I have recently had a Mommy Makeover (Breast lift/aug and Tummy Tuck with Hernia repair). I read a very good post about ten things to know about surgery/recovery and thought it may be good to share my most important things.
1.) Choosing a doctor:
This was a mission for me. I know everyone says that you should look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. I did look at a lot of them and ended up going with someone who wasn't certified. Why did I make that choice? Because I had a bad hernia that needed to be fixed. He was the only one in all my consultations (about 15 in total BCPS) to tell me what I already knew about my hernia and why it needed to be prepared. The other doctors I'd seen were oblivious and also had no idea how to work with my insurance company so that I'd get reimbursed for the hernia repair. In further investigation of him, I found that as a general surgeon, the majority of his prior surgeries were abdominal surgeries and also that many insurance companies won't pay a doctor that has Plastic Surgeon attached to his title and will insist that the hernia repair come from a general surgeon. He also did an excellent job on my friend's Mommy Makeover three years prior. It was just an added bonus that his cost was about $3000 cheaper than all of my other quotes. So my advice to you is to talk to many, look at their results, talk to references (they can be the people you see waiting for their follow up appointments if you don't know any personally), and look into their medical history to see if they have a clean record. In the end, be patient (because you can't turn back after it's done) and go with your gut.
Get a lot of exercise, eat healthy (PROTIEN!), drink lots of water and take multivitamins. DO NOT SMOKE!!! Doing so will really interfear with your healing. It could also cause complications. If you have smokers cough, you will really suffer. After a tummy tuck and muscle repair the LAST thing you want to do is cough or sneeze. OUCH! The better in shape you are, the easier your recovery will be. I am a witness. I am one month post op and attribute my continuing recovery to that. Also, because I was read in a lot of places that Vitamin E is not good to take before surgery as it can thin your blood, I discontinued my multivitamin two weeks before and two weeks after just to be on the safe side. Have your recliner or where your going to be sleeping ready to go before you get home. If you are like most, you'll be coming home the same day as surgery. Preparing that was the best thing I did because the first day was a bad word. Shave your private parts. It is not fun to let someone else do it while prepping you for surgery. Buy some old lady house dresses that open from the front. They are inexpensive, comfortable, easy to put on/take off, and are easy to clean (you never know what stains (blood/secretions could come out and get on your clothes). Do your best to get your meds before surgery. My doctor's office wouldn't give it to me before surgery. I had to wait for my husband to bring me home and then he had to wait two hours for the medicine. It would have seemed like the longest time in my life, but I still had pain pills from my c-section and used it to hold me over until I could take them. It is good to also have Neosporin on hand to use on your insicion/drain openings to help them heal. You don't need to use a lot. No matter how scared you are, stay positive and understand that the operation is only the first step in your Mommy Makeover. I purposely didn't post any before or after photos because I believe that it will take a year before I really see the results I want to see. It takes a while for the swelling to completely subside and even longer for the scars to completely heal, flatten and lighten. When I hit one year, I'll post my pics. Until then, I plan to update my recommendations as they arise throughout the year.
For me, the first few days where the most difficult. Don't expect your beginning results post op to look like the end results. If you get your breasts done, they are going to look BIG due to swelling, so be prepared. It really hurts to try and use your stomach muscles. If someone is helping you get up, don't pull on their arms to assist you. Have the person get behind you and push your back until you're in an upright position. Then you can use your legs to stand up. If you are laying down and need to get up on your own. Bend the leg that you're going to put on the floor first towards your chest. Put your hand that is on the same side under your leg then use your leg muscles to lift you up instead of your stomach muscles.
Be prepared for your stomach feeling tight and it being difficult/impossible to stand up straight. When explaining how it feels, I say it feels like someone ironed my skin to my stomach. At one month, I feel like my skin has adjusted for the most part, but I have this feeling still in my upper abdomen. It eases daily.
Eat healthy and avoid salt. I have read that you should also stay away from refined sugars, but I suffered from low blood sugar for a couple of days so I had to eat some. I did replace with real fruits as soon as I could. DRINK WATER ALL THE TIME. Just keep a water bottle near you. After my TT, I wasn't hungry and didn't eat/hardly drank for two days. One the third day, I felt like my lights were going to go out, I called the doctor and he told me that it sounded like I was dehydrated and possibly hypoglycemic. I started drinking lots of water, Gatoraid, got some sugar in my system and started to feel much better. The water also helps A LOT with the swelling.
The swelling that you have in your stomach will last a while so it is very important to stay away from sodium. Also, you want to have some cocobutter on hand. I had no stretchmarks, but noticed some creeping up below my navel where I had the most inflammation. I also noticed that my skin was dry. The skin needs to be moist to adjust to it's new position. Plus, you don't want to end up seeing stretchmarks when your skin deflates. Where your compression garment. Don't spend a million dollars, Walmart sells one for $15 that will go toe to toe with any of them Get the one that opens at the breasts and goes to the knees.
