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Tummy Tuck with Umbilical Hernia - Wisconsin

Hi! I have a tummy tuck scheduled and am very...

Hi! I have a tummy tuck scheduled and am very nervous about the whole thing. I have three children and after my third child my abdominal walls separated and I also have an umbilical hernia. I am 5'3 and 122 pounds and have a belly that pooches out. I haven't told any family or friends and am so happy to of found this website as it will be my only support system. I am most nervous about the recovery (like most other people) and the depression so many women experience shortly after the surgery and I am trying to mentally prepare myself. My rationale at this point is that a few months of recovery outweigh the number of years I'll enjoy my new stomach. The power of positive thinking!

I have read countless reviews and comments on this site and can't express how important they have been in making this decision. Your candid posts have really helped me understand the process so much better - thank you! Any advice or suggestions is greatly appreciated.

My surgery is now postponed for one week. A little...

My surgery is now postponed for one week. A little disappointing because the nerves are killing me, but everything happens for a reason. Any one have suggestions on what to do before surgery and what they brought with them to the hospital, or wish they would of brought with them? I imagine some comfy clothes to go home in :) Thanks ladies!!!!

Well it's the day before my surgery and...

Well it's the day before my surgery and I'm feeling anxious, excited, nervous, scared...the emotions alone are exhausting me! I thought I would post some of my feelings, as I'm sure some of you can relate.

My house is clean, all the sheets are washed, groceries are bought and laundry is done. I've made arrangements for my children and packed their bags (my friend is taking them while I'm in the hospital). I'm trying to make this as easy as possible for my husband so he doesn't have a lot of household things to do this weekend. Guess that's the mother in me! I think no matter how much I try and prepare myself it's the fear of the unknown that is scariest. I just keep reminding myself that I'm a strong woman who has the ability to get through this and that it's only a temporary discomfort. I think emotional heartache and pain can be as painful as physical pain. At least my mind is strong and my attitude is positive.

I do have before pics and I will try and get those posted tonight. Thanks for reading!

I did it! Today is the start of day 3 and I...

I did it! Today is the start of day 3 and I can't believe it's over and I'm home recovering. Oh where to beging?!

I checked into the hospital on Friday at 11:30 am. I was brought to an outpatient room where I changed into a gown, peed in a cup, had an IV inserted and my vitals taken. The nurse anesthist came in to discuss what would happen and then my PS came in to do some measuring and drawing. After that I laid in bed and they wheeled me to the OR. I was very scared at this point. It was a long ride there and when I arrived there was a lot going on. Music was playing, it was cold, people walking around in their blue garments with only their eyes showing and lots and lots of surgical tools and other scary instruments! I wasn't wearing my glasses so things were so fuzzy which I think made it more nerve-racking than it actually was. I scooted onto the operating table and within two minutes I was fast asleep. I woke up in recovery and remember talking to my PS and the nurse. I was very comfortable and wasn't feeling any pain and shortly thereafter they wheeled me to my room. I was given Morphine thru my IV but started itching so they gave me Percocet instead. I was also very nauscious so I got something for that, too. I had a catheter so I didn't have to get up and use the bathroom until I was awake for awhile and my pain was controlled. My PS came to check on me at 7:00 pm and said that he would also return in the morning.

My surgery took about 2.5 hours and I was back in my room around 4:00 pm. The catheter was removed around midnight. The first night didn't go very well. I wasn't able to sleep so they gave me some Valium thru my IV and that helped. It's hard to sleep on your back in one position for any length of time! My husband had gone home at 9:30 pm so I was also alone and feeling a little lonely. I was feeling better when I woke up on Saturday but the nausea continued so I was given some more meds for that. My PS came in at 9:30 am and removed the tape that was covering my incision. It looks amazing! It is symmetrical and low. He said, "It looks awesome and your going to be very happy with it." I was discharged on Saturday at 4:30 pm. On our way home my husband and I stopped at Walgreens to get my meds and some other things. I grabbed some Benedryl and some Tylenol as well. I went into the store with him and was able to slowly walk with him. It felt good to walk but exhausting all at the same time.

