Surgery cancelled

My journey to this point had been somewhat...

My journey to this point had been somewhat different that what I originally envisioned (isn't that usually how life goes though?), but I am excited and ready for this surgery. After consulting with another PS in town who found that I had an incisional hernia (you can find my related posts here on Real Self about all that) I felt that it was important to find a surgeon who was current and board certified in both plastics and general surgery.

I met with Dr. B on 1/23/12 and could not have been more pleased. After checking in, updating paperwork, and watching a short video that outlined the surgery and recovery from my procedure, Dr. B came in and met with me in the consultation "lounge." It is wonderful (and less intimidating) to speak with your surgeon as a person who is fully clothed- it truly is a conversation rather than the typical consult and exam where you're half naked in some paper getup. Kudos to him and the office staff for adding that extra step in!

Of course across the hall is where I got undressed and put on the wonderful surgical the nurse put it, "one size fits none." and Dr. B came back in to examine my abdomen and thoroughly checked out the herniated area. I do have a diastasis (after two big baby boys that's not all that surprising) so he will perform muscle repair with the TT- and best part is that the hernia is almost exactly along the midline of my abdomen, so the MR will majorly reinforce that repaired area and he won't use mesh or anything on the hernia site. Another plus to having him as my surgeon...he only performs surgery in a hospital based-OR setting and makes all his patients stay overnight.

As an RN this is important to me because 1) working in the ER and ICU I have seen a lot of cases of patients that got into trouble in "outpatient" surgery settings where only limited life saving resources were available, and 2) the first 24 hours post-surgery are rough for a lot of people as far as nausea, pain management, mobility, etc. Definitely something that factors big with me...just because you "can" send someone home as an outpatient doesn't always mean that you "should." And, for the record, even with the overnight stay factored into my total cost, this procedure is less expensive than the first surgeon I saw. But really...if you're pinching pennies when it comes to your health and safety....maybe it's time to ask if you're really ready for plastic surgery.

Anyway, I was so relieved and excited after meeting with him (even after posing for those terrible "before" photos, haha) that I booked my surgery before leaving the office! Bright and early on March 6th I am going to be having the biggest surgery of my life, and while I am mentally and physically preparing for a slow and easy recovery, I can't help but be excited for the major changes that will be taking place! I have worked really hard with diet and exercise to get my body where it needs to be for me to be healthy and strong, and so for me, having the TT is like putting a period on the end of that sentence. The next six weeks are going to be more intensive core and cardio training at the gym, and meticulous diet at home with lots of lean protein, iron, and vitamin supplements to help get my body ready for the major stress that surgery and recovery will create. I meet with Dr. B again on February 6th so will update then with more details. In the meantime I am posting a list of pre- and post-surgery items (I know there are a few out there, but I spent most of last night looking and didn't find one that had EVERYTHING in one place) that hopefully will be helpful to y'all. So glad I found RealSelf and this wonderful community of support, laughter, and information:)

Planning for your tummy tuck As a surgical nurse...

Planning for your tummy tuck
As a surgical nurse myself who has taken care of a lot of patients during their immediate and extended recoveries, I thought it might be helpful to reproduce my list of things to do/get to help prepare for this surgery. There are a few on this site and others out there but I didn't find one that seemed like it included all aspects of the pre and post-op process:

Your protein intake is crucial to a good recovery. If you are following a healthy diet and exercise regularly then a daily lean protein intake of about 45-50 gm per day is good before surgery. Because protein is so important in your recovery phase, your daily protein intake should be more like 1 gram per lb of body weight following surgery (so, if you weigh 150 lbs, that's 75 grams of protein each day!). Besides lean meats and eggs, protein shakes (usually containing whey or soy protein) are a really good way to bump up your intake. I have personally used Muscle Milk and Vega One and they both taste good, blend easily, and can be mixed with just about any liquid. Vega One is considered nutritionally "complete" meaning that it also has fiber, greens, and probiotics, and so it's vegan friendly, if that's your thing:). Just get into the habit of reading labels and make sure that the shake doesn't contain anything you DON'T want...fillers, lots of sugar, high fructose corn syrup solids, or other junk that your body doesn't need. Protein shakes are awesome post-op because you can drink them through a straw and they taste pretty darn good...and are easy on your digestion as it gets back to normal after anesthesia and the stress of surgery.
There are a LOT of vitamins and herbal supplements that can adversely interfere with anesthesia, clotting (aka your body's natural ability to STOP bleeding), and recovery. Always make sure you discuss your complete medication list with your surgeon well before your surgery date...even the occasional aspirin or advil that yout take for a headache can make a difference in how your body responds to surgery. Three items, two supplements and a vitamin- Bromelain, Arnica Montana, and Vitamin C- have been shown to help with post-op bruising, swelling, and general inflammatory response. So much in fact that many PS practices will recommend that their patients take these three items starting a week or two before surgery and for about two weeks afterwards. Remember to always consult with your PS (and your regular doc) before starting any new meds. Most likely they will be aware of these three items and will tell you how much to take of each and when to start/stop them.

