I just turned 42 years old and thought I wanted to do something to look better while I'm still young enough to enjoy the results! I thought I was just going to have some liposuction of my tummy and outer and inner thighs. But at my first consult with a board certified plastic surgeon, I was told that only a tummy tuck would produce the results I wanted. I went for another consult and the second board certified plastic surgeon said the same thing. I thought about it for a week or so and then decided to go for it. Boy am I glad I did!
First of all, everyone must realize that surgeons are only human and that all bodies heal differently. I recommend using a BOARD CERTIFIED plastic surgeon for this type of procedure. Ask friends and try to get a recommendation. Then go for more than one consult. Be honest and tell the surgeons that you are doing so. That usually gets them to be honest with you about what they really think can be accomplished.
Now, for the surgery. I am 6 weeks post-op and looking fabulous. Yes, I have a long, purple scare across my lower abdomen, but my stomach looks better than it ever did -- even when I was a teenager!
I had a tummy tuck and liposuction of my inner and outer thighs at the same time. I was given some decent strength pain pills and also some muscle relaxers. The nurse was adamant that I take the muscle relaxers for at least the first week every 6 hours when I took the antibiotics they also prescribed. She said much of the pain comes from the muscle spasms that result from tying the muscles together to help get that 6-pack look. I think the best thing I did was get on a strict dosing schedule and take both the pain pills and muscle relaxers every 6 hours for the first 8-9 days. That drastically cut down on the pain. After 9 days, I only need an occasional half of a pain pill or muscle relaxer. I didn't take anything besides Advil after the first 15-16 days.
I had two drains -- one was removed 5 days post-op and the other came out 2 days later. I also had the On-Q Pain Buster and I really think that made a difference in the pain I felt for the first few days.
I also had help for the first 5 days -- someone stayed with me 24 hours a day. Getting up and down is quite difficult at first -- even going to the bathroom is tough. It took me right at 3 weeks to stand fully upright again, but that wasn't a big deal. For the first 3 weeks, I slept propped up with two pillows behind my head and one under my knees. That got old, but slowly I was able to start sleeping flat again -- I'm a side sleeper!
Now after 6 weeks, I'm looking and feeling great! I do still feel a lot of tightness in my abdominal muscles -- that's completely normal since they tied them together. My doctor said I could even have muscle spasms for several months. There is still some swelling in my abdomen -- that will actually take a few months to go away completely. I've been released to go back to my normal activities and am excited to be able to get a little exercise.
I think that using a good surgeon who won't try to take too much skin is a key to the success of this surgery. Be realistic in your expectations. Ask to see photos of the surgeon's actual patients. And then, GO FOR IT!!!
If I can, I will update this in a few more weeks or a couple of months!