TT and Flank Lipo - Cincinnati, OH

I'm a 46 year old mother of two (18 and 21). I...

I'm a 46 year old mother of two (18 and 21). I have always wrestled with weight and, even at my thinnest, I always had a "pooch" on my lower abdomen. Recently, I lost 50 lbs and have kept that off for about 1 1/2 yrs. For the past year I have been extremely serious about fitness - go to the fitness center 4-5 days a week for a couple of hours.

I've focused on my abdominals and core muslces, but I just can't get around what the pregnancies and weight loss have left me with (sagging skin, fat I just can't seem to get off, and stretch marks :( ).

About 1 month ago, I was speaking with my sister and the topic of TT came up. I was immediately interested. I went to an open house with consultation. I decided to put my deposit down and scheduled my surgery for 2 months out - this would give me time to investigate and make sure I really want to do this.

I'm now 4 weeks away from my surgery. I'm excited and very anxious. I keep wondering if I'm just being too vain or if I'm being frivolous with my money. I really want this, just think I'm nervous. :)

Next week I will be visiting my primary care physician for a physical. Two weeks and I'll have my pre-op visit.

I'm thinking about renting a hospital bed. Anybody have an opinion about doing this? Or any other items that will be useful post-op?Updated on 12 Nov 2011:Nov 12, 2011 - Went to my private physician for my pre-op physical yesterday. I was amazed how uncomfortable I felt when she asked me why I decided to have the surgery. It wasn't because she made me feel that way, I think it was me being embarrassed a little. But she was great. She shared a personal experience she had with plastic surgery and was able to give me a few tips (many of which can be found readily here on Real Self). She gave me the green light and cautioned me about infection and the possibility of pneumonia if I don't get up and walk around (she told me of a story about a woman who got pneumonia and ended up dying :( ).

Today I went to the medical equipment supply and inquired about renting a semi-electric hospital bed. I'm convinced that spending the money for a hospital bed is well worth it and will be ordering one 3-4 days before the surgery.

I also went and checked out Flexees shapewear. They seemed comfortable and supportive, but had some concerns with the way the top of the garment seemed to roll. And the opening in the crotch didn't seem like it was going to be very easy to use. I'm going to check out Spanx. I know they are a bit more $, but I figure I'll be wearing them for some time to come and I want what works and feels best. I'll most likely wait to buy until after I go to my Pre-Op PS visit next week. I'm hoping they might have some suggestions on which model works best (there are quite a few!).

Getting very excited :) I can't believe it is less than 3 weeks away now!Updated on 18 Nov 2011:Went to my preOp with my PS. I felt a good connection with him am really getting excited. Paid all parties' fees this week, so it is definitely becoming reality.

Tomorrow I order my post surgical compression garment and pick up my medications.

Just 2 more weeks!Updated on 22 Nov 2011:Ordered my compression garment today. A word of advise...take a look at the garment the PS tells you to buy. I'm having Lipo on my flanks and the compression garment the PS assistant told me to buy looked like a brief. The waist band would cut straight across the lipo site. I called the nurse and she spoke with the PS. I was told to get the garment that goes up underneath the bust and not the one that cuts across the waist. They also told me I didn't need to get the garment that goes to just above the knee as I'm not having anything done to my legs. So basically ended up getting a totally different garment than I was told to get in the first place. If something doesn't quite seem right go with your intuition and ask.

I also bought a walker from the local goodwill. I'm hoping I won't need it, but if it helps one time, it will be worth the $5 I paid for it :)Updated on 26 Nov 2011:This time next week I'll be one day post op! It's so hard to believe how fast time has gone by since I first started this adventure. I ordered my hospital bed today. It will be delivered the evening before my surgery. Really thinking it will help with my recovery. I'm uploading my before pictures. It is so hard to look at these (I never really liked pictures of myself and especially one that bares my soul as these do). I keep telling myself that in one weeks time, these pictures will only document the past and I'll have a totally new body that I can finally feel good about. It's going to be hard to keep the excitement down as I go through my last preOp week :)Updated on 27 Nov 2011:Each morning I get closer to the surgery, I can feel the adrenaline building. Only 5 more days!Updated on 1 Dec 2011:Hospital Bed...check.


