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WLS vs. other surgery types



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Posted (edited)

I had another surgery 2 weeks ago for an unrelated matter (giant lipoma removal on the upper back), which was 3.5 months after my sleeve. This surgery was shorter (1 hour), but still under general anesthesia.

These were my first ever surgery experiences. Now that I've had the second one, I can tell a lot better which post-op issues were related to the bariatric aspect of the surgery and which were just general surgery things.

I was exhausted for 4-5 days after both surgeries. I'm thinking that's just my response to general anesthesia. But with the WLS, some fatigue lingered for a couple months.

My throat hurt like hell after both surgeries. After the WLS, I was more focused on the fact that mouth and throat were so dry because my surgeon didn't let me have any fluids by mouth for 2 days and the gross taste in my mouth from that leak test Fluid they use during the surgery. After this surgery, since it hurt just as much, I realize that was probably mostly from being intubated.

For both surgeries, my incisions didn't really hurt that much. With the WLS, I was thinking that was just because I was having so much pain from the gas and anytime I drank anything that it was just distracting me from any incision pain. But this time, still not all that much pain - like a 2-3 on the pain scale, even though the incision was huge this time - over a foot long. I find that really surprising - why doesn't it hurt more where they cut into you?!?

One thing that was different is that for the WLS, it didn't hurt that much when they removed the drain about 2 days after surgery - just felt really funny. This time, it hurt like hell when they removed the drain at 9 days. In fact, it was the worst pain I had during the whole experience. It was a 6-7 on the pain scale and lingered for a few days. Maybe it was worse because the drain was in for longer?

I'm curious how other people found their weight loss surgery vs. other types of surgery? Definitely curious to hear from people who got plastics, since these come with big incisions too. How was your pain and recovery time compared to your WLS?

Edited by rjan

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Posted (edited)

plastics were WAY more painful than WLS. I thought WLS was easy-peasy - I had almost zero pain with that. My lower body lift, especially, was very painful. Getting in and out of bed those first few days was excruciating, and I had to use a walker to get around. I couldn't stand up straight. After the first few days, though, it was more discomfort than pain.

I think the fact you're taking in so few calories in the first few weeks after WLS might contribute to the tiredness. I was tired after plastics, too (I had two plastic surgeries), but I think it lasted quite a bit longer with WLS.

as far as why some surgeries are more painful than others - I wonder if some areas of the body just have more nerve endings than others? Not sure. Maybe one of the health professionals on here will know...

P.S. I remember reading somewhere that some of the pain that comes with plastics is due to the liposuction and the muscle tightening - which they often do with lower body lifts. Not sure if that's true or not though. I think my other plastic surgeries were also pretty painful - but that LBL was a doozy.

Edited by catwoman7

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2 hours ago, rjan said:

Definitely curious to hear from people who got plastics, since these come with big incisions too. How was your pain and recovery time compared to your WLS?

6 minutes ago, catwoman7 said:

My lower body lift, especially, was very painful. Getting in and out of bed those first few days was excruciating, and I had to use a walker to get around. I couldn't stand up straight.

Glad you asked this, rjan. I'm also curious about pain and recovery time after plastics. Being flayed, essentially, looks painful, and - no surprise - yes, it is! I'm not sure that I'll opt for plastics, but huge props 🙇‍♀️🙇‍♀️ to everyone who's gone through it.

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1 minute ago, PollyEster said:

Glad you asked this, rjan. I'm also curious about pain and recovery time after plastics. Being flayed, essentially, looks painful, and - no surprise - yes, it is! I'm not sure that I'll opt for plastics, but huge props 🙇‍♀️🙇‍♀️ to everyone who's gone through it.

in the end, it was worth the pain. I'm thrilled with my "new" body - I actually look like a normal person rather than a sharpei puppy! But yes - plastic surgery is definitely no joke!

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Just now, catwoman7 said:

in the end, it was worth the pain. I'm thrilled with my "new" body - I actually look like a normal person rather than a sharpei puppy! But yes - plastic surgery is definitely no joke!