Keep your scars clean and dry. Don't lift anything too heavy or strain yourself. You don't want your scar to move too much and create more scar tissue. Remember that just because your scar has closed, doesn't mean that it's healed. You'll see what I'm saying when your scar seems to burn from the inside months later. That is why it looks worse before it gets better. Your scar at 4 months will appear a lot worse than when you'd first gotten your surgery. Prepare yourself because this can add to your depression post op. You need to keep a "This too shall pass" attitude. I have had a number of scars and have healed very well. When I had my c-section, my scar faded so much that you had to search for it to find it. I was breastfeeding and didn't want to use any creams in fear that it would effect my milk someway. So I lived by making sure to take my vitamins daily, massaged the incision regularly and didn't put any pressure on it by lifting anything too heavy too soon. This is also why it is important to sleep in a lawnchair pose. My bed is so much softer than my couch and it takes more effort to get out of. I found that after 3 weeks, when I tried to sleep in my bed, I could feel my TT incision pulling on the sides and it was uncomfortable. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't, so back to the sofa I went.
Steristrips really help. My scar had closed, but I was still very sore at the ends (about two inches in). I got some surgical tape from Walgreens, put it on the edges and the pain quickly subsided. I think the less your incision moves, the faster/better it will heal.
Massage REALLY improves the appearance and healing of scars. Your scar is on the inside as well as the outside. As soon as your scar has no soreness when you touch it, start massaging. For your breasts, it is important NOT to start massaging too soon. I was so uncomfortable, I did that and think I almost busted a stitch. Wait a couple weeks. Youtube has some great videos for this. Massage makes is more difficult for scar tissue to build up. The scar will be flatter and fade better with massage. DON'T SLACK UP ON IT!!!
Get Silicon Sheeting!!! It works wonders!! Before I start, I'd like to say that I have a history of scars healing well. Everyone is different. However, Silicon Sheeting is the first line of defense for burn victims and other deep scars by doctors. Oleeva sells a good one for your TT that is reusable (they all are really) and fits over your whole scar from hip to hip for about $100. ScarGaurd sells them also and are less expensive, but they the longest strips are only 8 inches and you'd have to buy two. You'll probably save about $30 if you go this route. ScarGaurd also sells an inexpensive silicone sirem for about $30 dollars. After surgery I noticed that certain areas of my scars where healed/closed faster than others. I started applying this to those areas and I am seeing results. The other areas that are still healing/closing like where I had my drains and you can't cover that up with the long strip until that heals. You probably won't believe this, but I part of my scars on my breasts have lightened up considerably. I am really starting to see results on my TT scar as well. I can only what imagine what it will look like after a year.
If you are having muscle repair, listen up. You are going to feel that for a long time. They have tightened your muscles and your muscles have to adjust to having stitches in them. They have to heal also. SNEEZING IS A B!$(H! When you have to sneeze or cough, place your hands, with your fingers pointing downwards on your stomach/pressing just above the navel and push in a little. This will help reduce your pain. Everymorning expect to feel tight like you worked out the day before and are really stiff. After two weeks, I started walking (at a snails pace), doing my pilates breathing and that has really helped. Massaging my stomach has also helped a lot. I do a little light massage on my stomach and smooth out the hard parts in the middle. That is why you should eliminate crunches from your work out routine. Crunches will make your stomach ball up in the middle and your stomach will not look flat. Yoga/Pilates help you strengthen your core and tones the muscles by lengthening them. It is really good to find a real Yogi instructor. After my twins, when I was 130 lbs overweight, I walked everyday and went to a really good Pilates instructor (much better then the Pilates class at the gym). My stomach was in my lap and in six months it was all the way up again. Pilates works wonders. I'm a witness.
Also purchase some numbing cream. You can also get this at the pharmacy. As the swelling goes down, your skin may be sensitive in some areas. This will ease the pain from bruising also. I find that the skin all over my abdomen and my chest (especially where my anchor lift scars are underneath) are still very sensitive and sore.
Lastly, just remember RECOVERY IS A LONG PROCESS. You will be taking off of work for about two weeks but it will take longer to get back to your old self. I am a month out and I still can't handle a lot of cleaning. I can't lift anything too heavy. I am very lucky that I work remotely and there is nothing that requires any physical activity other than typing on a computer and talking on the phone.
I hope my post has helped someone and I'll update in a couple months!
Almost Four Months Post Op
Hello All, I have recently had a Mommy...
