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Full Tummy Tuck W/ Muscle Repair - Cleveland, OH

Hey girls! I have been debating adding a review...

Hey girls! I have been debating adding a review for awhile and thought if I could help at least one person it would be worth it. I am in my late 20s and have two children under the age of 5. I gained 100lbs between pregnancy and after childbirth and really let myself go. I started weight watchers last year and lost all 100lbs but was very unhappy with how I looked after I worked so hard. I have been working out 6 days a week for 2 years now and love how it makes me feel but sick of wearing compression clothes to exercise!

So I scheduled an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss details and prices. He quoted me $8,500 - and with two young children and daycare costs there was no way I could afford that. I left feeling defeated :(. But a week later I was referred to the local teaching hospital where they do them for "free", but they must pick you for the program. I scheduled the appt with the coordinator who takes pics and fills out all my personal info, she then discusses these with the resident (who does the procedure) and the attending (who teaches/supervises surgery). They ended up picking me for the program and scheduled me for surgery! I was so excited - so I said they do it "free" but there are still fees involved. There were no doctors fees but I was responsible for the OR fee and the anesthesia fee - those together totaled $2,500....not bad considering I was looking at a savings of $6,000!!

I admit that I didn't do much research before hand other than looking at before and after photos. While I had an amazing outcome, I HIGHLY recommend that much research is done beforehand on everything that comes with this type of surgery.

Here are the things that I bought before the surgery:
Two travel pillows - I used them for my lap so that there was a barrier between me and everything else
Travel neck pillow - was an absolute savior for my neck for sleeping in the recliner
Stool softener - don't forget to take these!
Arnica - made by hylands, I found mine at walmart, they are pills to help with bruising/swelling/stiffness..I took this a week and half after surgery and it helped me with my stiffness and helped me stand up better
Lots of books - I've read 5 so far, but I'm a huge reader
Lots of water - very important for wound healing
Crackers - I didn't eat much for the first two weeks so I had these on hand to eat with meds
Gauze pads - my drains leaked around the skin so I had to change them many times a day so they were very useful
Tape - I bought paper tape for the gauze pads, worked very well
Surgical dressing - great for covering surgical incision and good barrier under compression garment
Antibacterial soap - had to use this day of surgery, i have still been using it while my incisions are healing.. Only brand I could find in body soap was dial
Benadryl - I am still sleeping in the recliner and have a hard time sleeping so I use this at night sometimes, but do not take them with pain meds!
Lotion - unscented, use this on all areas except incisions and belly button area, I started too late and I'm paying for it and peeling and skin shedding (very normal but probably would have been better if I started earlier).
Silicone scar strips - haven't used them yet but will update when I do

Too much too soon? Maybe..

I'm now on day 17 or 2 1/2 weeks post op. For the most part it's been pretty good and tolerable recovery. Today I noticed that the right side of my incision has opened up a little and is pink. I'm very nervous about it and hope its just from the friction of my compression garment, I put a surgical pad on it and will see if that helps.

I am attaching some of my pics, i blurred out my tattoo on my side pictures for privacy..

Week 3

Hey everyone! I'm now exactly 3 weeks PO. If I had written this update a few days ago I would have said I was absolutely miserable but what a difference a few days makes! Last night was the first night I was able to sleep in my bed and it felt so good - I didn't exactly sleep the best but way better than the recliner. Finally my MR isn't as painful and I'm able to do more things.

I can lift my daughter without pain from the MR but when I hold her against me it is still painful on the surface of my skin - it feels bruised, the PS says it's the nerves. I am starting to get feeling back in the area above my bb, where I now feel bruised. Everyday this week I have been swelling a little more despite still wearing my cg 24/7. My incision is looking great to me for only 3 weeks, I like that it's thin and straight.

I am def happy with my results but am feeling a lil down this week - I was so used to working out everyday and most days twice a day. Sitting around and not doing anything has ironically made me more exhausted than if I hit the gym hard. I am still having a hard time standing up straight - I start out pretty good in the morning and then by the end of the day I'm hunched over and it feels so tight that I couldn't possible stand up straight if I tried. I'm sick of wearing my fat pants since I'm flat now and have lost 10lbs.

I hate to sound like such a downer but I just can't wait until I can get back to fast paced life. And #1 thing I can't wait for is to finally wear my clothes without my cg and swelling down!!