Home Care-
If you don't have an awesome network of family and friends who will swoop in and cook, clean, drive your kids and basically take over as chief, cook, and bottle washer for a few days, you might consider checking into some short-term home care assistance. Most agencies have a lot of experience helping surgery patients and rates are usually in the $15 to $20/hr range. Besides being there to help you to/from the bathroom, empty your drains, and stay comfy, most provide light housekeeping and meal prep. The less stressed you are the better outcome you will even if it's for a few hours during the day (or overnight so your hubby can sleep) it's totally worth it. Same goes for childcare and/or housecleaning.
Other good home care items:
Elevated toilet seat
Shower chair/seat
A walker
Walmart and Amazon carry all of these items, if you don't already own them. They are kind of like that pair of crutches in your basement- you never know when you'll need them again, so for a total of maybe $80 to $100, it's a good investment.
Lift chair or hospital bed rental- or medical grade wedge pillows to elevate legs and support back/neck for sleeping upright.
You can't lie flat, you can't strain your incision or MR internal sutures, so anything that makes your daily activities easier and rest time more restful is never a bad idea. Lift chair rental (less bulky than a hospital bed) is pretty economical, and there are lots of companies online who will deliver, set up, and pick up the chair for you whenever you need it- sometimes with less than a day's notice.

Medication and JP drainage charts- You'll be taking pain meds around the clock, emptying (and measuring output of) at least two drains twice a day, and you may even be taking something for sleep and/or a muscle relaxant. There's a good reason we do a lot of chart paperwork in hospitals- and most of it has to do with tracking these types of activities for our patients. You will be tired, uncomfortable, and a little out of sorts from the anesthesia, and this stuff can get overwhelming pretty quickly. If you don't get a JP (Jackson-Pratt) drain care chart when you are sent home, the Internet has tons to download and print- as well as customizable medication charts.

Wound Care- your PS's office will probably supply you with some of this stuff, but it's a good idea to have some on hand anyway...
Sterile Gauze
Gloves (I prefer sterile gloves, and yes you can buy them online or in a medical supply store)
Triple antibacterial ointment
TransPore or paper tape (or other medical tape)
Cup for measuring JP drain output
Exercise band to attach drains in the shower (IF you are allowed to shower with drains still in. Confirm this with your PS), and safety pins or clothes pins to secure drain tubing

Comfort Care
Insulated cup/"big gulp" style jug with lid and straw...and a bag/box of bendy straws. You can't bend, so your beverages have to:)
Reusable ice packs
Wedge pillows for back and knees
Shirts that unbutton in the front and soft waistband pants
An extra surgical garment- for your first stage of recovery, try to find one with the gusset (soft crotch slit-style opening) as opposed to the hook and eye closure. Nothing is worse than sitting on a crotch with metal hooks...or having your spouse have to close the crotch of your surgical garment while you stand there hunched over when you can't shower or take the darn thing off anyway. Sorry for the visual, but I know a lot of people don't consider that when buying their post-op compression garments.

Last, but certainly not least...
Watch the "coupon" sites like LivingSocial and Groupon for deals on laser hair removal packages. I can't tell you how many reviews I have read where people were upset after their TT that their bikini line was radically different than before surgery. Remember that your PS is not only pulling your upper abdominal skin down...but also the skin from your pubic bone on down will be elevated somewhat, so the bikini hairline will be higher than it used to be. Plan accordingly, and invest in four to six sessions of laser hair removal for your, ahem, land down under.

I hope this is helpful to y'all. So excited to hear of everyone's progress towards and following their own TT procedures. Happy healing...see you all on the "flat side" soon!

So I saw my PS for a follow-up consult on the 6th....

