TT / Flank Lipo at 50 -Baltimore, MD
I've always had a pannicular fold, and after...
- 9 Oct 2012
I've always had a pannicular fold, and after losing a significant amount of weight, realized this was simply not going to go away and further, it was starting to be problematic because of rashes/irritation coinciding with my increased exercise routines and sports activities.
I am not at my ideal weight and during consult I was a 225. The first assessment was that I needed to lose more weight. We had a further discussion about my weight loss efforts, activities and how long I'd been at my current plateau. It was agreed that a TT would aid my profile and that I should continue working on weight, but that they could go forward with the surgery. By the time I reached my date, I was at 214.
About exercising (and it's relevant): I was an aggressive exerciser for a long time before I walked into the office. I weightlift (heavy) 3x a week, cardio (some form - elliptical, walking, hiking, outdoor cycling) 5-6 days a week. Labor Day weekend before my surgery, I'd cycled 40 miles. So, while I can stand to lose weight (and I will) I'm more muscular and fit than the number of lbs I weigh reveals.
My surgery went very smoothly: about 3.5 hours. Home the same day. Up and walking the next. Walked (slowly) 2 miles, 3 days after the procedure. Stopped the pain pills 3 days afterward. 5 days after the procedure, I spent 6 hours on my feet, walking the zoo. Kicked my helper to the curb after 6 days; she'd had nothing to do for me. I was tired but felt fine. I've had one minor setback since then: a small infection on part of the incision, but we're on that and I'll be fine. That section will just take a little longer to heal. Everything else - now 20 days out - is completely sealed and healed.
I'm thrilled that I did this. They took *eight* lbs of skin from my fold. EIGHT. That's how much I was held back. When I tried on clothing afterward - even swollen - I could fit into a size 14 dress now. I couldn't get into anything but 18's because of that before. So I'm glad.
I read A LOT on this board and other places about people's experiences. And I know that everyone is different in their capacity for pain, etc. But as I look back at this, I'm going to say I had a pretty great bounceback from the procedure.
Remember - I'm 50 years old.
And here's what I want to pass along for folks thinking about doing this:
1. I'm 50 and I didn't find a lot of examples of people my age having this surgery. If you're healthy (I don't drink / smoke, and I exercise) there's no reason you can do this.
2. I think one needs to work as hard as they can to be FIT before getting this surgery. Having low pressure, good cardiovascular health, stamina and endurance - all the benefits of being fit - will GREATLY enhance your healing ability AND make it easier for you to become mobile / self sufficient, sooner. Not to mention that it's exponentially easier for your medical professionals to do the procedure and treat you afterwards.
3. If you're not weightlifting and working on your core & balance beforehand, you should be.
Let me say that again: If you're not weightlifting and working on your core & balance beforehand, **you should be.**
One the of the things I saw mentioned over and over in commentary was how hard it was for people to get up out of a seated position; they were reliant on walkers and other people. A key exercise in my weight routine is the squat; another is lunges, and lastly, one-legged step ups. Each of these exercises trains your body to use your LEGS / GLUTES to move your body into different positions - NOT YOUR TORSO. When rising out of a chair, many people lean forward, using their upper body / arms to propel upward. And this is why, after TT, people can't get out of a chair: they don't know how to use their lower body to do this instead.
I'd have to say that's the SINGLE biggest thing (aside from a recliner) that aided my mobility / independence. I never once needed help to rise or climb because of the work I put in under the bar.
Remember: I'm 50. On my age alone, you'd expect I'd have it harder. I think the fitness and weighlifting work ahead of it made my recovery much, much easier.
4. RE: eating. after reading pain med constipation stories, I vowed I wouldn't be taking OTCs to manage that. So, I laid in a supply of ground flax seed and added to my protein shake smoothies and other things. The ground flax seeds provide fiber as well as good oils, which made bowel movements much, much easier. 1-2T a day did it.
I'm back at work now as of this week. It's tiring to be upright in the chair for so long, but not unmanageable, so I'm grateful. The drs. are great and this was well worth it. I'll post photos later.
Reputation and cost.