41, 2 C Sections, Working Mom Needing my Body Back. West Des Moines, IA

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I have thought about a Tummy Tuck for more than...

I have thought about a Tummy Tuck for more than five years as my youngest is 8 now. I have 2 babies both 9 lbs C section births and I feel like I still look pregnant. I also worked out consistently the past year and am down 9 percent body fat and have realized no matter what I do my gut is going to look like this to some degree. We are finally in a position to afford it and I did two consults and choose my PS based on qualifications, the consult and his approach to combine my TT with lipo of my flanks, hips and inner thighs.

Nesting & Stressing....

Started buying supplies this week to spread out the expense and trying to figure out organization.

I don't feel like my husband is grasping how down I'm going to be. I feel like there is so much to do given the Holidays and my work demands and not enough time. But I guess I'm going to have to learn to let it go....

I find myself stopping in mirrors and trying to imagine what I will look like post surgery and feeling giddy. Also pulling out two bikinis I never thought I would wear in public as a scar guide.

I am not sure what to expect at my pre op appointment on Nov 24th but I did request the PS be there to discuss a few concerns I have after spending more time on here and his website.

I did send a list of questions last week to the care coordinator and she was very responsive so I think I will email her on agenda for pre op as well.

Feeling anxious.

twas the night before my surgery

'Twas the night before my tummy tuck, when all through the house
my mind was a stirring, could not stop the doubts.
The supplies are laid out next to my bed with care,
in hopes that a smooth recovery soon would be there.

I was nestled all snug in my bed,
while visions of the flat side danced in my head.
And taking my arnica, and washing my hair,
can't settle down with worry of what will be bared.

When out on the bathroom there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed wondering what else would be the matter.
Away to the medicine cabinet I flew like a flash,
tore open the prescriptions, to check my pain meds stash.

The camera phone came out to take in one last show,
gave the lustre of hanging skin below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a bikini I had not worn in years.

With a trusted doctor, who I consulted and researched with glee,
I knew in a moment it was the plastic surgeon for me.
The credentials and manner I needed, it really was luck,
and he pointed and explained where he would nip and tuck.

"No loose skin! No stretch marks!
No, overhang and apron!
On, lipo for flanks!
And hips for good measure!
To the flat side!
To the thinner me!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all doubts!"

Day 2 PO

No amount of reading others reviews can prepare you for this. I am in a level of pain and discomfort I could never imagined. Day 1 home I have no energy so I laid around and waited for meds. I can't get comfortable in bed due to lipo combined with TT. Day 2 I finally got up on my own to get to the bathroom today. Thank god for the walker I borrowed. I haven't tried to shower yet, my in laws brought over a shower stool today so I may attempt a rinse off later. One of my drains hurts a bit when I move. The compression garment seems to be making me itch. Awful. Hope to be over this initial hump soon.

When in doubt call.

I am now 5 days post op. I have to say my PS office has been wonderful. I had a lot of itching on my backside with the binder to the point if madness on Day 2 and 3 and they called back quickly too offer suggestions to manage it and address concerns I had about my drains.

I have showered twice but can't get myself back into this binder without help. I am nervous if I'm healing right and not overdoing it. I have used my walker and it has been wonderful to have. Otherwise I'm bed bound and get up and do some slow mini laps in front of my bed to keep the blood moving.

The Saga of the Drain

I had to take a bit of a break from realself around the Holidays because it was a bit challenging mentally to deal with my own recovery, let alone but down in words what was going on. I guess my mantra "it could always be worse" range true. But here is a pretty comprehensive recap of my recovery and progress so far:

Week 1 PO:
I was off the prescription pain meds within 4-5 days and honestly felt pretty good. I am not sure if having two previous c sections made me more "ready" or if I have a higher pain threshold than I think I do. But I took the full week off and only laid around prior to my one week appointment where my incision was checked and the tape was removed from there and my belly button. Doctor said I looked great and my left drain tube was removed. But my right drain was still pulling too much fluid and I was told it needed to stay in a few more days. I was initially told 7-10 days with the drain and I also had lipo that can contribute to having drains longer so I left this appointment positive for getting it out prior to Christmas and headed on home asking my BFF to swing through Chick Fil A quick for some Chicken Strips (my vice) on the way home.

