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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Tummytuck Surgery After Childbirth & Weight-lost at Shens Clinic (Photos and Recovery Updates)

I finally completed the post that  everyone has been patiently waiting for...the journey of my tummy-tuck surgery.

Why I Choose to go for a tummytuck procedure?
I've always fantasized about just cutting off that piece of loose saggy flab hanging on my waist.  Yes those dreadful multiple folds that were fixated upon my entire life after my two pregnancy births and massive weight lost.

 If you have followed my previous post, I gained nearly 30kg during my pregnancy and continued to gain more until I was a whooping 80kg body for my small frame. It took me slightly over a year to lose all the crazy weight. In fact now I weigh even lesser than my pre-preg weight, but infuriatingly, my tummy still disappoints me . I lost a lot of weight at such a short period of time so this caused my skin to stretch and get loosen even more. They started to hang like small folds of apron all over my entire belly. The tissue that binds the main abdominal muscles has stretched beyond natural repair and regardless how much exercises I did or how much weight I lose, the loose skin is unable to reverse back to its original state. I desperately want the hanging skin to go so my tummy can look normal again.  Each time I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt so self-conscious of my saggy scarred tummy and always think of ways to hide them. Not many new how serious my condition is. Many doctors have already confirmed that my only option is a tummy tuck surgery to fully repair it. I do have people advising me to change my diet , take more collagen or do certain kind of toning exercises , thinking that it will help to solve this loose skin problem. I can tell you that anything under the sun you can think of, I've tried.Maybe it helps to improve a tiny bit but it definitely wont solve my problem.  After several years of consideration, I decided to go the surgical route, to get rid of it once and for all.

How "Bad" Was My Tummy Before Surgery? (photos before surgery)

After my rapid weight-lost, my skin became so loose and saggy that it even droops over my bellybutton. You can not believe that this 70 years old look-alike tummy belongs to a 30 years old. And now you know how much I want to repair this wrinkled apron that I've been carrying for the past few years.

What is a Tummytuck/Abdominoplasty? 
During tummytuck/ abdominoplasty surgery, your abdominal skin is stretched down over your incision line and the excess skin is removed after tightening the abdominal muscles with sutures. In a FULL tummytuck, a long horizontal incision is made just above the pubic bone , curving up to the sides of the hip bones. Drainage tubes will then be inserted into the incisions to prevent the buildup of fluids beneath the skin. The tummytuck scar will be incorporated to the existing scar of women who have undergone cesarean section and may take several months to fade. 

A tummy tuck is NOT a substitute for weight loss . A good candidate is one who has lost a lot of weight, finished having children, already committed to a healthy lifestyle but struggle with increased amounts of skin laxity or separated abdominal muscles. 

The Consultation with Dr Shen from Shens Clinic

Tummytuck is a big surgery that takes long hours with the use of GA (general anesthesia ) .Therefore, it's very important to look for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with specialized training and significant experience. Dr Shen from Shens Clinic is very professional because after he reviewed my medical history, he is able to explain the procedures in detail, and understood the result that I desired.
Dr Shen is also a perfectionist and has high expectation of his work. After analyzing my condition, he decided that I need a full tummy-tuck, bellybutton reconstruction, diastasis rec-ti repair (stitching back the separated abdominal muscles walls) and liposuction of my flanks to create that dramatic improvement that I expected. He was confident that he can easily help me retrieve back my long-lost pre-pregnancy figure or achieve one that is even better. 

The Day of Surgery 
Honestly I don't remember much about the surgery day. I knew that I'm really thankful to the anesthesiologist who helped me sleep comfortably throughout that 5 hours while Dr Shens carefully worked his magic on me . I woke up with my torso swathed in thick bandages and was still a little googly from the after-effect of the GA. I didn't manage to experience any real pain yet , just the discomfort from the super tight body garment that they squeezed me into. I thought that the real pain would hit me immediately after I gained consciousness. However probably due to the leftover anesthesia, I was even able to get up slowly and walked to the reception sofa myself to meet my hubby there. 
This photo is taken right after my surgery.... I looked a little pale-looking but feeling rather fine. Well, except for that disturbing bag of blood hanging between my legs. 
Nothing could prepare me for the worst part of my recovery and that is mainly contributed by this bloody bag above. I had two thin tubes on each end of my (hip to hip) incision that helps to drain fluid from my abdomen. They are connected to this bag that collects the blood and fluid over the next few days. The tubes of the bag really gets on my nerves as they always got in the way .If I accidentally pull or trip over them ,it would lead to this unbearable painful burning sensation that shot all the way up to my entire torso. Therefore I need to be really careful with these tubes and bag for the next six days. Once the bag is filled up with my accumulated blood, I had to drain them into the toilet bowl multiple times a day. This is definitely not for the faint of heart . For that week, my toilet was filled with the puking stench of my blood. Furthermore I've to survive in this ugly beige post-surgical garment that was so tight and uncomfortable that it made me gasp and pant for breath, causing me sleepless nights. 

