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I am a reasonably fit, healthy 32 year yr old who...

I am a reasonably fit, healthy 32 year yr old who has lost 63 lbs, then gained 50 then lost it again. My weight has been around the 140 lb mark (give or take 5 lbs either side) for a few years and, as a result of all the weight gain and loss, I have the body of someone who's had a dozen kids (despite having had none)!


I am generally motivated to do this as I visit the gym 3 or 4 times a week and nothing bar surgery is going to fix my saggy tummy.
I had an initial appointment with Dr Lee a year ago, followed by several others to explore combination procedures etc etc before finally settling on a full tummy tuck. At the first consultation, he recommended I have a 2 stage body lift comprising of tummy tuck and inner thigh lifting together, followed later by extending the tummy tuck scar around the back and lifting that as well as addressing the lateral thighs. I initially got very excited about this, but then realised that I'll be the one having to go through the recovery, and based on my last experience of liposuction in Prague, combining this with another major surgical procedure would not suit me personally. I also discovered, after lots of research, that I may probably get a better aesthetic result by separating the extreme makeover desribed above into smaller manageable packages.


Simon Lee was the 4th surgeon I saw in total, after doing the rounds at Harley Medical, Transform and another independent Bristol provider. I liked his demeanour and professional approach and the fact he did not fall into the 'arrogant, self-important, pompous & god-like' category that many doctors & surgeons often unfortunately fall into. I probably had about 3 or 4 consultations with him before booking surgery, which is what I needed given the amount of questions I had and the anxiety I was experiencing and the fact that I was initially unsure of whether to have multiple procedures. I never felt rushed and felt he was giving me the best opinion possible based on his experience. A couple of my consultations overran, but I think this is typical of him as he was often running late!


I was very careful about booking a surgeon who was competent and had a air of 'attention to detail' about them. I spoke to a previous patient of his who, despite having had a complication, praised his skill as a cosmetic surgeon. I even went so far as reading reports on the hospital's mortality rates and researched the name of the anaesthetist prior to surgery. This may sound excessive, but when something is out of my control and there are potentially life threatening risks involved, I want to know everything about everything.


Surgery day was 21st November so I am only 5 days post op and already see the potential result and it's fantastic!
On the actual day of surgery, I felt unnaturally calm beforehand, right up until about half an hour before the operation commenced. I had all the necessary tests and was visited by the anaesthetist firstly, then by Dr Lee. I went off to anaesthesia at about 1.30 and remember looking at the clock in the recovery room at 4.20.


When I woke up, I was in some pain which was relieved, followed swiftly by anti nausea medication. I don't remember waking up in large amounts of pain, but aware of something major having occurred in the abdominal area. More of a muscular thing as I couldn't feel the incision site. It also felt very tight. I'd previously had images of me waking up writhing around in agony but these was not the case.

The next 2 days I spent in the Spire and found virtually all the nurses to be really attentive, kind and helpful, apart from a couple who are probably on waiting lists for personality transplant operations anyway. Overall my experience of the nursing staff was a positive one, contrary to a review placed last month.
The food was excellent. I didn't feel hungry after the op but the day after I made up for it with 3 massive meals.
The first 48 hours were not painful really, just massively uncomfortable. I did not get up for the first 24 hours so had nurse assistance with bed pans etc. I cannot believe in the States they send people home immediately after surgery!


The discomfort is greatly helped by the electric bed which you can alter to make things easier in the immediate days following surgery. I generally remember falling asleep a lot for the first 24 hours.
On the second day in hospital, I got out of bed a couple of times which was made difficult due to the presence of massive drains. The initial walking was very uncomfortable and painful. I went and sat in the chair for a bit but decided that the bed situation was a hell of a lot more relaxing. I was also secretly enjoying being able to do absolutely nothing for 2 days and spend all of it in bed without having to worry about anything! It was really quite pleasant.
On the third day, the drains were taken out-not painful but slightly unpleasant as you can fell them coming out. It was considerably easier walking around with the drains out.

One week post op and I can already see the...

One week post op and I can already see the results, although abdomen is very and full of fluid. Very pleased so far. New pics added!

Really pleased so far. Had stitches removed from...

Really pleased so far. Had stitches removed from the vertical scar yesterday and a dressing change which revealed a very neat horizontal scar. The scar does not hurt, but the muscle repair certainly is what makes the area feel like it needs to do some serious healing. Coughing, sneezing, vomit reflexes and raucous laughing are out of the question! In the morning the muscle pain is worse, due to a lack of pain killers overnight, but the swelling is at a minimum then. I still cannot stand up very straight but Ii think the compression binder hampers my ability to stand up straighter. At the same time, however, it is providing me support which is very comforting from a muscular perspective. It is difficult not being able to exercise, but I wouldn't want to sabotage the muscle repair.
It is also pleasing that the tummy tuck has lifted the saggy skin somewhat on my thighs, making them look slimmer. The thigh lift is the next job!