Over bed table...check.


Lose clothes....check.


Really running on adrenaline now. Just a couple more hours and I'll go try to sleep. Have to be at the surgery center tomorrow am at 6:30 and surgery is scheduled for 8.

I will try to update once I get home tomorrow...probably will be brief, but I'll try to post my immediate post Op experience. Thanks to all who have given me encouragement. I will talk with you all on the other side!Updated on 2 Dec 2011:Today is the day! I'm up and ready to go. Everyone on this site has been so great! The support is awesome. I'll try to post later today.Updated on 2 Dec 2011:Surgery was today. Lasted about 1 3/4 hrs (much faster than I thought it would be). Everyone was so nice. Pain is tolerable. When I woke up from the surgery, they gave me all sorts of pain meds every 5 mins. Then they wondered why I wasn't breathing deeply :) Gratefully, no nausea except immediately after surgery (gave me a bunch of meds for that, as well). The BEST thing I have done so far is to rent this hospital bed! Renting the bed has been well worth the $150/month I am paying.I'm surprised at how bent over I am....feel like an elderly woman...but that should pass. My DH has been sooooo very supportive and taking excellent care of me...I'm soooo lucky!

I was told they removed a total of 4 pounds (1 from each flank and 3 below my belly button). And I only have 1 drain!! I 'll write again tomorrow.Updated on 3 Dec 2011:Day 1 Post Op. Pain is a little increased today, but still manageable. Abdomen just feels tight. Itching a bit here and there and my back is hurting. Hoping things will continue to get better from here on out. I still can't emphasize what a good decision it was to rent a hospital bed. Really makes is a bit easier to get in and out..and it's very comfortable to sleep. I'm very hunched over and I can't imagine trying to prop myself up in my bed or trying to sleep in a recliner.Updated on 4 Dec 2011:PostOp day 2. Feeling pretty good today. Am cutting back on the pain meds. Beginning to be able to stand a little straighter, but still hunched quite a bit. Right now the worst part is only being able to lay on my back. My drain is putting out a lot less today as well. I'm going to remain hopeful that I might be able to get the drain out Monday, but only if it is time! Can't wait to see what is under that dressing! It's going to be like unwrapping a Christmas present :)Updated on 5 Dec 2011:Post Op day 3. Went to the PS today and had my dressing removed. I am able to stand mostly upright, but still stinting my stomach when standing. Didn't really get a look at things the way I'd hoped to have. My stomach is flat, but I think there is a bunch of swelling going on. The drain remained in...hopefully out this Friday. Was given the OK to take a shower when I feel up to it. I think I will try for that later on tonight and get a really good look at things. I'll also try to take some post op pictures.Updated on 6 Dec 2011:Post Op day 4. Feeling quite a bit better today. Standing mostly straight up. Took my compression garment off long enough to take a few pictures and take a shower. Body feels really strange. Very numb except for areas where I had lipo and around my belly button (these are very sensitive). I look really swollen as well. Not a bunch of difference in thickness between my preOp and postOp pictures (try to post later). I think I'm on an emotional rollercoaster now. Yesterday, I wanted to cry at the PS office when his helper saw me get up and stint my stomach. She said "are you still uncomforatable?" All I thought was "am I not suppose to be uncomfortable 3 days out?" The PS told me not to expect to stand straight up for a week or so. I was standing pretty straight up and thought I was doing pretty good with healing. Her comment and look just totally knocked the wind out of me. (and she was supposed to have had a TT 10 years ago...) Today after seeing the swelling, I was again a little sad. I know it will take a great deal of time to get rid of the swelling and that I need to be patient.Updated on 8 Dec 2011:Worked from home today. A whole 8 hours. I probably should have tried to work only 4 hours. Physically, I was up for it, but I think emotionally I wasn't prepared for it. The stress of work on top of the emotional drain from the surgery was a bit too much. I took my second shower, looked down and cried. I look different, but I'm so swollen I can't say I look all that much better. I know in the future, the swelling will eventually subside and I will look good. Lack of sleep, sore ass from sitting and laying in the same position, and feeling like I'm PMSing is really taking its toll today. Have my second post op visit tomorrow. I'm doubting PS will pull the drain. More out today than in days past.Updated on 9 Dec 2011:2nd PostOp visit,one week since my surgery. My drain was putting out too much to be removed. I have been more active the last 2 days and the volume being put out in the drain increased. PS said I was probably a day or two away from the drain being able to be taken out --Updated on 10 Dec 2011:The extra padding under the CG has really helped with the swelling. I can see how beautiful I'm going to look when I'm healed...really helps with the blues :) The only downside to the towel under the CG is it gets a little warm. Think I can see a new smaller CG in the very near future -- exciting!Updated on 11 Dec 2011:Feeling better today, but still getting nauseated around noon :( I'm thinking it might be related to all those food commercials on TV!! Eating has been somewhat of a challenge. I can only eat about 1/2 of what I usually do and many times just not hungry at all, but hey, that is probably a perk (although with all this healing, need to keep the nutrition coming)! Drainage is tailing off...hope it is under 25 cc tomorrow so they will remove the drain. Swelling continues to stay pretty much under control with the extra padding. I'm definitely going to need to buy a smaller size CG as this padding is really making me warm! I'll talk to PS tomorrow to see if I order another veronique or move to a Spanx/Flexee.Updated on 12 Dec 2011:No Dr's appointment today. Drain still putting out too much (although less!). Hopefully at Wednesday's appointment, I'll lose my little friend. I definitely don't want to have it pulled too early. Having problems with diarrhea (have been for several days). From what I'm reading, it could be C. difficile related to the use of Keflex:( Going to try to repopulate my good intestinal flora with Align. If I'm still having problems on Wednesday, I'll ask the PS for antibiotics before it gets too out of hand. Although disappointed about not getting the drain out, still a pretty good day :)Updated on 14 Dec 2011:Visit to PS today. Unfortunately, my drainage increased over the past 24 hours. So I get to keep my little bulbous buddy until Monday. Still have a bit of swelling. The towel under the CG helped but still need a bit more compression. Stopped by Walgreens and bought an abdominal binder to but over top my GC. Seems to provide a good amount of squeeze :) Still having bowel issues. Although Align has made things better, it still isn't right so I have an appointment tomorrow with my primary physician. Hopefully, I'll get this under control soon. Good news though...I got permission to drive! I'll be returning to work tomorrow. Finally, human interaction!! lol.Updated on 18 Dec 2011:Have been feeling great the past few days. The swellings going down, the drain is putting out a lot less, and I got all my Christmas shopping done in one day -- yesterday :)