What procedures did you have, and when? Maybe I should mosey on over to your profile and have a look around for photographic evidence... I completely hear you on the unfortunate melted candle situation 😂😭, yet I'm also conflicted about plastics for various reasons. Luckily there's no deadline for making decisions in this regard, but it's definitely on my mind more and more these days.

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8 hours ago, PollyEster said:

What procedures did you have, and when? Maybe I should mosey on over to your profile and have a look around for photographic evidence... I completely hear you on the unfortunate melted candle situation 😂😭, yet I'm also conflicted about plastics for various reasons. Luckily there's no deadline for making decisions in this regard, but it's definitely on my mind more and more these days.

breast lift, arm lift, and lower body lift. He also extended the arm lift most of the way down my sides (longer than he does with most people) to get rid of "side boobs" and some of the excess skin high on my chest that he couldn't get to with the LBL (the other option would have been a fleur-de-lis cut, but he decided to do this extended flank instead for a couple of reasons - as in it also took excess skin off my back & sides that the fleur-de-lis would not have).

actually, now that I think of it, I don't think the breast lift was all that painful - the least painful of the three for sure. It was the LBL that was really bad - but that's not uncommon. But I love the result and I'd do it again!

I had my LBL done in August of 2018 and the arm and breast lift done in March 2019.

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18 hours ago, catwoman7 said:

plastics were WAY more painful than WLS. I thought WLS was easy-peasy - I had almost zero pain with that. My lower body lift, especially, was very painful. Getting in and out of bed those first few days was excruciating, and I had to use a walker to get around. I couldn't stand up straight. After the first few days, though, it was more discomfort than pain.

P.S. I remember reading somewhere that some of the pain that comes with plastics is due to the liposuction and the muscle tightening - which they often do with lower body lifts.

Thanks for the useful story! I feel like it makes sense that the abdomen and lower back area would be a particularly painful place to have surgery. There's basically no way to move, sit, or lay without putting pressure on those areas and/or using the muscles in the vicinity. The lipo/tightening does sound like it would make things worse too, just because basically they are messing with every type of tissue in the area. Ow.

How long did it take before the pain was gone entirely? How long were you wearing binders? How long did the incisions look scary?

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1 hour ago, rjan said:

Thanks for the useful story! I feel like it makes sense that the abdomen and lower back area would be a particularly painful place to have surgery. There's basically no way to move, sit, or lay without putting pressure on those areas and/or using the muscles in the vicinity. The lipo/tightening does sound like it would make things worse too, just because basically they are messing with every type of tissue in the area. Ow.

How long did it take before the pain was gone entirely? How long were you wearing binders? How long did the incisions look scary?

it was painful for about a week - after that, it was just discomfort. I think it took a few weeks for the discomfort to go away. The numbness took about a year to start wearing off - although I'm still numb in some areas two years later (esp along the incision lines - but in some other spots, too). I've read that can be permanent in some people. I'm used to it, though, so it doesn't bother me. For the longest time I was numb from my navel all the way down to my pubic area - but again, that started wearing off at about the year mark. The swelling can get bad, too - esp at night. It was pretty significant for the first two or three months - after that, just slightly and not as frequent. I think the swelling might be one of the factors in the pain...

I can't remember how long I wore my binder - maybe three weeks or so? After that, I wore a girdle pretty much 23 hours a day for several weeks. At some point I started just wearing it at night - and I did that for several more months.

The incisions do look scary at first - but the ones on my LBL are pencil thin and are mostly white now, so they're barely noticeable. And of course you can't see them at all when I have my underwear on. The ones on my arms and down my sides are thicker and redder - but it's only been a little over a year, so they should fade more. They don't look awful or anything - but they're more noticeable. But I'd have to hold my arms up in the air for anyone to see them, and how often do people do that? And at my age, I'll never walk around with a bare midriff, so I don't really care about the scars down my sides, either (well, part-way down my sides, anyway....). The arm and side scars won't get any thinner...but they should eventually be mostly white. I've heard that scarring on arms is often the worst because the skin is much thinner there and you pretty much have to move your arms, even if you limit your movements. So there's more stress on incisions there.

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