I am adding my 3 week pics but they aren't showing the swelling I'm having - when I raised my arms above my head it seemed to suck it in and make me look straight lol... Maybe I should just walk around with my arms up all the time haha

4 weeks - 5 weeks

With all the holiday prep and work I forgot to update last week. Starting week 4 I finally started sleeping in my bed every night, I'm still not totally comfortable in bed but is getting much better. I finally can stand up straight with ease!

I don't want to seem like a downer but I'm having one of those weeks where I question if I should have done the procedure. I know that I look much better now than pre surgery but not sure that I was ready to take on the recovery process. This has stalled my workout schedule to a stop and while I haven't gained any weight I feel like I have. I still can't fit into my clothes and just feel helpless cuz it's not like I can go aggressive on working out like I used to pre-op. I wish I knew how much of what I see is swelling or what my final results will be - it seems each week my abdomen just looks bigger and the scar acts like a rubber band and causes a crease so when I wear a tighter shirt it looks like I am wearing underwear that is too tight causing an indent. When I hit 6 weeks I will be attempting to begin working out again but I admit I am a little nervous. All I want is to finally fit into and look/feel good in my clothes :( I know recovery is a long process but as I'm in it, I feel like it's never ending.

Forgot to add the rest of pics..

7 weeks PO...finally

Hey all! I know my posts have been on the negative side but now I'm on the up-swing!! Yay!!

At about 6 weeks I started feeling like my old self again...finally! Today was my first day back in the gym and it felt GREAT. I was slow to start and not where I was pre op, but did pretty good considering I haven't worked out in 3 months (was sick before surgery). Swelling was the worst since the start after working out but was totally expected and not horrible.

I'm finally pain free other than the occasional sneeze that still packs a punch. I'm standing straight and not crouching over - I felt like I would stand bent over forever lol. I'm sleeping in my bed every night and so comfortable now .

I saw my ps last week and he is as happy with the results as I am. No problems except that I have a small hard bump on my incision line which he says is a bit of fat necrosis - he isn't worried about it and thinks it will re-absorb into my body in time. He says if it doesn't then he will remove it if it bothers me.

I still can't fit into my pre-op pants despite weighing less...I'm coming to terms with it and now feel confident that with hard work I will get back into them and possibly smaller :)

Congrats to all on the flat side and good luck to those that will join us soon!

Thanks to all who have given kind words and encouragement, a little goes a long way!
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Comments (50)

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what school did you go through what was the program
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Thanks for the update. Your looking so great
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Wow you look very good. I saw your tt price and thought man she got a good deal lol. I read your story and it all makes sense now.
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Congratulations and thank you for sharing!
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your looking GREAT!
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Looks like your healing very well! ;)
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What is the name of the hospital
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You REALLY are lookin good, I promise! We are all so HARD on ourselves. EVERYbody says this can take up 6 months (or longer). To settle out and see final results. You will be fine and will continue to look better and better. Happy New Year
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Nice results!
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I think your progress looks fantastic
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what's the name of the school/program that you used?
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what's the name of the school/program that you went through?
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You look awesome! I'm so glad to see someone else who used a low cost teaching program have excellent results :-)
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Wow u look great fantastic outcome so far
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Thank you! Other than the swelling everything is going great!
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Congratulations... You look great and had such a wonderful outcome from this program that picked you...
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Thank you. I feel soo lucky to have been able to participate in this program because without it I wouldn't be on the flat side!
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Beautiful result, you must be happy. Congrats and contined good healing. Thanks for your share ;-)
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Thank you! I saw your journey as well and I hope that your TT goes as well as your BR..you won't regret moving to the flat side :)
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U look great..I'm 10 days post op and I know what u mean about the swelling...I'm so upset because I can't fit anything..I can only wear leggings and sweats...I can't even button my pants from pre op...I'm in a funk today but I remind myself why. Happy healing!
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Thanks you! I know everyone warned me about the swelling but I didn't realize that at 3 1/2 weeks out I would still be wearing my fat pants or sweat pants only...I know it was wishful thinking but I was so ready to wear all my cute clothes without being embarrassed about my belly. It gets better I just have to remember that lol. Hope your are healing well too!
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You lost 100 pounds and your before bellydidnt look so bad, well not compared to mine. Mine was a humongous hanging blob! Wow, and what a deal you got! For having volunteered you got some fine work done! You look wonderful and I'm happy for you!
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Thank you :)
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I think you look AMAZING! And yes, your pictures are truly inspirational! I pray that my results will be this great!
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