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Jo 71-09
12-29-2010, 11:32 AM
I had my surgery just over a year and a half ago and I feel better than I ever thought I would. I hate to complain about anything, but I've got to ask if anyone else has had a problem getting rid of the belly this long after surgery? I'm pretty tiny all over, but I have a belly that sticks straight out in front of me that was not there before surgery. I am two inches taller than before surgery, my weight is the same, I do pilates, but I have a belly that is 2 1/2"-3" bigger than before surgery, and my abdomen measures almost as large as my hips (within an inch).

I went to my PC a couple weeks ago and she said I have good muscle tone but feels my belly may be a result of my spine surgery (because everything is pushed forward). She called it an "abnormally large girth" which sounds strange considering I wear a size 4 or 6 (small of xsmall in most of my clothes.

She had me do a CAT scan to make sure that there is nothing else wrong which came back fine. She suggested I see a plastic surgeon to see about removing belly fat. I ran this by my physical therapist/pilates teacher who thinks I should talk to my spine surgeon before doing anything. I am going to do that but I thought I'd throw it out to all of you as well to see if anyone else has experienced this issue.

I'd appreciate any feedback or advice anyone out there has for me.
Thanks, Jo

jsully
12-29-2010, 11:41 AM
My belly sticks out more after surgery too. I also gained 10 lbs , some which is hardware, I think the rest is in the stomach. I just had a revision and I am hoping this doesn't make matters worse.
Janet

jrnyc
12-29-2010, 11:47 AM
hi guys
i read on forum repeatedly that folks gain temporary weight from all the fluids they got during surgery...i don't think the hardware weighs very much...
most folks have written on forum that they lost the weight from fluids after a while...

i cannot imagine how frustrating if must be to have a distended belly from surgery...i hope you both recover rapidly from that annoyance, recover from the constipation problems, and heal from the surgery completely really soon!

best wishes for a pain free new Year
jess

Jo 71-09
12-29-2010, 12:16 PM
I do not have any constipation issues. My mid-section just gets more uncomfortable as the day wears on. When I hold in my abs, I feel like I'm squished up against a wall (which is of course my hardware). I also have VERY itchy skin on my belly, back, sides, and hips. I have no rash around my scar, but I do get rashy anywhere I'm scratching in my mid-section. I don't know if this itchiness has anything to do with my distended belly or not. I switched soaps, etc to be sure it's not that.

jrnyc
12-29-2010, 03:30 PM
are you allowed to rub on cortisone cream...or moisturizer?

jess

loves to skate
12-29-2010, 07:29 PM
Jo,
It's so good to hear from you. How is the snow up there in Blackstone? I could have written your post. My belly is bigger than it has ever been since my surgery. I thought it was because of my age and the fact that I didn't gain back any of the three inches that I lost. I have had to replace all of my slacks except the ones with elastic in them.:) I used to have a very small waist to hip ratio and now to fit my waist, I have had to go to a larger size. BTW, my weight is the same and don't have constipation issues. I am also very itchy around my waist and hips and back but attribute it to dry skin in the winter. I use tons of body creams and lotions, but still itch. I had my gynecologist do an ultrasound (TVU) and the C125 blood test on me to rule our ovarian cancer. When will you be seeing Dr. Rand again? I have an appointment with him in May. We really should ask him about this problem.
Take care, Sally

Doodles
12-29-2010, 10:07 PM
First, I still have had trouble with itching and take Zertec about 3 or 4 times a week. When I quit completely I can definitely tell.
The belly problem is one I have. I initially gained 20 pounds--all swelling. Lost that and 15 more which was great. But then gained all that back and more. Before I gained "the extra" I still felt my stomach stuck out and I have no waist. Last spring I tried on my mother of the bride dress from last wedding of daughter #2--(#3 is this June and #4--next June). I had worn it pre-surgery and now I couldn't even fasten it. This was before I gained the extra. I especially notice sitting in a pew at church, I feel like my stomach is straight out and it's so hard to put my back against the pew back unless I really push back. Of course, I also have the rib hump problem which I swear gets worse. It wasn't there the first few months. But, yes, I understand the stomach thing--I don't feel like it's belly fat so much as the spine pushes it forward--if that makes sense. Janet

JenniferG
12-30-2010, 12:27 AM
My belly protrudes slightly too, more so than pre-op. I put it down to the lordosis that was created, it's simply pushing my belly forward. I can hold it in if I want to and it hasn't affected my waist measurement, but there's a definite protrusion there now that wasn't there before surgery.

