Muffin Top after abdominal surgery? What’s a muffin top and how do I just make it go away?

Want to see a muffin top?Noticing some talk on the post-Abdominal Myomectomy recovery forum about the “muffin top” phenomenon. Actually, I’ve heard women who’ve had C-sections can also get muffin tops so perhaps we’ll get non-AM visitors as well.

I’m going to include a link to the New York Daily News – Daily Dish & Gossip page plus a quote from their story:

Muffin-top mayhem!

…screen hunks can sometimes fall victim, too. Their condition? Stud-muffin top.

Matt LeBlanc has been known to top-out, and at the “Wedding Crashers” premiere, Vince Vaughn was hanging out a bit over his pants.

Here’s a couple of other links for giggles:

Wikipedia entry for Muffin Top

Da Kath & Kim Website (Australian show thought to have originated the term “muffin top”)

I know this probably isn’t much consolation but a number of people (men and women) have “muffin tops” (including me!) and we haven’t had major surgery! :-)

Tell me what you know about the post-op twist on muffin tops and what can be done about it.

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Related Posts:
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy?
How are you feeling after your Abdominal Myomectomy? (part 2)

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314 Responses to “Muffin Top after abdominal surgery? What’s a muffin top and how do I just make it go away?”

  1. Sunday Says:

    T
    Hi all,
    I have been very busy, but have still been checking in and reading.
    his fat necrosis stuff is a bit scary. My surgeon didn’t mention that. She also didn’t suggest that the muffin will eventually go away. I fear that she thinks it is just part of having the operation. But I’m still unhappy that she did not warn me about it pre-op. I am over 10 weeks post-op and still have the muffin top. It probably is a bit smaller, but it’s still there and I still don’t like it.
    Cass, I would really be interested in a plastic surgeon’s opinion about it too; I hope he answers you.

  2. Gemma Says:

    Cass, I agree about not wanting to create an antagonistic relationship with your doctor so it’s probably best to not ask her to sign anything re: the muffin top. She wouldn’t sign it anyway because there’s no way she can give you a guarantee on this unless she offers to have a plastic surgeon standing by to take care of the dead fat cells after she’s done. From all the ladies I’ve read on this blog and talked to in real life, whether it be post-cesarean or post-hysterectomy or post-ABMYO, this necrotic fat ledge is practically a given with this kind of horizontal abdominal incision. And it makes sense that doctors don’t want to draw attention to it before surgery because there doesn’t seem to be any remedy for it other than the option of the second ‘cosmetic’ procedure which many women can’t afford. Also, I’m sure that the doctors don’t want to cloud our decisions about an important health issue with something that they consider much less important. Nice of them to decide for us.

    Fifi, would you believe that my doctor actually suggested that I could eventually (if the muffin doesn’t ever go away) have a plastic surgeon take some fat from another part of my body and put it underneath the area of the indented incision so as to ‘build-up’ the area so that it would all be even! The idea is NOT to build the area to MATCH the muffin, but to get rid of the muffin. What is it about this picture that our doctors don’t want to get? Perhaps it’s the fact that if we all knew then what we know now, we would have had the plastic surgeons there. Don’t know if that’s covered by your medical system in Aus., but ‘cosmetic’ surgery isn’t covered in the States.

  3. Mary Says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Sorry I’ve been busy and not able to check in. I do have some good news however, I am out of suregery from a full hysterectomy incicion and all. I dropped about 12 lbs so far, (those must have been some heavy organs) and I am Happy to tell all of you that the Muffin has also gone down allot. For a long while before the surgery I had been trying to loose some lbs and just could not get there, after talking to my dr and she told me how large the fibroid tumor was and all the masses on my ovaries, now I know why I could’nt drop those extra lbs. It is an extreme and radical thing to go through to loose the weight, (kidding) but……WOW, and the best news is like I said the Muffin has really gone down since I was first out of surgery.

    I do have quesiton for you ladies of Wisdom, I love to take my nightly bath. Does anyone know if it is safe to do that, 6 weeks after ? Please let me know.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Mary

  4. Cass Says:

    Hi Ladies!!