Incredibly impressed with profile I have now. My...

Incredibly impressed with profile I have now. My waist has been further accentuated and i still have rounded contours. I have never seen a scar go neat!

Today I went back to work for the first time, so...

Today I went back to work for the first time, so I've had 12 days off including the day of the op. I wasn't looking forward to it as I've been really enjoying doing absolutely nothing for once. It wasn't difficult going back to work and I didn't feel anymore tired than normal but by the end of the day my abdomen was twice the size it had been in the morning; worst swelling ever. It felt extremely tender and quite painful. In the morning it been fine. I could not stand up straight by the end of the day.
Still loving my amazing new shape though, especially the non-cheese making tummy button I now know. I will post some mor pics on Wednesday which will be 2 weeks post op.
What I've found strange about this period of recovery is my food cravings. Nuts, nuts and more nuts. And some more calorie dense chocolate. I've not craved large portions of anything because my abs are so sore and bloated.
I've not had the 'post op blues' or temporary buyer's remorse at all, as I know the end result will be great.
Even with clothes on my profile looks better. I've already gone mental at Karen Millen online whilst recovering, so hope they've got some stuff left.
One thing I will say, is that I'm so glad I prepped my body with regular heavy body pump and circuit training before this. I don't seem to have put on much weight because of my upper body muscle and muscle throughout.
I don't generally think this recovery has been that bad at all. The first two days and drains were rather uncomfortable but after that it's been plain sailing. I think your fitness before the op helps though.
Compared to my lipo job in Prague I have felt much more comfortable. Never again will I pay for the wrong type of surgery or have conversations to a surgeon via an interpreter, and given 'drops' for pain relief. You get what you pay for I suppose...
The aftercare provided here is good as well. I had a visit with simon lee again last Friday who was pleased that my expectations had been exceeded. I appear to making good progress!

It is now 2 weeks post op and the swelling is...

It is now 2 weeks post op and the swelling is worse than ever. This is undoubtedly the most unpleasant aspect of the whole procedure. The discomfort kicks in around lunchtime and is almost unbearable by about 3 pm. I know that this will improve, however. The photos attached aren't much different from the previous ones.
I'm still over the moon with the results so far, and appreciate that this is just a necessary part of healing. Looking forward to showing off my improved midriff in form-fitting clothes!

At exactly 3 weeks post op, I have felt...

At exactly 3 weeks post op, I have felt unbelievably remarkably better. I have woken up with a lot less swelling and tenderness than usual, despite those sensations returning in the afternoon. I was even paranoid that I had ripped my muscle repair from coughing, because I didn't feel as tender and bloated. I'm still not convinced that I haven't damaged them as I have a lot more freedom of movement than several days ago. I woke up lying on my front yesterday which would have been impossible a few days ago!
However, from a prolonged analysis at my 2 week photos, compared to this week's, nothing seems to have changed so I will have to wait and see.
What I have not been prepared for, is the emotional and mental recovery that most people, including myself, overlook when they embark on bodily transformations that require patience! I have felt a bit melancholy at times as I don't have much patience and the swelling is doing my head in!
Still happy with results though.

I am now 4 weeks post op and learning to deal with...

I am now 4 weeks post op and learning to deal with the slow recovery-emotional as much as physical-that this procedure demands.
The swelling has not subsided but is variable. It is predictably worse at the end of the day. I had a bit of a panic last week as the incision started leaking a yellowish kind of fluid with a doubtful odour. I also had a fever and felt generally unwell, and I wasn't sure why. I then noticed that this fluid was leaking from the incision site. Upon contacting Dr Lee, I was given anti-biotics and it now looks normal.
The continuous post operative tiredness has surprised me. I wasn't fully prepared for this and have had to turn down or modify several social events, due to being swollen or tired etc etc...
However, further to my 4 week post op appt with the surgeon, I appear to be healing well and am still very pleased with the result!

Am now just over 7 weeks post op and done with the...

