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TT with Lipo on flanks & chest - West Des Moines, IA

I weighed 350 pounds in 2008 when I decided to...

I weighed 350 pounds in 2008 when I decided to start my journey. I had watched The Biggest Loser show and for the first season found it entertaining to watch fat people grunt in the gym as I ate a pizza dinner. After a couple seasons of The Biggest Loser I noticed it became less entertaining to watch fat people work out. What I watched for was the moment Jillian would make someone cry and she would ask the question, "Why did you allow yourself to gain all this weight?" I came to ask myself the same questions and realized I was too externally motivated and didn't place enough value on myself internally. I had not external reason to lose weight, I didn't have a bad back, didn't have diabetes, no sore knees, blood pressure normal, cholesterol normal...the outside world didn't tell me it was time to lose weight so I haven't been motivated.

Fast forward, after realizing I needed to value myself more physically I came to lose 125 pounds though eating less and exercising more. Over the course of the last year I have gained about 10 pounds back and maintained from there.

At 235 pounds I was left with lots of stretch marks and lose skin about my abdominal area. I came to the realization that I was going to be permanently scared with loose skin or the incision scar of a tummy tuck. I was tired of having to tuck in my panis in my pants every time I stood up. After extensive online research and visiting four different surgeons I made the decision to get the surgery. I opted to include liposuction of the flanks and chest. Since childhood I have been embarrassed about the size of my chest as it has always been larger than the average male.

Today I am 3 days post operation and very pleased with how things have gone. I know I have a long road ahead of me and hope to have minimal swelling. Since the surgery I have been drinking in excess of 7 liters of water a day. Also I have been using an Airlife inhaling measurement device my Dr. provided me for 10 minutes per session 3-6 sessions a day. My theory is that oxygen and water are going to help me heal quickly.

I consider this to be my last chapter to gaining physical self acceptance. I learned at a young age I was not worthy physically by example of being picked last for every school yard playground sports pick. After losing all my weight all I could see was the loose skin and a fat man, I realize I will never have a perfect body and there will always be something I don't like. Today I am 3 days into recovering with a body which doesn't carry the loose skin and the painful reminder of someone who struggled to love his physical body. All I want is to be able to look good in clothes and I know this surgery will allow me to do that. Today I am beginning to I accept myself as perfect with all my imperfections.

Oops, I guess I provided a few updates in the...

Oops, I guess I provided a few updates in the wrong area, previously I used the comment area. i'll start posting here as I should have from the beginning :)

Being so inactive is driving me nuts. I have left my home just once in 11 days and that was for a post-op visit with the Dr.

Today I'm going in to get 1 of the 2 drains removed. My right drain has an output of less than 10 in the last 24 hours and my left drain seems to keep on pumping. Otherwise my recovery is going well and on track, just seems like it's taking longer than I'd like. I bought Palmers Vitamin E Oil & Palmers Belly Butter anticipating doing massage in the evening after I get the "okay" from the Dr. to begin. I also bought Kelo-cote Advanced Formula Scar Gel to massage in the morning. I'm also looking into the benifits of acupuncture to increase blood flow, nerve regeneration, reduce pain, and reduce swelling. I can't wait for the next phase of my recovery which at this point is getting at least one and ultimately both drains removed.

Second drain was removed today! I feel like a new...

Second drain was removed today! I feel like a new man without hoses hanging out of my sides! 2 weeks of recovery down and can already stand up 90% straight. I know I will only feel better and am looking forward to the continued recovery from here.
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon

This surgery is the 2nd most common surgery Dr. Robbins does. He has lots of experience and a thick book of before/after photos to prove it. He provided through answers to my many questions while explaining things in terms I could understand.

