31 y/o, no kids, Tummy Tuck and Arm Lift after losing 115 Pounds - Chadds Ford, PA

I lost 115 pounds from 2009-2012 through Weight...

I lost 115 pounds from 2009-2012 through Weight Watchers and exercise. Although I would love to lose another 15 or so pounds, I've been at the same weight for a little over 2 years now and have realized that my stomach and arms will still have some loose skin, despite working out regularly for the past 6 years. My surgery is scheduled for April 1 so that I can have it during a slower time at work. I'm hoping to only take off 2 weeks but will take more if necessary. Very excited for April to get here!

A few pictures; possibly moving surgery up by a month

I took a bunch of pictures this weekend to serve as some "before" pics. I'm not sure if I'm ready to post my mostly unclothed pictures yet because the surgery is still a few months away, so it's harder to get excited about sharing them until I have something to compare to. But, I'll probably post them as the date gets closer. For now- here is a pre-weight loss picture from January 2009 at my highest weight ever, and pictures at my current weight, 115 pounds lighter.

I'm also thinking about moving my surgery up to late February/early March. I may have to cancel a trip to Phoenix at the end of January and I had been trying to put some time in between that trip and my surgery to make work/time off a little less crazy. If I cancel the trip and they can get me in sooner, I will likely do that. Will update soon!

16 days away, and finally some before pics...

I can't believe surgery is 2 weeks from Wednesday. I started considering this surgery last August and began my consultations in October, and I can't believe it's finally almost here! I am not nervous at all right now, just very excited and ready for it to get here already.

I'm finally including some unclothed "before" pics. I tried cropping my face out of my previous pics (pre and post weight loss pics, clothed) but couldn't get it to work so I ended up removing them. I will definitely update with post-surgery pics as soon as I am able to.

I'm obviously not thrilled with my body, hence why I am having the surgery. But, I've been trying to avoid saying anything too negative about it now or in my before pics because it's still my body and all things considered it could be worse given the years of dieting and weight loss, gains, etc. That said, still excited for some impressive improvements following surgery! Very excited to be in the homestretch.

6 days post-op, with some pics!

I can't believe it's been almost a week since surgery. On the one hand it has at times being slow and tedious, but for the most part it has flown by faster than expected and I've had very little pain and minimal discomfort (relatively speaking, at least!)

I only took percocet a few times in the first day or two but otherwise have just used Tylenol or nothing. I didn't have muscle repair so I imagine that is why the pain has been so low. The drains are annoying for sure, and they seem to be putting out a LOT of drainage so I don't expect them to come out at my next appointment (Friday) but when I saw the doctor yesterday morning he said things looked good.

I had my arms done (brachioplasty on both) at the same time so that has made the recovery more difficult because I'm even more limited, but I do not regret doing the procedures together. Things have been getting easier every day. Today I was able to shower mostly unassisted, and took a few pics after! I feel like it looks a bit more swollen from the front today than it did yesterday but less swollen from the side angle, so who knows. I imagine things will continue to change over the next several days, weeks and months so curious to see how it keeps looking. So far I'm pleased though!

12 Days Post-Op

I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since surgery! I am heading back to work on Wednesday and I'm ready to be out of the house and having a normal routine again, but I also imagine the first few days will be exhausting.

I am attaching a before/after pic from the morning of surgery and from yesterday, 11 days post-op. The last couple of days I have been feeling happier with my results as I can see a bit more of the shape (even though I still feel like there's a lot of swelling) and comparing it to the pre-op pics is also very helpful!

Overall, I've been feeling very good and have noticed a major improvement in my mobility and comfort and moving around from last Friday to today. I got my 2 TT drains out on Friday which helped a LOT for sure, but I've also just been moving around better and am going to try driving today. I haven't taken any percocet since the first couple days and haven't even needed Tylenol in over a week- not because I'm trying to tough it out (I am NOT that person- I am happy to yield to pain meds when I need them!) but because the pain has just been so low. However, it is funny how yesterday I almost bounced out of bed I was feeling so good and energetic and then today I feel so much more stiff and achy. I imagine there will be a lot of those ups and downs over the coming weeks. Anyway, between how I feel and how pleased I am with the results so far, I'm definitely feeling very positive about the surgery!

Day 19... Setback

Reading my last update, I was feeling so good just a week ago! I started having some major swelling last Tuesday which at first wasn't painful, just kind of unlike anything I'd ever experienced, but I know swelling is to be expected. Unfortunately, however, it continued to get worse since then to the point of being constant and eventually painful and yesterday my doctor told me based on pictures and symptoms that it was a hematoma. I saw him first thing this morning and he drained out a lot of the fluid with a needle, but said based on the amount of fluid build-up, he will have to re-open my incision and flush the rest out that way (AND put a drain back in).

