During both pregnancies I gained between 13-15 kg,...
During both pregnancies I gained between 13-15 kg, all to my stomach, which was great and not-so-great... As it essentially meant my belly was soooo stretched out, especially the belly button area as my bump was exceedingly pointy for both pregnancies!
I've thought long and hard about getting a tummy tuck done... I am really self-conscious about the way my belly looks, and constantly looking for long tops and high waisted skirts/pants to avoid accidentally exposing the alien-looking, wrinkled belly! (Otherwise I pretty much live in dresses.)
Have gone for consultations with 3 surgeons here in Singapore, the first two were nice but did not give me much confidence... They basically seemed to react as though my case was rather unique in that I had a really excessive amount of wrinkled skin all concentrated round the belly button, and minimal fat. One suggested that removal of a kind of clover-shaped piece of skin around the belly button, that would leave me with a large inverted T-shaped scar. Dr F on the other hand said he would be able to give me a low, c-sect like scar, and restore my belly button by detaching the loose skin and pulling everything vertically together before creating a new belly button.
Am expecting to stay in hospital for 2-3 days, and be out of action for about 2 weeks post-op. Will share more subsequently!
Post-Op Care- Advice please?
This is the abdominal binder I used previously after the births of my 2 kids, I'm just wondering if I can use this post tummy tuck? Or is this too short? Any advice on post-TT care would be much appreciated, thanks!
TT with muscle repair today!
16 Jul 2015
Day of treatment
Wheeled into OT at 10am, markings drawn and put under GA.
Woke up feeling awful around 12 noon, took about 2 hours for the grogginess to dissipate. Have drains running on each side. Feel like my entire midsection has been pummeled into a pulp.
The pain slowly eased as the day progressed and I drifted in and out of sleep, but when I sat up for dinner around 6pm, I started feeling giddy and nauseous.
Was able to get up and stumble about my room in the evening. Accidentally coughed, and man did that hurt! Sharp, searing pain in my side.
Snuck a peek at my tummy, am pleased! Smooth and wrinkly free at last! Also rubbed on some ginger cream, which kinda soothes the discomfort (warm sensation, like muscle rub) and also helps with bloating.
2 days post TT+MR=drains out!
Thanks so much for the replied to my forum queries! As mentioned there, my drains only produced 5-10cc on each side for the past 24 hour cycle, so they decided to remove the drains, change my dressings and let me leave the hospital.
Am still really swollen, and have to walk hunched over as it pulls on my skin and stitches whenever I stand too upright. Also feeling kinda heavy from the water retention. Out of curiosity, I got on the scale when I reached home and am exactly the same weight as I was pre-OP.
My Singapore PS search
There was such a dearth of info on tummy tuck surgeons practicing in Singapore that I think I should share a bit on my experience sourcing for a good one.
I first consulted Dr Tan YC of Sloane Clinic. Very plush clinic with beautiful consultation rooms, but you're definitely paying a high premium for these "frills". Consultation fee was around $200ish from what I recall, and he openly remarked that he had yet to come across a case similar to mine - Not much fat tissue, and very damaged skin in a vertical pattern around the belly button site. Regret not keeping a copy of his consultation notes to share, he drew a picture of how he intended to cut my excess skin and sew it back into an inverted T shape. Overall I didn't get a sense that he was confident of success, but his fees were astounding- I was quoted sgd$18K for surgeon fees alone. Considering that my hospital bills worked out to approx sgd$4.5K for single-bed 2-nights stay, my total bill would likely have run into the sgd$25K mark, especially since Sloane Clinic is known to charge for everything.
I then consulted Dr Karen Sng, who practices at Mount Elizabeth. She was reassuring, and it was nice to speak with a dr who had a woman's perspective on things. Very detailed explanations and extremely patient. Also, she was able to offer partial insurance coverage, as she considered the hernia/muscle repair portion of my tummy tuck as medically necessary and thus claimable. Her clinic setup was like a regular specialist clinic in Singapore, and shared with a couple of other specialists, so there wasn't much privacy in the waiting room. Her staff were very sweet and helpful though. Consultation fee was around $150, and I was quoted around $9-10K in surgeon fees alone.
Just as I was starting to think that perhaps I would need to seek out a foreign surgeon to tackle my problem, I was recommended Dr Fong Poh Him by a cosmetic surgeon based in Indonesia, as he was taught by Dr Fong himself.
I think Dr Fong's clinic was probably the most no-frills clinic I have ever visited- specialist or otherwise! The staff were also very homely, and it gave the impression of a family-run, very casual setup. To be honest, I would not have had the courage to proceed if not for the prior recommendation. And Dr Fong did give me an assuring sense that he was very experienced and well-qualified to handle my issue. Consultation fee was $120, and I was given a flat rate quote of SGD$12K all-inclusive (ie my hospital charges for room and all medicine, peripherals would be billed to the clinic), so I estimate that the nett surgeon fee was approx sgd$7500.
From my experience thus far, I would say Dr Fong is a very kind and honest man. He did not charge me extra when I asked for a second consultation to clear some final doubts, and also advised me against additional procedures that other dr had suggested to me. While he was absent during the 2 days post-op (off for mission trip), his staff came by to visit me every day at the hospital, and took good care of my needs.)
