I had abdominoplasty on May 22, 2013. This is “Phase 1” of the belt lipectomy procedure that I’ve written about. Commonly called a “tummy tuck,” the goal is to remove excess skin from the front of the body and tighten the abdominal muscles. This post is one in a series following my recovery from the procedure.
At today’s visit, the doctor inspected my incision, gave me an additional abdominal binder, and discussed removing one of my drains on my next visit. All of his remarks were positive, and he seemed pleased with my progress.
After a brief wait, I was taken back to the exam room and asked for my drain records. My left drain has continued to produce quite regularly, though my right drain has slowed. Additionally, the fluid collected from the right drain is slightly lighter in color, though nothing near the color of “straw” that I read about. Recall that my right drain was the one that wasn’t working initially. I hope the fluid buildup has stopped and that this isn’t just another drain problem.
At the last visit, the doctor applied a fresh dressing to the incision and covered it with clear tape. He removed the dressing to inspect the incision, but he decided not to put new tape back down. The written instructions I received initially say that incisions which are no longer covered should be cleaned with peroxide and treated with polysporin. The directions don’t say how often this is to be done, so I’m planning on doing it when I empty my drains. I’ll ask the doctor for guidance on Friday.
The incision looks much more jagged and frightening now that it isn’t covered with plastic. Everything I read about the healing process says that it gets worse before it gets better. I refuse to be concerned about something that the doctor says is behaving as expected. My friend, Katie, had a scar on her neck that she was convinced would make her look like the victim of Jack the Ripper. I didn’t even know she had a scar until she pointed it out. Not. Worrying.
My 3-panel abdominal binder, which the doctor gave me at my last visit, was in need of cleaning. I had already started looking for binders at Walgreen’s, but all I found there were back braces that provided no support in the front. I asked the doctor, “When I take it off to clean it, what should I wear? What should I do and not do when it’s in the wash? How long can I go without wearing it?” His answer was simple, “Here’s another one. Problem solved.” He said it’s important to always keep the binder on, and to wear it tightly. My question for him at the next appointment will be, “should the binder cover the incision, or should the incision be below the binder?” At one point, I was wearing the binder over the incision. When I left the office today, the nurse placed the binder higher so the incision was not covered. I want to do the right thing.
While inspecting my incision, the surgeon also fiddled with my belly button. I’m not sure exactly what he did, but I know tweezers were used. The belly button was repositioned and reconstructed in the process, so I imagine there’s some sort of packing in there to help it keep its shape during healing. I was doing my best to stay distracted during that part, as it felt a little awkward.
I’m looking forward to Friday’s appointment and possibly being down to a single drain. Until then, it’s go slow and no heavy lifting.