Tummy Tuck: StoriesWrite a Review
Full TT W/MR, Lipo and Fat Grafting on Both Breasts - Minneapolis, MN
- updated 2 months ago
- Worth It
- Cost: $7,000
- Mark Edward Lovaas, M.D. (Minneapolis, MN)
A little about myself before the surgery for...
- 22 Jul 2012
A little about myself before the surgery for comparison reasons: 36 yrs old, 2 c-section births, 5'5, 123lbs, size 2 waist with horrific streatch marks , an innie belly button, complete seperation of my stomach muscles and a small yet unpleasant tummy flap above my 2 c-section scars.
Now to cut to the chase. I had my surgery on July 9th 2012 and went in with the expectation of getting rid of about 75% of my stretch marks because of the fact they are so high above my belly button. I also wanted a normal looking elly button and an athletic looking abs. I had a breast reduction 10 yrs ago and had a couple pockets tat formed underneath each breast which is why I needed the fat grafts. I went in with expecting a rough recovery as well which is what scared me more than the actual surgery. I have had my gall bladder removed and the c sections so I know how painful abdominal surgery is but assumed this would be even worse. I am very healthy person so I had that on my side but I do socially smoke and had smoked up until 9 days before the surgery which made me very nervous. My doctor hadn't asked if I smoked and only after coming across a review on realself did I start to realize the dangers of smoking before PS. I have not had any major complications from smoking but would not recommend smoking so close to the date of this type of surgery.
I used "Kimmers" review as my guide before and after the surgery. It has proven to be very truthful and very helpful so I suggest reading it. I was on Vicodin and took full doses the first 3 days and then went down to half doses the next 5 days before switching to extra strength tylenol as needed. I am on day 13 and am only taking tylenol later in the evening for pain as needed. I suggest renting a hospital bed and wheelchair. I failed on getting the bed because I didn't read about it until the 2nd day after surgery but it really would have been worth it and saved me a lot of pain. I did rent a wheelchair because walking long distances is impossible and makes you swell which then causes discomfort.
As far as my recovery goes I have followed the rules to the T by not doing anything except getting up to go pee every couple hours from day 1, sleeping, keeoing my body in the "V" shape, taking my meds on time and eating healthy and on a regular basis. I took Phillips Milk of Mag and I'm telling you that stuff is the shit! Don't waste time with stool softeners, fiber pills, etc. It's a waste of time and money. Start taking the MOM on day 2 or 3 and only take the recommended dose. DO NOT TAKE MORE!!! It kicks in within the day and I have had no issues or pain pooping at all. I took the MOM on day 3 after I started eating full solids because I knew I'd have to poo sooner or later. I only need a few doses for a couple days before I stopped using it because I am going regularly with no issues. I also am drinking approx 6-24 ounce water bottles per day along with liquid aloe and iced tea so I'm getting tons of liquid which helps regulate you. I use Herbal Life concentrated mango aloe because it tastes good and eases the tummy if it gets upset. One more thing I just thought of is the fact that I have always gotten very nauseous after surgery and thrown up. The surgical team was concerned by this because barfing after a TT is not a good thing. They put this 72 hour patch behind my ear and added 2 meds into my IV during surgery and I had absolutley zero issues with nausea which was truley amazing!!!! I didn't change my dressings at all and had my post op the following Monday after my surgery so a week later. I was running a low grade fever for 7 straight days which did spike to 101 a couple evenings otherwise it stayed at 99-100 the rest of the time. I felt fine and the dr's are not sure why I had the fever. Possible minor smoking complication. It is gone now. I am swollen on the lower portion of my belly right above the incision and also on my left side due to a "bleed" during my surgery. The PS said I had a heavy bleed during surgery (another possible minor smoking compication) I say minor because these things caused some alarm but were not serious like a seroma or my skin dying, probems waking up after surgery, etc. Anyways the bleed has caused a slower healing time and a lot more swelling and pain on the left side where the lipo was done. The PS said it's going to feel like I was kicked in the side by a powerhorse which is spot on. I also have a large, very hard, Red spot that is slowly working it's way down my side towards my leg. That is the bleed and is normal to be happening.
Onto the drains, stitches, dressings, showering: Okay so the drains were not bothersome to me. The tape holding them against my skin was worse than the actual drains. Mine drained very little liquid the entire time and only had to be changed once per day or less. I was super nervous about getting them out and nobody else seems to say anything about the actual removal process. I did not realize they were stitched in on each end of my main incision. Getting the stitches out was brutal because I was still really sore and the PA had to get her pointy and sharp tools out to yank and dig at them in order to cut them and loosen each drain. I was then told to take a deep breath and she started pulling hand over hand over hand over hand. All I felt was an intense burning sensation that stops as soon as they are out. Those SOB's are loooong!!! Good lord! I then had the steri-strips removed from my incision which was painless o the left side because I am still very numb but painful on the right because apparently my nerves are already coming back on that side. I found out the stitches in my breasts, incision and belly button will all dissolve which was music to my damn ears at that point!!!! I had to go back 2 days later to check on the bleed and am okay so I go back in a week for another check up.
