40 Year Old Mom of 2 - Full TT with Exparel - Atlanta, GA

I had a full TT with umbilical hernia and...

I had a full TT with umbilical hernia and abdominal muscle repair on February 4th, so it's been exactly 10 weeks. I am 5'3" and weigh 100 pounds. Basically, my small frame wasn't meant for having children as my first child pretty much did all of the damage. I had severe separation of abdominal muscles, so a full TT was the only option to repair. Prior to the surgery I was an avid crossfitter training 4 days a week (I was a competitive gymnast my entire child/ adolescent life). I was in extremely good fitness going into the surgery.
I mention my fitness level, because the surgery itself and immediate recovery was very easy. One of the reasons I wanted to share my experience was because it was extremely good and I myself had put the surgery off for years due to fear. During the actual surgery, I was given a shot of Exparel directly into the abdominal area. This is a 72-96 hour nerve block. As a result, I had the surgery...stayed in the hospital one night...came home and never had ANY pain. In fact, I never took any of my pain meds because I didn't need them. I did take an occasional muscle relaxer to sleep better. I consulted with a few plastic surgeons and only found one practice actively using Exparel. In the end, that's why I selected my practice....it is a total game changer!
Another notable piece of information is that most of the time when umbilical hernias are present with muscle separation the need for a "fake belly button" (floating belly button) is pretty much unavoidable. It is important to select a PS that can create a natural looking "fake belly button" (ask for pictures...etc). This was a huge deciding factor on selecting a plastic surgeon. I love my new belly button. : ). While I have a few stretch marks that could not be removed in surgery, I am very pleased with my result. I am currently in the process of having a series of 1540 Lux laser treatments to minimize the appearance of the stretch marks. I will create a separate blog for that later.
Now - jumping to the present. It's been 10 weeks today and I still have significant limitations. The immediate recovery was a breeze - I was driving at 2-3 weeks and walking 100% upright around 4 weeks. My scar is healing beautifully (I continue to keep covered with the tan micro tape), but I am still extremely tight. When I move I still feel tugging sensations. I'm assuming this is a result of the severe muscle separation and abdominal plication. I can walk for exercise, but there is no way that I am even ready for light running. Coming from my athletic back ground, this is limiting. Now is where I realize that everyone's recovery is different depending on how much internal damage was repaired (muscle repair and hernias). I also feel compelled to say that my umbilical hernia was a result of my first pregnancy....not crossfit (as some have suggested).
While I have no intentions of returning to crossfit until at least 6 months....I am wondering when I will be able to be active ( according to my standards) again? I would love for anyone to weigh in on this for me. : )

5 Comments

Hi jan40..how are you feeling now a days? Are you able to be as active as you like?
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Jasminepearl- I was able to run about a mile and a half yesterday (11 weeks post op). I took it easy because I didn't want to over do it or test the boundaries. I figure it's a good starting point and can only get better from here. In the past week I have been able to also do some light rowing, air squats, weighted lunges and ring rows. Feels good to be able to do something. : )
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Thanks for the update and hooray for you! I'm dreading the recovery as my twins are 17 months old. Oh well, it sounds like eventually I'll recover and get back to the workouts that bring me so much joy....and endorphins ; )

10 weeks

1 Comments

Hi! Your results are really great! Take a pic today, lol! Are you back to full activity? When did you first work out?
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Progress at 15 weeks

The above picture was taken around 10 weeks. This is also after having one laser treatment to smooth stretch marks. I am about 15 weeks out now and doing great! I am running about 3 times a week (3-4 miles). Still a little stiff. My arms won't quite reach 100% overhead yet, so no pull ups/ hanging on a bar or barbell work yet.

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15 weeks

So this is a 15 week update. I have had 2 fraxel laser treatments to minimize residual stretch marks. In terms of overall healing, I am doing great! Just trying to improve the outcome as much as I can. : )

8 Comments

You look fabulous! Do you have any before pictures? I am a very active person as well, gym4-5 days a week, so recovery has been ok. Just sore really the first few days, but I also had exparel which makes an insane differance. I'm swollen though which is upsetting. Did you have swelling in the first week or 2? Tomorrow I will be one week post, and I feel super swollen! Did you wear a compression garment? Sorry so may questions but I want results like yours!!! Haha :)
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Awe thanks!!! Unfortunately only my PS has any before photos. I didn't really find this site until after my surgery, so the thought of ever taking before photos at home didn't cross my mind. I think my before photos were very similar to yours....I may have had more loose skin. It's funny.....I've sort of forgotten. Lol. I had swelling for about 6-8 weeks. I know I wasn't able to button all of my jeans until about 6 weeks. At 4 months I think the swelling is pretty much gone. I wore a super tight Spanx CG starting at two weeks up until 8-9 weeks. Keep in mind this was back during colder months. I still wear it when I run. It just feels better. I think you look great and our stories are very similar. I am so glad that you had the Experal shot and your recovery has been easy. : )
Thanks! Yeah I guess if I didn't find this site I wouldn't of taken before photos either.. Lol. Thanks for responding :) I might go pick up another compression garment tonight rThe rather just the binder. I feel like it isn't tight enough and keeps stretching. You really look great :)

4 months PO

So I never thought I would ever wear a bikini again.....and then this happened....4 months to the date....I put it on and went to the pool! I think it takes a full 4-6 months to get a good picture of final results. 95% of the swelling is gone and non-ablative lasering has done wonders for any residual stretch marks.

44 Comments

Have the laser treatments been helpful with stretch marks?
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Yes - look at my other review on real self for lasering. I have some pretty good before/ after photos. It has made the difference in wear bikinis and not.
Woah I just realized you're 5'3 and 100#, you're little! I'm also 100# but three inches shorter. Congrats on wearing bikinis again :)
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Six months!!

So it's been a little over six months since my surgery. The time has flown by! At this point I almost feel like I have never had surgery. I am still numb....so that part is what is different, but everything else is great. I think numb is the new normal, so I'm not really bothered by that at all. I haven't returned to crossfit yet, but I have been running since about week 8 or 9. I wore a compression garment while running until about month 4. I wore it because I think I thought something was going to move out of place. Lol. When I finally stopped wearing it, I realized my abs and skin are so tight....nothing is moving out of place. My scars are healed well, but are a little darker than I would like at this point. They will lighten...it just takes longer with my olive skin. I did have the little scar from my old BB lasered and it made it smaller and completely smooth (no indentions). My stretch marks have remained at minimum since having them lasered.

14 Comments

Question for you. Since you are just as small as I am, were you or are you able to feel the stitches where they tightened your abdominal repair? I can literally feel down the center of my stomach where I assume I was stitched. I was told I was as to feel it because of my size.
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I do remember feeling them, but I actually just tried to feel them and I can't anymore (at 9 months). I was told early on that I had semi permanent sutures on the repair that would take about 9 months to dissolve. Guess they are gone...huh?
Ok... Just making sure something else didn't go wrong lol
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