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
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (27)

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my question was relating to the swelling after the tummy tuck and lipo its really bigger than i thought was this the same for yurself,are you still having swelling and pain as well.i never had a good nights sleep since my operation iam 2 weeks post op so maybe i am expecting to much to soon.just looking for someone else view on this.thanks
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I was in the same position you are in now. Swelling (edema) and uncomfortable sleeps. Starting at about 3 weeks post op I started taking vitamin supplements for edema, getting professional lymphatic massage, acupuncture, using Kelo-cote, and massaging with Palmers products. Today I'm good to go other than sit-up are still a bit uncomfortable. It all gets better with time. I did all that stuff so mentally I could know there was nothing more I could do to heal any more quickly. I was bored out of my mind for the first 3 weeks PO and researched all these ways of potentially increasing blood flow and circulation while decreasing the edema and healing time.
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hi not sure if my comment was posted regarding the swelling afterv tummy tuck and lipo .
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Yep, it posted
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How's it going. My surgery is this coming Friday. Jan 18th. I'm super nervous. Trying to get everything I need ready. How long we're you out of work? I have a desk job. Computer tech support. I planed on being out at least a full 14 days. Weekends included. Then trying to work remotely as much as I can. How long / pain in the butt were the drains and what would you say are the things to know or have on hand going into it like clothing or dealing with not being able to shower ect. Hope all is well.
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Good luck on your surgery! What I wish I knew then... 1. Know everything your surgeon plans to do to you. Be comfortable with the plan. Ask a million questions. Write them down so you remember. 2. Get your home ready before the surgery. Put everything where you can get to it without navigating stairs (if possible, especially for the first couple of days) or bending over/reaching high. An electric recliner would be awesome, but a wedge pillow on a firm bed/couch is ok too. Get your Rx filled before surgery day if possible so you don't have to do any running around on the way home. Have bandaging supplies at the ready. Ask your doc what you should buy. 3. Start taking a stool softener the day or two before surgery. Really. 4. Get some oversized synthetic material t-shirts and sweat pants. A couple of sets. You are not going to fit into your regular cloths for a couple of weeks. Oversized is better because the waist band will feel tight and cause an hour-glass shape for weeks. You might also want to invest in nylon or synthetic underwear one size too big. Blood and secretions will wash out much easier than from cotton underwear. 5. Take pictures the day of/before surgery. Pick one day of the week for pictures and take them every week. At some point you'll wonder what the hell you did this for and the pictures will be worth a million bucks. Good luck!
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Stubakka, how are you doing?
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I'm doing ok. I got an infection staph b in my surgery area but have been on anti biotics for about a week and been using emu oil on the skin about 3 times a day and its about 80 percent improved. It honestly sucked because it went on for about 3 weeks and was just horrible to deal with. Belly button is almost fully healed and I can slide on some normal pants now. Size 38 but still have some swelling so that may turn into 36 at some point. I'm seeing what I wanted slowly in the mirror this infection just delayed it. My flanks still hurt but that's where the infection was really bad.
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I'm doing ok. I got an infection staph b in my surgery area but have been on anti biotics for about a week and been using emu oil on the skin about 3 times a day and its about 80 percent improved. It honestly sucked because it went on for about 3 weeks and was just horrible to deal with. Belly button is almost fully healed and I can slide on some normal pants now. Size 38 but still have some swelling so that may turn into 36 at some point. I'm seeing what I wanted slowly in the mirror this infection just delayed it. My flanks still hurt but that's where the infection was really bad.
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Sorry to hear that, I'm glad you are on the mend now. I can wear jeans pretty comfortably at this point. I'm not entirely happy with how my flanks turned out and expect there will be a revision which will obviously set back the final healing.
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Congrats! I have a similar story, procedure and scars. My first surgery was 8/3/12 but i needed a revision about a month ago. Having the drains out will really feel like a turning point. Hang in there. You'll likely have some more edema. It takes several weeks for the edema to resolve but you'll feel better day after day. I found that exercise really helped. Less pain, increased post op energy and less swelling. Good luck!!
