Author: Domna Lovatt
When I find out I was having twins I didn’t think much about how my body would cope with the pregnancy or the aftermath of my prebaby 50kg frame carrying 2 nearly 3kg babies to 37w+1. I just assumed that my body would cope and it would go back to the way it was pre-baby, just like after our first baby when fortunately for me everything went back to the way it was before. I certainly didn’t think I would be having abdominoplasty after twins due to hernias and abdominal separation.
Abdominal separation and hernias after multiples
Abdominal separation and hernias can occur with single pregnancies but the incidence tends to be higher for us mums of multiples. I ended up with 4 hernias and abdominal separation and let’s not forget the loose skin (which had varicose veins in it).
After consulting with a plastic surgeon, I discovered I’d have to wear a “compressive garment” (the goes from below the breasts to mid-thigh) for 2 weeks before and 6-8 weeks after the operation. This is to minimise the swelling post-surgery and provide a bit of support. The garment is worn all day and is only removed for showering. So, it is preferable to do the surgery in the cooler months. As the belly button, must be relocated the is a small risk of it ‘dying’ once its removed from its blood supply. I got to keep mine, yay!!
Abdominoplasty after twins due to hernias and abdominal separation
Our twins were 3.5 y.o. when I had my surgery so they didn’t require much lifting. I did organise a family friend to help post op. He stayed with us for 2 weeks. Sleeping sitting up for 1 week and the fact that I had 3 small people at home meant when the surgeon told me 4-7 nights in hospital I requested to stay as long as possible (which ended up being 6 nights).
Days 1-3 after surgery
Day 1 and 2 post op were ok, stuck in bed with a catheter, lots of pain meds. By day 3 nausea from the pain medication was unbearable, I couldn’t eat, sleep or get comfortable because I felt so sick. Once the medication was sorted out later day 3 I started to feel half human again and got out of bed on day 4. So, I could start doing laps of the ward with my drain in hand.
Day 6 after surgery
After 6 nights, the drain was removed and I went home walking like I was a 90 y.o. with osteoporosis. I had 10 cm of skin cut off my abdomen below my belly button. I was told by the hospital physio not to lift anything heavier than 3kg for 3-4 weeks, no housework for minimum of 3 weeks, no driving for 4 weeks.
The pain after my surgery for Hernias, abdominal separation and abdominoplasty after twins
Regarding the pain post op the worst pain was the pulling below my ribs, sternum (from the internal stitches, which persisted for 3-4 weeks’ post op) and the bruising around the bottom of my rib cage.
Post-surgery the first time I sneezed or laughed hard I felt like my insides were being pulled apart.
3 weeks’ post op the surgical tape over my scar was removed. The stiches I have are dissolvable but take 100 days to dissolve and I have a barb holding my abdominal muscles together. My scar is from hip bone to hip bone, much longer than a caesarean scar. It is recommended to wear a silicon tape over it for up to 3 months the help minimise the scarring. The only problem with it is its $30 for 3metres and you must replace it every few days.
Post op reflections
Post op I am glad I’ve had the surgery; my hernias no longer bother me and I don’t have sciatica that I put up with on a weekly basis for a few days at a time. Prior to the surgery I looked like I was permanently 3month pregnant as everything hung out, post op I became aware of how self conscious I was about this.
6 months after the operation I went back in for day surgery to have a little more skin removed and It took me a year to get my abdominal strength back. It has been a bit over 3 years now since my surgery and I can recommend it for anyone suffering post baby.