    My surgery is in 33 hours (but who’s counting?) and I am sick with fear. Last night I was fine, now I feel like puking. Argh.

    However, I have potentially encouraging info to share re: the muffin top. My husband took me away for the weekend so I couldn’t post it sooner.

    So you all know I’m not a doctor so this is not medical advice, and the plastic surgeon who I spoke to hasn’t personally evaluated me so what he shared with me isn’t medical advice either, but here is his take on the muffin top, with which he is familiar because he has fixed them.

    In my understanding after the conversation I had, if one assumes a previously slim frame to start with, the muffin top can generally be avoided if the surgeon — who can be your regular surgeon — simply remembers to use long-lasting or permanent sutures while paying extra attention to stitching the “superficial fascia” (otherwise known as “Scarpa’s fascia”) in such a manner that the scar tissue from the abdominal incision heals to that tissue plane (which I believe is primarily fat), instead of scooting PAST THE FAT and attaching to the muscle underneath.

    To be clear, I don’t mean that the sutures have to be that type for the whole procedure — I know nothing about any of that. It just sounds like, for this “superficial fascia” tissue plane (aka Scarpa’s fascia), the doctor needs to be extra careful to do a good job, and to use one of those types of sutures. I do not know why the type of suture matters.

    So, just to recap because this was news to me, we have skin on the outside, then EVERYBODY has a layer of fat (which I believe is part of this tissue plane he’s referring to), then we have the muscle, then underneath, the organs, including our freakishly large uteri. My understanding is that the muffin top happens when our scars form and instead of attaching to the very next layer of tissue underneath it (which, if it is stitched in place properly, is this Scarpa’s fascia), instead attaches to the abdominal muscle. Then the shelf thing forms and we feel crappy about our bodies.

    Again, he has not seen me and emphasized that the situation would vary with varying body types, so please don’t print this out and take it as gospel to your surgeons, ok? We just talked about one hypothetical, a simple case, but necrotizing fat can also be an issue — who knew that fat could be dead or alive? Certainly not me. This is just one piece of information in what may be a more complicated picture.

    The good news is, if you already have a muffin top and have the means (or are willing to take a loan or whatever), it seems like it can be fixed by plastic surgery.

    I hope this comforts you guys. I know it helped me.

  5. Mary Says:

    Hey Cass, Thanks for the info and Best of Luck to you. I know you’ll do fine and will be up & dancing in no time.

  6. Sunday Says:

    Cass, that’s really interesting. Although I don’t want to have more surgery, I find the muffin top pretty unacceptable. Before I run to a cosmetic surgeon, however, Ill try to lose weight and do some ab and core exercises to see what eventuates. Surgeons really should (and I’ve said this before), have some cosmetic surgery training so as not to cause such unsightly outcomes for women. It makes me a bit frustrated, really.

  7. fifi Says:

    ja

    If you have a 40 minute set, perhaps you could have a seat while doing it or have one near by in case you want to sit down. I reckon you will be ok to sing, I too am a performer but no gigs right now or band for that matter, with me it was a matter of not picking up my bass guitar. Don’t carry any gear, make sure other people do that and are aware of the fact that you are not to be picking anything up. And yes rehearsals will reveal all to you. You know I actually think that singing would be good for you abs and lungs. I was told I could do pelvic tilts and lower ab suck in stuff right away.

    Gemma
    NOpe plastic surgery is not covered as it is elective surgery, you need mullah for that. I have to say that dead fat cells sounds a bit dodgy to me, if they are necrotic surely it must be a bad thing. Dead stuff in the body isn’t meant to be good I thought…..

    I posted something my surgeon said about muffin, in how are you feeling blog 4.

    Gee Cass, I wish I had known that earlier, although I did try to lose some weight before surgery, (not enough ha) as my intuition told me some wierd shape may take place if there was too much fat in the area. Oh well c’es la vie. At least you can discuss it with your body taylor aka surgeon when they do your op. In my case there isn’t any mullah for plastic surgery ha, but I wonder if a teensy bit of lypo would do the same thing?

