I've finally booked a tummy tuck! It's something...
I've finally booked a tummy tuck! It's something I've been wanting to do for years but have never had the courage to pull the trigger and sign on the dotted line, but it's happening in 10 weeks time and I have an equal mixture of fear and excitement!
I'm a 6ft 4in British guy who used to weigh over 350lbs and over the course of one to two years I’ve managed to lose roughly 140lbs via diet and exercise, now the lifestyle I lead keeps my weight steady, and I’m growing by 1lb or so per month in muscle mass as opposed to fat.
I lost the fat over the course of two to three years, I started off my fat loss by cycling which worked brilliantly in terms of getting the numbers on the scales to go down, however it wasn't really leaving me with the body shape or type I wanted, only the gym would do that. I've been going to the gym for the past 18 months and have finally started to develop a physique which I am proud of when it's hidden under clothes, however I've never been happy with my tummy due to the loose skin.
The reason I have a mixture of fear and excitement about the tummy tuck procedure is because you can't be sure of the results you're going to get - I've seen some post-surgery pics via this site where I wouldn't be happy with the final result if it was me and others where the results seem nothing short of phenomenal! I think a lot of that is down to how much excess fat the patient is carrying before the surgery, and as such I’m using my final 10 weeks prior to surgery to try and drop as much remaining fat as I possibly can, I’m hoping to be 5-8lbs lighter than I currently am now before I go under the knife.
I'm lucky in the sense that I didn't ever deposit my fat in my chest too much so even after a 140lb weight loss my chest doesn't need any work, my thighs are fine also in the areas which you would see whilst wearing swimming trunks or boxer briefs, just the very upper thigh is a little loose, as is my mons pubis but this should be addressed in the surgery.
The one thing I hope to gain is the confidence to take my shirt off at the beach or pool, something which I’ve been against doing for the past 15 years of my life.
5 Weeks out!
So we're now 5 weeks out, I've been hitting the gym hard and regularly, my weight is staying fairly consistent but I am leaning out it feels like. I've attached a few pics which are up to date and when I'm weighing roughly 218lbs, 15st 8 or 99kg - whichever works best for you!
I'm going to start concentrating on dropping fat rather than just getting stronger from 4 weeks out, I anticpate I'll be able to lose 10lbs in this time due to my experience in losing fat when I want to!
4 Weeks today!
4 weeks today until I hopefully have a body which I'm proud of! I've booked my pre surgery tests with Mr Percivals nurse, these will be taking place on 3rd October and I want to get another consultation with Mr Percival prior to the surgery to ask whether he thinks I would benefit from having flank liposuction whilst undergoing the tummy tuck - I want to be as close to perfect as I can be!
18 Oct 2016
Day of treatment
So I know I've been quiet and off the radar since the 4 weeks out stage, but I've been quite busy moving in to a new apartment and hitting the gym regularly and hard. The plan as mentioned earlier was to lose as much weight as possible, but this didn't happen but I did stay nice and lean - my surgeon said I was plenty slim enough and was carrying very little subcutaneous fat so the results should be good.
The surgery went well from what I've been told, I've been in a binder since so haven't seen any results. I have a 16 inch incision across my hips, and approximately 6 inches of skin was removed from top to bottom, a fair amount! Despite the size of skin removed apparently it only weighed roughly 500g as there was very little fat.
I've been out of bed once to use the toilet and it was rather uncomfortable, I've not really slept too well either, I'm about 13 hours post op now and it's 5am, I'm guessing I've managed 3 hours of very light sleep since. I last had paracetamol and ibuprofen around 6 hours ago so the pain is creeping in, I'm hoping for something more potent shortly so that the next toilet trip isn't agony.
I'll try and keep you all updated.
Day two post op
So we're now about 36 hours post op, I've been in a tight binder since surgery, and underneath that I have a full silicone dressing which won't be removed until the 24th which is when I will first be able to see my results - I cannot wait!
I'm passing fluid regularly, but I've not managed to pass any stools in the past 48 hours despite all the food and water I've been drinking, I requested some form of laxatives from the nursing staff as the last thing I want to do is to have to really push and strain my abdomen - I've had two doses of lactulose now and no sign of movement!
Pain wise things are very manageable, I'm surprised at how little pain there is, tight compression garment and the cocktail of drugs could be why.
Fluid wise I'm really not draining much at all, less than 60ml between the two drains placed in me in these 36 hours post op, apparently a great sign for speedy and efficient healing! It means that the drains should be coming out this morning before I'm discharged from the hospital, this will probably be the most painful part of the procedure so far.