Week 2:
I believe this is where I screwed up, but hind sight is 20/20 and I could just be a slow healer. But I literally felt pretty good overall, was not in a lot of pain, could move pretty good. I was slow moving, but felt strong enough to try to venture out. Only day 10 PO I went to my son's hockey game. I took pillows and felt like I would be fine. I was until about half way through and that was when the pain set it and I knew I had overdone it. But I slept good that night and my fluid output actually went down the following 24 hours. Not enough to hit the threshold my doctor wanted but it was going down. This was the week of Christmas, so keep that in mind. So with my drain and not much pain I ended up getting desperate one day and doing to the post office, I was moving around the house more than I should have been, stopped at subway that day I and felt pretty good.... and here is the kicker I did a Target run with my daughter the following evening. I had already been told drains weren't coming out before Christmas and I think bad mood I was in drove me to thinking "screw it" and off I went. Half was through the store I realized my mistake. The following day my output was way up and the drain sight on my right hip was red all around it and hot to the touch. PS called in second round of antibiotics and I was told to lay my butt down and not get out of bed unless I HAD to. Lesson learned.

I was also back to work that week for 4 hours a day. But I was lucky I could work from home with my laptop in bed with me. In hindsight I think them releasing me back to work with restrictions gave me an inflated confidence of what I could do and I pushed it too hard.

I also had to call in that weekend because my belly button was bleeding and the PS himself called me back within 15 minutes. Amazing support from this office.

Christmas Day:
I ventured downstairs for the kids to open gifts and was on the couch propped up. But after making some ready made rolls for the kiddos I literally ended up in the bed the rest of the day. I was sleeping and get this my kiddos had frozen cheese pizza for their Christmas dinner. Honestly I felt like I had ruined the Holidays for my family, it was not a good place to be mentally.

Post Christmas: All I could do was sleep and lay in bed. I think it was a combination of my body needing the rest and healing and post surgery depression. I have stated this to several people but this procedure is not something you can fully prepare yourself for mentally. My husband even got frustrated and mad asking why I was not happy to finally be done with it... etc. All I could do was cry.

Week 3 PO: I am now back to work full time, but from home and I was literally just working from my bed but thank goodness it was the week between Christmas and New Year's and it was pretty slow. I still had the drain, it was averaging 40-50 ccs a day, my PS wanted me to be at 30 or below. I was not leaving bed unless I had to, my husband took off work with the kiddos off school to help me out more so I didn't get up. I even took the walker back out and started using it again for the one time a day I would venture downstairs to eat.

Some of the FUN with having a drain this long:
- second round of antibiotics, glad I didn't get an infection but ended up with a yeast issue elsewhere
- trying to route the drain out of the compression shorts was awful - the rubber tube literally caused blisters on my side. I ended up using panty liners around the drain site to catch leakage and wrapped a thicker maxi pad around the tube itself and would alternate routing it out the top of the shorts an down the leg.
- Stripping the tubes - this was disgusting. But literally there were chunks of stuff that would clog the drain tube or bulb coming out of my body. I am a total wimp and would just close my eyes and pretend it was someone else at times.

Week 4 PO:
My drain was finally removed at day 28 PO. During the whole time I was emailing the care coordinator nurse(s) and they were amazing and responsive. I even sent pictures of the drain site, the blistering and asked A LOT of questions and they were always responsive and helpful. This kept my fears at bay because I literally was worried what would have happened "next" if I couldn't get output below 30 ccs.

Overall SO FAR positives:
- My incision is LOW, super low - very happy about that. I am using the scar cream the office provided but it is a small tube and wondering if I spring for a second tube or do something different. I asked why they recommend this over the strips others post about, waiting for response.
- I am now six days drain free and have experienced some slight swelling, but nothing AWFUL or really distended. So maybe I have avoided some of those discomforts by having my drain so long.
- I will be wearing my binder for another month or have on spanx per doctors instructions, which I am fine with as I want the best results possible.
- My lipo areas on my legs still show bruising, but doctor said that is normal still at this point.
- have another appointment in 4 weeks to take "after" photos and look at everything again.