So I saw my PS for a follow-up consult on the 6th...I am now less than a month out from my surgery date and reading everyone's updates and seeing their after photos has me so excited! A little nervous, but mostly excited! At Wednesday's visit we reviewed specifically where he thinks my scar and belly button will end up being (my BB is apparently somewhat high anatomically right now, lol) and went over my little list of questions I had for him. I will be staying overnight in the hospital after my surgery (this is routine and he requires it for all his major PS patients), so I'll have an IV pain pump and anything else I need to be comfy post op.
My PS still teaches, writes, and participates in research/clinical trials, so it was interesting to get his perspective on pain control, scar care, and vitamin supplements. He also mentioned that I probably won't have a whole lot of lipo on my hips or flanks (if any) because there just isn't that much fat there. Apparently all these years in the gym trying to flatten my sad belly are finally paying off, hahaha! Also reminded me to call him on his cell immediately if my hernia starts to hurt or gets bigger in the meantime. So nice to know that I have that kind of access and availability, and really validates for me that I picked the right surgeon! Anyway, next time I see him will be the afternoon before my surgery to get marked and get prescriptions so I can fill everything prior to surgery the next morning- he reminded me to wear undies or a swimsuit bottom that realistically represents what I'd ultimately want to routinely wear. That way when he does marking I will know what to expect with scar placement. It's crazy how quickly this is all happening...and yet it feels so far away at the same time!

Less than three weeks to go, and I am in full...

Less than three weeks to go, and I am in full nesting mode. Is that normal or just me? Have been cleaning, organizing, making to-do and to-buy lists and generally driving my hubby nuts. My pre-op testing and anesthesia visit is next week at the hospital. I think it's basic bloodwork and an EKG, nothing too exotic. Also, thanks to the awesome ladies on this site, we are headed to Rent-a-Center to look at power lift chairs after hubby gets done with work today. It's less than half the cost to rent a recliner/lift chair from there than any of the medical supply places I called, which is awesome! much for the Rent-a-Center theory. They... much for the Rent-a-Center theory. They didn't have one power lift chair in the store or in the area and the recliner they had was so low to the ground that I think it would be harder to get in and out of than my bed! I did some calling around and finally found ONE place that rents electric lift/recliners. Sheesh. You'd think in a town this size that something like that wouldn't be so hard to find. On a positive note, it still wasn't very expensive ($150 for the month) but I am glad that I didn't wait until the week of my surgery to go look into the rental stuff! I guess all this "nesting" and planning is a good thing:)

Busy day today! Ran errands, hit the gym, had a...

Busy day today! Ran errands, hit the gym, had a playdate with my youngest little guy and realized that two weeks from today I won't be doing any of that stuff. It's happening! I am nervous and excited all at once...and counting the days! No cold feet but it's finally starting to feel real. Then I got a call from my PS's nurse just to check in with me since I am TWO WEEKS OUT today (squeeeeel!) from surgery. Reminded me of the no-no's- no aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, herbal supplements, or vitamin E from here on out- and also to check and make sure I had called to schedule my pre-op testing at the hospital. Other than that... I've bought my supplies, rented a power lift/recliner chair, and my BFF will be coming to stay with us the first week to help with the kids and generally taking over while I am out of commission. So blessed to have her- we have no family here and none who are able to fly or drive in to help out otherwise. I am hoping that her being here will get me through the first/roughest stage of recovery. I had my gallbladder out almost two years ago and I remember that the first few days really sucked...hurt so much to cough, move around suddenly, etc. so I am hopeful that the TT with MR and hernia repair won't be too much worse than that was. Why do I have this crazy feeling like I'm forgetting something important??!? Also, the nesting has gotten a little cray-cray. Cleaned out my closet last night and made a drawer for post-surgery comfy clothes- all my favorite soft yoga pants, tank tops, jammie pants and granny-style undies- where I won't have to bend or squat to get them. I randomly started to put together shelves last night (by myself, because my husband didn't understand why it needed to be done right THEN, lol) to organize supplies in the basement. See, I told you the nesting around here's gotten a bit out of hand!

Went for my pre-op testing and pre-admission...

Went for my pre-op testing and pre-admission paperwork today. No big deal, basically vital signs and two tubes of blood, then answering medical history questions with one of the nurses. Who, by the way, was a year out from her OWN TT with hernia and muscle repair, and was excited to share her story. I wasn't expecting her to be so supportive and reassuring and open about her own experience- and she was so excited for me on top of all that! I had been having kind of a crummy morning and felt rushed and stressed by the time I got to the hospital, and sitting and chatting with her really made a huge difference. It's funny how God puts people like that in your life just when you need them.
Have a few more things to pick up before surgery including Hibiclens to clean my belly with starting this Wednesday.

