Liposuction is a huge component of this surgery, and I think lots of patients (or their surgeons) downplay this. Although liposuction does not have a large incision(s), there is a significant amount of surface area that needs to heal, it is just under the skin. It can take 2-3 months for the areas treated with liposuction to really smooth out and get rid of their swelling. This is totally normal. Wearing a compression garment as much as possible during the first few months will help this process.
Most patients will be able to return to work within 1 week (at the earliest) or at the 2 week mark. Full recovery (meaning most restrictions are lifted) is at 6-8 weeks. Remember, it will take 6-12 months for you to realize your full results.
My typical breakdown with a patient is very simple. During week 1 after a tummy tuck, you will need to be off work and taking it easy. You will need to walk bent forward at the waist for about 2-3 days. Your own body will naturally relax and allow you stand up straight or lay flat during this time. You do NOT need to walk bent forward for weeks on end like many patients are told. During this first week you will need to manage your drains (I place 2 of them) and focus on resting, eating good proteins, and drinking plenty of fluids. Sleep in a recliner or with your head and back propped up on pillows. Be sure to walk around the house or around the block to keep the blood circulating in those legs.
During weeks 2-6 we slowly ramp you back up to normal activity. The drains are usually out by day 7. During week 2 I allow my patients to start using a treadmill or elliptical at a slow, walking pace. No sweating or getting dirty while the wounds heal! You see the trend — so during week 3/4/5 you can get more and more active.
I do not allow abdominal exercises (sit ups, crunches) until week 8. We need to allow that muscle plication to heal up nicely.
Patient are typically ready for the beach or bathing suits by week 6, but remember it takes 2-3 months to really see final results, no matter what anyone tells you. Wearing a compression garment after week 1 will significantly help you with postoperative swelling. You may feel some tugs or pulling during this time. As long as it is isolated and not constant and extremely painful, this is normal. Eventually everything will settle and look awesome!
Tumescent liposuction uses a large volume of dilute epinephrine to cause intense constriction of the small blood vessels, which leads to less bleeding, less bruising and less swelling.
As far as your personal decision, it is important that you have given legitimate thought to surgery. If you are mentally, socially, and financially ready and able to have surgery, then go for it! In the United States, you are restricted to saline implants until the age of 22.
It is critically important that you select a true Plastic Surgeon who will sit down with you and explain the entire surgical process to you, including the fact that you will likely need future surgeries on your breasts if you elect to have a breast augmentation at the age of 18. Breast implants are permanent devices that don’t last permanently.
Remember, liposuction is NOT a weight loss surgery. I tell my liposuction patients to never step on a scale at any time after liposuction. You will likely not lose any significant amount of weight. Liposuction is a “look better” surgery. As long as you look better in the mirror, fit in smaller clothes, and people notice that you look great, surgery was a success!!!
Your timeframe of 6-8 weeks is pretty much right on target. I tell my patients that at about 6 weeks they are clear to perform basically all activities, such as running, lifting weights, etc. I tell them to wait a full 8 weeks before they do any type of abdominal activities, such as sit ups. At this point you should be able to lift over 20 pounds. You need to let that muscle repair (yes, the diastasis) really heal and you don’t want to risk it coming back by breaking a suture from intense abdominal activity.
After 8 weeks, as long as you are feeling well and your surgeon clears you, there should be no major restrictions. It takes a full year for the healing process to be complete, so for the first 4-6 months you should always be aware of your tummy tuck and be sure you protect yourself from any injuries, trauma, or extreme over-exertion.
High intensity kickboxing is just that — high intensity. You need to specifically clear that with your surgeon. Remember, young healthy people “feel better” after surgery quickly and it is easy to assume that you are completely healed. Don’t overdo it. Listen to your surgeon’s postoperative instructions. No matter what I or any other surgeons tell you, always make sure you speak with your Plastic Surgeon first — he or she makes the ultimate decisions because they operated on you!For example, are you doing it because you feel your breasts are too small relative to your body contour or are you unhappy with the size and firmness of your breasts following pregnancy, breastfeeding or major weight loss? Unevenness between the breasts can also be a motivating factor. Your surgeon can help you make the right decision during your pre-surgical appointments.
Most Plastic Surgeons will agree that it is important to come up with a game plan for your surgeries. In massive weight loss patients, the most common procedures will be body lift, arm lift, thigh lift, and breast lift (in women) or possibly breast skin reduction (in men). There are other procedures, but these are the most common.
In my opinion, it is important to start with a good foundation in the core of the body, so I always recommend the body lift first. Because the arms are essentially completely separate from the body, I will often pair a body lift with an arm lift.
Once these surgeries have had time to heal over at least 6 months, I will discuss the remainder of the surgeries with the patient. If it is thighs and breast, then that is what we will safely do.
Too much surgery at once puts you at risk of adverse complications and poor outcomes. Don’t be in too much of a rush. Choose a board certified Plastic Surgeon who knows these surgeries well and knows how to take care of you both before and after your surgeries.
If you do not want to tackle both procedures at once, then you should wait 3-6 months between procedures to allow the first one to heal appropriately. However, if you are truly interested in a BBL, then make sure you speak with your Plastic Surgeon about the amount of fat you have on your abdomen that he or she will need to use to transfer into your buttocks. If you have a tummy tuck first and most of this skin and fat is removed, then you will certainly decrease the amount of fat available for transfer into your buttocks during the BBL.
Always choose a board certified Plastic Surgeon for your care! Best of luck!
Don’t overthink things too much. As long as your weight was stable prior to surgery and you weren’t actively losing any weight, you should be in a good place in terms of nutrition during your recovery. I don’t typically assign a specific number as far as calories that my patients must consume after surgery. A better way of looking at your nutrition right now is to make sure you are eating 3 good meals a day that are full of good protein (chicken, lean meat), healthy fat (such as nuts like almonds), and some carbohydrates. Don’t be afraid to snack a few times each day. Colorful vegetables are good to make sure you get your vitamins and minerals, and it is OK to take a multivitamin. Good nutrition = good wound healing and better looking scars.
Don’t worry about the scale, you are correct that your weight might fluctuate a bit in the months following your surgery. But I would be concerned if you were consistently LOSING weight after surgery, so it is perfectly fine to check your weight every week or two. I hope this helps, and congratulations on your surgery!
Silicone scar therapy can take many forms. The main choices are sticky silicone sheets and silicone gel/ointment. There are multiple theories on how the silicone works, and one of the theories is via pressure, just like you mentioned (very good for you!). Other theories state that it may alter water content of scars, and some even think it alters the electric charge of the scar.
Realize that you might not even need silicone therapy. I will not recommend it or even allow it unless I start to see some aggressive or stubborn scar starting to form. Always follow the direction of your Plastic Surgeon. Good luck with your breast lift!
I consulted a doc and loved him. I checked on American Board of Plastic Surgery and he's not board certified! What should I do?
Other “cosmetic surgeons” have not completed a formal residency program in Plastic Surgery. No matter what they may say, they were never trained by other ABPS certified Plastic Surgeons in the surgeries they perform, and unfortunately they lack the expertise to deal with any problems after your surgery, which might require you to seek out a board certified Plastic Surgeon to fix the problem. Which may end up costing you a LOT of money…
At the end of the day, yes, it will be more expensive to have surgery here in the United States close to home. You are paying for piece of mind and guaranteed surgical training and safety when you choose a board certified Plastic Surgeon.
A tummy tuck will NOT remove stretch marks that are above your belly button. But stretch marks below the belly button (where the majority of stretch marks occur) should all be included in the skin that is removed from your belly during your tummy tuck.