I can already see a difference and feel positive about the decision to do this. I can wear by pre surgery blue jeans with the binder on no problem which feels great to but on "real" clothes. I have ordered some spanx and hope they arrive soon.

Some Pics to go with my update

A few pics from my phone narrative above.

Week 6 PO

I feel like I am turning a corner of feeling more "like me". I am still wearing my binder 24/7 per the doctors instructions at my day 28 PO drain removal. I don't seem to be swelling a lot, which I guess is good. But I am nervous about my scar and scar healing.

I have been taking pictures to share with the nurse at the PS and she has been awesome to respond to all my concerns and questions so quickly. I feel like I am paranoid to the point of asking too many questions but I don't want to screw up my healing.

I am concerned I am getting dog ears and how everything is laying around my hips. I will post and updated pic after I type this out below. But I cant tell if that is just swelling or that is how I am going to look. Considering I had the lip of flanks with TT I pray it is just temporary swelling. I also had a circular area towards the middle that keeps scabbing and the area is getting larger. I am at the office for skin care and thank goodness the nurse said she would pop in and take a peek to give me her feedback.

Scar concerns

I think I am paranoid. Treating with Novo scar cream that PS recommended.

Paranoia Pays Off... When In Doubt See your PS. I am finally cleared to work out again!

I got my drain tube out day 28 PO, literally 4 weeks... that was approx. 2 weeks ago and at that appoint the PS said to wear my binder for another 4 weeks and NO working out. Well, I have been following instructions but got concerned about my scar / hip area and also didn't feel like I knew what I was looking for as far as fluid build up after my drain came out.

So today I was at the office for a skin care appointment and I just asked the nurse if she could fit me in to look at my scar and tummy regarding fluid. Well I had a great visit with the nurse and we did discuss I may need a slight scare revision around the drain tube sites / at my hips later on. She also told me I could start doing light walking, etc.

Well, to my surprise the PS himself came in and looked me over as well. And I was also told I can stop wearing my binder! I was super shocked because I thought I was going to need another 2 weeks, but he said after seeing how I am not having fluid issues I am good to stop wearing it. He even told me I could throw it away. But for some reason I threw it in my purse, it feels strange not to have it on so maybe part of me held on to it "just in case."?

My plan is to start slowing with walking on treadmill, but I feel like this is a big step in my recovery and I am so glad my PS and the nurse were both able to look at me today and squeeze me in because I wanted to make sure I am doing everything I can to heal properly!

3 months + one week PO - Mixed Emotions on my results so far

Well folks I need a revision. The way my scar has healed on my hips has left me a bit dogeared and there is the weird "bump out" of on each hips that lays awkwardly above the scar and looks like I have worse love handles than pre-op. =( This is why I had lipo of my flanks and hips to make sure everything looked smooth and I feel pretty let down. The good news is the doctor said he will revise it and fix it without charge but I need to wait a few more months to allow for more healing.

I am also shocked how dark my scar still is, it is a very deep red, it is also raised in the middle with a large section of scar tissue I keep trying to massage. I keep using the scar cream from the PS office but am a bit frustrated I have seen ZERO improvement to date. The worst part of the scaring is the obvious red ring around my belly button. I cant wear a bikini yet because of the red scar.

I am having serious regrets about the lipo to my inner thighs, while I see an obvious reduction in size overall I am STILL BRUISED. I cant wear shorts comfortably and that also does not seem to improve at all. I am scared this is my permanent result and want to cry. I don't tan due to skin cancer concerns but wondering if a spray tan will help cover this before we take a family vacation in June?

I feel good in clothing, things fit correctly. I still feel swollen and tight often. I cant lay on my stomach or lay my legs out flat without discomfort. I worked an event for work where I was on my feet more than normal and I really felt it later that night. People I had not seen in a while have asked if I lost weight, it feels good to feel more confident in clothing and not feel that overhang.