Any recommendations for a good brand of dry shampoo?? My surgeon uses drains and I can't shower until they are pulled, eeeeeyew, lol.

Got some bad news today. They found something on...

Got some bad news today. They found something on my mammogram. My gyn has already seen the films and is very concerned based on where the mass is. He has scheduled a sonogram and an MRI to get a better look at it and figure out next steps. I have a lot of mixed emotions at this point, mostly scared about what the outcome of all this could be. My TT surgery has obviously been postponed for the time being. I've decided that this is going to be my last post here- my priorities and focus have changed so I want to say thank you, good luck and happy healing to all of you wonderful ladies.
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

Recommended to me by another surgeon, and he has taken care of another family member and a friend's mother.

Was this review helpful? 4 others found this helpful

Comments (34)

Sort by

I wondered where you had gone! Not eve sure you will read this, but I am thinking about you, and know that from the spirit I sensed from our email exchanges WHATEVER the outcome of your doc's suspicions, you are SO strong and brave and courageous and will face this head on and be just fine. I had my surgery yesterday, and thanks to you and your support, all has gone very well. Very sore, but hanging in there! Missed having you as my cheerleader, but totally understand! Take good care, and I will always remember you as a major advocate of this big step in my life. THANK YOU!!
  • Reply
I am sorry to hear this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
  • Reply

I am sorry to hear this news:(  Stay positive and we will all hope and pray for the best outcome.  We are here for your support if you need it so please reach out to us.

  • Reply
my heart goes out to u...i hope things turn out fine. Stay strong moma.
  • Reply
I wonder if you can wash your hair in the sink since you will be hunched over a bit anyway?
  • Reply
If it was shorter I probably could...but it's about 8 inches past my shoulders. My BFF is coming to help out the day after I get home from the hospital so if all else fails I bet she could wash it in the sink for me- somehow I don't see my poor hubby playing hairdresser, lol.
  • Reply
Hey there! Almost time for you! Woo-hoo! Just want you to know I appreciate reading your thoughts. One thing I noticed about this site is there is so many different variations of preparation and recovery. (Some people have no drains or no compression.... others have them for weeks and even months!) Each doc recommends their own things. Better to plan for as much as possible! I will use your list (as well as other's) as a helpful guide. It's all about your own comfort! Can't wait to see how your journey goes! =)
  • Reply
Thank you FitChick. There are lots of great lists out there and most of the stuff on mine is culled from others who've been through this already. I think it's great that someone came up with the idea to have all of this info in a community setting and I've really enjoyed reading everyone's experiences and feedback. Looking forward to seeing how yours goes as well- you're not too far off after me! :)
  • Reply
I have to agree with Linda here. I understand everyone is different and deals with/prepares for things differently, but I must say this prep list is a bit overkill. I haven't had my surgery yet, and I'm sure a lot of people that haven't done it yet would agree that this can be a little intimidating. I find it interesting that the "community manager" had to intervene when I actually appreciated reading Linda's post- it helped calm my nerves after reading WhoDat's post (I am scheduled in a week and don't have half that stuff). I also wouldn't call it "throwing stones" when Linda is simply telling people that a lot of this to do list/prep stuff is NOT necessary.
  • Reply
I forgot to mention- as an RN myself, your advice about staying overnight after surgery can be a little intimidating for those not in the medical field. Scaring people into thinking it is somehow unsafe to go home after surgery because they may get "into trouble" is not exactly the best advice. Research actually shows that patients recover faster when they are up and moving in the comfort of their own home.
  • Reply
Apparently I must sound like one of those horrible people who tell every pregnant woman their most awful story about giving birth. I promise that my intention was truly the opposite. I was nervous and a little overwhelmed about this surgery back when I wrote that post- wondering if I was really ready and could handle the downtime and recovery. It was really helpful to me at the time to try and put to paper what I was thinking and come up with a plan of action. It's not meant to be intimidating or scary and I truly apologize as that seems to be how it came across to you. Best of luck to you with your upcoming surgery.
  • Reply
I do want to clarify two things here...first, my particular PS requires his patients to stay overnight in the hospital, so in my case that part is not really my call to make. Second, my comment in a prior entry about "getting into trouble" was in reference to non-hospital surgical settings that perform major procedures, and had nothing to do with recovery at home vs. in a hospital after the surgery is completed. In retrospect I could have been clearer in my meaning, but I never stated or insinuated that going home the same day of surgery is unwise or unsafe. There are quite a few documented cases of patients having major elective procedures (i.e. plastic surgery) in environments OUTSIDE of a hospital who experience significant complications during surgery that cannot be adequately addressed in a private surgery center. This is a topic of discussion at every surgical conference I've ever attended because it primarily is a question of patient safety. Hemorrhage and anesthesia complications are probably the most common complications and either typically results in emergency transport to the nearest hospital. I've worked in a surgical ICU setting for almost 15 years and have seen these cases time and again- and so no, I don't think it's ideal to have a major procedure, such as abdominoplasty with herniorrhaphy (my particular case) in an environment other than a hospital, where every type of backup is available.
  • Reply
Lol! I understand your nesting mode. I feel like I am planning for a world disaster by stocking up on stuff around the house. And also the need to buy list is like planning a spa vacation for me! My date is 3weeks after yours so I look forward to following your progress! Good Luck !
  • Reply
Girl...I am glad I'm not the only one! Between Costco, Amazon, and CVS shopping our pantry and medicine cabinets look like that doomsday preppers show! Good luck to you as well- March is gonna be a great month for us both! Woo hoo!
  • Reply
This is great! The more info the better, in my opinion! Good luck with your surgery. Oh, and the first surgeon I met with said she trims the top of the pubic hairline back so you don't end up with hair to your belly button. I like the sound of that!
  • Reply
Thank you Nolamom:) I think the pubic hairline question is one I will ask my surgeon this week when I see him. I hope you all are surviving the craziness of hosting a Super Bowl in the middle of Mardi Gras season!
  • Reply
I will be glad when the Superbowl is over and we can concentrate on Mardi Gras!
  • Reply