So, Wednesday I go back under the knife. But, apparently the procedure only takes 10 minutes, I'll only be under local anesthesia, and the recovery won't be like starting back at square one. But it's still a setback and very frustrating. I'm glad to be feeling a bit better after this morning's appointment and the draining and I know after Wednesday I will be on my way to feeling much better, but it really seems to prolong things. The doctor said in a couple weeks I'll be back on track to where I would have been in my recovery but I imagine it'll be a long week or 2!

All the same, the doctor has been incredibly thorough and helpful in explaining everything and I know it will get better from here!

Day 26, and 5 days post-second procedure

I had a quick appointment with my doctor this morning to check on things since the follow-up procedure last Wednesday. I think that procedure was called an "abdominal wash-out" where he flushed out the excess fluid and re-inserted a new drain (this time it's actually coming right out of the right side of the incision). He said the new drain is still draining enough that he's going to keep it in longer and he'll see me in again this Friday. It's hard to believe I'm saying this but I was super relieved he didn't take the drain out yet. I want to keep that thing draining for as long as possible to avoid another issue like before!

I have been feeling better every day since Wednesday, it's seriously been night and day. Way more energy, no more trouble breathing, eating or sleeping, minimal swelling, etc. I know that when he takes the drain out it will create a bit more swelling but I think the more that comes out now, the better I'll be.

I'm still supposed to be taking it super easy and I'm definitely back to being more hunched over since he reopened the incision but otherwise I feel like I'm moving forward again which is nice. I took some new pics although I actually was even happier with the results in person. Everything looks really flat and I know once I can stand upright it will look even better! Day 25 pics attached.

Day 30, back to being drain-free

Well, it's been an interesting past couple of weeks but today, 9 days after having the follow-up procedure to put a new drain back in, the drain has been removed. I was draining about 36 ccs per day each of the last 2 days and the doctor said under 30 is ideal but that it's close enough and that at this point my body should be able to respond better to having the drain out. I sure as shit hope so! I remember all too well the crazy swelling and discomfort from the hematoma but I'm optimistic that it's been long enough since the original surgery that my body will respond better.

I was told I can start putting bio oil on my arm incisions to help with the scars, so that's exciting! He said I need to wait longer for my stomach though. I know a lot of people recommend Palmers Vitamin E Oil for scars as well- anyone have any preference between the two?

Today will mark my first full 5-day week back to work and it hasn't been as bad as I expected, fortunately! I've also been able to wear normal work pants over the binder which is a relief- I tried on a pair about a week post-surgery and with the swelling those suckers were not buttoning! I also got too curious to resist and finally stepped on the scale on Sunday, late in the day post-brunch so that I'd go in with low expectations, and was happy to see I was down 7 pounds from the morning of surgery. I'm sure that will fluctuate, and I'm not sure if that is from the skin removed or from not being able to eat a ton for the past month, but either way it was nice to not have gained weight!

Anyway, hoping things keep getting better from here with my recovery! Will continue to update and will post more pics soon.

A month post-op, updated pics, feeling great!

I was feeling pretty paranoid on Friday about how my body would adjust to the drain being back out. Then Friday night the paranoia got worse when I noticed my body noticeably more swollen than it was that morning, even in my arms which hadn't really been swelling recently. I know that swelling is normal but given how my body reacted to it the last time, I was afraid it was the beginning of the end again.

Then I woke up on Saturday and it was exactly the day I needed to have and which totally validated my decision to have surgery. I felt amazing and energetic, the swelling had gone down, and I was thrilled with how things looked when I took off my binder to shower. I'm including updated pics from Saturday morning. Aside from being very pleased with the shape, I can't believe how nice the left side of my incision looks (the right side is where he re-opened it to put the drain back in, so that will take a bit longer to heal). The random marks/discoloration are from the tape holding the gauze on which is a total bitch to get off, but I think all of the bruising is totally gone.

I was already happy with how things looked but then had to press my luck further by weighing myself and was really excited to see that I was down almost 10 pounds from the morning of surgery. Some of that is probably from the skin removed and some of that is probably the result of not being able to overeat (and not going out to eat/drink for a month) so it may go back up a little bit which I completely expect. I know I should avoid the scale for another couple of weeks since that money will fluctuate, but it still felt good to see. THEN, I decided to try on my normal jeans over my binder to see how that would go. I had tried on a pair of work pants a size bigger than my normal about 10-11 days after surgery and between the binder and the swelling, they were snug. Last week I was able to get back into normal work clothes, and then on Saturday my normal jeans were a little loose even with the binder on, so that felt amazing.

Anyway, I definitely went out and enjoyed myself way more than I have in a long time this weekend so I'm exhausted (and a bit dehydrated) from that, but otherwise feeling very good and very excited about things. Fingers crossed that things stay good and on the upswing!

Almost 7 weeks post, feeling great and very satisfied with results!

