Had my bilateral thigh lift today with Dr. Neil...
9 Nov 2016
Day of treatment
Had my bilateral thigh lift today with Dr. Neil Tanna. I'm sure I will be in a lot more discomfort once the "good meds" wear off. After reading some other reviewer tips, I had access to and I am using a walker to help when getting up or sitting down, and an adjustable height commode since I am so tall. My surgeon agreed this would definitely make life for the first week or so much easier.
This is my second surgery with Dr. Tanna, and I cannot say enough good things about him. My surgery took 5 hours today instead of the approximated 3 1/2 to 4 hours, not because of any complications, but because he went out of his way to address my specific goals and desired look for the outcome of this surgery (targeted areas etc). Dr. Tanna is not only a cosmetic surgeon but a reconstructive surgeon as well.
I'm not thrilled to be dealing with wearing drains again but that comes with any of these surgeries, so it's not that big a deal. I have 2 JP in each thigh, plus two additional "drains" that are battery operated ensuring that a negative pressure is kept inside my legs. By inserting these ( which I don't remember being in the original plan pre-surgery) Dr. Tanna was able to be more aggressive with my thigh lift making it as tight as safely possible. Keeping a negative pressure inside my thigh not only enables the JP drains to work better, but it makes for a might tighter, smaller, tighter scar on my leg (more like a fine line). It helps keep the incision together so it doesn't separate. I have internal stitches keeping everything together, but the outer layer to achieve minimal scarring is held together with surgical glue. I am bandaged up until Monday so otherwise I cannot see what anything else looks like.
To prevent any labial spreading, the thigh lifting was also internally anchored to some ligaments in the groin (I'm not a medical professional but this is the rough idea). I was told this will definitely cause soreness during the healing process - but will make for a very well-done thigh lift in the long run with excellent results.
My procedure was entirely covered by my health insurance. This includes the excess skin removal and liposuction during the procedure. My only cost is the $100 surgical co-pay since this was an outpatient procedure. My insurance company did deny this claim several times, even with proper documentation from my dermatologist, however Dr. Tanna's office staff did an excellent job being persistent and resubmitting my claim.
Day 1 post op
After reading may reviews, I was fearful there would be a world of pain with this surgery. I talked to a few friends on the phone yesterday, and they were astonished that I had surgery earlier in the day.
I maintain the pain meds taking them every 5 hours (I can take between 4-6hrs) and unless I accidentally snag a drain, I'm really not anywhere more than discomfort. The meds make me sleepy, and a tiny bit dizzy, so I don't walk around far. But I do get up and move around.
I originally wanted 2 surgeries done at once (arms or thighs & tummy tuck), but my surgeon was operating alone and talked me out of it because he was not comfortable having me under anesthesia that long. He was also adamant that my recovery would be easier and faster doing one procedure at a time. Boy was he right. I couldn't imagine trying to maneuver around, knowing my mobility limitations post tummy tuck - and adding that to my legs now. Doing 1 surgery at a time does require more down time, but for me it makes recovery much more bearable. I also think it allows for better recovery, as the body can focus on healing one location at a time.
I'm 6'2" so the raised commode definitely makes going to the bathroom much easier, not having to squat down so far. I've also figured out the easiest way to get in and out of bed, and what clothing (baggy shorts or pajama pants) is most friendly moving over the drains.
So far this recovery is MUCH more pleasant than I was expecting.
Other than the pain meds making me sleepy, I really can't say I've experienced any true (excruciating/ unbearable) pain. Maybe I have a high pain tolerance? Am I sore? Yes. Is there some discomfort? Yes. I'm not moving around more than down the hall to use the bathroom and back to laying down in or on my bed - but I do make sure I get up and move around. I definitely get tired quickly. I am also lucky that I am able to solely focus on my recovery. I work from home, so no rush to get back into an office environment. I also don't have a spouse or kids that I have to worry about taking care of. The only thing are my dogs, and my mom has that covered. I will try and have her take some photos later.