The pain, oh lord, the pain: So I have always thought of myself as a tough cookie with a very high tolerance for pain but holy shitballs has this recovery kicked my ass! As I said earlier, I have followed the "recovery rules" to the T and I still can't believe how much you usen your stomach muscles! I swear even lifting my big toe requires the use of my stomach!!! It's crazy! I love my compression garment and feel very vulnerable without it on. I cut mine a couple inches all the way around the length because it would ride up and hurt my boobs. It just wraps all the way around me and doesn't have a crotch like some of the other reviewers have talked about. I have been told to use spanx or biker shorts but really don't see a need for them. I just wear my garment over the top of an extra long tank top and then fold the bottom of the tank up over the garment or pull the bottom portion of the tank down over the top of my yoga pants. It actually looks cute in my opinion. I will post pics to show what I mean. I went to sports authority and dicks sporting goods and got a sports bra, cute cotton shorts and a couple stretchy material tanks since I can't wear my regular clothes for a while. I have less pain with the garment on as well and anything that causes less pain sounds good to me! I move around like a senior citizen and tend to hold my hand tightly over my muscle repair because it has been the most painful part of this surgery and applying pressure on it (even more than what the garment provides) makes it hurt less when I am up and about. The wheelchair is a wonderful thing. I even went to see fireworks last night and was able to have a few beers while strolling around in the wheelchair. I didn't bloat from the beer at all but drank lots of water before and after. I am sore today from having to squat in the port potty but it probably did me soe good getting a little excersize in on my legs. I learned really fast how to distribute my weight to my legs and arms when doing anything.
Sleeping or the lack there of: Sleeping has sucked ass to be blunt! I started out in a recliner with pillows everywhere and my feet up. That lasted 1 night before I moved to my half circle shaped couch and used the oversized ottomen to put my feet up. I lasted here (where I am currently sitting and hang out during the day) for nights 2-5 and decided to make the trip up the 15 steps to my bedroom. OMG that was brutal! I have been sleeping in my bed from day 5 to now but noticed in the mornings I wake up with a tight chest and think its because I am laying a lot flatter than on the couch. It gets better after I sit up and walk around. My legs also get ver sore propped up so I have been spreading my legs apart and having each leg lay against pillows. I'm just so sore from sleeping on my back and it's becoming very frustrating. I nap during the day on the couch and sleep about 4-6 hours per night in my bed. I also use a decorative pillow (the little square couch decor type) to prop next to my head so when that annoying head bobbing thing happens when you are trying to fall asleep, the pillow catches it and keeps it in one spot. My neck also doesn't get sore since it has a head bobbing stopper, ha!
I am not a writer so my story is a bit back and...
- 23 Jul 2012
I skipped the shower part so wanted to talk about that a bit. I was not allowed to shower until the drains were out, which was not until day 9. I had done my hair the morning of the surgery and it lasted about 5 to 6 days until I couldn't stand it so I hired a hair stylist to come to my house on day 8 and wash, dry, flat iron my naturally curly hair. I had started doing bird baths around day 5 and added more and more cleansing each day until I finally showered on day 10. I had a plastic folding chair in the shower and sat on that the first couple showers. I can now stand, shave my legs, style my own hair but need a nap afterwards because it's a lot of work.
One thing about the wheelchair that I have noticed is if you think you are strong enough to wheel yourself around, don't! My muscle repair hurt yesterday and today from wheeling myself around a very small amount of the time on Friday and Saturday evening. I was very tired allday yesterday after the weekend and I really didn't even do much that required energy. I still got sore and tired.
I added before photos to see how bad my stretch...
- 23 Jul 2012
Low grade fever: I'm not sure if I talked about...
- 24 Jul 2012
I have slept most of the day with regards to being out and about for 2 hours this morning but I was in my wheelchair most of that time. I'm not sure why I feel sick and have a fever now but am worried and will be calling the clinic tomorrow. My next PO is not until Friday.
Update to fever: I had an appt with my FP doc...
- 25 Jul 2012
I have been calling my hematoma a "bleed" because I had no idea they were the same thing. My PS used the word bleed and not hematoma.
I had my appt with my PS on Friday and all is well...
- 30 Jul 2012
I am updating the price of the surgery ($6400) because there are lots of added costs that come along with this surgery like: prescription meds, OTC meds, bandages, wound creams, silicone creams and/or sheets, take out food, wheelchair (optional), loose fitting work out type clothing to wear for the 6 weeks after and beyond, extra compression garment (spanx, etc), lots of other things I am probably forgetting.
It's now been 4 weeks PO and I feel better and...
- 8 Aug 2012
My hematoma is going down more and more every week and I started using my silicone sheets on my scar on Monday as well as the silicone gel on my stretc marks. I'm hoping it all helps to minimize the appearance of everything. My incision actually looks pretty good and is fading pretty fast. The ends where the tubes were are the largest "lumpy" parts but the rest is flat and fading. My panties cover the scar for the most part though so whatever.