Linda58  - This experience is different for everyone and what one person feels might not be the case for others.  I am very happy that everything was easy and a smooth for you.  I wish we could all have that experience.   Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.  A persons's feeling are real and should not be disregarded.  We each do what we need to do for preparation.  There is no right or wrong; it's all in what makes us comfortable.

This is a supportive, positive and great place for everyone to share their experiences.  We can all learn from each other good and bad.  But I must ask that you please be supportive of other opinions and feelings.  This is not a place to criticize, look down on or judge what others have gone through.  So please if you do not agree with another persons feelings, experiences or blog do not throw stones.  

I love how everyone shares their story and I want all to be comfortable here in the community.  

WhoDatMom - I can relate to many of the things you are talking about and love all of the advice and tips you have shared.  In fact I agree with most everything you wrote and have preached the same ideas over and over in my updates.  I am attaching a link to my Tummy Tuck Survival: A Real Life Guide.  This will show you exactly how I felt and what I went though with this process.  It may even make you laugh a little. 

So keep your chin up and continue planning for your big day.  You are going to do wonderful.




  • Reply
Thank you Kim for the constructive feedback and positivity! I am going to go check out your Tummy Tuck Survival Guide ASAP!
  • Reply

Let me know if you need anything:)

  • Reply
I had a full abdominoplasty with muscle repair on January 7, so I am now 3+ weeks post-op. I am 58 years old, almost 59. Your recovery tips are intimidating to me and make the TT recovery sound much more complicated than what I experienced. Before the surgery I was never "half naked in some paper getup" in front of my fully clothed male doctor. To view my tummy area, I simply pulled up my shirt and showed my doctor my huge bulging stomach area. Nor did I ever wear "surgical undies." At the hospital my doctor marked my stomach area and took photos while I wore a hospital gown and still had my underpants on, albeit pushed down a bit in the front. Of course, I removed my underwear before the surgery and the OR staff saw everything. My plastic surgeon performs all his TTs at nearby hospitals; none are performed in his office operating suite (simpler plastic surgeries are done there). I chose to stay overnight at the hospital. I experienced no nausea, thanks to, I think, the anti-nausea prescription patch I was told to apply behind one ear the night before surgery. I had no mobility problems after the surgery. I was able to stand almost completely straight up. In fact, I asked my plastic surgeon repeatedly whether I should force myself to bend over as I walked, even though I didn't feel the need to. He said No. I attribute my comfort level (especially compared to the "hideous pain" etc that I read about online beforehand) to my plastic surgeon's outstanding skills. I think your pre-op exercise regimen and dietary advice is unnecessary, with questionable benefits. I don't see how "intensive core and cardio training at the gym" in the weeks leading up to surgery is a particularly good idea or beneficial. Nor is "meticulous diet at home." Sorry, but this sounds neurotic to me. Walking 30 mins a day and always trying to eat a well-balanced diet are all that healthy people need whether they're having surgery or not. I am surprised you recommended all this, especially in your case. Your "before" photos really aren't that bad. My stomach, from a side view, was easily twice to three times as large, and I am significantly older (58) than you look in the two photos. My abdominal muscles were stretched out so badly from multiple pregnancies that when I was younger I always looked 7 months pregnant and then when I got too old to be mistaken for a pregnant woman I just looked like a slob with a big beer belly. My PS's office gives all patients Bromelain and Arnica (no extra cost) and recommends vitamin C capsules/tablets starting before surgery. Your "home care" tips are overwhelming and almost scary. Nowhere over the course of a year of research did I read such tips. My PS's lengthy written do's and don'ts recommended none of the things you suggest. If I had read your tips beforehand, I think I might have been