In terms of mobility things are surprisingly good also, I'm able to get out of bed, walk around, use the toilet and sit in normal chairs with very little issue and discomfort - I'm surprised at how easy this has all been so far.
I'll snap some pics for you guys shortly while I still have the drains in and a picture of the big elasticated binder which I'm rocking. I'm surprised at seeing other patients pictures who manage to show their incisions so soon after surgery, as mentioned earlier I won't see mine until the 24th, 6 days post surgery, when all the dressings are changed by the nurses back home.
A few photos
Here's a few pics, showing the binder, the big silicone dress which is is under it, and also the very last photo of me with a loose tummy!
3 days post op!
Right, some I'm 3 days post op now and everything has been fine!
My drains were removed only 40 hours after surgery, I had very little fluid collected in that time, roughly only 50 mls between the two drains. My surgeon and nurse both said that women tend to have more fluid build up then men, and also the fact I had very low body fat that the skin will take to the muscle corset sooner with less fluid build up.
I'm feeling far better than I thought I would at this stage, the pain is very manageable, probably only about a 2 on the pain scale while resting, and only getting up to about a 3 when making more adventurous movements or walking, standing is at about a 2.5.
I am swollen and feeling tight, but this isn't too uncomfortable. I think I had prepared myself for the worst, so that anythin less than that has been a blessing.
I cannot wait to see the results! Under my binder I have a fully opaque foam style dressing which is sticky backed, and it covers the whole of my abdomen, I've uploaded a few pics of what I can see under the binder. My dressing will be changed for the first time on Monday 24th, this will be the first time I get to see my skin under the dressing so I'll be able to gauge how taut I will be, and also see how tidy my incision is - I cannot wait!
Dressing chaged, I've seen the results!
So today I had my dressing changed, completely painless having it done due to the numbness I still have in the skin.
I've been prescribed another week of anti-biotics as my tummy button is a little pink with infection and seeping a little, nothing major or worth worrying about at this point. The incision at the bottom looks extremely tidy and smooth, very happy with how that looked!
I am very swollen and tight at the moment so I look more bulgy than I actually am, but the fantastic news is that the skin is taut! I cannot wait for this swelling to go down so that I can have a good idea as to exactly what I'll end up with, tomorrow morning when I'm at my least swollen I'll be taking a few snaps and uploading here - looking forward to that.
I do seem to have a little bit of fluid build up in my lower right hand side of the abdomen, I was reassure again that this is perfectly normal at this stage.
Due to the slightly infected tummy button I have been scheduled for a dressing change and check up on Wednesday, 26th October - I'll update again at this point too!
Tummy button no longer infected, but still quite pink!
So today I went and had the dressing changed on my tummy button and managed to get a quick picture when it was undressed which is attached to this post. It’s not particularly pleasant to look at however it’s no longer puss filled and is much healthier looking in terms of colouring.
When I had the first dressing changed they put an Inadine dressing inside the tummy button and it was then dressed, this Inadine drew out all the infection, the dressing was not blood stained, that picture was taken yesterday morning and the tummy button picture was taken today.
I'm very swollen, my tummy is actually bigger than it was pre-surgery at the moment, but it's taut and will be much more aesthetically pleasing when the swelling goes down. I’m pleased with the results so far, the incision stitching is very tidy so I’m hoping for minimal scarring, I have no bulging areas or dog ears and I really do think I’ll have a very good result – I just need to play the waiting game.
Yesterday was my first day of being pain medication free, no real pain so to speak of either yesterday or today. Hopefully coming off pain meds will allow my bowels to start performing normally without the need for lactulose and also help with the healing process.
I’m next due a dressing change on Monday, again I’ll take pictures of my tummy so you can see how I’m progressing and should be able to gauge how things will go for you should you have any issues when you have your tummy tucks done!
3 Weeks post op today!
Sorry everybody for the lack of updates, not ideal for you guys if you're relying on my experience to gauge whether or not surgery is the right choice for you!
On Friday 28th October I noticed I was filling up with fluid, I assumed it was a seroma so contacted my doctor who was kind enough to open up his practice for me on Saturday morning to take a look. On the 29th October he drained 36ml of very dark fluid from my abdomen and informed me it was a hematoma formation and confirmed I was right to contact him to be aspirated before it solidified. He also had a look at my tummy button as it had been consistently seeping and leaking, the infection hadn't fully cleared despite the Flucloxicillian I was given and the Fucidin topical antibiotic I was given on Monday 24th. I was presribed a week of Metroizanole and swab was taken to ascertain exactly what the infection was.