Am now just over 7 weeks post op and done with the infection or delayed wound healing that has been hanging around since before Xmas.
The swelling still continues to bug me on a daily basis, and is immediately reactive to carb heavy and sodium heavy foods. It's not difficult to avoid these, however. It seems the swelling is naturally getting better week by week, so is no longer unbearable by by late afternoon or evening. It is still present, however.
I have bought some excellent support garments from marks and spencer which I wear on most days, while relying on compression garment at night.
I returned to the gym for the first time in 7 weeks on the weekend and wore the compression garment throughout. I was able to do weight machines easily and managed half an hour on the bike. I think it'll be a while though until I'm back to doing circuits and more intensive stuff, and certainly no an work for a while.
I've noticed that slowly over the course of 7 weeks, I've lost all muscle definition from my upper body. I weigh less than before but look quite flabby on the top with the lack of weight lifting. The abdominal area is certainly improved!
I've noticed that my appetite has also lessened. The idea of having a large meal is unappealing. I'm not sure how long this will last!
Now considering thigh lift and other things but this needs further research.

Saw Simon again on Monday which was reassuring as...

Saw Simon again on Monday which was reassuring as I'd had concerns regarding the lumpy hard bit to the right of my abdomen just above the scar. I had been worried that I may have broken muscle repair or done some serious damage, but fortunately not. It is allegedly scar tissue that became inflamed after I was enthusiastically jumping up and down on a box at the gym, 10 weeks post op.
Speaking of which, due to a lack of activity over 8 weeks due to not going to gym, and an obsession with Argentinian vineyards, I have found that I've probably packed on about 4 pounds. All the flab has gone on to my hips and thighs rather than the tummy. Because the removed material during the op was not weighed, I've no idea what I really need to weigh now. I figure if he took 4 lbs off then ill have to reduce my acceptable happy weight. Looking at my 3 weeks post op pics, I was definitely a bit less round back then.
I have resumed gym fully now and back to doing back to back body pump and body attack which I did for the first time on sat! My abdominals started fizzing again which is odd but I suppose is a part of healing. I was able to do everything apart from crunches, but side oblique ones were ok.
I find I get very swollen around the time of the month still, after the op, but that's about the only bothersome swelling I have-other than after the gym.
Overall, despite having an arse the size of Africa at the moment due to inactivity, I have to say I look bloody fantastic !

Am writing an update to show my scars which are...

Am writing an update to show my scars which are coming along nicely, apart from a pointy area in the vertical scar which I think will need minor revision as it does not look entirely natural. It's almost as if it needs to be pulled together a bit more.
I recently went on holiday for a week and very much enjoyed showing off my flat stomach. I certainly look very curvaceous these days.
Having gained 5lbs on holiday it is interesting but nevertheless unpleasant to see your waist get thicker and your flanks grow!
I attach photos of latest mirror snaps.
Bristol Plastic Surgeon

See above for praise. Secretary's telephone manner is inconsistent!

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 Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (113)