Day 2 pics
Tried my best to get some photos. I definitely have pudginess and swelling in my abdomen (just above my tummy tuck incision line). I'm sure it's just from being pumped with saline in surgery. My crotch is pulled and a little distorted in some of the pictures, but that's because of the Tegaderm dressing, it's hard to see but it's a very thin clear plastic film that totally seals up the packed incisions, and it is pulling my skin in some spots.
Day 3 - post op
Haven't had any pain meds since last night and I feel fine (soreness/ discomfort is about the same). Going to stay off them and see how I feel. Judging by my urine (concentrated/dark color), I think I'm dehydrated, so I'm making a point today to drink a good amount of water. Haven't had a bowel movement since surgery, so I'm going to take some MoM and see if that gets things going.
Hope this isn't TMI - just trying to share what's going on with my body, and try to give other some idea what to expect. I might try going downstairs today. I did the stairs when I came home from surgery, and haven't been down since. I do find that the commode helps using the toilet greatly, increasing the height and that it has handles. I can manage using it now with the least amount of discomfort. I'll have that brought down too if I brave the stairs.
I do feel some itchiness underneath my skin on the back of my legs, but I'm guessing that's from the lipo and is just a part of the healing process (had the same feelings with my tummy tuck)
From what I can tell, I haven't lost much feeling with my thigh lift. My tummy tuck I experienced numbness from above my belly button down to my pubic area (and am still slowly getting feeling back). So hopefully not many nerves were severed surging this surgery (maybe because the incisions are vertical and not horizontal)
At this point I can't wait till Monday - So I can see my legs and take a shower lol
Day 5 - post op. First post op apt
Did stairs today and got out of the house! Definitely needed it mentally, but it was a lot for me physically. Had to sit down once at home well getting ready, and once at the doctors office, because I was starting to get lightheaded. I did my best to take pictures during my appointment, but the doctor and two nurses worked on me so fast my head was spinning lol.
Got the upper and middle drains out of both legs. The plastic "sealed" dressings were removed also. My left leg incision started to drip blood in spots, so they worked rapidly to wrap in gauze, then bandage. My right leg is quite bruised, and my doctor is surprised I don't have more pain because of this. Up close the insion line is quite small, but it looks somewhat ragged at the moment due to accumulated dried blood and surgical glue.
The incisions up by my groin will just be left open and covered daily with gauze once I'm dressed. They were left intentionally with skin wrinkles on either side, so as the incision relaxes (can't remember the word he used) it will just undo these wrinkles, and the scar "peak" will lie flat - instead of the incision starting flat now resulting in it pulling as it heals.
Even though my legs are bruised, hard, and swollen I'm still really happy with the results so far, as with my other surgery the best results can be seen between 6mo but closer to 1yr.
The next big step is when my lower drains get pulled and I get to start with compression garments :)
Groin incision pics
Trying to take some close up pics while everything is breathing. I know a big concern for many is unsightly incisions, labial pulling, a distortion of the pubic area, or incisions across the front of the thighs. I have not experienced any of this so far. The photos I took are pretty zoomed in. The part of the incision that shows above the bandages is a few inches on one leg and maybe several on the other at most, and that's also because I am over 6' tall. I think I had mentioned earlier, my incision line up top is wrinkled and that is done on purpose, to give the skin some room to stretch out while it heals and not pull on anything. When all is said and done, everything will lie flat, and other than the medial scar on my thigh, absolutely nothing up top will be visible while wearing a bathing suit or underwear.
1 week post op
Thank you everyone for the positive comments, tips, and well wishes.
My bandages were starting to slip yesterday so they needed to be redone. My mom, a retired medical professional, was able to take her time wrapping my legs and get better pressure/ support. Did some dishes and showered yesterday. Was really wiped out when I went to bed. Woke up today feeling my best yet - finally starting to feel human again. Not as much tightness on the incisions and mobility is getting easier (though I am still making an effort to take it as easy as possible)
Second post op apt
(Knee) drains are definitely starting to get old. My surgeon says they might be able to come out next Monday if I keep my activity low Friday- Sunday and have low output. I'll get a final answer though next Monday (and will be then switching to a compression garment). The concern with taking out the drains too soon, is that there's more fluid than my body can absorb within 24 hours, and the excess will start to open up, and weep through the incisions. I can deal with drains for another week to avoid a complication like that.
