Today marks 5 weeks since my Abdominoplasty surgery! Time has seriously been flying. I honestly imagined my recovery time to crawl by. I think being on the pain meds the first week made that week go by even faster. I slept a lot that week too. The last update I posted was at 10 days post op. This was just after getting my drains and belly button stitches out. Really, that was a major turning point in my recovery! Showers are a beautiful thing and I was happy to have them back in my life!
From 2 weeks post op to 4 weeks post op things got exponentially better. I started feeling less pain and completely stopped having to take anything for pain right around 2 weeks. Some of the swelling started to go down and moving around was much easier.
At my 3 week post op appointment Dr Mills was impressed with how well I was moving. Again, I will tell you that being fit going into surgery helped me more than anything else. My body recovered faster and moving around was so much easier. At the appointment I was told I had an open wound on my belly button. This wasn’t a huge deal, it was just that where my belly button was ended up right on one of my stretch marks, so it took a little while longer to heal. This was during the healing process. All I had to do was keep antibiotic ointment on it.
I also got told to stop wearing my bulky hospital binder and go to using a spanx type compression garment. I have just been wearing high waisted spanx underwear type compression. I still have swelling, especially if I do something particularly active like clean the house. I started to feel more normal and even got into some jeans! I’m wearing the same size I was before, they just fit way better!
At 4 weeks post op I felt 99% normal. I still had some tightness, but a lot of my mobility was back to normal. I can twist and turn and have no pain. Again, the swelling is still here… and It’s actually worse in this picture because I spent most of the day before on my feet.
At 4 weeks I started wearing my compression garment half time. I’ve worn it just through the night and I’ve also worn it just during the day. I think I prefer to wear it to bed because I love waking up with the flatter tummy after being in compression gear all night. I was also allowed to lift more weight, around 25lbs and up. Before I was limited to 10-15lbs. The first few days of wearing my compression gear half time I felt my core getting tired towards the end of the afternoon.
Today is the 5 week mark and I can see a huge difference between last week and this week. The swelling has gone down noticeably, at least to me.
The swelling usually happens in the lower part of my stomach, but today it felt really flat. As far as the scar goes, it is suuuuper low and pretty light. You can see in the 4 weeks post op picture the faint line of the scar. I’m really happy with the placement of the scar and how well it has recovered. I also love my belly button shape and coloring, especially after it finished healing. I feel totally normal. I’m SO ready to get back to working out. I can start easing back into it next week. I know once I get back to working out things will change even more (for the better!)
Here is a little progression of my results week by week. Some weeks you can see a difference and some you can’t. Tummy Tuck recovery is a roller coaster of ups and downs.
I asked on my Facebook and Instagram if anyone had specific questions regarding the procedure or recovery so I’ll answer them here. If you see any I didn’t get to, leave them in the comments!
Where is the best place to rest immediately post-op? Recliner, bed, sofa?
First of all, remember that everyone has a different recovery. I slept in my bed at night from day 1. I was propped up on pillows so I was almost sitting up, but I felt like I needed some separation between my “awake time” and “night time.” I Spent most of the day the first week in a recliner, which was the most comfortable. By week 3 I started removing pillows and laying down more flat. I still kept a pillow under my knees until week 3 as well.
What do you like best and least about your procedure/experience/body now?
I love my belly button! I’ve always had a spare tire around my belly button as long as I remember. So to have a cute belly button is so fun! The part I like the least about the whole procedure is the numbness I feel from my belly button to the top of the scar. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels weird and was really hard to get used to.
Was it painful?
Again, every one is going to be different. The pain pills helped the first week and once the drains was out it was less pain and more discomfort. Everything felt super tight and that was the hardest part. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
How long before you can walk upright/lay flat?
I was standing mostly upright by the 8 day mark. I didn’t start sleeping completely flat until around week 3.
Did your insurance pay on the procedures?
No, this was all out of pocket. Some insurance would have covered it, but since we are self employed and have to purchase our own insurance this wasn’t included despite the fact I was referred to the Plastic Surgeon by my Primary Care Doctor due to irritating rashes and other issues. Check with your provider.
How much weight did you lose?
I cannot stress this enough… This is not a weight loss surgery. I did not have this surgery to lose weight. I spent the last 4 years totally overhauling my lifestyle and lost 70lbs before having this procedure. They removed 8lbs of skin and tissue during the surgery. Since surgery day I’m down just about 5lbs. Swelling is crazy during the first few months so it goes up and down depending on activity level and my diet.
How do your clothes fit?
Most of my clothes were too small coming out of surgery because of the swelling. I’m just now getting to where I can fit in most of my pre-surgery clothes. They fit different, but they fit. I’m still in the same size jeans but there is a lot more room in the front!
So far I’m very happy with my decision to have this surgery and loving my results. Again, it is not for everyone. It was what was right for me. I would do it again in a heart beat. It is overwhelming to see the results I’ve worked so hard for. I’m not saying you have to go through plastic surgery to see results, but with the amount of time and the degree to which I was obese it was the option that made the best sense for me.
Thank you so much for following my journey!
Do you have any questions about the procedure/recovery I haven’t answered?