I was able to go a full 15 days in between appointments before seeing my PS on Saturday, and I don't have to see him again for another 6 weeks. It's insane to finally be out of the immediate post-op phase with restrictions and limits and to finally just resume life in pretty much every way. I was cleared to exercise and I'm going to try running tonight. I'm going to Vegas on Friday and the doctor said it's fine to lay out in the sun. And he said I can switch to whatever other compression garments I'd like. I know some doctors seem to say 12 hours in/12 hours out for them or to stop wearing them completely after a certain point, but he said he thinks patients have the best results if they keep using a lot of compression for as long as possible after the surgery. So I ordered a few Spanx-type of garments (I got a romper thing with shoulder straps and a high-waisted brief) that should lay flatter than my bulky velcro binder, and I plan to wear some kind of CG whenever practical for at least awhile.

I still have some swelling which is worse in the evenings, but it's really not bad at all, esp. compared to some stories I've heard (or the swelling I had at 3 weeks). I was trying on a couple new bathing suits last night and took some pictures, and then this morning decided to take some while I was getting dressed to compare the evening swelling vs. the morning (attached). It's noticeable to me for sure, but even at night/swollen I'm incredibly happy with how it looks. I will be very curious to see how the swelling is after working out tonight!

Forgot the belly button pic!

I think it looks about how it should at this point? I like it! It's strange having a new BB but I have no complaints about it! :)

8 Weeks Post-Op.. bikinis, swelling, etc.

I went to Vegas last weekend and had an amazing time with no issues from the surgery. A few weeks ago I wouldn't have imagined feeling normal and moving around and going long stretches without a binder or CG on, but everything was awesome. And I wore a bikini! Two actually! My belly button probably still looks a little funny close-up because of the scar but I really don't think anyone looking at me who didn't know I had surgery would realize something was off.

I did get a pretty bad sunburn in spots I didn't rub sunscreen in, and the area right under my belly button and above my incision got really red but not sunburned because it went away the next day. I'll have to be aware of that in the future. I'm attaching a pic and you can see the redness.

Downside to the trip.. I got very little sleep and was moving around a lot so the swelling the last couple of days has been insane, as bad as it's been since the hematoma. However, it's been getting better in the mornings so I'm hoping within another day or two it's back to normal (which is minimal swelling as the day goes on). I ran on the treadmill last Monday and Tuesday for 20 and then 25 minutes and felt pretty good, just need to be build my endurance back up. So all-in-all, even with the crazy swelling on Monday and Tuesday, I definitely feel like I keep moving forward!

More than 5 months since tummy tuck and arm lift!

I remember thinking how I didn't want to totally forget to post and update once I got past the first month or two, and yet it happens. Life went completely back to normal so quickly, and my results pretty much leveled out and have been status quo since probably May that there hasn't been much to update, which is a good thing I think!

I included a few pictures I took yesterday. Other than being up a few pounds (I really miss those weeks when eating was hard!), I think everything looks just about the same and I continue to be thrilled with the results. I still wear my binder at night sometimes, and occasionally Spanx type of garments during the day, since my doctor said even this far out it can help improve the results and also help the scar fade, but admittedly I'm not as good about this during the hot summer months. Other than that, the surgery feels like a million years ago and life is good!

Past the year mark! Possible scar revision...

I can't believe it's been over a year since I had my tummy tuck and arm lift. I'm SO thrilled with my results. I went to see my surgeon for a follow-up appointment recently and to schedule a thigh lift, the LAST chapter of the excess skin removal procedures for me. When I was there, he said he would like to redo the ab scar to make it lower and flatter. As it is right now, the right side of the scar/incision is depressed into the skin a little bit so it is not quite as flat on that side. It doesn't bother me but I'll defer to his judgment! He said he can do it at the same time he does the thigh lift, no extra cost, so I figure why not.

Here are some one year pictures. In the second one you can see the scar and how it is a bit puffier on the right side.
Wilmington Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Saunders was recommended by my friend who is a doctor in the area and said he had a great reputation, and I can completely see why he does! I'm nearly 7 weeks post-op from tummy tuck and arm lift and I am incredibly happy with the results. The incisions on my stomach and arms are beautiful, thin, and as minimal as I could have possibly imagined for these procedures, and I love how everything looks. I also experienced two setbacks in my recovery- I popped open my left arm incision 3 days post-op, and I had a hematoma develop from the TT, and his responsiveness and diligence in getting me in to see him right away, including on weekends and before the office opened, was really helpful. He and his entire staff are also text-friendly so I was able to text him or the nurses with questions, including pictures when I started experiencing problems, and he always called back very quickly. There were times when post-op appointments felt hurried in some ways, but I never left without getting all of the information I needed and could always text him to follow up with any other questions. I would absolutely recommend him to anyone, and I 100% would/will go back to him if I decide to do any other procedures (I'm considering a thigh lift).

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 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
4 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 times
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