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Hi I think your tummy looks fantastic but I was wondering if you could tell me why Dr Lee cut a line up the middle of your tummy as well as the usual horizontal line? It has faded of course but I have not seen that before on a tummy tuck picture. I live in Bristol and was not aware there was a good TT surgeon there! Thanks
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The vertical scar creates a more defined waist. It was definitely worth it.
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You look fantastic!!!
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Im 3 weeks PO tomo, i have found it reassuring to compare myself to you at various stages especially when it comes down to the swelling, im still struggling to stand straight, when i do i grt a taught bit of muscle at the top of my stomach that feels like it will tear and by say 3pm im starting to hunch again the swelling is terrible by the time i got to bed. I also have sever pain in my left hip which is due to internal stiches pinching the nerve, apparently this can take months if not years to repair although Simon seamed posative by the time I see him in 3 weeks it will be fine (im not so sure) im also numb from belly button down and have quite bad puckering and creasing which again Simon thinks will all be fine....! So I live in hope! Im glad you are back to your active self. Im not a gym person as i work full time and have two toddlers and at this moment in life i just coupdnt handle any more physical activity so i just hope i dont pile on loads of pounds by the time im fully active! Your pics look amazing and your shape is great btw!
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I recall that at 3 weeks the swelling was bad and very uncomfortable to the point of looking slightly pregnant at times. I remember feeling particularly bad after a day of eating the wrong things and the swelling was so bad the only thing that eased it was covering the whole of my abdomen with a thick layer of tiger balm which had a real cooling effect. I still get a small amount of discomfort at the top of my abs towards the end of the day. The lower part of it is still completely numb. I found 6 weeks to be a real milestone-less tired for no reason, and felt myself generally more often, with swelling having less of a compromising effect on my life. It took a further 2 weeks for the wound issues to resolve.
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Hey hows it all going with you? Can i ask how you knew you had an infection? Im 5 weeks PO and today for the first time noticed a tiny hole in the incision site that was leaking its only the size of a pin head but it wasnt there last time i looked? Also along one part of the scar it feels lumpy like teres a load of hard peas under there. Im still nowhere near normal, still hurts still very tender under the skin and im still on paracetamol 24/7 im so worried that my muscles havnt had the chance to mend and already the stitches will have started to disolve, the minute I take the binder off I feel like my insides will fall out there is just no strength there at all and above my belly button is hard an protudes slightly with any type of pressure ;-/
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Well I've definitely turned a small corner over the past 2 weeks. I've almost got back to pre tummy tuck fitness levels and the muscle building is coming on well. The fat I gained around my arse and hips is starting to disappear and my clothes fit really well now. Everything is starting to look more in proportion. I knew I had an infection as fluid started to leak through the tape in 2 places. I can send you photos if you like. I also felt extremely tired and hot. I was given antibiotics to take for a week, which sorted it out, but strangely it came back again a week or so later. I went to the gp who then advised that it wasn't infected at that point, but was just struggling to heal externally. It cleared up eventually after a total of 8 weeks! I recall having a few lumpy bits under the scar, which is still very hard and bumpy.
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I found I stopped wearing the binder during the day at about 6 weeks, wearing spanx during day and wearing binder at night. I now don't wear anything supportive and it feels comfy. Chill out, you'll get there! I remember feeling very wary of my muscle repair though, even until v recently. I can't do sit ups yet.
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That would be great if you could, ill private message my email address
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Lol end of that post made me laugh. I am 3 weeks post op today and managed a 3.5 mile walk. I too feel like a lard a***. Can't wait to fully get back to my 6-12 mile walks. You are doing fantastic that 4 pounds willl soon come off x. X
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Lol I know exactly how you feel. I'm nearly post op 10 weeks and my thighs and butt are enormous!! I'm just starting to lift my exercise routine up at the gym but trying to take it slowly. I put on about 5 lbs but I'm not worrying about it. We just need to get back into our routine and the excess weight will go and so will are huge arses!!!!
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It's annoying though that I've got one great part and one flabby massive part. I suppose it takes time though! I find the weight lifting really helps.
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I'm just starting to get back into my weights. I'm concentrating on my legs and butt.
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U look fantastic!
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Hiya I have another question, when I saw Mr Lee last week he told me to start standing up straight, the problem is I'm struggling - I have very tight muscle (erectus sheath I think) just under my blobs and when I try stretching or standing normal it bows out and I get a lump from straining it- is this normal??? How long did it take you to stand straight with no pain at all?? I'm also VERY swollen in the pubic area where their scar is so low,I'm worried because I have read that this can sometimes be permanent :-(
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That was meant to say under my b o o b s but I can't turn the spelling off!
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I went back to work after 12 days and was ok standing up in the morning but by midday I was walking strangely. I didn't feel like doing much walking about generally. I was walking normally by 3 to 4 weeks but found I would still stoop if swollen after eating salty or white carb food. 6 weeks was a real turning point, as I suddenly found myself not feeling as tired and having the desire to exercise again. I am seeing him tomorrow evening as scheduled anyway and will query my possibly sabotaged muscle repair and puckered vertical scar. Not sure what happens in this instance.
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My pubic area is still quite swollen but not to bothersome levels.
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Hope your repair hasnt separated and he has put your mind at rest?
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He says I definitely have not done any damage to the repair but rather have scar tissue which is has created a lumpy bit in my lower abdomen. Regarding the puckered area, if it is bothering me in a few months there are various things that I can try to improve it-which I will definitely be doing if it doesn't alter. One of these is by going back in and lengthening the vertical scar-not fussed re which is best, but before my next mega holiday I would like to have it rectified. I'm not in any hurry though as I look rather bloody fantastic in my opinion. But the small creases will eventually be ironed out!
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You do look fantastic, i hope after all my swelling goes down i look as good as you but at the moment im a bit scared when i look in the mirror ;-/
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Give it 6 weeks and you'll probably see quite a difference.
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So I got to see mysef fully today for the first time, I have quite a bit of Pickering along the scar line which he said will go down and also at the scar ends is quite puffy making it look like I have an extra hip each end, I couldn't see if you had the same as they don't show up that we'll on camera but I'm not convince it'll all smooth down like he said it will?
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My vertical scar is a bit puckered and when I bend over it shapes into a point which I am going to see if he can rectify with a small procedure. I'm more than happy with the horizontal scar. Is impossible to see final result until swelling has lessened though. I'm now convinced I've broken my muscle repair at the bottom though which I'm very anxious about. I'm seeing him on Monday so i will see what happens then.
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I have had a nasty cough for a week but he assured me i wont have done any damage...i wa a bit concearned that he uses absorbable sutured for the muscle repair and not permanant ones let me know what he says about yr proceedure for the verticle scar-i expect he will say come back in 6 months but im pretty sure i will always have some kind of bulge on the two ends
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