3rd evening post-TT+MR
Am really in pain right now, having a horribly ticklish throat, every attempt to clear my throat/stifle a cough gives me searing pains at the incision site and middle of my abs (where muscle repair took place, I'm guessing!) ????
Itchy rash developing! :(
So my dressings were changed just before discharge from hospital on Day 3, fresh steri-tape all along the incision site, and then waterproof bandages on top and at the drain sites. I suspect I'm allergic to the adhesive on the waterproof bandages, starting to get an itchy rash around the tapes, especially at the sides of my hips (I guess where pressure from the binder and thus friction is highest?)
When my PS's clinic called this morning, I reported that there were no further signs of bleeding besides a small spot at the right drain site, and that I'd probably go in on Thurs (exactly 1 week from op) for check up. Is that wise or should I schedule earlier given the rash? I hope the incision site itself isn't affected but I really can't tell since everything is covered.
Before/after side profile comparison- swollen and rashy!
It's Monday night, my op was on Thurs morning, so I'm officially 4-day post Op. I think my timeline isn't accurately shown on RealSelf because I'm in a +8 GMT timezone, not entirely sure.
Anyway, as you can see, I have a raging rash at my hip and rib area, which seems to correspond roughly with where most of the friction from the binder tends to hit, although I do also have a slight band of itchy rash developing along the bottom of my incision line plasters.
The clinic called me up this morning to check on me, and I described the rash, which they thought was likely a reaction to the plaster adhesive. Unfortunately I was pretty much given a choice of living with the itch or exposing my incision to bacteria, so I've decided to try and bear with it 2 more days till Wed morning, in the hopes that most of my incision will be closed/scabbed over by then and thus less vulnerable to infections sans plaster coverage.
Still a lot of swelling at the lower abdomen/belly area, not sure if you can tell from the photo, but I usually am quite flat bellied, the only protrusion being the loose, saggy skin... But it's rounded now and my pants are definitely tighter than usual.
First clinic visit- 6 days post op
Was a bit worried about driving out to the clinic as the past two days I was completely exhausted by very short 5-10min rides out to pick kids up (w assistance from my domestic helper), but it turned out fine. Helped that it was just a 15-20min drive and I found parking close to the clinic!
Nurse changed my steritape dressings after cleaning up some of the blood-crusted areas with saline swabs. Stuck melolin pads at belly button and around the centre of my incision, whichad still looked slightly more "raw" than the rest of my incision, which seems to be healing well.
Dr came in and seemed surprised by my ability to lie flat on the bed. Gave me the OK to go ahead with any physical activities I was comfortable with. When I sought clarification on whether gym was fine, he said just to ease into things- common sense I guess! :)
Was given supirocin, an antibiotic cream, for belly button and any areas I felt looked like they aren't completely healed. And Betasone for the awful rash I've gotten from the plaster adhesives. ( last night it was so bad, I removed the plasters and had distinct raised rash in the outline/shape of the plaster- a perfect angry red rectangle! So glad the incessant itch is finally easing up!
Mixed feelings :/
So I woke up today, at first all I felt was the sore skin from the compression binder being so tight the whole night, but as I got up and went about my morning things I start feeling like things are finally getting more "normal"
Was nice to have minimal swelling (though I anticipate it returning as the day progresses!)
Over the past few days I've noticed that the skin between my BB and the middle of the incision is very yellow, like a healing bruise, and wrinkly!! :( I'm worried it's going to look incredibly strange to have such a wrinkly patch smack back in the middle surrounded by smooth, taut skin?! Not sure what to make of this... Should I take this as a sign to be thankful with the severity of my wrinkly I managed to at least recover this much smooth skin? I can't help but feel a little pained that after all the pain and discomfort, and the big, high incision scar I'm going to have to live with, I still am wrinkly! :((
Dog earred scar, still wrinkly... But at least swelling is under control?!
Sigh... I honestly feel a bit depressed looking at the awful incision scar and the still wrinkly patch of skin below my belly button... But I suppose the good thing is this is far easier to hide underneath clothing than the excess skin was. Swelling is under control now, I have slept without compression for past two nights, and switched to a corset instead of binder during the day.
Have been getting this faint, light headed spells every now and then... Like when I get up too quickly... But otherwise active lifestyle and things are generally back to normal.
Forgot to add the before after shot
An update and closeup shots!
Life is pretty much back to normal, although I have only been to the gym once so far post-Op, and only dared do gentle cycling and rowing!
The swelling has eased up considerably, and I've stopped wearing compression garment for the past 5-6 nights as my skin has been reacting to the heat and friction etc from constant binder use.
I've found a really good corset from Modcloth for day use, it's mesh material so light and breathable, yet sturdy as fully boned. Only thing is it's non adjustable, so you need to know your size well. Best of all, it's cheap! US$34.90 on sale now!
Unfortunately the dog ears on my incision ends looks quite horrible, and I still have marks/scars from the skin reaction to the steritape and bandage adhesives. Patience, patience! There's still a patch of wrinkly skin below my belly button, and there's a tiny fold/dog ear on the vertical incision just below the BB. My close up shots are a little nasty, but I thought I should provide for others to understand better.