The First Week Of Recovery
The first week is all about gritting your teeth and pulling through the recovery period. I was pumping myself with painkillers and sleeping pills , trying to pass by the discomfort stage. Getting myself up and down the bed was extremely tedious because of the raw flesh drain-holes from my incisions that had me constantly wincing in pain. Whenever I accidentally stimulate those abdominal muscles with a cough or sneeze or even a laugh, my tummy felt like being stabbed by tiny burning knives. This was due to the stitching of the muscle gaps in my abdomen. It hurts very badly if it got tensed just a little.  For nearly two weeks, I've to keep my hips flexed and walk hunch over like an old lady. It made my lower back ached so much.  At times I wonder why am I putting myself at peril for the sake of vanity? This was the time that I've to constantly keep my mind focus on the results, and convince myself that everything is all worth it. And by doing so, I did online shopping for new clothes and bikinis that I can wear after I recover. It has proven to be a very good way to comfort myself at this period. 

The 7th Day Of Recovery
The drains were finally removed on the 6th day at the clinic. I was so damn happy to see them go . This is how my tummy looked like on the 7th day without the tubes, bag and corset. My entire torso feels so rock hard and is still swelling with bruises. My new bellybutton has yet to be healed so it had to be covered with a plaster to prevent infection. When I reached home, I cant wait to stand in front my mirror and slowly examine my naked tummy. It was already obvious that my wrinkled skin had been evenly ironed out and for first time I can remember; I've a waist finally!
 Dr Shens advised me to wear my compression garment as long as I can, to give me the support I need, as well as to recover faster with better result. 

The 14th Day Of Recovery
At this stage although I cant really stand up fully straight yet and is still hunching a little,  I'm already quite comfortable enough to resume most of my daily routine around the house, like cooking and handling my two kids. My waist has became much more defined , even though the skin is still tight and looked stapled down in an unnatural way. My new reconstructed bellybutton was a straight line instead of a round naval. However Dr Shens assured me that I'm still at the healing stage and my tummy would soften and become much natural-looking soon. 

The Scar of a Tummytuck
Tummytuck is a surgical procedure that requires a long incision across your abdomen, therefore it would definitely leave a long faint scar. However, Dr Shens is careful when placing the incision so any scarring will be easily concealed by underwear or a bikini bottom. Also, I was advised to use certain products to minimize scarring and it will fade dramatically with time.If you are curious how the scar of a tummytuck looks like, here you go. This is the scar two months after the surgery.  Truthfully, I can live well with the scar in exchange for my perfectly stretched skin and flat tummy. Oh and I finally have a cute bellybutton too!

3 Months Post-surgery - The Result (Photo)
It has been 3 months since my surgery and I didn't regret any bit for going through this even if I've to repeat the pain that I endured during the first few days. Dr Shens has amazingly gave me the result that I've always been dreaming of for a long time; he managed to magically turn back the clock and get my pre-pregnancy body back for me. My saggy and wrinkled tummy skin and loose protruding bellybutton are finally gone, and now I've a perfect new waist to work on.

I would like to point out that doing this surgery doesn't mean that I didn't love myself or didn't appreciate the "battle scars" from my pregnancy. I love what my body had given me;  two beautiful children that rock my world. However I don't need the presence of loose skin, stretched marks and wrinkled tummy to remind me how much I love my children. I still love them the same, more than anyone in the world. And it's not that I don't love my body anymore. In fact it's because I love my body so much that I wanted this surgery to be done with no regrets. 

Once again, the recovery journey of a tummy-tuck is no joke. You really need the help and support especially if you have kids at home. I'm proud to say that my hubby has been my steady rock throughout this entire ordeal of mine. He tried his best to help around to ensure my recovery journey was a smooth and easy one. Lastly, a great thank you to Dr Shens who've created this miracle for me and also to the rest of the staffs from ShensClinic. Everyone there has been pretty helpful and showed concern and patience to me during my recovery journey.  

If you have questions for me , do drop me a message or follow my 
Instagram @adelinebabysuns for more updates. 

To all females, mothers and my sisters out there, I'm not exactly trying to convince you that this tummytuck surgery is a MUST-DO. However if you made a good candidate and are already sure that you really want to go for it, I like to remind you again that tummy-tuck is a big surgery so it is extremely important to find yourself a reputed doctor with experience in this surgery.

 Of course due to my personal good experience and result , I would highly recommend my doctor, Dr Shens from ShensClinic. More information can be found below. 

Address: 3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519
Telephone: (65)69044488, (65)96416744


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