We got home and I got myself settled in the recliner in the living room. I have a table next to me with all my drugs, water, crackers, remote, phone, laptop, etc. I am writing down when I take my meds because time is difficult to track. Each hour runs into the next and when your awake all night things get a little foggy!

I have three drains in place and they are labeled 1,2, and 3. I empty them and record the amount of fluid. Drain 1 has nearly no fluid, and drain 3 has the most. My incision is not covered with anything but I do have some gauze and tape around the drain sites. The drain sites are the biggest source of pain and discomfort and I knew that would be the case based on reading posts on this site. Because I did not have any lipo I do not have any compression garments on. I don't have anything covering my incision other than some neosporin for now. My pain in nicely controlled through Percocet and I do not feel loopy or out of it when I take them, which is nice. They make me a little tired but I can live with that. I do have pics to post...just have to find my camera. I am drinking a tremendous amount of water and that really seems to be helping. I have little swelling thus far, but I know its coming. This site has prepared me for everything that has happened and I'm so grateful that all of you have shared your stories. It has made this journey so much easier and predictable. If any of you are thinking twice about this please don't. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, you will be uncomfortable, but you shouldn't be in pain. I can already tell that my profile looks great and I will be very happy with my results. Because it is the weekend (today is Sunday) my PS gave me his cell phone number and asked that I call him this morning so he can check on me. I have a tremendous amount of trust in my PS and feel like he genuinely cares about each patient. I hope that anyone considering this procedure finds a PS they can feel this confident about, too. Well, enough rambling for now. If you have any questions about my recovery thus far please ask. I'll continue to post and get my pics up. Thanks for your support!!!

TT - Post-op Day 5 Well I made it to Day 5....

TT - Post-op Day 5

Well I made it to Day 5. Whew...today wasn't such a great day, though. I had been experiencing some nausea, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and just felt cold and clamy. My PS requested I come in right away so he could see me. To make a long story short, he said my body was in shock from the surgery and that some of my organs were not functioning properly. After some x-rays and blood work they hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of fluids. My digestive system was not working despite drinking like a fish and taking MOM. I was getting dehydrated and my body was not absorbing the water and nutrients I've been drinking, thus causing extreme constipation. He told me to use a suppository to get things moving. I've never used a suppository and never want to again. Ugh...within SIX minutes I was in the bathroom and it was not a pleasant experience. It hurt like hell. BUT...I feel SO much better!

With regards to pain, I would say I'm at a 1 or 2 only because I am experiencing some occassional discomfort. I am taking only one Percocet every 5-ish hours and am hopeful that within a few days I will be off the pills all together. I am walking and standing fine and don't feel any pain as my meds wear off. I took a sponge bath yesterday and washed my hair in the sink and felt fine. I'm trying a shower tomorrow, even though I'm a little nervous. I still have all three drains in and probably won't get any out until Thursday or Friday. Where the drain enters my body I used to have a lot of discomfort but now it feels okay - they are just annoying. I am scared to have them pulled out. What have your experiences been with this??? I also finally posted some pics. I've never had any stretch marks so the marks you see on the pics are from clothing and drain tubes.

TT - Post-op Day 6 Today was my first day...

TT - Post-op Day 6

Today was my first day home alone and it went quite well. Everyone was out of the house by 8:00 am and the kids were back by 3:oo pm. The seven hours flew by and I almost wish I had an extra hour or two! I felt good today but also felt a little tighter than previous days. Not sure why. I'm still continuing to take one Percocet every five hours. This seems to work for me so I'm going to continue with this for a bit. I also slept in my bed last night for the first time and I was actually more comfortable than on the couch. I felt like it provided more support and getting back into my regular routine (of sleeping in my bed vs. the couch) felt great.

I still have all three drains in yet. I'm hopeful I'll get at least one out this week yet. No change with my incision so I did not post a pic. Maybe in another day or so I will post another pic. I'm feeling a little constipated again today...sigh. Good thing I didn't chuck the box of remaining suppositories!