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Thanks for the comments! I'm happy to leave the drains in for a while longer in exchange for avoiding all this fluid build up inside. I am glad to hear exercise had so many benefits for you. I am looking forward to getting back to my exercise of choice, running. I hadn't run a continuous mile since High School and now have run two 1/2 marathons since the weight loss. Now as I sit here on the couch I just crave to be able to stand up straight and walk around the block. Thanks for your encouraging words!
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After week 2 I went to the gym and used the recline bike on low resistance; played with iPhone and watched TV for an hour. Swelling went down and my mood lightened permanently. You can read about the acupuncture on my review.
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hi i have been told by my surgeon not to do any form of excercise for 6 weeks and even then it is to be light ,i am a total gym fiend and its driving me crazy i cant even do a sit up for a while .when did you start back at the gym.
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At 5 weeks I did some walking on the treadmill and elliptical.
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You are going to be happy with the results. i am 4 month post-op and it seems like a year has gone by. I used to obsess about scar treatments, now I don't even remember to them. I still have surgical sensations in the area every day and numbness around a new perfect navel, but am willing to wait the full year for full results. Ab work at the gym gives me sharp pains once in a while, but going in to this I asked the doctor to sew me up like a Victorian madam and he did. I can tell where all of the sutures are underneath and as odd as it sounds like it; I really know I got what I asked for.
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Thanks for the comments! I forgot to ask for the "Victorian Madam" package, haha. I knew I got sewn up pretty tightly when last night I had to ask my wife to change TV channels because the show was so funny it was making my abdominal stitches hurt.
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I feel the best today I have felt in a week, got out of bed, showered, and clothed in 45 minutes. Unfortunatly no way the drains are coming out today at my 1 week post-op Dr visit. I'm currently @ 67 CCs in the last 24 hours. It's too bad the drains will be in for this weekend as we are having family over on Sunday to celebrate Christmas. Oh well, I'm sure they will understand my body is asking for a little more time.
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The road to recovery continues. I stopped pain medication other than before bed as I have found it helps me to get to sleep. I am down to 77 CCs in the last 24 hours and have a follow-up appointment tomorrow. I don't expect to get the drains taken out as I need to be down to 25-35 CCs for that to happen. My Dr warned me that I may need the drains in for 2 weeks, opposed to the standard 1 week, because of the amount of skin removed and having done lipo with it. I continue to drink between 7-8 liters of water per day. It gets my legs moving up and walking every 1-2 hours for the bathroom and I know water is a healer of the body.
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Hi there, congratulations on your weight loss and your decision to have the procedure done, i understand how hard both are. I am three months PO and I feel great and back to all normal activities. All the discomfort seems like it was years ago. I'm very glad with my results.
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Thanks for the comments! I've read lots about swelling and am noticing some myself. I've read drink lots of water, use compression, talk to the Dr. to see if it needs to be drained, and "just wait it gets better". What was your experience with swelling and how did you combat it?
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My best medicine was to stop obsessing about it and that just happened at some point without me really noticing. I guess my subconscious realized there was really not much I could do but wait...
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Probably the best advise I've heard!
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I continue to feel better each day and the drain output continues to decrease. Today I put on a tight compression shirt to both help with the compression and provide a barrier between my armpit skin and the compression vest. Also today I started to use some tape on the drains to make a little curly-Q so if I accidently give them a little tug it pulls on the tapped site and not where it enters my body...ouch! I have 3 step-daughters and they were all thrilled this morning to see me with my compression garments and drains under clothing. I also groomed my hair (opposed to air dry out of the shower look for the day) and I feel much better emotionally. Last night I was starting to feel a little down about the length of recovery from the surgery.
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Hey welcome to RealSelf.  I really appreciate you posting your journey and sharing your experience.  

You have done an amazing job with the weight loss and should be very proud of that accomplishment.  

This was a e perfect way to finish your journey.  You look amazing!  Keep us up to date on your healing process and keep posting the pictures.

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