I wanted to share some thoughts about my recent tummy tuck with Dr. A in hopes of helping others as they make their medical decisions. I really did not know what to expect from the surgery, though I knew I had excess belly fat and skin that wasn’t going to going away no matter what I ate or what I did to try to combat the fat. I’m in my early 50’s and I have 3 children – so no surprise that I had a tummy that needed some help.
Dr. A was my choice of physicians (never even went for a second opinion) because I trusted her as a surgeon (I consider her a brilliant doctor) and she’s an artist to boot – what a great combination for a plastic surgeon!!
Before the surgery I filled all my prescriptions as I was instructed. I was really only concerned about having to deal with (remove) the pain ball and draining the drain—I am a bit squeamish when it comes to anything with blood or tubes—but I knew I wanted the work done so I would have to rise to the occasion.
Well, the morning of my surgery Dr. A told me that the hospital had just received a new form of long term pain/numbing medication to use in the procedure. It was a shot that she would administer during the surgery and it would leave me pain free for 72 hours—allowing me to begin the healing process comfortably. I was excited because that meant I would not have the pain ball or the associated tube that I would have had to remove after 72 hours. Yeah!!!
Well, the surgery went great—as expected, and when I woke up in the extended care recovery room, I felt pretty good. No pain!! And only 2 small drains that I was taught how to empty. I quickly overcame my “I’m not sure I can do this” to just doing it! The 72-hour pain shot was doing its job!
While I was having no pain, I did have discomfort. Sitting up (I learned to roll to my side and push up with my hands), coughing or clearing my throat, and laughing all made me wince and ache. It got better each day (even by the hour) but the discomfort was pretty strong at first. But again, I state no real pain from the surgery.
As it is often said, it is best to stay ahead of the pain and not wait until you are in pain to take your pain meds. So a little before my 72 hours were approaching, I took my first pain pill (I didn’t need it, I wasn’t in pain, but I was following the old adjure.) My instructions were to switch off the pain med and the muscle relaxer every 4 hours, so that is what I did. I was very impressed because I was not feeling any pain. I did this for about one and a half days, but I realized I was going more like every 6-8 hours between the meds. So, I quit—figuring I still wasn’t in pain so why stay on the drugs. I knew I could always take them (or just Tylenol) if the pain got to me. But, I never revisited the meds, and never had any pain. Amazing but true!!
My healing process has been rather quick. I did absolutely nothing for the first 4 days but stay in bed and take frequent, short walks around my house—even the stairs. My drains came out after about 10 days and I was fitted for my Spanx. My healing and recovery continue steadily ( I am now 4 weeks post op) and I continue to improve daily. There is not much I can’t do at this point (still no real exercise), but I am still cautious to take it a little bit easy.
I hope my story helps and alleviates some concerns, especially associated with pain following a tummy tuck. I know everyone is different, but I really kept waiting for the pain to start, and it never did!