Tummy Tuck

2 Week Post Op Check Up – a brief update……..

The healing process is progressing well though not without a couple of minor complications. My outer dressings came away at ten days post op and I was just left with some surgical tape. I thought that there was a large scab left at the bottom of my belly button but it seemed very much attached so I thought it best to leave it alone. Two days later I noticed a little discharge from my belly button so I made an appointment at my local doctors surgery to get it checked. It was found to mildly infected so I was prescribed a course of antibiotics to prevent it progressing into cellulitis.

Today I saw my surgeon again and he was amazed at how well I was moving around. He removed all of my surgical tape and everything has healed nicely. The belly button infection is well under control but what I thought was a scab has turned out to be an area of necrotic (dead) skin caused by inadequate blood supply. I knew there was a risk of this happening prior to my surgery and the area is not very big (about the size of my little finger nail) and it will heal on its own over the next month.

I have been told to moisturise my scars with E45 cream after showering and then cover them with micropore tape which, over time will help the scars to flatten. 

I will see my surgeon again in 2 weeks so that’s it for now!

Tummy Tuck

Surgery and First Week Post Op……..

I am finally on the other side of my surgery and all went according to plan. I was due to be admitted at 12pm and ended being late due to the city centre being closed because of a car accident. It’s typical me to not be anxious about an impending major surgery but to have a near panic attack about being ten minutes late.

Once in my room I was told to immediately change into a gown as I was the only person on the list for the afternoon. I barely had time to change before my surgeon came in and marked me up with a sharpie! Literally thirty seconds later the anaesthetist came in and introduced herself. A mere twenty five minutes after admission I was being led down to theatre.

There was no anaesthetic room so I went straight into the theatre and led down on the operating table. Due to my scientific background in biology I was really interested in the different drugs being used for the anaesthetic and had this surreal experience of discussing all of this with the anaesthetist while being prepared for surgery. She gave me a shot of midazolam into the cannula which was rather pleasant. I don’t remember anything after that until I came round in recovery.

My first thought was annoyance that I couldn’t remember being given the actual anaesthetic. I then noticed that I couldn’t stop shivering. Due to most of my body being exposed for over 4 hours my core body temperature had dropped. I was under a heated blanket so I was soon back to normal. The pain from the surgery was there and could be felt as a burning, stinging sensation which got worse when I moved; it wasn’t unmanageable though. I went under at about 1pm and was back in my room by 7pm.

I spent the first night having to get up to use the bathroom every two hours as they’d pumped me full of fluids during the surgery. I hated having to alert the nurse every time I wanted to get up but I had to be disconnected from these mechanised pressure socks to help mitigate the risk of DVT. Moving around wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be pain-wise but negotiating going to the bathroom with four surgical drains and a compression garment wasn’t fun.

My surgeon came to check on me the next morning and instructed me to get up and walk as much as possible. I was able to have the drains removed from my arms that morning which just left the two in the abdomen. I did as I was told and got up every hour and walked up and down the corridor twice. To be honest I had quite a nice day, the nurses were lovely and the food was good. I’d been saving the production of the musical ‘Hamilton’ to watch until after my surgery and I’m so glad I did as it was wonderful.

The following morning I had my remaining two drains removed (a rather painful experience) and the nurse was amazed I didn’t make a fuss, all I was concerned about was getting them out! I was then discharged at 11am and home by lunchtime.

I have spent the last week taking it easy. The best think I ever did was buy the wedge cushion to raise my legs up; it has made getting comfortable so easy. I have been struggling with the compression garments. I really hate wearing anything tight and obviously by design these garments are extremely tight. They are also not designed for tall people and I’ve had to make a few adjustments to make them bearable.

So was it worth it? Undoubtedly yes!! I am amazed about how I look already despite the swelling. I still have the dressings on my abdomen but the change is stark. The dressings on my arms fell off this morning so the incision line can be seen; it looks a lot worse than it is. A lot of excess skin has been removed but it only weighed 4lbs. 