I am fairly diligent about putting my legs up when I sit, so the long car ride to and from the doctor made my ankle/calves swell up pretty good. Taking it easy the rest of the day.
My surgeon is pretty pleased with how my legs look, even with the large amount of swelling and bruising that I have right now, which means he feels I will have a very good result in the long run.
We are keeping an eye on the incision on my upper groin on my right thigh (where it turns from vertical to horizontal). It is not pulling apart nor is it infected, but it is just damp from that area in general. So we will just keep placing sterile pads on it for a while. Otherwise recovery is going as planned.
2 1/2 weeks post op
Checking in with some pics. No pain, just some residual ankle swelling from being on my feet the last few days. Incision (where it "turn") in my groin is separating - I think because of how I've been sitting. The "pieces" fit together fine with a little bit of pressure. Seems to be less separated when I wake up in the am - which is why I think laying flat or standing doesn't seem to be the problem. I'm going to text my surgeon and let him know I think we might need a few stitches in it during my postop appointment on Monday. No bleeding or infection, a few stitches should do the trick in keeping it together.
There are 2 pea sizes spots on my incision line that have the tiniest bit of weeping otherwise everything seems good. Still have swelling and bruising, I think that may take a few more weeks, at least, to go down.
The only thing that makes moving around tough are the bandages covering my knees and the drain insertion points at my knees.
Hoping that minimal activity today and tomorrow keeps the drain output very low and I get to switch to compression garments and no drains. Fingers crossed.
(Had to take a few of the close-up pictures using the flash which made my legs look really dark and discolored, which they aren't)
Not sure why these didn't post with my update
Just left my 3rd post op appt today and I'm SO excited to have all my drains out. I feel better already.
I have to take it easy today & tomorrow, but Weds (when my compression garment arrives) I can go back to normal daily activity, including driving and showering daily.
As another reviewer commented, he did not stitch up my groin opening today. He said the skin it too swollen and aggravated for stitches right now, and that trying to stitch up that area now would actually make things worse. He told me to keep it clean and dry, let it heal itself from the inside out, and later he will revise the scar in office. That will give me the best looking result. Same with the other 2 tiny open spots (pea sized). Otherwise he is pleased with how everything looks.
He told me my skin will tighten up as I heal and as the swelling goes down - long term. But like with my tummy tuck in the short-term, my legs will look worse (mushy & flabby) before they look better). It's estimated the final result of my legs should look about 25% smaller than they are now. I was pleasantly surprised by that.
Next post op apt is in 2 weeks. I was told I can resume light cardio 4 weeks from today.
I'm finally allowed switch to a compression garment. My surgeon does not like switching to compression garments too early. He likes wraps and binders early on, gentle pressure to support and let the body start to heal. Too much compression too soon can constrict blood flow and actually hamper healing. Since drains have been pulled, and the swelling has started to subside, now is when the magic happens. Firm compression, day and night - for the next few months - is critical for optimal results.
He recommended a few different companies that make garments. I had some great abdominal binders from Leonisa, but they didn't seem to have any long bottoms that were just bottoms (and don't go up over shoulders. Being so tall I don't have any luck with those). So I checked out another company, Design Veronique. He had a binder of their garments in the office. I also found a 20% off promo code for Real Self members - REAL20. Very impressed with their customer service and quality of their product so far. I just ordered one item so far to make sure I had the right size. I will order a second for washing and alternating.
It looked small at first but I was able to fit into it. It did feel snug but not painful or excessively constricting. It's more mid calf length, than above ankle - but I'm used to that lol. Made of a reinforced breathable mesh with mid thigh- waist zippers on each side. Had it on a few hours and so far so good. Very generous sized crotch gusset too. Definitely need to remember that these are NOT in fact pants though lol.
Happy to be getting back into the regular life routine. It's still weird seeing puffy feet and ankles after being on my feet for a while. I think that will take some time before it stops happening - or so I hear.
Posting some comparison pics in my leg compression garment today (don't mind the shifted gauze wraps underneath) vs before pics pre tummy tuck & thigh lift feb 11 of this year