I am able to sleep on my right side now but not my left because of the hematoma. I'm also wearing my thong spanx and love them over the compression garment. I didn't think I would because of how tight they used to be on me before the surgery but man do they fit good now and are tight enough to compress my surgery areas w/out making me not be able to breathe. I plan on wearing the garments until I am fully recovered from my hematoma and my swelling from the surgery has gone away which probably won't be for months.
I wake up and am pretty flat but by the end of the day, especially if I was out doing stuff, I am swollen and sore. I'm looking forward to hitting the 6 week mark because I've been told and read that's when you feel like yourself again. It may take me longer because of the damn hematoma though. We shall see!
I haven't sent the link to this blog to anyone (except 1 friend) but have told a lot of people about it. I am kinda nervous because most people don't understand that a tummy tuck is a surgery that takes up to a year to see the final results so they may look at my pictures and think "wow, her results look bad" but really, they just keep getting better and better every week. I mean I can wear 1 tank top by itself now and my stomach is flat! I was not able to do that before. I'd wear 1 or 2 underneath every single shirt I'd wear over the top just to hide my stomach ripples and fat. I still can't fit into any of my pants or shorts which is frustrating but it's normal until the swelling goes away. I have already noticed though, that my shirts are all to big and I have gone down 1 to 2 sizes. I hope I still fit in my pants though. I was nervous after the first time I looked because I was so swollen and huge but I've seen my stomach getting flatter and flatter and know it's just going to keep getting better every week.
I'm going to add 4 week PO pics soon. The pics aren't showing the narration because of some website glitch but hopefully that will be fixed soon.
I never updated with the 4 wks PO pics. I waited...
- 30 Aug 2012
1 more thing is that I can wear all of my previous...
- 30 Aug 2012
It's 9 weeks today and I'm feeling better and...
- 10 Sep 2012
I can wear jeans for an extended amount of time now with no discomfort. I still enjoy my yoga pants since they are the most comfortable but I can wear tighter clothing here and there with no issues.
I still am swelling at the end of the day if I have been on my feet a lot or if I have been really busy. I am wearing my spanx garment daily and the medical garment nightly. I feel comfortable in them both and will wear them until my swelling and hematoma is totally gone.
I am going to start doing my ab work outs this week so we will see how they go. I am walking 3.5 miles per day and have not had any issues with that. I still am sore on both sides that the lipo was done so I still sit once and awhile to chill out. I also still sleep with a pillow under my knees and/or between my legs for comfort. Sleeping on my side is fine but when I need to turn side to side it can be a bit painful or tender in the middle of the night.
I am buying all small or extra small shirts and have been purchasing clothing that I never would have even considered before my surgery. I've always dressed nice but was very good at hiding my tummy with specific styles of clothing. It rarely showed because I was very good at it. Now, I no longer have to even think about it. I also don't have to try everything on like I have had to the past 15 years! Never would I even consider purchasing clothing w/out first trying all the peices on! I can now grab off the rack and just buy it if I want. It's a very amazing feeling and big step for me.
I am still having a hard time explaing the proces to people though. People don't understand the severity of this type of surgery and the length of time it takes to recover, fully recover with final results. It takes many months to a full year and your body is changing weekly, changing for the better though! I notice a difference weekly and it still amazes me! Updated pics soon to come!
It's been awhile since my last post. I have some...
- 21 Oct 2012
It's been almost 4 months and I'm noticing that I...
- 2 Nov 2012
I added 4 month post op pics of the front. I don't...
- 7 Nov 2012
Just added 7 month PO pics. I will be going in...
- 18 Feb 2013
I had the dog ears and touch up lipo done...
- 26 Feb 2013
It's been about 4 weeks since I had my dog ears...
- 28 Mar 2013
My Doctor: Mark Edward Lovaas, M.D.
I went to 3 different PS consults and went with my 2nd choice and not my 1st choice for 2 reasons: 1st because my #1 choices price w/out lipo was $8500. 2nd: he would have had to charge me more $ for the fat grafting which was done for free by my PS because his partner is the PS who did my original reduction and my PS felt bad and corrected it for free. He also did the lipo because it contours the body better after the TT which sounded good to me. My PS that did my breast reduction was on leave and couldn't do my surgery until September which is why I saw her partner and decided to go with him. I read reviews for all the PS and Dr. Lovaas was at 3/5 to 4/5 stars on most sites all due to his bedside manner. I agree it could be better but I didn't and still don't think bedside manner is a huge deal if the PS knows what they are doing and explains things to you. His background speaks for itself and he has been doing plastic surgery for many years. He also has a fine art degree from Yale and uses that to "sculpt the body" which makes sense and impressed me. I like him because he is straight to the point and doesn't screw around. I'd recommend him to others that don't care about the bedside manner.