My diet before surgery was healthy but I would of course, indulge in some cravings occassionally. The biggest change since the surgery has been giving up soda. Oh how I love to drink a Coke in the morning! It's like my coffee. Since surgery, my diet has consisted of pretty much the same thing the past few days: yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh pineapple - lots and lots (almost an entire jar of fresh pineapple a day!!), protein shakes, wheat toast w/ pb, oatmeal, water and all natural Sobe water, and occassionally some Ritz crackers. I'm curious as to what others have been eating during their recovery? I'm closely watching my sodium intake and my protein and fiber. However, what I wouldn't give for a frosted donut with lots of sprinkles! Maybe in a few days when my "system" is a bit more regular ;)

TT - Post-op Day 10 Each day gets a little...

TT - Post-op Day 10

Each day gets a little better! Day 8 was not a good day. I had been looking forward to getting my drains out but it didn't happen. I felt a little down and was getting so sick of sitting around. The next day things turned around and I have been feeling great ever since. Taking a shower everyday and putting on makeup makes a world of difference, and if nothing else, it gives me something to do. I tried to stop taking the Percocet but felt like I was having withdrawal symptoms so I ended up cutting a pill in half and taking one. I'm hoping to do this once or twice yet to avoid the w/d symptoms. I don't think I need any pain meds and if it weren't for the w/d feelings I wouldn't be taking anything. I see my PS tomorrow so I will talk to him about this. I'm sleeping pretty well at night considering I still have my drains. I was setting my alarm to take pain meds during the night, and if I didn't do that I would be able to pretty much sleep through the night. I added a new post-op pic, although there doesn't seem to be much difference from my previous post-op pics. I don't have much swelling, but definitely see an increase in the evening. Not sure if anyone else has this problem, but in the evening my stomach seems more sensitive to touch and I get very irritated with the elastic band on my pants. I'm not wearing a binder/garment and I do wear a tank top that goes underneath the elastic waist band. Has anyone else experienced this?? All in all I'm doing well!!!!

TT - Post-op Day 11 Well lucky for me I had...

TT - Post-op Day 11

Well lucky for me I had two drains removed today. Unlucky for me I still have one! My PS assured me that if my numbers are low tomorrow or the next day he will gladly pull it. He said he never pulls all three at once. I had been anticipating the drain removal for days. When he pulled out the first one it didn't hurt at all. The second one was a whole 'nother story! It hurt quite a bit where the drain comes out but the pain was very short-lived. All in all, it wasn't too bad. I felt great today - the best I've felt yet. I think I over-did it a bit because I feel exhausted and a little swollen. Live and learn. My PS recommended that I get one of those body shapers to wear after my final drain is removed to help push out any remaining fluid. I was never put in a binder or garment. I'm really not very swollen, but am going to follow his recommendation. I'm so glad I decided to go through this journey...it has been well worth it.

TT - Post-op Day 15 All my drains are gone -...

TT - Post-op Day 15

All my drains are gone - FINALLY! Hooray! The third drain caused me no pain upon exiting my body and boy was I happy to see that thing put in the garbage. Yesterday was the worst post-op day thus far. Up until then I had been feeling great (physically and mentally) but yesterday I cried for the first time since surgery and gosh golly it was quite the crying jag. Geesh...what's wrong with me?! The morning started out great. I showered, wore jeans for the first time post-op, curled my hair and looked great...on the outside.

I went to see my PS and told him a concern I had and it went south from there. I began to see some wrinkly skin (I call it "old man skin" aka OMS) around my belly button and above. I had this OMS pre-surgery so I'm all too familiar with it. My PS told me I'm being inpatient and I should come back in one month. Fear of a beautiful tummy went right out the window (along with the thousands of dollars I spent!) and so it began...the long pity-party of tears. Did he get rid of enough excess skin...should my belly button of been re-done to ensure all the OMS was gone...am I being paranoid??? On and on it went. I am trying to remain calm and not worry about it right now.

I ended the evening by going to a movie with my husband and some dear friends of ours. Today I am feeling better and am putting my trust and faith in my PS that he is right.

