Post Weight Loss - Abdominoplasty W/Lipo - Philadelphia, PA

8/3/2012 Full Extended Abdominoplasty with Lipo...

8/3/2012 Full Extended Abdominoplasty with Lipo.

History: I've needed an abdominoplasty for a long time. I was a fat kid. In my early 20s I had lost about a hundred pounds. The damages to my skin was done. I was left with a spare tire and love handles that stayed present regardless of my weight. For most of my life I had to wear larger shirts and tucked the redundant skin. Yuck.

I'm 49 now. For the last year and a half I've been running, completed p90x and the Insanity programs. I work out everyday. So now I'm middle-aged buff. Haha. But the excess skin was killing me. I wear size 32 pants. I would fit in 31 but I needed room to hide a roll of skin. I couldn't run outside shirtless because of my hideous midsection. Blaa. Enough was enough. I called a surgeon.

The surgery included 12 cm of excised redundant skin, umbilical repositioning and an incision that begins over my left butt cheek and ends over my right butt cheek. The surgeon did some lipo of love handles, supra pubic and epigasrium. He tightened the ab diastasis.

Coming home from the hospital is a blur. I've taken pain meds every 4 hours. My abdomen hurts some. But use of the ab muscles is awful. Rest. I'm afraid to go up and down stairs because pain makes me lightheaded. Maybe it's the percocet. For the first three days I sleep in an over-sized chair in the living room.

8/6/2012 Pain is non existent at rest. I get pain with movement. I live in fear of... Laughing, burping, sneezing and hiccoughing. I have dreaded BM (failed attempts) and pee breaks. I've been sleeping on an over-sized couch because it's low, wide and firm. I bought a wedge pillow that helps. I've eaten very lightly. On post op day 3 I got to poop the first time. Thank god for oral laxatives, a Fleets and prunes.

I spent a few days laying around the house. I would force myself to get up and walk around every couple of hours. Slowly.

8/10/2012 Today is post op day 7. I've still got two drains. There was hematoma formation on the right side so I get to keep the drains for an extra few days.

I'm scheduled to return to work tomorrow. I took a week off. If I knew then ... I'd have taken two weeks.

8/11/2012 Back to work. Hiding the drains was somewhat problematic. Thankfully I wear scrubs at work and work mostly at a desk this week. I forgot how much physical contact I have with co-workers. Hugs, random back rubs and hip checks. When I saw them coming, I played duck and cover.

8/16/2012 After a week of work I'm doing well. Last drain removed today. Swelling down, but I'm still very remarkable swollen. No longer in pain. I can use my abs for getting up and down, but am still mindful of overdoing it.

8/17/2012 Spent 45 minutes on the treadmill today doing moderate paced walking. No problem. Looking forward to returning to running soon. Still swollen but rather comfortable. Still wearing two very small UnderArmour compression shirts which has gotten old.

That's my story to date. I'm very anxious to see the changes once the swelling is down and the scar fades. Right now I'm better but still post-op hideous.

:) John

I'm not sure if it's a simple cold or allergies, but my nose is all stuffed up. Today I sneezed without crying! Who knew something so insignificant would be so significant!? :)
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Hey there- thank you for your story. I just had my TT last week and I am anxious for my results. Do you have any current pics you can post to give me hope this swelling will end? I'm happy with my results so far but worried I won't be as lean now. Thanks
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10/1/2012 I'm at about two months. Still dealing with the edema but it seems to improve a little each day. Pain-free mostly. Coughing and sneezing can still give me a stitch in the epigastric area. Getting up off the couch and out of bed still requires a bit of rolling. No pain meds in weeks. I continue to wear compression clothing 24/7 and am looking forward to retiring them. I started running again a few weeks ago. First a treadmill, but yesterday out on the trails. Last week I did a 5k. I've lost some endurance ability after so many weeks of little activity and am anxious to get back to some of my more challenging exercise routines. I want to lift weights! I'm back in size 32 jeans but I still gather edema over the waist as the day wears on giving me quite the muffin-top. I had no idea the recovery would take so long. I posted some 2d PO and 2w PO pics today. Maybe later I'll take some 2m PO pics.
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11/16/2012: Revision My original surgery...

11/16/2012: Revision

My original surgery included an "umbilical float". This is where instead of cutting out the belly button and sewing it into a new hole, the surgeon moves the belly button down an inch or so on the abdominal wall. The advantage to this is that, if you don't have much excess skin above the umbilicus then you don't have a scar around your belly button. Problem was that I ended up having too much supra umbilical redundant skin. As the swelling resolved, the loose skin above the umbilicus really made itself known. So about 3 months after the first surgery, I went back under the knife.

The "do over" was very similar to the first surgery, except that this time there was no muscle repair. Thank god, because that was the most painful part of the procedure. The surgeon cut out the old scar (which runs from butt cheek to butt cheek), did a little flank lipo and surgically excised skin and fat. My umbilicus remains in it's new lower position but the skin has been adequately tightened and all looks good.

Two drains were placed. The first was removed after a week. The other I removed myself after about 12 days. At the end of the first week my umbilicus was infected and draining some stinky stuff. A week of antibiotics fixed it right up. On day 12 I had a bit of and incisional infection with some purluent drainage which required another round of antibiotics. All looks good now.

Today is about a month out. Much of the swelling has improved, but I'm still like an hour-glass around my elastic waist band by the end of the day. Things look great in the morning although I've got a little bit of a love handle on the left that isn't so bad on the right. The belly button so far is looking very natural. I'm able to wear my usual size 32 jeans and, much to my joy, into which I don't have to tuck a roll of redundant skin. Several people in the last week have stopped me in the hall at work to tell me I'm looking good/skinny.

I wish I'd done this 30 years ago. ;)
Doylestown Plastic Surgeon

Outstanding physician. He heads up the Plastic Surgery Department at a large Philadelphia suburban hospital.

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