It's definitely a strange feeling having them taken out! I'm getting back to all my normal activities now and will be returning to work in five more days. The nipple grafts seem to be healing really well and the incisions look very thin. I've attached a couple pictures so you can see. The dark parts on the nipple are just the glue that still needs to flake off.
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