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This leads me to today's post, Raw Manuka Honey. This stuff is a dream come true. As I mention above, I have been having a problem with my "T" healing completely one month post op on both sides (a little more on the left). I just knew as long as my TT scar was taking to feel completely closed, that my breasts should have closed. I can't even measure how small the openings are/where but I knew they should have healed. I had been putting Neosporin on them in that area from day one and it seemed to help somewhat, but it just wasn't working anymore. It was like I came to a standstill. When I texted my PS, I sent him a pick and he told me to use Neosporin. But I had read about Manuka Honey and all of it's benefits. I put some on a piece of guaze w/surgical tape and put it on the areas that still were taking forever. In one night, the little pinhole I had under my right breast had closed and I could see a big difference in the left. I had one more area that was very close to healing where my drain was, and that sealed right up. I think it helps because more than Neosporin because it debrides the skin gently and takes out all the icky stuff that's slowing things down. I think I am going to be good in a couple of days. I hope somebody reads this and puts Raw Manuka Honey on their necessity lists.
Today I am very happy. All of my open holes are...
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Hello Everybody, I haven't updated my post in...
I haven't updated my post in while so I thought I'd check in. I am healing pretty well. I am a little irritated with the stitches in my breasts. They are supposed to dissolve, but it is taking a while. But, they look beautiful. My TT scar on the ends has still been a little annoying from time to time. I find I feel it pulling if I am sleeping on my side the wrong way. I saw my PS recently and he said that he didn't like the way my scar was healing in my BB and TT and said he might want to inject keritol (?) in it. My BB doesn't look bad to me; no worse than I expected (as I read it is difficult to get right often times). My stomach looks amazing, so I'm not too pressed about it. As for my TT scar, he said that it isn't kelioding but a kin to it so he wants me to use Mederma to see if that helps. I don't see my scars healing any differently than any thing I read or from any other scar I've had. I have to do some research in to Keritol and see if I would want to do that or not. I've heard that it changes your skin a little and the scar doesn't look right all the time. Plus, from everything I have read, at six months is when the TT scar looks its' worse and then starts to lighten up over the next six months.
During my visit, I saw my pictures that they took of me the morning of my surgery. I must say, what a difference. I am very happy I decided to get a lift, am happy with my breast size and my stomach looks so much better. I didn't even think the doctor did lypo on me, but they showed me the fat they sucked out from where the doctor did lypo on my sides above my hips. I had no bruising really, so I wasn't sure if he'd even done it. I am still planning to wait until a year post op before I post pictures, but I am very excited to see that day. I have been exercising and have lost about 12 lbs since my surgery and have done quite a bit to lift my butt with exercise; just now seeing the backside results (Thank you Jesus!). At almost 41, I wasn't sure if I could do it. I am so happy with my results, I don't see myself stopping short of my plan to be in great shape by May, 2013.
One Year Post Op
Well it has been a year. I am getting ready to post my pictures soon. I am still very happy with my surgery. My only problem is a boil or something I have right on my nipple. I have to go back to my doctor to see what the deal is. I am not really 100% satisfied with my bb scar because it is dark, but I'm heard that it will lighted up soon. I am seeing a little progress. My scars are starting to lighten up too.
I have to say that tt scar was the most difficult part to recover from. I am just now to the point were I can't feel it pulling on the sides. I read that a tt is the biggest plastic surgery that you can have, but I didn't understand it until I did it. I am so lucky that I work remotely and didn't have to go to work. They say you can go back to work in 2 weeks, but that is some bull as far as I am concerned. I would advise anyone to do their best to rest up for a month. It takes several months for you to fully heal. But, it was worth it to me.
I found my doctor through a friend's referral. I was very hesitant to use him, because he is not a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Also, his price seemed so much lower then the other doctor's that I'd seen, it kind of scared me. I didn't want to go to a chop shop. But in my investigation of him, I found that he's a general surgeon, but has spent the majoritiy of his career doing abdominal surgeries. I had a very bad hernia due to my pregnancy with twins. It was way past the normal diastasis that comes with pregnancy. I knew that I needed to fix it before I ended up with back problems or it became larger. I also knew that is should be covered under my insurance. Dr. Bass was the only doctor that even noticed my hernia and to tell me everything I already knew about it/why I should repair it. He even knew how to work with my insurance company so I would get reimbursed for that part of my surgery. Many plastic surgeons don't work with insurance companies at all, are unfamiliar with the process and flat out don't want to help in fear that the insurance company will renig and won't pay (as they have the right to change their minds at anytime; even after the procedure has been performed). His office didn't come with a lot of the frills I'd seen at the other offices, but I am very happy with my results and saved about $3-4000 compared to the other doctors in my area.