As many of you have read in a previous post, I had a gastric sleeve about 6 years ago. I lost 130 lbs. really fast. That left me with a lot of loose skin, especially in the stomach area. I had what is commonly called an apron of skin. This apron caused rashes and infections regularly.
Finally, I had enough. I seen a plastic surgeon and 3 weeks later, I was heading to the hospital to get a panniculectomy. Basically, they cut from hip bone to hip bone above your pubic area. Then they go up in a semi- circle above your belly button an remove all that extra skin and fat. Then the skin above the semi- circle cut is pulled down to the pubic area and stitched together. A new belly button is made.
It was roughly $28,000 and my insurance covered all but $2300. It helped that I had several years of documentation about my rashes and infections, and I happened to have an infection when the plastic surgeon took the pictures to send to my insurance. So I thought it was not too bad of a deal.
Was it painful, some. My C-section was worse. The worse part of it, the DRAIN. There was a drain coming from my pubic area, that we had to "strip and drain" 3 to 4 times a day. We had to keep record of how much fluid was coming from it. Once the fluid was less then 30 cc in a 2 day span, the drain could be removed. Usually takes about 2 weeks. But, of course, my drain was in for 3 1/2 weeks. It was terrible, and some pretty disgusting looking stuff comes out into the drain too. There were a lot of fibrous tissues, some long and stringy like a worm. All of this is normal, my plastic surgeon assured me. Also, no baths or showering while the drain is in place, sponge baths only, and having someone was your hair in the sink. Again, the drain is awful, but necessary for healing properly.
The second worse part of it, the BINDER. this thing is sooo uncomfortable. I am about 6 weeks out since surgery and I have about another week of it before I can burn it. It is worn 24/7 until the surgeon tells you otherwise. It binds, pinches, rubs and stops bulges and bumps from forming on your new stomach. So useful, just a nuisance.
I am allergic to adhesives and latex, so I have had a few issues with the scar tape covering the incision. My stomach will never be supermodel worthy, or completely flat. But it is 100% better than it used to be. They suggest waiting at least 8-12 weeks before buying new clothes that the swelling goes down, but sometimes it can take up to 1 year for the swelling to go away completely. Also, unfortunately, no weight loss when you have this surgery. Which just blows my mind, there was literally 3 lbs. cut off me. But I still weigh exactly the same as I did before the surgery. You should however, loose pant sizes once swelling is down. Some reports I read of other women that had this surgery was anywhere from 1 to 5 pant sizes. I am waiting for that!
All in all, it was one of the best thing, I would do it again in a heart beat. If you are looking into it, I would encourage you to speak to your provider about it. Your confidence level will definitely soar, I know mine has already, even with the dang binder on!