I wanted to share my experience as...
29 Jun 2016
Day of treatment
I wanted to share my experience as I encountered very little in terms of Skin Only Tummy Tuck surgeries while doing my research. I'm 43 years old, no children. After years of being overweight, I have lost approx 50lbs with the aid of a Nutritionist and Crossfit. I'm easily in the best shape of my life, and the happiest I've ever been (seriously), but was left with a lot of loose skin in my abdomen as a result of the weight loss. Let's face it gals.....when you make the commitment to eat clean and get in shape, you want to see the results of your hard work....ALL the results! :) for me, that was getting rid of the excess skin hiding my Abs. I have no expectations of ever being a swimsuit model, but do want to see the Ab muscles I know are "lurking" under all that skin!! I had my initial consultation with Dr Virden in Late May and my surgery was today. The total cost was $5200 (that included Dr fees, Anesthesiologist, and Operating Room costs). The procedure itself took less than 2hrs. As I write this review, I'm resting comfortably in my bed, propped up with several pillows. The pain is (for me) quite tolerable....on a scale of 1-10, I give it a 3. I do have a pretty high pain tolerance, but would describe it as more of an overall soreness vs actual pain at this point. Since I only had skin removal vs a full Tummy Tuck procedure....this is completely normal from my understanding. I have included 3 photos of my stomach skin taken 1 day prior to surgery.
Day After Surgery
Doing good so far today. I am able to get around by myself, go to the bathroom, etc.... The pain isn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. I'm sure it is because it was a "skin only" procedure. I had my PO this morning and everything looked good. I bled very little during surgery, so did not need to have drain tubes put in (bonus!!). Tummy is swollen right now, but looks so much better. Dr Virden has told me to either lay flat or stand during the few days....no sitting. He says that when you sit, it's natural for wrinkles to form and at this point what we are trying to encourage is for the tummy skin to stay taught and adhere down nicely into it's "new" place. I've been drinking lots of water and Aloe Vera juice to help speed the healing process along. I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow....just too lazy to remove binder this evening.
Day 2 Post Op
Feeling really good today. I am down to taking my pain meds every 8-9 hrs (vs every 4hrs the day I came home and day after). I was able to shower today, which also made me feel that much better. Something about getting clean, just helps so much. I took my pictures pre-shower, so there is still a little dried blood, which came off in the shower. I changed out my adhesive tape as well. No sign of pus or infection which is good news. Also, very little bruising so far, which is an added bonus. I am forcing myself to stay in bed and relax although I do get up to go to the bathroom and walk around every couple hours. This is the hardest part....I feel like I should be doing something, so it's hard to just lay here. I was able to poop this morning with very little effort, so that also has me feeling good. I was/am taking Swiss Kriss Natural Herbal Laxative tablets just so I didn't become constipated!! I'm drinking a ton of water (approx 1 gallon/day) which may seem like a lot, but I feel is really helping with my healing process....even if it does involve a lot of trips to the bathroom. I am also continuing to take approx 1000mg's of Vitamin C each day (500mgs twice once in the AM and again in the PM), as well as Arnica tablets (taken orally) and Aloe Vera juice mixed in with my water. I've only had my binder off for a short time when I took my pictures and showered. I actually feel better with it on....more security. At my 2nd PO next week, I will probably transition into a Spanx-type garment, but for now the binder is doing the trick. I should mention that I have very little feeling around my belly button. Doc says this is completely normal following surgery, and it will gradually return over the next couple months. For now tho, it's feels a bit creepy when I clean the area and cannot feel what I'm doing.