Jo 71-09
12-30-2010, 07:49 AM
Thanks everyone for sharing. It's good to know I'm not alone. I never thought about taking allergy meds for the itch. Good tip! I've just used sensitive skin creams a couple times a day.
I've been on a quest to find my personal best ever since surgery. I keep pushing myself slowly forward, doing more and more of the things I did before surgery and I'm doing great. This belly thing is just one thing I can't seem to get around. And, It was unexpected. I didn't worry about it for the first year, knowing I had to work hard to rebuild muscle lost while laying on the couch in pain for two years before surgery and for the first year of recovery.

Now I will just wait to see what my doctor says and I'll keep working at making it as "normal" as possible. Pilates helps for sure. It helps relieve discomfort in my neck and legs while strengthening my core muscles. Keeping my weight in check also helps, though maybe I'll try to lose 5lbs and see if that reduces the belly (even though my BMI is good). I'm not doing very well keeping up with my walking since it's so cold and now with a foot and a half of snow, but that's temporary. I know I'll get back to it.

The most important thing is that I am no longer in pain. And belly or no belly, I have no regrets about having surgery. Thanks for all of your comments and Sally, it was very nice catching up with you on the phone. I'll let all of you know what the doc says when he calls.

First Mate
12-30-2010, 02:17 PM
Hi Jo
Good to hear from you. I couldn't believe your post! My surgery (T-11 to pelvis) was a year and 3 months ago. After my surgery my waist measured four inches bigger than before. My weight didn't change at all. I mentioned the belly problem to Dr. Rand on my first post-op visit and he said that the it might go down. It hasn't!
Maybe we should all meet for lunch. It would be easy to recognize each other by our big bellies!! I don't mean to make light of it. I am very thankfull to be just about pain free but having the same size waist and hips is problematic.

Nitram
12-31-2010, 03:58 PM
I'm about 10 months post of and had the same problem with my belly protruding....I too figured it was because of the lordosis they gave me back. To be honest it seems to have gone down somewhat since early on, but its still sticking out more than normal.

Rich

ADMoul
12-31-2010, 04:10 PM
I can really relate to this thread. I have never been slim, but am heavier post surgery than I have ever been and it all seems to be in my belly (which I know is the worst place for overall health.) I did have a lot of post-op swelling which is long gone and I blame some of it on being in my 50's, menopause, etc. There are still spots in my belly that are slightly tender. I eat reasonably well, do lots of walking (when it's not freezing cold) and swim laps when I can but life and work get in the way. I know I have to do some more strength training stuff but am a little reluctant to try things without the guidance of someone who knows how to work with spine surgery patients. I love to cook and it's wonderful being back in the kitchen without back pain, but am stressing about my weight. It does help a little to know others are fighting the same battle. And now it's off to a New Year's Eve party with margaritas!:)

golfnut
01-01-2011, 07:52 AM
I haven't had surgery yet (Jan. 5) but I am disappointed to read about the belly issues so long after your surgeries. I have always had a reasonably flat stomach, but I work at it. I know most of the abdomen exercises I do now won't be allowed after surgery. I was thinking that I would have a more defined waistline after surgery with a bigger separation of the ribs and hips with the straightening of the spine.

JenniferG
01-01-2011, 04:49 PM
I do have a more defined waistline, so we obviously don't all lose that. I guess that's another way in which we are all different. My problem is not belly fat, more a slight "pushing forward" of my belly by the creation of extra lordosis.

Have you taken front and back "before" shots yet? It will be fascinating to compare in a few weeks. I took back shots but wish I'd taken front shots as well.