Hopefully, tomorrow the drain output will remain low and I'll get my drain pulled Post Op day 17.

Once I get the drain pulled I'm going to post some more pictures. I really feel like I've transformed over the past 2 weeks. Guess I'll see when I can put all my pictures side by side.

Going to start back at the gym tomorrow. Only walking, but I can't wait!! :) I have really missed working out for the mental release it has provided.Updated on 20 Dec 2011:I went to the PS yesterday and I was finally able to get rid of drain!!!! I am so happy. After being in for 16 days, it was starting to get irritated at the point of insertion (not to mention is was a pain to always have to worry about it).

So I think for me, it is now time to take a step back and do an overall assessment from this point in time.

Overall, I am very pleased that I had the surgery. In the weeks before my surgery, I exercised like I was training for a race. I was able to get myself in the best shape I have been in in my whole life. I had the typical nervousness in the days leading up to surgery. This site gave me the support I needed to realize I was not alone.

The day of surgery came and I was ready. Things really couldn't have gone much better. My preOp nurse was actually someone I went to high school with so catching up with her helped ease my nerves. At 8:00 am, I was taken into the surgical suite. At 8:02 I was sound asleep.The surgery was 1 hr and 50 minutes which is excellent since I was told 2-3 hours. Apparently, everything went well, there was very little bleeding, and 4 pounds total were removed (1 lb lipo'd from each flank and another 2 from the belly excision). I remember being told to keep breathing as the general anesthesia and pain meds made me take long pauses. The pain was about an 8 of 10 when I arrived in recovery. My nurse quickly got that under control (4 of 10) by giving me a few injections of pain meds.

