The day had finally come, my final surgery. Over a year had gone by since I had started on my reconstructive journey. I had hiccups on the road, and this one included. But, on June 30, 2014 I finally had my medial thigh lift.
Before my medial thigh lift, I once again had to go through my surgery protocol; I had to be cleared for surgery. So, remember my talk about the importance of vitamins? Well, I ran into the issue of my iron being low again. So I cannot stress enough, please keep on top of your vitamins and iron and make sure you get checked on a regular basis. We had to push back my surgery, but this time we were prepared. I had an iron transfusion.
The iron transfusion wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I was able to do it in the comfort of my home and it only took me about an hour. But, the next day, when I took my blood work again, I was cleared for surgery.
The medial thigh lift was once again an outpatient surgery, meaning when the surgery was done I was able to go home. For me personally, this was the hardest surgery I went through. Dr. Katzen once again performed lipo suction to get better results. He removed ___ lbs.
This go around I did not have my mother to help me out. So, my station was set up and fully stocked. I didn’t have to move to get anything because it was at arm’s length. For my medial thigh lift, the first week was the hardest. I could barely lift my legs so the catheter really came in handy. Again, I was lucky to where I didn’t have constipation, but when I was able to get up, I had a bedside commode so I wouldn’t have to go far.
My medial thigh lift was the only surgery I had complications on. I had openings on both sides of my inner thighs near the groin. Working in the office I knew that openings can happen just because of where the area was. A lot of times there are openings because patients do things they aren’t supposed to do. But I was lying in bed, resting, getting ample protein, changing the dressings to keep the area dry; I was being the star patient. So, when I had an opening, I took it hard. I couldn’t figure out why I had an opening when I was doing everything right. But, Dr. Katzen with his amazing bedside manner was there to comfort me. He reassured me that everything was going to be okay and we took the proper steps to close the opening. Though at the time it seemed like forever, in no time the wounds were healing and I before I knew it, I was strutting around in short shorts and wearing my bikini.
After being stuck in one spot for about a month, cabin fever started to kick in. But, finally Dr. Katzen had cleared me to do light walking and I was allowed to leave the house. In this blog I’m going to discuss those pesky drains and how to deal with them and my lovely, lovely first day out.
For those of you who don’t know, after a 360 body lift you have some new friends. You wake up with six pesky little drains that you have to keep hourly checks on, dump, and strip. (See Dr.Katzen’s video here on how to read a drain). Even though the drains can be annoying, they help get rid of the excess fluid that your body is producing. During your time with them, you should know that you aren’t allowed to shower. The duration that you have the drains is different with everyone. It depends on the color and output of the drains. I had my drains for over a month. So, luckily, I had my lovely mother to help wash my hair and gave me sponge baths.
I remember my first two outings. One was the Obesity Help Convention. Dr.Katzen had a booth and I knew a lot of people who were going. So, I wanted to join in on the fun and say hello! You have to get creative on your outfit because of the drains. You cant have them dangling (trust me, that hurts because they are coming out of your pubic area) but you want to cover them as much as possible because you will be out in public. We had a patient who created a lanyard that you can hook the drains to. (If you would like to purchase one, you can call the office at 310-859-7770). So, I had my mother wash my hair, I threw on my Body By Katzen tank top and a skirt. I stayed at the booth for a bit and then walked around. By the end of it, I couldn’t wait to be back in my bed. You will be surprised about how doing so little can wear you out.
The other outing my mom dressed me up and took my puppy and I out to the Irvine Spectrum. Then afterwards I got my protein intake by enjoying some yummy Korean Bbq. I enjoyed having the sun in my face and walking. I had a walker, which had a seat on it. I had to take lots of breaks and my mom had to push me the majority of the time. But just the feeling of being somewhere other than in your recovery recliner is nice. Plus, this was the first time that I was able to really spend some quality time with my dog that I adored and cherished. It killed me that I wasn’t able to take care of her for my recovery. I’m thankful that my mother was able to step in for her.
As you can tell, I wasn’t too fond of the drains. You had to be careful with them, they were difficult to go out in, but most of all it was annoying because you couldn’t shower. Drains typically aren’t painful unless you accidentally dropped one and then it would tug on your pubic area. But, after awhile, if you aren’t blessed with being able to get the drains taken out, the skin will start to form around the drain which can cause a little pain when moving due to tugging. If this is the case, speak to your surgeon. Dr.Katzen was able to prescribe a numbing cream that was a life saver.
Now, the removal of the drains. Once again, pain tolerance is different for every one. Our office recommends that if you think a drain might be removed to go ahead and take a pain pill so it will be in your system by the time the drain is removed. But, to be honest, the feeling is more odd than painful. Dr.Katzen will remove the stitch that keeps the drain in place, then ask if you’re ready. After that he will spray something to help numb the area and then he tells you to take a deep breath and he pulls. It feels odd like a snake is slithering through your body. Then, there is discomfort for a second and then its over. Drain gone.