One thing worth mentioning for any TT newbies out there. The nurse asked me yesterday what the most difficult part has been. Interestingly enough, without thinking, I said the emotional/mental aspect of it. Never have I felt like the pain/discomfort was bothersome or worse than expected. Quite the opposite actually. While I am pleased with my results, preparing yourself and remaining calm throughout the process was my key to a healthy recovery.

Wore jeans today and have been soda-free for 16 days and counting.

TT - Post-op Day 18 Just a quick update....

TT - Post-op Day 18

Just a quick update. Worked a few hours yesterday and a few hours today and now I definitely understand what the Veteran TT Peeps mean by increased swelling from working...yikes! It's manageable but slightly uncomfortable. I'm a bit more tired at the end of the day but not to the point where I'm falling asleep early or in need of a nap. My drain sites aren't healing as quickly as I'd like. I still have a scab where they entered my skin and it's tender to the touch, as well as when clothing rubs against it. This too shall pass....right?!?!

All in all I'm doing well. Still soda free and I'm continuing to maintain a very, very low sodium diet and healthy eating habits.


TT - Post-op Day 30 Things are going pretty...

TT - Post-op Day 30

Things are going pretty well. I have posted new pics. I gained two pounds in the last few weeks...ugh. I live in Wisconsin and it's chilly...but I guess this means I'll be bundling up and getting my butt outside! I noticed a white stitch popped through on my incision - anyone else have this happen and if so, what did you do about it?

I'm back to work but get pretty tired by days end. It may be attributed to not sleeping as well as I used to for the past month.


TT - Post-op 6.5 weeks I posted two new pics....

TT - Post-op 6.5 weeks

I posted two new pics. I've noticed just in the past few days that my swelling is going down considerably and it's not nearly as bad. I am still more swollen at night but it is not a big deal (or I'm just so used to it by now). I resumed running and yoga, although some of the yoga moves I am not able to do yet. I'm feeling great overall!

My scar continues to change and is beginning to fade more and more. It is smooth and not raised in any area but is red/purple in color. My PS will be doing a slight revision where one of my drains were. Even though it is hidden below the bikini line, he agreed to fix it and in fact, was adamant about making everything just right. The skin has a little pucker - not really a big deal.

Photo Update



It has been a loooong time since I posted an...

It has been a loooong time since I posted an update. Mainly because life resumes as usual and the TT recovery just becomes a part of your everyday life and you don't obsess about it (as much). LOL

I posted a pic...six months PO. My scar hasn't changed in the last few months and I'm frustrated by that. It hasn't begun the transformation of turning white. Will it ever NOT be purple?! The swelling comes and goes and if I don't wear my spandex-thingy I can definitely tell there is some swelling. Before I had the surgery I would read about how other women couldn't not wear theirs and I swore that wouldn't happen to me. Boy was I wrong...my spandex tank is like my kid's binky. Geesh...

I have been working out pretty consistently and doing the Ab Workout from P90X at least three times per week. I go in for my six month PO appt. the first week in August and will discuss the scar healing. Overall I think it's okay but I'm concerned this is as good as it's going to get.