As for pain, those few mins have been the most painful part of this process.

After reading some others' experiences, I thought the recovery would be very painful and I'd feel awful. For me, that was not the case. There was some pain, but all very manageable (even the coughs and sneezes have never really hurt badly)

The drain was my literal albatross :)I had issues getting the right compression in the beginning so I had quite a bit out of the drain. It took some experimenting to get the right compression. After 16 days, the drain was removed. Btw...I had a drain that ran the length of my incision. There was no pain when it was pulled...only a funny sensation. Now I just have to make sure I get the compression I need for a couple of weeks.

When I saw my body for the first time, I can't say I fell in love with it. It was different, but it was swollen and I looked like Frankenstein. It was hard for me to relate to those here that love their new belly button and flat tummy. I'd read and hear "it only gets better!" But those words had no meaning to me. At this point, I'd say confidently that "it only gets better!". I took a look at my form in the mirror this evening and, for the fleeting moment, I found myself thinking, "whose body is that." It's the first time I realized that this is going to get better and better. And how excited I am to be on this journey.

I got two Flexee waistnippers yesterday. I am so...

I got two Flexee waistnippers yesterday. I am so excited about moving into these. I'm apprehensive that they may not give enough compression and I'm so in love with the thought of having a comfortable, feminine compression garment. I've decided that I'd take it slowly and only wear my flexee for a few hours and then back into the elastic binder (a tried and trusted method). It has felt wonderful wearing the flexee. It is very comfortable and gives the right amount of support and compression. I'm posting pictures below.

12/28: 3 1/2 weeks Post Op. A bit sad today. I...

12/28: 3 1/2 weeks Post Op. A bit sad today. I thought I was doing really good with my swelling (it is at least 100% better than it had been), but the PS thinks I can get more of the swelling on the sides of my abdomen down. So back to the towel inside the elastic abdominal binder. Think I can get the best compression with this. I'll go back in 1 week. Didn't ask about activity because with the swelling, I know what the answer is... I did ask about the swelling I'm experiencing below my incision in my pubis. It's quite a bit but doesn't seem as bad as what some seem to be having. I was told to try to get some compression, but I'm not sure how that is going to be possible. I have zero compression there whether I be in the CG, in the binder, or in the flexee. On the upside, there is no worry about getting a seroma (since there was no separating of the skin) and it will eventually go away.
I believe the most depressing thing for me is yet another week without any activity. I reaaallll wanted to get back to at least walking. I'm craving the mental release exercise gives me. Oh well....maybe next week.

Jan 3, 2012 Back to work after the holidays. I'm...

Jan 3, 2012
Back to work after the holidays. I'm really glad to have gone. As my activity is still restricted (4 1/2 weeks PO), I was terribly bored out of my mind. I'm really craving getting back to some normalcy. Work just need to get back to the gym. I really enjoyed training hard for the 2 months prior to my surgery and I want to get back to that. I still want to run a Warrior Dash race this coming June. Hopefully, the swelling will be down by then!! LOL
Back to the PS tomorrow to check on my swelling. For the past week, I've been wrapped in a hand towel covered by my flexee binder and then the elastic abdominal binder on top of that. Honestly, I don't know how much more I can do to get compression. I've faithfully remained compressed 24 hours (minus a shower) a day. I pray tomorrow I'll be told things look good.
I do have one issue I need to explore with the PS. On the left hand side of my incision just to the left of my BB, I have a fairly good size hard lump. It's a bit sore when I touch it with any pressure. I'm hoping to find out if it is fluid, infection, or healing tissue.
Really trying to hang in there, but it is frustrating at times when you are doing everything you're suppose to, but things are quite right :(

1/4/12 - 18 days PO I went back to the PS. He...