Day 5 Post Op...Boredom sets in
It's day 5 following surgery and boredom is setting in. I'm officially off all pain meds since yesterday. As I have no drain tubes to "fight" with, I have been able to sleep on my sides the last couple nights.....which has been heaven. I'm spending my days laying flat on the couch, bored out of my mind. I've never been a big TV watcher, so have no special sitcoms to watch or catch up on. I've decided not to post any pictures, as there isn't any special change in the appearance of my incision or belly button. I'm completely numb from my belly button down to just below my incision in a rectangular area about 1 1/2 wide. I do have feeling to the sides tho. I've begun to notice an itchy feeling that I associate w healing vs infection as the incision isn't red or pussy or anything. Additionally, I've been using coconut oil on my incision area as it is a natural salve that is anti-bacterial. It really helps with the itchyness. I went without my binder for a couple hours yesterday while I was washing it. Instead I wore compression leggings that comes up to my bra line...(that I have for Lymphedema I sometimes suufer from due to a radical hysterectomy I had in 2013). I put the binder back on after it was dry in addition to the compression leggings as I just feel more "secure" with it on. Other than that, not much to report. I'm still drinking tons of water as well as taking 1000mgs of vitamin C, Arnica and Aloe Vera.
Day 8 Post Op
It's Day 8 Post Op and I'm definitely on the mend. I had my 1 week Post Op yesterday, and was told that everything looks A-OK. No sign of infection and very little swelling or bruising (the result of me laying around like a sloth for the past 6 days I suspect). I went grocery shopping after my post op, and felt fine afterwards. I have been alternating between rubbing Aloe Vera gel (98% concentrated) and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (a great anti-bacterial natural skin/scar treatment) on my incision.....in addition to Arnica gel around the incision (I don't actually put it on the incision). It must be working, because I was told at my post op to "keep doing whatever I'm doing because everything looks great"! I finally transitioned out of my binder into a Spanx garment.....which is WAY more comfortable. :) I'm still drinking 4+ liters of water per day...and still drinking 2+ cups of Aloe Vera juice, in addition to my continued use of Arnica tablets and Vitamin C. Someone asked me "Why the vitamin C"?? When I was going through my hysterectomy, my Dr told me to take as much Vitamin C as possible because the body has a much harder time healing itself if it deplete in Vitamin C. It is why a lot of Doctors recommend taking 1000mgs/day (or more if you can handle it) prior and after surgery. Plus, it's water soluble....so there is no way you can "overdose" on it. I was given the "All-Clear" to begin walking and using my treadmill....but no Crossfit or lifting for at least another week...(not that I was expecting to do either just yet). But I am looking forward to getting back to working out.....something I never dreamed I'd say in my earlier years. I have attached a couple photos I took tonight. I had just rubbed Coconut Oil on and was letting it absorb before putting my bandages back on (thus the shiny areas on my incision and belly button). I'll try to take a few more with better light and no oil on tomorrow. The light yellow area under the incision is the only bruising I currently have.
4 Weeks Post Op
Well here we are at 4 weeks out. Still have swelling around abdomen/incision....but everyday it is getting better. After 1 month of sleeping on my back/sides I can finally (comfortably) sleep on my stomach again. This is something that has been rather uncomfortable before. I'm still wearing my binder at night, but mostly in regular clothes/underwear during the day. If It's a bad day and I get really swollen, I will change into my spanx garments in the evening and wear them in addition to my binder at night. Still not cleared to return to working out :( but hopefully very soon. Most of the glue used to hold the outer incision in place has fallen off....just about a inch long strip remains in the very center of the incision. I am loving my new belly button!!!
7 weeks PO and back to Working Out!
Now at almost 7 weeks PO. Was given clearance to begin working out again last week (6 weeks PO). I was beyond excited to get back to Crossfit again....but had to take it REALLY easy. I only worked out 3 days last week, and even then only did about 1/2 the work, and modified the movements as needed. At this point, it is more about getting my body moving again (without getting so too sore) than trying to workout at the same intensity or at the same weight as I did pre-surgery. All that being said, it feels great to be allowed to workout again. Sleeping on my stomach (my favorite/normal sleeping position) is a breeze once more. I still have lingering swelling.....especially on my left side (as shown in the attached photo). It is pretty much just around the actual scar area. I've been getting Post-Surgical massages to my abdomen/legs in order to help with the swelling and assist my lymphatic system adjust. Plus the massages help break up/soften the scar tissue.....as well as being just plain RELAXING!