A Long Time Coming... - Boston/Worcester, MA

Reading these reviews have been helpful for me in...

Reading these reviews have been helpful for me in figuring out what to expect from the tummy tuck experience. I felt it was only fair that I add my experiences, especially since as a 25 year old male, African American (we tend to scar differently) my experience may be a little different from the norm.

I am three days post-op. I had both a tummy tuck and a gynecomastia repair (male chest reconstruction). I lost over 150lbs through diet and exercise starting when I was 16 years old. Initially I would walk up and down the steps during the Soap Operas I would watch after school.

I guess I'd first want to tell people not to give up. When I initially looked into cosmetic surgery, it was during a period in which I had gained a good deal of weight back. The Doctor encouraged me to go ahead with the surgery anyway because in his experience, people never lost the weight again. My insurance company also approved a panniculectomy (a more limited version of the tummy tuck) but I decided that I could lose the weight and put off the surgery for several years until I was back to a healthy body weight.

Unfortunately, I was on my mother's insurance plan and it had switched to one that had an exclusion for "procedures to remove fatty tissue, including panniculectomies..." Despite this I applied and was denied. In my appeal I argued that the exclusion did not apply because it was excess skin and not fatty tissue that I would be having removed. I also sent in a video showing them the loose skin, and wrote very personally about how it affected my life.

Long story short, it took nearly a year but the insurance company did approve the procedure. My doctor agreed to do a full tummy tuck for no extra cost, since people are generally unhappy with just having a panniculectomy.

I had my procedure November 19 and I'm still recovering. I was hoping that the experience would be painless but unfortunately there has been some discomfort. The hospital provided morphine which kept it from becoming unbearable. Even so at it's worse, the pain resembles having had a full body workout. There is a lot of muscle soreness but around the incision I feel almost no discomfort. I haven't had to take my pain meds that often and since I've been home have only used it once or twice a day.

Between the two procedures I am bound up pretty tightly. This makes getting off furniture especially difficult. If I use my arms too much, I can feel it pulling at the stitches from the gynecomastia repair. I have not yet seen my incisions. Several residents and nurses have remarked however, that it is the best work they've seen. I have a couple drains in me but they should be ready to come out on Friday. Moving around has been somewhat of an ordeal but I am walking much better today, I am not hunched over as much as I expected but it still makes for a sore back.

Without seeing the results, it's hard to believe that the body I've grown so used to is gone. I am trying to keep my expectations reasonable, especially since I don't know how I will scar. The surgery, however, could not have gone better and that gives me hope for the long term results.

I will add before and after photos as soon as I am able.

Day 4 Post-Op-It's Black Friday and I almost felt...

Day 4 Post-Op-It's Black Friday and I almost felt well enough to do some shopping. I visited the doctor today and had my last two drains removed. It's amazing how much better I felt afterwards.I was able to drive myself there and back and really at no point felt like I was overextending myself. I got a good look at my body post-surgery when he removed the binders and I was thrilled. My stomach looked natural, not stretched. My belly button still looked like my belly button. Since I had the gynecomastia repair, I was curious as to how my nipples would look. They go through a process similar to your belly button in a tummy tuck in which a new whole is created for them once the excess skin is removed. It can be hard to get them just right but mine thankfully looked normal.

I also went to the bathroom for the first time last night (#2) not pleasant to talk about about but believe me, an important milestone after you've had surgery.

I guess my recovery may be progressing a little faster as I did not have my muscles tightened, as they do in some tummy tucks. My abdominals were still pretty much where they should be and that was part of the procedure was unnecessary so it was purely skin removal. The areas are so numb (it felt really weird when the doctor touched them) that I hardly feel any discomfort around the incisions. So far I'm very pleased. I haven't seen the scars and that may give me a little bit of a wake up call. I, however, like what I see so far.

Hey welcome to the community.   What an amazing story about your weight loss!   That is very difficult to do so you should be proud of yourself.   

It sounds like you are doing amazing and so quickly.  OMG you actually felt good enough for Black Friday shopping...good lord.  Glad yo hear you didn't go though!

Stay strong and keep us up to date.

Reply
Thank you for the greeting. I did almost go shopping. The hardest part has been figuring out exactly what I can and can't do. Almost three weeks post-op I'm almost fully functional. The hardest part is lifting my arms still but as far as the abdomen goes I feel I'm ready to start doing crunches! Of course I'm in no hurry and I'll wait for doctor's orders but it has been a quick recovery!
Reply

Oh yes go slow on the crunches!!!

Reply

It's been two weeks since my surgery and things...

