I am a Massive Weight Loss Patient, Had a Tummy Tuck and Here are My Thoughts
Back in 2014 I had gastric bypass surgery. Before my surgery, I had weighed nearly 300 lbs. After my procedure, I dropped down to 150 lbs. I am 5'6", so you can imagine how much skin I was left with. Yea...it wasn't pretty. It also caused health issues, as I had problems exercising due to my skin rubbing against my body and I would frequently have rashes forming under my skin. I knew I could not live the rest of my life with all of the excess skin I had and made up my mind to have plastic surgery to correct it.
I consulted with several board certified plastic surgeons not only in my area but in different states, looking to get several opinions and recommendations on what the best course of action was for me. This was major surgery and I wanted to make sure I picked the absolute best doctor. All of the surgeons recommended I have a mommy makeover, which was to include a breast lift with implants, a tummy tuck and liposuction of my flanks. I ended up picking my plastic surgeon based on the before and after pictures of their mommy makeover results. The surgeon I picked also seemed to be the most caring of the 3 I saw.
At the conclusion of my consultation with the surgeon I ended up picking, I spoke with the office manager about having my insurance cover the procedure. Since my excess skin was a health issue, there was a high likelihood my procedure would be covered by my insurance. A week after my consultation, the office manager called me and said I was approved for the procedure. Thank god! Without my insurance covering it, I would not have been able to afford this procedure.
Like my gastric bypass procedure, or any surgical procedure for that matter, I had to be surgically cleared for the procedure. I had to get some basic blood work, a brief physical exam (blood pressure taken, lungs listened to, etc.) and an EKG. Everything came back clear, so I was good to go for surgery.
My surgery date was set for a month after my initial consultation. My procedure was to be done at a hospital. On the day of my surgery, I arrived at the hospital early in the morning. My surgery was set to start at 7:30 am, so I had to be there by 5:45 am. Once I checked in, I was brought to a pre-op room, where I was given a hospital gown to change in to. After that, I was hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV was placed in my arm. Then the doctor came in and marked up the location of where my incisions were going to be and where excess fat would be removed from. Due to the fact that I had had surgery in the past, I wasn't that anxious because I knew what to expect. Once I was all marked up, it was show time! I was wheeled into the operating room and put under general anesthesia within minutes (time is money - surgeons don't waste time).
When I woke up in recovery, I was surprisingly not in much pain. I believe this was mostly due to the fact that I was still a bit out of it from anesthesia and also because my surgeon injected my surgical areas with Exparel, which is a long-lasting pain reliever. I had a single drain and a compression garment-like wrap on. I was very tired for the remainder of the day and had to stay in the hospital that night.
My first day post-op I woke up relatively refreshed. I had slept through most of the night and didn't have any incidents. I also did not feel much pain because I was receiving oxycodone every 4 hours. To be honest, I was unusually comfortable for a person who had undergone so much surgery. Oh well, I wasn't complaining! Around noon, I was allowed to go home. Later that day, I took my first shower, which I desperately needed!
Around 5 days later I had a post-op appointment with my surgeon and because the output of my drain was very low (went from 75mL to almost nothing), my drainage tube was removed.
My recovery period over the next few days was mixed. Overall, I only experienced intermittent pain from time-to-time, like when I had to get up and even then, my pain only lasted a few seconds (likely from tension on incision areas). I was also taking hydrocodone pain pills and muscle relaxers, which weren't as strong as oxycodone, but certainly did the job of keeping most of my pain at bay. I was good about avoiding any heavy lifting and took it very easy for the first few weeks after my surgery. Only for the first few days did I need assistance getting up from a chair. Once I was up, I was fine. Oh and when I coughed or sneezed it hurt pretty bad, but also only for a second or two. Anything that caused my muscles to clench up, would cause pain, so I tried to avoid anything that would put me in that situation. Words of wisdom here - get yourself a toilet riser off Amazon. I had a 3.5" riser with arm handles and it made it so much easier to use the bathroom! I didn't need assistance with this riser.
Once I got home, I switched to muscle relaxers and hydrocodone. Even though hydrocodone isn’t as strong as oxycodone, it kept me pretty comfortable. I had read other reviews from people who hated their first week but fortunately, that was not my experience - my first week of recovery was not bad at all .
A few days in to my recovery, I decided to take a look at my breasts. I must admit, the first time I saw my breasts, I was not too happy. They sat very high on my chest but I had been told previously that breast implants take a little while to settle. I had also read experiences of other women who had breast augmentations with silicone implants in the past (like I did -500cc and 400cc silicone implants) and they had similar issues with their breasts being too high on their chest initially and then falling, so I wasn't too concerned.
Over the subsequent weeks, I remained very swollen and bruised. As the weeks went by, the swelling did decrease significantly but I still had some pain/tightness in my abdomen. I believe this was caused by the repair of my abdominal wall. My breasts also dropped down into an ideal position.
In the end, I was very happy with my final results. Almost all of my loose skin had been removed, my breasts no longer sagged and my abdomen and flanks looked so much tighter. My new body wasn't perfect, but I was very happy. I had come a really long way from what I started with. If you're a woman suffering with loose skin after massive weight loss, or you're not satisfied with your body after children, I highly recommend the mommy makeover procedure. This procedure has made such a huge difference in my life and I am very thankful to my surgeon and the good lord for my results and the easy recovery I had. If you anyone on this forum has any questions, please feel free to post them below. I will try to answer them as quickly as I can. Thank you!