scared off. And that would have been a real shame, because now that I've finally had a full TT, I am stunned by the fantastic results and by the much easier than expected recovery. I am confused by your multiple recommendations, specifically "sterile gauze," "Hibiclens" (what is that?), "gloves" (for what?), "triple antibiotic ointment" (any tube of this stuff says it is NOT to be applied deep wounds), "TransPore or paper tape," and "Jackson-Pratt drain care chart." Sorry, but the last one is laughable. No one except a nurse or technician in a hospital needs such a thing. All you need at home to record the times when you take your pain pills and the times/amounts of fluid in the drain bulb is a sheet of paper and a pencil. Recovery is a chore, definitely, so I would say keep things simple and don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. My TT incision was covered in strips of short white tape. I was told to leave the tape alone and that it would all fall off in due time (two weeks). I was NOT to pull it off and then apply "triple antibiotic ointment"! No gloves are needed for TT recovery. Wash your hands with soap and water! No TransPore (whatever that is) or paper tape is needed. I was given two cups (in case I lost one, I guess) by the nurse who did my hospital discharge paperwork and instructions. Emptying my one-and-only drain was a no-brainer. I simply emptied the fluid into the measuring cup and then recorded the amount (with a pen and paper I kept on my bathroom vanity). My instructions said NO ice packs or heating pads. At home I have been wearing cotton T-shirts and pajama bottoms or sweatpants. There is no need to buy new clothing, however cheap. Just wear what is most comfortable for YOU. I've seen some postings in which women said they bought surgical scrubs (pants) to wear after a TT. Again, keep things simple, don't make this all out to be more complicated than it is. Instead focus on resting, eating well, and walking around the house (to prevent blood clots and promote overall healing). There is no need to rent a "lift chair" or "hospital bed." Also, if you think you might benefit from a walker, cane, etc., don't buy them new at Walmart or Amazon. These things are readily available on CraigsList. Based on a year of research, I bought a used walker, a used cane, and a new toilet seat riser---and I have used NONE of them. I even considered a wheelchair, I was so scared beforehand based on stories of "hideous pain" and terribly hunched-over backs. A friend talked me out of the wheelchair, and I laugh about that now when I think back on it. I do have one recommendation: Do not have a full tummy tuck (meaning with muscle repair) unless your surgeon installs a pain pump. A pain pump contains numbing medicine, and that numbing liquid goes from the external pump (a small device in a separate bag with a shoulder/neck strap) into your body via two very skinny tubes, which bathe the abdominal muscles with the numbing medicine for about 3 days (can't remember the number of hours I was told the medicine should last). Once the pain pump was empty, I gently pulled the two very skinny tubes out of my body (sort of in between breasts and a few inches below). With the pain pump and a Vicodin or two every 4 to 6 hours, I felt no pain. I continued with the Vicodin for 3 days after the pain pump ran out, and then I took ES Tylenol for a couple of days. Nothing after that. I forced myself to rest for 2 weeks and did not leave the house. I feel fantastic, my stomach looks absolutely great, and this was the best thing I ever did. Last suggestion: Only go to a highly experienced, top-rated, top-notch plastic surgeon. My surgery was performed at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. Oh, one last thing: "sitting on a crotch with metal hooks"??? This sounds medieval. Are you joking? I woke up from surgery wearing an elastic binder with a Velcro closure. The binder is a long stretchy length of fabric that I put on kind of like a wide belt. I position it behind me on my lower middle back and then wrap the length of it comfortably around my abdominal area, and then I close it by pressing down on the Velcro strip. I was given a second binder when I left the hospital. My doctor said to wear it constantly for 3 days (except when showering, starting 48 hours post-op) and that after that it was up to me when and for how long to wear it. I have worn it pretty much constantly because it is not the least bit uncomfortable, provides comfy support, and makes me feel like I am protecting my fantastic new tummy from the cruel outside world. My PS said many patients choose to wear the binder for weeks or months. I understand why now. I am able to wear ordinary underwear and cannot imagine the absurdity of "having your spouse close the crotch of your surgical garment."