    I have been exercising plenty since the op and building up more in the last few weeks, but I must admit, my arse and the rest still seem to have a layer of ahem fat over the muscle. yes I am sure there is muscle there, there must be.

    Hey nice to read you all again.

  8. Nice Smile Gal Says:

    I got an abdominal hysterectomy due to prolapse nearly a month ago.

    I am so depressed about the muffin top, and I am sorry to admit that in addition to post-op depression, it has made me feel my sex life is over (I am a newly-single woman). I also feel confused about this necrotized fat issue because I am not sure how dead fat could possibly stay in the body? Does anyone have info from a surgeon on this? I have tried to read the entire thread, but maybe I have missed something.

    Has anyone tried to do liposuction on this?

    I am even more depressed after reading this thread because it seems to me that in many people, it does not get better. I myself have spoken to two thin people who had either C-section or abdominal surgery, and they say there is a bulge there still. Is there ANYONE out there where this muffin top thing went away? I am so sad, just depressed, feeling hopeless and that I don’t want to get near a man ever again. Men can be so judgmental, and I am further angry, angry at my surgeon because I could have had a vaginal hysterectomy. But he NEVER mentioned this possiblity to me. He NEVER told me my options. He waited until my uterus fell out and until it was filled with fibroids. For years and years, I had a prolapse. Gave the guy decades to tell me of my options, and I hate myself for not researching it better.

    (sigh) Hate, hate, hate my stomach and would you believe I got lipo when I couldn’t afford it . . . for no reason, now the surgery TOTALLY ruined my body. Money down the drain. So sad over this muffin top thing, and the doctor didn’t even reassure me that it would get better. Only said, no, this is how I will stay forever!!!

  9. Nice Smile Gal Says:

    P.S.

    Also wondering if anyone’s M.T. got better after the stitches dissolved? From what I know, the stitches take up to three months to dissolve. I am assuming after they “let loose,” it would be a bit better, right? Less indent there? Has anyone found this to be true, that with the passage of time and stitches disappearing, it gets better?

  10. Mary Says:

    Hey does anybody know if it is o.k. to start to take my bubble baths again ? Also does anyone know if it is o.k. to into my hot tub ? I am 6 1/2 weeks out of surgery.

  11. pam Says:

    Hi all

    I posted on here a while back asking if it was possible to have plastic surgery at the same time. The response was one of disbelief that you could have a AB MYo or hyster and plastic surgery.

    I suggested it because I got a book out of the library about Hysterectomies by an American Gynae. The last chapter in the books says that your insurance company will be paying for the theatre time, anaes etc then why not ‘treat’ (I kid you not) to a tummy tuck, or face lift!!! The only additional expense then is the plastic surgeon.

    After reading this I thought it must be routine in the USA for this to happen . I remember a friend of mine who lived there for a few years said that women routinely had tummy tucks after a C-section is this true?

    If anyone interested I’ll find the name of the book.

  12. Gemma Says:

    Hi Pam,

    I was one of those who initially reacted in disbelief about the double surgery since I had never heard of it before. In fact, I then found out from my own surgeon that he was working with a plastic surgeon to make sure that an actress came out looking “exactly” as she had looked before, after her abdominal incision (an option he never even discussed with me because I didn’t know to bring it up). But it’s by no means routine for this to happen in the US, hence all the angry and frustrated ladies you read posts from on this site (not to mention countless others who are just walking around complaining outside of the Internet) about why they all have muffin tops. And the main reason it seems to NOT be routine (besides the money factor) is that most women are never told by their surgeons that this option exists. So it’s not a matter of surgeons not knowing that it’s going to happen or not knowing how to stitch us up properly. It’s just that in order to absolutely prevent this ‘shelf’ from happening, a plastic surgeon must finish the top two layers of closing us up so that those fat cells can be suctioned off (at least according to my surgeon).