Overall I'm happy with my results but it has taken a lot of work on my part. I hope my fellow TT'ers that had surgery around the same time I did are doing well. Drop me a message and let me know how things are...would love to hear how your recovery is at six months.
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dont know if you still come on here or not but i was wondering who was your doctor and how much of it was covered by your insurance? i have severe diastasis recti with a ventral hernia and i am soo nervous and just starting to see docs for it.. i have very good insurance but im not sure if i can expect them to pay for.. cuz i know i cant afford $8000
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Wow Flower.....you look amazing! I even saved a picture of your scar at 5.5 months to show to my PS the morning of my surgery (Jan 15, 2012)....I hope it turns out exactly like yours.....beautiful! Thank you for your story.....Helped me so much!
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THank You! I posted almost the exact same post (with a few more details) under a new discussion because I was not sure I had done this one correctly :) I'm reading lost of posts and trying to come up with a plan. Thanks!
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Hello everyone. I have been reading your posts and I just wanted to say it has helped ease my anxiety. I am 33 years old, 5'2 and about 130 pounds at the moment (usually 124 but I am up a bit, trying to get back down before TT). I have 2 boys who were both 9 pounds at birth, C sections, and my short, small body did not do well with it. I have a large seperation in my abdominal muscles, an umbilical hernia and a pudgy belly that just wont go away. My TT is scheduled for May 5th and I am getting nervous. I am going to my Mom's home post op and staying there for about 9 days. She is a nurse and will also be caring for my 2 and 6 year olds. I don't think I will be alone caring for the kids until around day 11. I am nervous that I won't be ready or that it is going to be much worse than I think. I have read stories about people not being able to be active for months. At the very least I will need to be able to prepare food for my kids and change some diapers. Any feedback or advice you can give would be wonderful. I'm already thinking of all the things I need to complete around the house before I am down and out after surgery. I'm not sure I can get it all done in 5 weeks. But, I also feel like at my age, if I can just make it through recovery, this will be so worth it. I'm tired of people thinking I am pregnant again. I also have scholiosis and I'm worried that my weak abdominal muscles are making my back hurt worse. I really do want to get it all fixed but I'm stressing about the recovery time. Thanks so much for your input. :)
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You will do great! The hardest part is the first 4 days. After that, it gets better quickly. Just read as many Realself posts as you can. They really help walk you through it.
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You will do wonderful!  You have help the first two weeks which is the most critical time.  You will be swollen and sore after that for a while but will be able to function with the kids.  Just be cautious with lifting and housework until about 6 weeks.   If you go slow and are cautious you will be fine.  You will be able to get everything back to normal later on.   Maybe consider hiring a cleaning service for the first six weeks if that helps. 

Just rest the entire first two weeks and that will help your healing process for when you get home.  Your mom will take good care of you:)

Just use the rule..if it hurts stop. 

We are strong women and can make it through most anything.
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Flower... How are you today? I'm anxious to hear how your scar appearance and swelling is. I really have not had but two bouts with swelling, but the more sensation I regain in my belly, the more I "feel" like I'm swollen.. Lol. I just don't really look it. I've only had the silicone sheets on for a few days, so too early to tell. I am patient enough to give them a few weeks to start showing some improvement. I'm almost 6 weeks so it may still get a little worse before it starts getting better..
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Lisa,
Good question. I know the hernia/insurance part initially was an issue and the details are kind of fuzzy several months later. Originally the cost for the hernia repair, including the portion for the anestheisa, was going to be billed through my insurance. However, because we have a high deductible, I asked my PS if he would include the total cost of the hernia repair with the TT cost. He said it was no problem. It ended up saving me some money. I would negotiate with your PS - all you can do is ask, and it may save a bit of money.
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Congratulations, you look great! I wanted to ask, since you also had a hernia repair, did your insurance pay anything on the hospital or anesthesia bill? Just curious. Good luck with your recovery and enjoy your new body!
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Got my silicone sheets today. It's funny. I had started using Mederma and massaging like crazy, but of course the scar got redder! I could tell that the bumpiness may have gotten a little better, but then I decided to put the paper tape on top of the Mederma. In two days, the scar lightened! So I'm really hopeful the silicone tape will do even better.
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Kristi, I hope you see improvement over the course of the next coming weeks from the strips. Sometimes when I pull of the strips my scar looks redder for a bit but then it goes away...strange! Good luck and I'm glad your beginning to see some improvement!
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Flower, I got my silicone a few days ago. I've been using it just on my belly button for now just to see what the difference is. Thanks for letting me know about this. By the way, your tiny self looks good in those blue jeans!
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Regarding the silicone strips, does the PS provide that for you or do you purchase it someplace? You look REALLY GREAT !
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Farz, thanks for the compliment! My PS provided the silicone sheets and I did not have to pay any additional money.
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My belly button stayed intact - no reconstructing occured. I also cut little squares to put on my three drain site scars. I'm curious if it will help at all.
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Oh yeah... I remember you weren't sure at first if you got a new one :) Your's looks wonderful, I guess that's why your PS left it alone. I will let you know if helps mine.
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I was hoping for magic, but thank you for your post, it is so helpful. I have heard of the silicone sheets, but my PS never mentioned them. Did you get them from PS or drugstore? My PS believes it is the actual massaging that does the trick and not what you put on it. Maybe I will try the downward massage and go over the whole belly. It makes sense to push the fluid down. I do feel like my swelling is getting worse, but I know that was part of the deal. I was just hoping I would be one of the exceptions to the swell rule.
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Isn't it interesting how much one PS differs from the next??? Compression garments or no compression garments...1,2 or 3 drains...scar care! It's so confusing!!

