49; One Daughter 7 Yrs Old - Late Mom - Did NOT Bounce Back from Pregnancy! - Miami, FL

Booked and committed (which means I paid already...

Booked and committed (which means I paid already LOL) I dont mind being a bigger body but I do however mind what looks to me like I never had the baby! My stomach juts out - pulling it in is a feat of strength! I lost a bit gained it back lost it maintained it but the bulging belly never went away. So I am REALLY looking forward to the muscle repair. I have a belly button tattoo and belly button piercing - and could give a flying jump at a donut what happens to that hot mess anyway. :)
I have had other surgeries before of the vanity variety so I am really anticipating that elation that comes with a much desired change.
SO; please forgive the million and one questions to you all in the TT category that have experienced the surgery. You are our guides in the 'what to expect' department!

I am flying in from Canada to Miami - surgery with Dr Ortega at the CG Cosmetic location.

WHAT DO I NEED? Advice? List of stuff to bring or get while I am there....

Can anyone advise me on items that were necessary post op? I am flying in and have like a day or two before surgery and staying in a hotel - lots of running around! Someone said shower chair, and elevated toilet seat - those were not even on my mind and BRILLIANT in their suggestion! I will buy a bed wedge in order to be in the recline while healing....
I will bring my visalus (protein and nourishment) and probably my juicer.
Mederma? Is that over the counter?

Post Op Instructions for Abdominoplasty TUMMY TUCK

I keep emailing the clinic - they sent me post op instructions for breast augmentation - and STILL waiting for a reply - I can google but each clinic is different in the details - anyone have one from Dr Ortega?

big ol belly

big ol belly

39 days till surgery - starting to rethink my doctor?

I am starting to wonder if I made the right choice?

28 days till I land in Miami -

Eating super clean, vitamins, green juicing. I already feel that in my overall health and well being. Just hope Ortega is the right choice - just cant get any info on him - not much on the internet so few reviews.

Silicone sheets - what a find!

This website has every surgery covered! Including the tummy tuck - but it also has the lollipop scar shape silicone too - https://biodermis.com/scar-products/epi-derm/

2 weeks left till I board a plan to Miami for TT...

My friend is coming with - she is getting a BBL by Ortega, Im getting a TT - and lipo. Not much to update but I am reading everyone else's updates on both surgeries. Wish I could get the BBL too!

Tomorrow morning at 630 am My TT is scheduled. . .

What a day my girlfriend was in this morning she was 6 am for her BBL and I had to get my bloodwork done plus have my consult plus sign all my papers drive her home and medicate her hydrate her loooooong day my friends. Now it is my turn. I have anxiety and restless, cant go to bed yet as I am flushing every 20 minutes or so (MILK OF MAGNESIA) so I am all empty and clean for tomorrow. TMI?
One note take your freaking pain meds the SECOND you get out of surgery my girl was shaking from the pain and they MADE her sit in a fkn wheelchair - um wait a minute she just had a BBL she CANT sit!!! They have got to get a better way that was unacceptable. Got her to the car and up to our room but wow she was whimpering and she is a tuff one so... for her to whimper? Ya that was brutal.
I am hoping and reaching out to the universe to see me thru and hold me safely. I am missing my little Boo back home I wish I could hug her before I go in - namaste.

the FIRST 24 hours is intense and painful!!

wow. just fkn WOW. All I could think was THIS HURTS ALOT!! and wondering how the hell am I gonna recover in this kind of pain?? my drain incision bleeds alot I put a maxi pad on it! I got a recliner with lift to sleep and sit in - really glad I did. photos to come. need my rest.

after pics so far

binder off

sooooooooooooo swollen, feel so horridly bloated. So uncomfortable.

think loooong and hharddd about doing this surgery.

I actually think that the methodology differs greatly from clinic to clinic and country to country. Waking up in recovery my stomach was IN PAIN and it was not bearable. I have never woke up in recovery hurting that bad ever. Perhaps they do not use local freezing along with the general anesthesia - or they do not use much. Getting ahead of that pain and staying ahead of it I burned thru the meds prescribed within 3 days. I went back in for a look over and to ask for more pain meds and was denied. That is a first for me EVER. I managed to get them to renew the muscle relaxer so could unclench to sleep (pain makes your body SO TENSE!)
My incision does not hurt AT ALL, it is the muscle repair that is so painful. I| had to cough and Oh my god I screamed out!!! I felt as though I was being stabbed with a serrated knife! I was so alarmed by that pain and how incredibly high on the chart it was! I resolved not to cough AT ALL. Not easy. It is the 6th day after surgery and coughing has barely come down even a notch when I cough.
My belly looks like a big ball. Still sticking out seems as much as it did BEFORE surgery. I am hoping it is the swelling.
I had lipo of the flanks or better called muffin tops and that is fine in the pain dept, its like a bruise and easily ignored. Tender but not ANYTHING like the muscle repair pain. THAT is a category all its own.
My butterfly tattoo is now below the new bellybutton. Find that kinda funny!
I had an appendix scar and I cant find it. Maybe they took it.
The first 48 hours my pikachoo was swollen and even my pubic hair hurt.

different angles

ah fuk.

seroma one and another on its way. I did EXACTLY as told/prescribed. Immaculate conditions, spent the extra money to stay her for 17 days as not to push my luck leaving too early. Had a shower, and I get the mirror to look at my incision due to swelling I cant see it without the aid of a mirror and there it is - a hole. wet, and the size of a fkn quarter right along the TT incision line. I kept my binder on all the time as advised yadayada and here we are. I never wanted to be a fricken barbie doll or have expectations of unrealistic outcomes but I did hope to heal well, I dont smoke, was never around anyone that smoked, I slept in a medical lift chair that I rented, etc etc. I am so heartbroken, disappointed and thoroughly bummed out.