  • Reply
Hey Linda! I sure hope it goes that easy for me. I backed out last year after reading many stories about being swollen for 6months or so and that led me to believe my life would have been on hold all that time! It wasn't til I met someone who was back to work in a couple of weeks that got me motivated to just do it so I can stop being disgusted with my belly. I appreciate everyone's advise because there could be something I didn't think of. I will definitely be asking about that pain pump!
  • Reply
Go for it! If you really need it, if you are healthy, if you are in decent shape, do it! I sincerely wish you the best. I understand your backing out last year. I have a real anxiety problem, and I was scared and felt guilty about having a tummy tuck done, since a TT is an unnecessary elective procedure (and a costly one at that). I first consulted with plastic surgeons in January 2012. Then I spent most of 2012 reading horror stories online and viewing ridiculous youtube videos. The best advice to follow is that of the surgeons you consult and his/her patients. Look up local surgeons online and read patient reviews. My doctor said I'd need help for 3 days (and I did). He said I'd be tired etc for 2 weeks. He was right. And I am almost 59 years old! Anyone younger than me should recover much faster. A PAIN PUMP IN MANDATORY, in my opinion, WITH MUSCLE REPAIR. I read somewhere that decades ago, before the whole plastic surgery craze, when tummy tucks were done (rarely), patients were hospitalized for days with a morphine drip! The pain pump is used for other surgeries too (I don't know all of them). One of my daughters has a friend who was given a pain pump after appendix removal. If your doctor doesn't do pain pumps, go elsewhere! If your doctor says you'll need two or three drains, go elsewhere! (I saw a very overweight young woman on a youtube video who had three drains and a truly scary-looking compression garment. She was easily half my age and she looked like a medical emergency.) When I asked my doctor how many drains I'd have, he simply said he had a special way of doing things that results in just one drain for all patients. This kind of expertise and know-how comes from years of experience, high personal standards and expectations, and continuing education. I had liposuction on the flanks and in the "Mons" area. I didn't really ask for this; it was my surgeon's decision that I needed some liposuction to get the best result. FYI, in case you are young and don't know this yet (brace yourself---it's gross), when a woman gets older, the "Mons" area kind of bulges out and you can see the bulge through jeans, dress slacks, leggings. It is gross looking and immediately makes a woman look old (in my opinion). I did not ask my PS about doing lipo down there because it never occurred to me. I didn't know there was anything that could be done about the age-related and super-gross bulge. Anyway, after surgery, this is where I had the real swelling, so I started wearing an elastic (very light compression-type) brief over my regular underpants. This very light compression has made a huge difference. The first few days post-op I was so swollen down there that when I sat on the toilet to urinate I had a hard time starting to urinate and then the urine would spray all over! I didn't know WTF was going on and then went online and read that this happens with liposuction. It resolved itself in just a few days. When I was at the hospital, the registered nurse who was in charge of the operating room told me that she had had a full TT with muscle repair years ago and was back at work (at the hospital, on her feet for 12-hour shifts) after 10 days at home. So my surprising-to-me, no-hideous-pain, no hideous swelling, and no hideous back pain experience is NOT unique. Again, I am 58 years old, I followed all of my surgeon's written instructions and the hospital's written instructions, and I feel fantastic and am so happy I finally had the TT I thought about and wanted for YEARS. Good luck to you!
  • Reply
oh my good @dvice !!!!!!!!!!!
  • Reply
Thanks Wanda! I hope it was helpful and not overwhelming:)
  • Reply