My PS gave me the sheets of silicone (4 inches by 8 inches, and I cut thin strips to cover my scar). You can order them online, but they are expensive. He said each sheet was about $50. I figure a sheet will last me approximately 4-5 weeks. He said I can re-use each strip until it doesn't stick anymore (about 4 days until they stop sticking). Based on what I've read online, I can take a pic of the silicone sheets and strips if your interested.

My swelling has subsided slightly, but it's still definitely there...ugh. But like you said, we knew it going into this.

If you feel like the massaging is doing the trick then go with it and keep it up. If your curious about the silicone, then I would pay the $50 and order some. It is a small price to pay compared to the thousands we just spent on the surgery. Ask your PS his thoughts on it. Maybe he has a "free" sample in his office ;)
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yes, please post a pic. I am interested. How long will you be using them? weeks, months?
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I just ordered mine off of Amazon. I'm willing to do anything to help the process... considering the expense of the initial surgery.. what's $50 more bucks! I like that you can re-use them. I think that's great. At what week did you start using them and what week did you notice the bumpyness smoothing out?
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Kristi, I started using the strips between 4 and 5 weeks and shortly thereafter it seemed like things settled down around my scar. I am 7 weeks now and continue to see changes. My PS said to weat them for several months. I agree, what's $50 more bucks!!! Give the strips a few weeks to work and let me know what you think.
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I ordered mine too, hope it helps. Did you put it on the belly button too?
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Also, they were only 18.50
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Kristi1966 and 46ky,
You both inquired about my scar so I thought I would reply with one response.

I wish I had a magical scar recipe to share but unfortunately I don't. After spending hours upon hours of reading other people's TT experience and studying their pictures, I have concluded that the way in which you scar looks has so much more to do with how your surgeon sewed/stitched you and your body's ability to heal.

I really haven't done all that much to my scar. I left the hospital with nothing on my scar - no tape, no bandages - nothing. Two weeks ago my PS gave me silicone sheets that I cut into strips to place on my scar. The silicone helps transform the scar, or so they say. I was told to wear them all day and take them off at night, as some women will get acne/pimples around their scar from the strips being on them 'round the clock. I started massaging Palmer's Vitamin E Oil but then read online somewhere that that can actually make it take longer to heal. Not sure what to believe! It seems every PS does things a little different, as well.

If I push hard I can feel scar tissue under the skin but doesn't appear bumpy when looking at my scar. I did have some mild bumpiness and unevenness but by 4-5 weeks that just disappeared on it's own. My PS said I could buy Mederma but that he hasn't ever seen any real proof that it works so he would leave it up to me whether I wanted to or not. I do massage my entire belly when I go to bed. I lay in bed and rub in a downward motion with Palmer's Oil. I find it relaxing and I'm hoping it is helping with pushing out the remaining, stubborn fluid. SWELL HELL STINKS!!!

I honestly don't think anyone (including myself) is or isn't doing enough to help the healing of their scar. Your body is in control. 46ky, that's great that you posted pics. Both of your pictures are AMAZING! You look GREAT and I wouldn't stress too much about the scar. It's hidden anyways! Are either of you wearing silicone strips? These have made the biggest noticeable difference to date. I think that's why I stopped with the Palmer's Oil because the results I've seen in just two weeks have been outstanding. I hardly noticed much change from the oil.

I hoped that answered your question. I'll take another pic soon to show any changes. :)
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Do you know if the silicone sheets are the same as the ones you can buy online? Brand name?
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