My scar is easily hidden in swim bottoms and wider side underwear, it is low, which is nice. I am happy all that skin is gone but feel frustrated about the way my hips look and the lipo bruising on inner thighs.

8 Month Post Op Update

I wanted to put in a note in here for anyone reading reviews that wants to know what it is really like after the initial recovery. My stomach looks flat, my clothes fit so much better. The only clothing that does not fit are my "fat pants" but otherwise I am the same size. Which is really what your expected outcome should be. A tummy tuck is not a way to loose weight, but to better deal with loose skin and other issues on your stomach region.

I am still numb, I have strange sensations across the front of my belly in particular the front between my belly button and the scar.

My scar is still dark. It has definitely faded a little bit towards the hips and is a bit more brown vs. red but after several tubes of expensive scar cream from my PS and also doing Bio Oil and some palmers oil on the surrounding area I wish this were not so obvious, especially around my belly button. I have yet to wear a bikini because the ring around my belly button is red and I feel like it screams "plastic surgery".

The biggest issue is the area at both hips. I have a strange bump out where the scar meets my hip and I have a follow up consult today with the PS to see what can be done. I was told I would most likely need a revisions earlier this year but to give it at least 6 months post op until it could be addressed. This area is easily covered by a larger bikini bottom or the right type of underwear but I wanted to look better naked with the combo of the tummy tuck and liposuction.

I am not added by doctor yet until I can fully review the potential revisions and long term outcome. I am still happy with the overall results and am glad I had it done but not the easiest journey if you really don't have an issue that can be addressed via less invasive surgery. Will post scar pictures and hip issue after my consult today.

8 months post op scar picture

Still very dark :(


Saw my PS yesterday because I am doing a minor procedure to be reviewed elsewhere and he stated the problem on my hips is "fat pockets" and he will do some minor lip to event them out when I do my other procedure next week.

I feel like an idiot because I forgot to discuss my scar issues so I just emailed the nurse care coordinator about the scar and sent her a picture. Hope to hear back from her soon.

Hip and Scar Revision Scheduled

So I go in next week to get my hips revised (he said a "little" lipo) and a section of my scar revised that is enlarged and rounded. I was told I will want to wear some spanx again for recovery. No general, just a local. and I am doing a facial procedure at the same time I had been wanting done after I paid off the TT and lipo bill. These revisions were included in my original estimate and I am pleased my PS is standing by me in addressing my concerns.

Revisions were postponed

So I am still a couple weeks out from my scar / hip revision. I will post before / during / after photos for anyone still reading my review. No charge from PS on the revisions.

a few most post revision - Mixed emotions

So Dr. Robbins is great overall and I was able to get my hips revised with that strange overhang he stated was fat not a "dogear" of the scar. He touched them up with a local and some lipo. It was not awful painful and I combined this revision with a another procedure I was already scheduling to have one recovery time / down time. It is important to note I was NOT charged for the revision which I really think speaks volumes about this PS and him standing by his work and wanting me to be happy. I feel like everything looks smoother but I feel the corners of my scar are still not great. Also the center area of my scar is still very red and thick. The section that is rounded out and bigger was not revised and I am frankly pretty frustrated it was left alone. I am now a full 14 months post op and my scar is very prominent and upsetting. I realize my skin tone and healing is not the PS fault but I traded off one issue for something else when I am looking at my body naked. Just be mentally prepared for these scars if you are considering a tummy tuck. I was not and now feel let down.
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon

I had contemplated a Tummy Tuck for several years due to pregnancy and c sections. I consulted with Dr. Robbins and 2 other doctors in the area. My overal procedure was a tummy tuck and liposuction of the flanks & hips. I feel good about my decision to have my surgery done with Dr. Robbins, I feel his staff are wonderful and I feel I put myself in the hands of a very experienced surgeon. The outcomes are good, I feel I have the profile I wanted and the staff was very responsive during my extended healing process. I also had a minor revision around my hip area and that was included / no charge as he stood by his work. My scaring is still darker than I had hoped for, but that is not within his control. Having this type of plastic surgery done is a big decision and I can recommend Dr. Robbins for his professionalism and experience is this type of procedure.

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