It's been two weeks since my surgery and things are going very well. I started back to school and work a week after the surgery. I moved pretty slowly and was still a bit hunched over but there was no pain. I didn't feel I was straining myself at all but at least for the first couple of days people were giving me worried looks. By the end of the week though I was standing almost completely straight.

When I visited the Doctor on Thursday, about ten days out, he said I was good to start back to the gym. I still haven't gone yet but since my surgery was approved by insurance, liposuction wasn't included, and I'm growing increasingly annoyed by my stomach. Before I had so much lose skin it ward hard to tell how much excess fat I had. Now that my skin has been tightened, however, I feel like I have a tired around my waist and my skin feels as if it's about to burst. I guess I'm not used to having skin that actually fits my body. When I saw my Doctor he suspected that I might have accumulated fluid but after sticking needles in both sides he concluded that it was just "flab" -___- It is a weird feeling. I am thrilled with the results but somehow I feel heavier than I did before. I definitely see the value of liposuction and wish I could have afforded that as well but having the extra skin gone is a great feeling and for now I don't mind a little extra fat. Losing weight is what I do best and without all the skin obscuring my results I know exactly what I need to do. At least now I have some control over my body and if I have a stomach, it's well-earned.

I am thrilled with the tummy tuck scars. I'm a little surprised at how quickly they've formed. I removed the tape today and already I can barely see them. I think if I had a flatter stomach they might be slightly more noticeable but not by much. I'm crossing my fingers that they won't get any worse than this and that they'll only improve with time. If so, I expect that they'll be barely visible a year or two from now. the incisions on my chest are more noticeable but they have only just started to scar so I think they will also improve.

I will keep you updated.

After looking at the photos immediately after the...

After looking at the photos immediately after the surgery and those I took yesterday I realized the change in the size of my stomach is quite pronounced. As much as I cringe at the thought of going back to the doctor and getting poked again, I'm really starting to expect that I might be accumulating fluid. I'm wondering if it might be dued to my switching from the binder I was given while at the hospital to spanx, which my doctor recommended but which probably doesn't have the same amount of compression. I will be going to the gym today but it looks like I might have more than a little extra fat hanging around.

It's been five days since my last post and 19 days...

It's been five days since my last post and 19 days since the surgery. I was right that I was suffering from some swelling. I started wearing the binder that I had worn before switching to the spanx again and within 2-3 days the swelling had subsided dramatically. My weight also dropped 6lbs. I don't know if the binder helped get rid of the fluid accumulation but I am thrilled to see a flatter stomach.
Thanks for the updates. It looks like you're doing great. There may be edema that seems to come and go for weeks following the surgery. I generally notice mine worse at the end of the day, but wake looking pretty un-swollen. While you may have some flab, it is also normal to have a little fluid buldge over the suture line for a while. I'll be that you find this improves week after week. Hang in there. It takes a long time to recover from this major surgery. I found that exercise helps a lot! Good luck!
Reply
Thank you so much. That's very helpful. I think that explains what's going on. I do seem to have more swelling in the evening. I thought it was because I was doing too much but maybe it's my body's natural healing process. It does seen to be most above the suture like so that may very well explain it. I'll try to keep in mind that just because I feel great on the outside doesn't mean there's still not a ton of healing going on inside.
Reply
You look great. I'm researching for a young man near and dear to me. Your results are fantastic.
Reply

It has been a month since the surgery and it seems...

It has been a month since the surgery and it seems as if I had a little bit of a setback. My back has been killing me, likely from the change in my posture falling the surgery. I was worried that it might be a sign of something more serious, as the pain was in my upperback/side and made it painful to breath at times. The Doctor said he thought it was skeletal-muscular and at worst may be a slipped disk. I have felt some improvement after applying heat to the area but it's frustrating that right when the doctor says I'm able to start weightlifting and fully resuming my pre-surgery lifestyle I find myself walking around like an old man again.

He also made me realize that a mass under my arm that I assumed was my rib cage was actually probably a hematoma. He suggested I massaged the area but said that I didn't have to return until February. It seems that he wants to see if the mass might resolve on its own. I'm of course sensitive to anything that might affect the final results but I'm not sure how noticeable the hematoma is given that I didn't even realize it was there. Still upon being made aware of it, it feels quite large. There is a smaller area of swelling/puffiness under the other arm that I mentioned before. This too may be the result of a hematoma. Given the amount of skin that was removed from those areas it's not surprising that I might have such an issue in those areas. I've got my fingers crossed though that heat and massage will help resolve them and that by the summer time they will be gone.
Newton Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 4 others found this helpful