1/4/12 - 18 days PO I went back to the PS. He told me he thought my stomach looked really good and was a flat as I was going to get it. Then he told me my hip bones were still prominent so I need to put compression there. Had him look at the bump on my incision and asked about the small little areas that were irritated and oozing a bit. He said those things would take care of themselves and not to allow rubbing on the incision (not quite sure how to accomplish that!). He said 2-3 more weeks of compression :(
Then with fingers crossed...I asked about activity. He said "You can do anything you feel like....walking...light jogging. But you shouldn't twist or lift weights until 8 weeks PO" I asked.."and sexual activity?". He said "no restriction"
I was a little disappointed about the hip bones, but really happy about the other things we discussed. Then his nurse came in to see what he said (I really like her). She told me " remember, he is a perfectionist. If you want to one day go with just a Spanx and a dress...go for it. Don't drive yourself crazy. The fluid on your hips will eventually go away." Talking with her really helped.
So off I went. Straight to the fitness center to walk. Only wore my flexee. Walked for 1/2 mile and felt good. Then I did something stupid...I ran for 1/4 mile....and I alternated running and walking for 2 miles. Until my abdomen started to ache a bit. I'm not sure why I let myself do it. I think I was just so jazzed about being there, I got caught up in it. Got home and I was definitely swollen (still swollen on 1/5 pm). I am NOT happy with myself that is for sure. I will not be doing that again.

1/3/12 - 19 days PO. The extra padding over my hips is miserable. It hurts and makes it hard to breath. I'm honestly not sure I can do it. I'm going to try to get the swelling on my belly down and then I'll start on my hips ,,, take a day off.

1/6/12 - 28 days PO!! Swelling from overdoing it...

1/6/12 - 28 days PO!! Swelling from overdoing it at the fitness center is beginning to wane after resting for a day. Went back to the fitness center today. BUT this time to only walk. Wore an outfit at the gym that I wouldn't have been comfortable wearing before. Capri compression running pants and a spanx Tank with built in bra - both black. I rocked it! I have never felt so good about how my body looked. It was amazing. I even got some looks ;) I couldn't believe what I was seeing in the mirror. Today felt good. And from what I continue to look better over several months. Very happy I had this surgery!

1/12/12 - tomorrow is exactly 6 weeks PO. Last...

1/12/12 - tomorrow is exactly 6 weeks PO. Last evening I went to walk at the gym. After 1/2 mile I was hurting and not feeling well, so I stopped. This morning I woke up and the bump on my incision that I had my doctor look at last week, was now the size of an eggs and quite painful. Touching it made a painful pulling sensation toward my belly button. And the lump had a dusky look to it. Since I'm traveling next week for work, I called the PS and he got my in right away (he has a wonderful nurse!). He took a look and said it appeared to be filled with fluid. He was going to put a piece of adaptic in and have me pull it out in 24 hours. Prepped my skin. A few little bee stings of lidocaine. then a cut, stab, sharp intense pain, pressure and relief. The doctor said it was an abscess and indeed the size of an egg :( He flushed it out and sutured a penrose drain in. On antibiotics.
My incision still has small areas that have not healed. My PS was not happy about it. He told me to get rid of all the gear I was using the get compression and get a tight Spanx - plus lots of neosporin and not stick dressings. I was happy to get into the Spanx, but a little uncomfortable with less compression than I have had.
Well, let's hope the next 6 weeks are much more uneventful :)

1/13/2012 - 6 weeks PO. The singlet flexee I...

1/13/2012 - 6 weeks PO. The singlet flexee I bought is pretty comfortable, but I still feel uncomfortable wearing it as the only compression (kinda a sick feeling with hypersensitive skin). I was up about 3 am not feeling well. Went to work around 7:30. By 8 am, I was in the ladies room getting sick (first time vomiting. No real pain felt). Went home at 10 am.
When I got home, I removed the dressing over the drain. I was horrified how much drainage there was (as well as what it looked like...ugh). There is a small penrose drain and it is working for sure. However, I pushed down over the abscess and 15 ccs of drainage (basically red pus) can pouring out. I pushed as much out as I could and redressed the drain.
The small open sites along the incision actually look like they may be healing. Another plus for the singlet!
Went to bed for 2 1/2 hours feeling very sick. Was able to eat and feel a bit better in the late afternoon. I have to get better! Going on a business trip in two days for a week. Hopefully, the Cipro is covering whatever is growing (will find out on Monday).

1/20/2012 - 7 weeks PO. For the past week, I have...