Best feeling is 24 hours after that last drain is pulled, you get to take the longest, hottest, and sweetest shower of your life. After over a month without showering, being in pain, and being stuck in one place, I was finally starting to feel that my weight loss journey was starting to be completed. One surgery down, only two more surgeries to go…
Shower, Irvine Spectrum and Korean BBQ
I often get asked if we have out of town patients and how we process them. I have many patients from out of state and out of country coming to me on a regular basis.
It starts out with a phone consultation. Patients send me paperwork and pictures of problem areas. We then discuss different options for surgery and discuss a plan for surgery. Some surgeries can be combined, ex: an arm lift can be done at the same time as breast surgeries. Once I determine a patient is a good candidate for surgery, the patient will get a date for their procedure(s). My office will then send all instructions and work up orders to the patient. All work ups and clearance can be done with the patient’s local physician. Results will be sent to me for review. I make sure the patient is safe to have surgery.
The patient normally flies or drives out a day or two before surgery to see me. The closest airport to my office is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). There are two other airports that are not too far away: Burbank Airport (in Los Angeles County) or John Wayne Airport (in Orange County).
Once surgery is done, the patient will then stay in town for a specified amount of time, dependent on what surgery they had done. Some patients will stay at a healing facility for one or two days right after surgery before going to a hotel or their friend’s/family’s home. Here are some hotels that are nearby our office:
0.12 mi. – Mosaic Hotel, 125 South Spalding, 800.463.4466: Mention code: Dr. Katzen
0.24 mi. – Peninsula Hotel, 9882 South Santa Monica Blvd, 800.462.7899
0.31 mi. – Beverly Hilton, 9876 Wilshire Blvd, 800.HILTONS
0.44 mi. – Luxe Hotel, 360 N. Rodeo Drive, 866.LUXE411: Mention code: Plastic Surgeon
0.67 mi. – Best Western Beverly Pavillion, 9360 Wilshire Blvd, 800.441.5050: Mention code: Dr. Katzen
1.28 mi. – Loews Hotel, 1224 S. Beverwil at Rodeo, 800.235.6397
1.3 mi. – Crowne Plaza, 1150 S. Beverly Drive, 888.303.1746:
1.3 mi. – Marriott Residence Inn, 1177 S. Beverly Drive, 800.331.3131 (with kitchenettes): Mention code: Medical rates
Many patients wonder if they can have children after a tummy tuck. If you know you want to have children in the near future, you should definitely wait to have your children first before having a tummy tuck. When performing the tummy tuck, Dr. Katzen will sew your rectus muscle (6-pack muscles) and tighten the skin in your abdominal area. Having children after the procedure will not harm your abdomen, but it may stretch it and not be as tight.
If you are interested in having a tummy tuck, please contact our office at 310-859-7770 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your private consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. J. Timothy Katzen.
Having any surgery can be nerve wrecking. There are some things you can do to help ease the anxiety when planning for reconstructive plastic surgery.
For best results, your weight should be stabilized for at least three months prior to reconstructive surgery. Exercise to stay fit and it also helps with your recovery.
If you plan to have children within the next few years, you should do that first before having certain reconstructive surgery, such as, an abdominoplasty or 360 body lift.
My patients need to stop smoking at least six months prior to surgery.
During consultation, I will go over what to expect for surgery. Also, my office will give you instructions in writing so you know what to expect. Read everything ahead of time so you have enough time to buy and prep prior to surgery. See my earlier blog, Recovery Spot – How to Prepare.
All my patients having elective surgery must STOP using all sources of aspirin and aspirin-related medications. These medications are strong anticoagulants that cause increased bleeding. You must not take these products for two weeks before surgery and for two weeks after surgery.
THE FOLLOWING ARE ONLY A FEW OF MANY COMPOUNDS TO BE AVOIDED:
If you need to take something to relieve a headache, menstrual cramps, backache, etc., please take TYLENOL (as directed) for the two weeks before and after your surgery. Please stop drinking green tea as well. If you are not sure about a product, please call the surgeon to discuss.
Two weeks prior to surgery, my office will send you a list of work up to get done, ex: labs, EKG, x-rays, etc. Once your work up is done, you will need to be cleared by your internist.
Don’t eat or drink anything the night before surgery or morning of surgery; this includes medications. There are certain medications you can take, which I will discuss with you during your final pre op visit. You will arrive at least an hour (depending on the facility) prior to your surgery time to get prepped.
Please note: These are suggestions for my practice. If you have surgery elsewhere, please check with your surgeon for tips and guidelines.
If you would like to set up a free consultation, please call us at (310) 859-7770.
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