Having a lower body lift after losing well over a hundred pounds was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's been over seven weeks since surgery, and I'm SO HAPPY that I did it! It wasn't all sunshine and roses, however. Here, I will share the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the skin removal surgery...
I'll start with the obvious: My mid-section looks a million times better than it did before surgery! Even from the first day post-op, I was thrilled with the results.
The surgery wasn't nearly as painful as I thought it was going to be. The first few days were rough, which I'll talk about in "The Bad" section, but the rest of recovery was pretty easy. My stomach and incision were completely numb, so it didn't hurt. I switched from Vicodin to Motrin after about a week, and I'm sure I could have done that even sooner.
Before surgery, I was very worried about the incision across my back (which is at the top of each butt cheek, very low). It really scared me to have an incision that went all the way around. But after the surgery, I actually paid very little attention to that part of the incision, because I kind of forgot about it. The back lift part of the lower body lift was the easiest part of the surgery.
The compression garment wasn't nearly as annoying as I'd read about online. Actually, I kind of liked wearing it. It's a secure feeling. It's very tight, but I wasn't uncomfortable wearing it at all.
I was able to move easily on my own after about five days.
I was cleared to start running again (or any exercise except ab work) after just eight days post-op (but I chose to wait until 4 weeks).
I feel SO MUCH MORE CONFIDENT in my body now. I don't feel like I have to "hide" my figure, and I feel confident to wear cute clothes and tight jeans. It has done wonders for my self-esteem!
I recovered very quickly. I thought I would be layed up in bed for six weeks, but I was moving around easily by two weeks post-op.
I didn't have a single complication. This might have been luck, or maybe the fact that I followed my surgeon's instructions right to the tee, but I was very happy not to have any complications.
I was extremely nauseous after surgery for about 15 hours. I even dry-heaved a few times in the hospital, and it hurt very badly because my abs were sore. I've never experienced nausea like that! It was so bad that I cried (which made it hurt more).
|Jerry was so kind to take my picture while I was feeling pukey|
My mouth was extremely dry after surgery for about 24 hours. I was told that part of the anesthesia causes you to stop producing saliva for about 24 hours. It was extremely difficult to chew and swallow food because I had no saliva in my mouth. I drank a ton of water just to be able to eat.
It's hard to get comfortable while lying down, and it hurt my abs very badly to turn over. I slept on each side and my back, turning every couple of hours so I didn't get too stiff, but turning over was very painful in my abs.
I was extremely weak. I cannot believe how tired I got from everything I did. For about the first week post-op, I became exhausted from something as simple as taking a shower or walking to the bathroom. I would have to do my shower quickly enough so that I could lie back down. I was out of breath from just walking to the bathroom. It was a weird feeling, because I was in great shape prior to surgery, running 3-5 times a week. I can't imagine doing this surgery if I was OUT of shape to start with. The weakness was probably THE hardest part about the surgery.
The drains are a pain in the ass to carry around. I had four of them, and it was impossible to tuck them into my pants, so I had to come up with other creative ways of wearing them. While at home, I just hooked them to my shirt or waist band, not caring that they were visible.
I had a weird burning pain on my thighs for a few weeks. It was a surface pain that felt like I had been burned (like a sunburn). I don't know what it was from--the skin looked totally normal there--but it resolved after a few weeks.
After taking four weeks off from running, I wasn't able to just pick up where I left off. It was painful in my abs, but mostly, my lungs felt like they were on fire from being out of shape. I was very winded, even going at a slow, easy pace.
My hip bones felt very strange for a few weeks post-op. They weren't really painful, but I couldn't stand to press on them or have any pressure on them. I couldn't wear tight jeans for a few weeks because they pressed against my hip bones and it was a very weird, extremely uncomfortable feeling.
My abdominal muscle repair was the most painful part of the surgery. Like I said, my incision didn't hurt, but my ab muscles were sooo sore for about ten days. I walked hunched over for about a week. Sneezing, coughing, and laughing were pretty painful for a couple of weeks.
I had to eat a ton of protein. This is under "The Bad" because I've never been a "protein person". I don't like meat very much, and it's hard to get a lot of protein without eating meat. I ate a LOT of pan-fried salmon, tuna fish, and nuts to get protein. I had a protein shake every morning, and my snacks were string cheese and nuts. My doctor wanted me to get 100+ grams per day, and I complied by getting probably about 130 grams. That is VERY hard to do!
|Salmon and parsley potatoes--my lunch nearly every day!|
I definitely needed help around the house for the first five days or so. Luckily, I have a super supportive mom and husband. They took great care of me! When Jerry was at work, my mom came over and did housework for me and helped me move around. Jerry waited on me hand and foot. My parents kept my kids for a few days. This surgery would be extremely difficult to get through if you don't have someone to help you.
The Ugly (I was going to post a lot of the "ugly" pictures from post-surgery here, but a lot of my pictures have been winding up on Pinterest lately, and I really don't want my surgery pics on there.)
Initially, the incision looks kind of gross. There is a lot of dried, crusty blood, but I didn't want to peel it or pick at it for fear of opening up a wound.
My belly button still looks red and irritated, but it's just the color of the incision right now. It doesn't hurt (and never has) but it looks kind of gross for a while. When I first came home, I had gauze packed in there with tape over it.
On each side, just behind my hips, there was a spot in the incision a couple of inches long that looked puckered. I asked my surgeon about it, and she said that it was normal and after the sutures dissolved, it would smooth out. (She was right, it has smoothed out now). But the first couple of weeks, it looked gross--wrinkled and kind of gathered on the bottom half of the incision. My surgeon said it was from the bottom half being larger than the top half--which makes sense. Of course the skin isn't going to line up perfectly. So it was wrinkled while it healed.
My back was very bruised (from about the middle of my back all the way to the incision line). This was from the small amount of liposuction that my surgeon did on my lower back. The bruising didn't hurt, but it sure was ugly!
The drain tubes coming out of my body didn't bother me, but I guess many people would consider it ugly ;) There was one on my left hip, close to my butt, two just under my pubic hair line (one of the left, one on the right) and one on the front part of my right hip. The one on my left hip was pretty sore and I was relieved to have it removed.
My belly button looked off center at first, and I was worried about having to get a revision down the road to fix it. But it must have been because of swelling or something, because gradually, it centered. It's still a little off, but that's how it was before surgery. The surgeon doesn't actually MOVE your belly button--they just move the skin around it.
The swelling is pretty bad for a few weeks. Immediately after surgery, I was excited to see that I wasn't swollen at all. I thought I was just lucky. Then it hit me after about a week, and I swelled up a lot. Even now, I'm seven weeks out from surgery and my very low abdomen is still swollen--it looks like a bump.
I think that pretty much sums up everything I can come up with about the surgery! Of course, I'm happy to answer questions, so feel free to e-mail me.