Due to the swelling I won’t show a true weight on the scales for a couple of months and I’m trying not to get too obsessed. I’m sticking to my healthy eating so I know I’m not in any danger of gaining weight. I’m looking forward to getting back to normal and going on a shopping spree for some new clothes asap!

Tummy Tuck

Pre-op Appointment and Preparation……..

I’ve now had my pre-op appointment for my surgery. I had filled in a health questionnaire beforehand but still had to answer umpteen questions about my health. Some of them were really obscure e.g. had I ever had a CPE infection? I’d never heard of it but apparently it’s a nasty infection of the gut that has become resistant to many antibiotics and can be very serious.

Blood was taken for cross match purposes in case I need a transfusion and the usual blood pressure, height and weight checks (my BMI is a healthy 22.1!). I also had an ECG which appeared normal. I was relieved to be told that I don’t need to be completely hairless for the surgery which I was dreading. I was given a dry sponge which was impregnated with a special antibacterial agent which I need to use to wash my body on the day of the surgery. I’m schedule to be admitted at 12pm on May 31st for surgery in the afternoon. Due to COVID restrictions no one can accompany me or visit me while I’m an in-patient. I’m only staying 2 nights so it shouldn’t be too bad. I can FaceTime home and I have got a load of films and TV series stored on my laptop to make the time pass quickly.

Preparations at home have been ongoing over the past few weeks. I’ve invested in a new high quality v-pillow as back ache has been known to be a big issue due to not being able to stand up straight for a couple of weeks. This is caused by the strain on the incision where the skin has been pulled down. For the same reason I’ve also bought a wedge pillow to make it easier to keep my legs elevated this will also reduce the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVTs). Clothes wise I’ve bought a couple of oversized jogging bottoms and a few button down nightshirts just in case I can’t raise my arms above my head for a while. I belong to a Facebook tummy tuck group and apparently ‘surgery nesting’ is a thing. Compared to a lot of people I think I’ve been quite restrained.

I’ve taken some more before photos as I’ve lost a bit more weight since the last one was taken and it will be good to compare them post surgery.

Tummy Tuck

Initial Consultation……..

I had my initial consultation with my chosen cosmetic surgeon on February 14th about having the loose skin on my stomach and arms removed. Having done a great deal of research, there weren’t any major surprises.

After the usual medical history questions he gave me a very thorough examination. I have a lot of excess skin not only on my abdomen but also my back. While I could have a total body lift it would be a more major surgery with a longer recovery time. I think if I was younger I’d have seriously considered this route but I think it will be enough to just have the skin removed on my stomach. He recommended that I have the fleur-de-lys abdominoplasty with muscle repair as I need to reduce the amount of skin both vertically and horizontally. I will probably still have a little excess skin at the top but that is unavoidable. I have also lost a lot of skin elasticity so there is a chance I may still have a little fold at the bottom. When examining my arms he again said I’d lost skin elasticity and may still have a slight sag after surgery but to be honest a slight sag will be much preferable to the 3-4 inches of skin I have at the moment.

Fleur-de-lys Abdominoplasty showing area of skin removed.

My surgeon said that he was prepared to do both procedures at the same time and that the operating time would be 4.5 hours. I will need to stay in 2 nights and I will have 4 drains which will be removed before I go home. I will need to wear compression garments for about 2 months to aid healing. I’ve bought the recommended garments and they are seriously uncomfortable but I just have to ‘suck it up’ as they say.

Compression Garments

I’d made the decision to go ahead with the surgery before the consultation so when the quote came through a week later I booked the surgery for May 31st 2022. I was hoping it would be sooner as I’m mentally prepared now but the delay means that I can get the house spring cleaned beforehand. 

Recovery time varies from person to person, most are able to resume normal activities by 6 weeks but as I have fibromyalgia and I’m having muscle repair it could be longer. I’m determined to get back to normal as soon as possible and start living my new life.