:( necrosis

I swear this is my old belly button.

pic 2 of necrosis

ok, now what?

are the stitches in my belly button dissolvable or do I need to take them out? Its April 29th and I had the surgery April 5th - I see no outward stitching on my incision I assume if they are inside they will dissolve? And yup I still have drains! One is about 15 cc a day and the other is still at about 24cc a day and orangey pink not yellow yet. Is it NORMAL to have drains this long? Should I try to take the belly button stitch out? Sigh.

26 days post TT -

ok, about 3 or 4 days ago - I had decided to take my own drains out after I had read about another lady here on 'realself' do it herself. I too 'youtubed' for info and 'googled' and read many articles and forums from nurses etc. I felt fairly confident - and set to do it as soon as I got the go ahead from Ortega. When he wrote me and told me the drains could finally come out - I made my plan. I took a percocet to calm my nerves and sterilized everything and began with the stitch that holds the drains to the opening. It was a series of knots one on top of another over and over - no way to cut it - I had to untie it! I got a brand new safety pin soaked in 99% alcohol and started undoing the knots (kinda like when you have to untangle jewelry). One by one, then pulled it all free. Whew! |So far so good. Into the shower I went. Washed from top to bottom twice with antibacterial melaleuca soap, then... tried to pull one of the drains - it wouldn't budge!!! I pulled firmer it gave me a couple 3 or 4 inches and then pulled itself right back into my body. OMG - waves of nausea - this was really oogy. Deep breaths - lets try the other drain - firm grip; gentle but firm pulling and that son of a bitch came right out! THAT was oogy too. Lotsa deep breathing and trying to keep myself calm. I could never be a nurse - nope.
I rinsed and washed out that drain, and had me a really good look over. I also gave it all kinds of tension testing - I had read here on 'realself' someone had a drain break off inside them *JEEBUS CRIPES* I did NOT want that to happen - so it was good to give that drain a real 'going over' to see what the hell I was working with - trying to get that 2nd resistant drain out! I tried again - pulling it firmly and steady and it was like it was pulling back!
My bravery ran thin, I had to abort the mission. I wrapped up taped up the whole works and told myself we would try again another time. :(
I am still on 'wound management' for the necrosis which is basically washing and dressing it twice a day. Its ugly. But there is no infection. I will have a doozy of a scar, and perhaps down the road I will consider scar revision.

Ok now its today and \i popped a percocet and half a valium - stripped down - into the shower and began again.
I might add Dr Ortega wrote me (I told him what happened) and explained he had never had that happen on any of his TT's. Perhaps I missed part of the closing stitch? Well I knew it wasn't that - but I looked again - nope I had cleared the opening from any stitches - whatever was goin' on was in further than that. But his words gave me courage - that it was rare and not in any of his TT's. SO!!! I try again. Its a tuff one, I pull and I feel weird tugging on the other side of the muscle repair furthest away from the side I am pulling from. Blech - this is so weird and making me squeamish. Then I get an idea to stand up, bend at the waist and let my tummy bag out forward with the gravity - all loose - and I think this may open it up inside enopugh to free the way for the drain to slip by all that - so I get a grip and I pull, ick I can FEEL it inside going thru stuff! UGH!!! but I dont let up I keep my firm grip and pull harder than before and then increase my pull, and it was not an easy release but IT DID come out! WHAT A FREAKING RELIEF!!!!!! Oh man I coulda cried! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Photos tomorrow.

latest shot of my wound.

the hard black stuff seemingly dissolved now I have this wet thing. Ugh.

tedium, waiting for the wound to progress.

Not much has changed, I continue wound 'management' and not much to report. The swelling has eased. I rarely turn to the midol for relief anymore. I have had an odd pain in my upper right hand side of my muscle repair - I resorted to wearing my spanks stuff and then the binder on tight on top of that and 2 days later the pain has eased off. It felt like a pulling pain like a snagged stitch or something but what the hell do I know - I DO know that returning to extra support fixed it.
I am using sovereign silver spray on my wound to curb any possible infections, and wet to dry dressings but I still leak and they never get dry. I changem anyway. 3X's a day.
Dr Ortega really pulled in the sides of my waist and the lipo was very thorough there. Very happy with his lipo skills - wish I got more of that! Maybe next year - I think I blew the budget on this.

swelling has eased, living in support garments 24/7

front and side fotos.

wow, the longest lasting boo-boo I have ever had.

I can FEEL the stitches now that the dead stuff has receded. Inside the hole I can see and feel several lengths of 'inside' stitch, which makes me reel with renewed oogy factor.
Continued bandage changing and I sent off a letter to Dr. O to ask his advice at this point.

Doctor Ortega advised an enzymatic cream BUT it isnt sold in CANADA!

So, nothing new to report other than continued tedium bandage changing and the wound looks exactly the fricken same. I took the liberty of snipping one of the stitches... nothing much came of it - my guts didnt fall out so I assume all is well. I am back at work - and that is just fine too - I am wearing spanks and flexees and so on. Tick tock - sure wish I could post a pretty "after' picture but in my case that aint gonna be for some time. :P

2 months later . . .

Still on wound management - hole has shrunk a teeny weeny bit - its ugly.

belly button issues wtf now!?

STILL healing - wound has shrunk about 30 to 40 percent from last pic. Now my belly button is inflamed. It was the first to heal and look great now its red and peeling and weepy.
Miami Plastic Surgeon

assembly line surgery. would never go here again.

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