A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and tightens the abdominal muscles, usually after pregnancy or gaining weight. It depends on your needs and the areas you want to change. Everyone recovers differently. Recovery depends on your age, health, weight and type of tummy tuck. It's normal to have more than one scar after surgery. The scars may be thin, raised, slightly pink or lighter. Others may also experience irregular and hypertrophic scars that may require scar revision procedure.
Hels, a vibrant mom who had a tummy tuck and scar revision, has been sharing her journey on her Instagram account. She shares her experience with her surgery and gives advice on how to recover from it.
You openly shared your tummy tuck experience on social media. Can you tell us why have you decided to document your story?
When I was researching, I found social media to be useful. You can look on the surgeon’s website, (don’t get me wrong surgeons are great!) but they only show you the best of things. They don’t show you the mental journey and things that might go wrong. They don’t show you the hypertrophic scars. For me, the biggest help when I was looking was talking to other people and following other people’s journeys. I was also thinking if I create an Instagram account with my pictures and then I drop my phone or smash it and lose my pictures, I still have the pictures somewhere else. And that actually happened, I lost my phone so I didn’t have access to any of my pictures on my phone for 6 months. Good thing I shared everything on Instagram and still recovered other files afterwards.
How it started
I had a tummy tuck before and had hypertrophic scars. My surgeon gave me a round of steroid injections around the scar to help flatten it and improve it, but what it also did was widen it. It went from 5 or 6mm to nearly 1cm in width. It also went very purple and you can see veins coming out of it. It looked like a mess and it was also quite high up. Had it looked like that and been low enough down where the bikini bottoms would cover it, I probably wouldn’t mind it too much. Because of its height, I wasn't happy with this. I had a revision in March of this year, which would be 15 months after the original surgery. The doctor just cut the whole of the scar out and pulled me down a little bit more, so it was even flatter and tighter than before and restitched it.
This time as soon as the dressing came off, which was 7 to 10 days later, I started using the Medi Grade Silicone Gel Roll because I had a couple of different silicone gels previously. But with the gel, you have to remember to put it on and massage it. I was doing that morning and evening, twice a day. Whereas for the tape, it was on 24/7, holding the scar flat. I was thinking why didn’t I do this before, why no one recommend tape rather than gel? The tape is reusable, you can take it off, you can shower then put the same strip back on. It’s not like you’re using one long piece of tape and then just using it once and throwing it away. You can have a shower with it on. If you don’t want to take it on and off, you could just leave it while in the shower. It’s perfectly waterproof. Once I have used it, it was a no-brainer – I’m gonna keep using this.
And then I saw my surgeon a few weeks later and he told me that “it’s already making a massive difference and I would recommend that you wear this tape constantly for 6 months or even a year. It’s really doing its job because as the scar is healing, although it is trying to make itself hypertrophic again, it is staying flat.”
My scar is so much better this time. I genuinely do think that is due to the wearing of the tape 24/7. I wore it for about 4 months 24/7. Then we had really hot weather in the summer so I got quite itchy. I stopped wearing it during the day and just put it on at night. I did that for another 2 and a half months. And then I haven’t been wearing it but I still have some. If I feel like it’s starting to rise again, I will put it on.
What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome after the surgery took place?
It was the mental journey. For some women, this type of surgery is going to be the biggest surgery they will ever have in their life unless they have C-section. You expect to be in pain, to be in discomfort, swell, and feel other physical changes. What you don’t realise, is that it takes your head a little while to catch up with your body. When I look at the mirror, I don’t see what’s actually reflected. I’m still sometimes seeing what I didn’t like. But then, what I didn’t like wasn’t there, so I’m seeing other things that I didn’t notice before like “oh my god, have my thighs always been this big before?” “have my arms been that big?” You fixate on other things. I’ve spent over half my life fixated on my tummy from having children and suddenly, it’s not there anymore. Julia Roberts said it perfectly in Pretty Woman, “Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to believe the hard stuff?” We are our own worst enemies. We don’t ever look at ourselves and see the good stuff. I’ve done a thing before in my previous job where I said to people to turn to the person next to you and give them 3 compliments in 2 minutes. They do that pretty easily. Then I say you now have 5 minutes to write down 3 nice things about yourself and most people can’t even do that in 5 minutes. That’s one thing we all need to do, we all need to look at ourselves and see the good stuff, but sometimes it’s really difficult..
Also, the swelling goes on for months afterwards. You think you are over it then it comes back again. Just all of those things that hit your head.
What advice would you give to someone who has had the same experience?
I didn’t think it was something that I would ever do. I didn’t think it was for normal people, but actually, it is. It’s life-changing. Doing it for me and not for anyone else. My confidence came out even more. I didn’t feel like constantly pulling my tops down or having to sit down and having to put a bag over my tummy. My advice is don’t think it’s not for you. My advice is go have some consultations, speak to people and realise that it is achievable and it is life-changing. Don’t be afraid to investigate and reach out to other people who’ve been through it because the majority of us are nice and we all just want to share our experiences and help each other.
In what ways did your surgery change your life in a positive way that you might not think of before the procedure?
Because of the way they pull the lower part of your abdomen up, the parts of your insides get slightly moved to a different angle, and my husband noticed the difference. Surgeons don’t really tell anybody about that bit.
I just came back from holiday recently at the beach. Because I wasn’t hiding anymore, I went topless for the first time. There were people who came to me afterwards and asked me if I had something else done, like breast augmentation. Since my tummy doesn’t stick out anymore, other parts look a lot bigger. It’s little things that you don’t think about that adds to your confidence.
How did you hear about the Silicone Scar Roll?
How I discovered and got to it was by looking at silicone gels my surgeon recommended. But they were super expensive. Then I started looking for something priced more reasonably. It found your Medi Grade Silicone Scar Roll initially on Amazon and then I looked you up on Instagram and found your website to buy there directly.
When you compare the images, that’s when you can actually see what the difference the tape has made. It’s quite astounding, really. It’s definitely something that I recommend now. I co-manage a facebook surgery group with over 10,000 members. Whenever someone is asking about scars and what we can do to help, I will always say go for the tape because it is so much better.
We always value feedback from all our customers so we can continue to innovate our products until they meet the needs of everyone. Let us know your experience with our Silicone Scar Roll.
For me, it did what I needed it to do. One roll for me lasted a month. I like the fact that it’s in perforated sections so it’s easy to cut that off. I also like that you can store the tape directly on the roll. I personally didn’t find any bad points with that particular product because it did what I needed.
Follow Hels on her Instagram account to learn more tips and tricks and know more about her journey. Feel free to reach her and ask any questions. If you are someone who is struggling with scar reduction, know that there are non-invasive ways to do this.
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