I saw the doctor again on Sunday 30th October, again my doctor opened up the surgery especially for me, this time 100ml of bloody dark fluid was aspirated.
On the 31st October I saw him again, this time 160ml was aspirated from me. Fortunately I didn't really fill up again, but I was due in for a dressing change on the 2nd November anyway.
On the 2nd November the nurse changed my dressing, the doctor came in and tried to aspirate me, he only managed to drain 8ml and that was the last time draining was attempted, the swab results also came back and I have now been prescribed a 5 day course of Ciprofloxacin, I have 3 tablets left on this course of treatment, 1.5 days worth.
Since my last update there hasn't been much to talk about in terms of pain, I've been off any pain medication since then and the pain has been less and less since. I'm essentially pain free now, with the exception of coughing and sneezing which I try and avoid at all costs. There is a strange tugging session whilst walking and moving around at times but this is all down to skin tautness as well as nerve endings repairing and getting feeling back in certain areas of the stomach.
I am still numb on the skins surface in some places, but this is to be expected and should come back in time.
It's a slow process, but for the past week I've been able to lead a relatively normal life, I came back to work yesterday and have had no problems.
The next step in the recovery process for me is to get back in to the gym which I will attempt this evening for a cardio session on an exercise bike and a light weightlifting session.
Still swollen but flattened out
I can't find the video I took, sorry! But rest assured you'll be able to tell if a seroma or haematoma is forming. In the picture taken on Sunday evening you can see I'm still swollen but flattened out a fair bit compared to previous pics.
4 Week Post-Op Update
So here we are, 4 weeks post op! The last week has been great for me, pain is essentially non-existent - it just feels like I have a good abdominal workout with slightly sore and tender abdominal muscles now, sneezing no longer brings searing pain and is just a case of mild discomfort for an instant.
I managed to get back in to the gym at exactly 3 weeks post-op. I went for a zero impact set of exercises and no exercises which would involve over exertion of the abdominal muscles or intense core bracing – I’m a big fan of deadlifting, squatting and bench pressing but none of these have been attempted yet due to this. I spent 10 minutes on the exercise bike, which is my normal warm up routine before hitting the weight room, I did a lot of tricep, chest and shoulder isolation exercises and felt great doing them, and the endorphin kick from exercising was amazing – haven’t felt them in a long time! I’ve been to the gym a total of 4 times now, aiming to go every other day before ramping up to my normal 6 days a week when my body will allow. I feel I could be going 6 days a week at this point but I’m holding myself back for obvious reasons.
I’ve started using my silicone Scaraway strips to help minimise the scarring and improving the healing over the past week too, they’re comfortable and easy to use. I can’t comment on their effectiveness at this stage as it’s far too soon to tell. I bought the strips marketed as C-Section strips, I then cut them in half down their length so that one strip covers my whole incision.
Swelling is still subsiding slowly but surely, my tummy button has now sealed / healed and I’m no longer having to dress it or use any creams. I’m fully off anti-biotics too and as these are all clearing my system I’m feeling better and better and more like myself. I’ll arrange to post some pics soon of how everything is looking, I’m very pleased with the results at this stage and things are only getting better too.
At this stage of the healing process it feels like there’s nothing I couldn’t do, but I am choosing to restrict myself for obvious reasons.
5 weeks post op update
So, there's not much to report on that's different from my 4 week out report - I was able to live a normal life by most people’s standards last week, and I'm still able to now!
I'm still using the silicone strips on my scar, no idea if they're helping or not, but I'm pleased with how neat and tidy everything is looking at the moment.
Things in the gym have slowly been ramping up - I deadlifted for the first time last Thursday, took it easy and only went up to 100kg/220lbs which is 53% of what I was able to lift prior to surgery.
I still swell up when I haven't been wearing my compression garment, so I still wear that for at least 14 hours a day, the only time I don't wear it now is at work which is just an office job sat at a desk - I wake up in the mornings as flat as pancake which is great!
I've been doing a lot more poking and prodding around my stomach now that my incision is healed and the pain has all but gone away, lymphatic massage is its correct name but I'm sure my technique isn't good enough to name it that, although that is my aim!
I'm still not engaging my abdominal muscles 100% for anything yet as this still proves uncomfortable, as does over extending / arching backwards. This is getting better slowly but surely and overall I'm very pleased with how functional and low my pain levels are at only 5 weeks out.
I've added a few more pre and post op pics.