1/20/2012 - 7 weeks PO. For the past week, I have been in Reno, Nevada for a conference. My activity was pretty much sedentary as I was in meetings all day and pretty much in my room at night.
Am still on Cipro for my abscess. Got a call from the nurse that makes me think my antibiotic might need to be changed based on the culture. The unhealed sites along my incision are now scabbed as I opted to stop putting PSO on them and let them dry to heal. The drain is draining a small amount of yellowish drainage. No pain or sensitivity.
Went to the Dr. He removed the stitches and pulled the drain and probed the abscess showing me the big the abscess was. He put PSO inside the wound and put a gauze pad over top.
I'm suppose to keep the wound entrance from closing before the inside heals. The Dr. gave me a 12 cc syringe to flush the wound out when I take a shower. Flush first with warm salt water and then plain water. Put PSO inside the wound and place a gauze pad on top. It will likely take 3 weeks to fully heal. He also told me that he might change my antibiotic because the Cipro wasn't fully covering the culture. Instead he gave me another week of a little higher dose of Cipro.
My abdomen is a little swollen, but I'm trying to get used to less compression and lengthened times of not wearing a garment.
Overall I feel very good.
I expect to begin running next week. Taking it slow and introducing weights. I want to take it slow, but I'm planning on really training. I'm so looking forward to the mental cleanse :)
Back to the Doctor next Wednesday. Oh yeah.. weight is down 7 lbs since preOp. Nice steady weight loss.

1/27/12 8 weeks post Op:Still gently flushing my...

1/27/12 8 weeks post Op:Still gently flushing my wound, but it is becoming apparent that it is and will heal/close soon. I'm going to try to gently keep it open until I'm sure, but it really looks good.
Have really started back exercising. Have not found any limitations related directly to the surgery, but I am definitely very out of shape :( Struggling to find happiness again in's coming slowly, but I'll get there and this time I'll have a kickin' body :D.
Really looking forward to going to Florida in a few weeks. Going to get the first bathing suit that I actually enjoy buying!

3 years later...

So hard to believe it has been 3 years. Looking back I can still honestly say I'm glad I had my tummy tuck. It has boosted my self-esteem and allowed me to fit into beautiful clothes in sizes I never thought I would be able to wear. I still get lots of compliments on 'how skinny' I am (no lie, it still feels good :) ) But to be clear, there have been downsides, as well... I didn't take a long enough time to consider what I was doing. This is a MAJOR surgery and you do feel miserable at times. I had a bit of a rough time with an infection on my suture line and I had to remain bound tightly in several layers for ~5 months. My healing was a slow process and, at times, was hard to deal with psychologically. I also should have spoken with more plastic surgeons. When undertaking such a procedure, you should be absolutely confident in your plastic surgeon. There are two things in particular which I wonder...would it have been different if I had gone to another doctor. I'm a bit quite asymetric on my hips at the end of my incision. There is quite a bulge on the right side. It bothers me so much that I will use my underwear to compress it so it won't show when I wear my clothes. I did ask the Dr about this when I went for a follow up. I was told that to get rid of that I'd have to have a full body lift. Not so sure I agree as certainly something could have been done to make both ends of the incision match. Another thing, which I did not ask about and should have, after my surgery, the top 1/4 outside of my right thigh was bruised and completely numb. The bruise went away, but not the numbness. What happened there?? Perhaps the worst sequelae I have is hypersensitivity across my scar. Any pressure on the scar where it crosses my hips many times is unbearable. Can't stand to have my husband's arm draped across my hip in bed. The tummy tuck by no means made me beautiful or perfect (I still have a bunch of stretch marks from pregnancies and my scar is a big ugly scar), BUT because of the self-confidence brought on by feeling good about myself and being able to wear stylish, flattering clothes, I would do definitely it again.
Oh... if your curious, I have kept my weight off over the past 3 years. I'm actually down about 10 lbs. I attribute that to feeling better about myself and wanting to continue to feel good about myself.
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon

I really like Dr. Ireland. I'd highly suggest having appointments at the Red Bank office. Dr. Ireland's nurse is there and she is wonderful. She took time to answer questions, made me feel good as a patient, and followed up immediately with me. Things I had yet to experience at the West Chester office in three visits. I have a nursing background and I'm not certain that there are nurses working at that location.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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