    It would seem that our gyno surgeons don’t want our minds to get clouded with considerations of whether we have the extra cash to pay for a plastic surgeon when from where they sit, the real issue is getting rid of our fibroids and/or dealing with our other gynocological issues. Like I’ve said before, it would be nice to be included in the decision-making process about our own bodies. Why did I have to be an actress to be considered eligible for having my body return to normal after surgery?

    As for it being ‘routine’ after C-sections, that’s not true either. Being that a woman is usually encouraged to wait until after her child-bearing is over to ‘fix’ her tummy (my sister-in-law was one of these), most don’t do it right away, thereby necessitating a special operation which is not covered at all by insurance. I don’t know what circles your friend ran in, but most of the women I know don’t normally have $10,000 just sitting around and available for a tummy tuck.

  13. getjules Says:

    Hello Ladies…it’s been a while
    Gemma,

    I’m still laughing as I write at a previous post you wrote re the ‘matching fat’. I’m laughing a true muffin top jiggling, belly laugh. Am also still angry at the lack of information from the surgeon re the muffin outcome

    I STILL have the muffin top (myomectomy early November) and despite concerted efforts, it ebbs and flows like the tide. Some days big, some days small. Pre-menstrual times it is at its finest, and I’m doubly miserable. Sure I have a healthy dose of body dismorphia, like many women, but I’m not obsessed either. Just want to look like my ‘normal self’

    Commiserations to you all. And when someone finds a ‘cure’…let me know

    Hey Mary, jump in that bath! You should be well ‘sealed’ by now!…but if the bath water level suddenly drops and that muffin grows………..!

  14. pam Says:

    Hi Gemma

    I agree with you completely. Your physical appearance after surgery will surely impact on your sef esteem . Why doesn’t the medical profession have a more intergrated approach. My Sunday paper is full of adverts about plastic surgery, surely if it is so common place then after major surgery you think it would be offered,just for the money if nothing else.

    I don’t believe my friends c-section claims she probably knew one person who had it done.

    According to the book I read it might be difficult to coordinate a gynae and plastic surgeon at the same time and place, has to be a big hospital.

    Anyway I will ask my gynae he will probably think I am very vain…who cares..

    take care
    Pam

  15. Gemma Says:

    Pam, you can be sure that if the shoe were on the other ‘foot’ and we were dealing with a dismorphed pecker, the word ‘vanity’ would not come into play at all. It would simply be considered ‘necessity’ to fix it. Why should we be any different? I agree that you should ask your gynae now that you know this option exists.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve noticed that there has been a definite bit of flattening of the muffin going on since I was given the ok to start wearing a girdle last week. My surgeon assured me that this would definitely aid the process along with exercise. We’ll see.

  16. Sunday Says:

    Dismorphed pecker!!! Giggles and guffaws. This part of our bodies where the muffin top is, is (was) a very sexy place, I’m sure we all remember our adolescent flat tummies and how beautiful they were, it is so tied up with our sexuality is this bloody issue: muffin top, not sexy. I have to admit, I feel very self conscious of my muffin top in front of my husband because I find it so yuk. He doesn’t give a toss, but I do!! I don’t care about a scar, but a shelf? C’MON!!! I’ve tried, but I can’t shelf the ‘shelf ‘, not totally, not yet.
    Yay to hear from you getjules!! So happy to hear how much fun you are having with the jewellery course.
    Vanity, who cares? The muffin top has to go!! After Easter, ok; muffin top’s love chocolate.
    Hey happy Easter!! We’re going away to the country with about 18 other families for Easter, so I’ll catch up with you all when I get back.

  17. Gemma Says:

    Have a great Easter in the country, Sunday. And it’s a bit late for Passover greetings, but I hope you had a pleasant one, Fifi.

    Sunday, I’m totally with you on the whole sexuality issue. It doesn’t make matters any better when one has to consider the fact of being single again at this age and having to contemplate the thought of explaining the muffin phenomenon to a person one hasn’t even met yet. I guess I’ll need to meet someone with a healthy sense of humor. Thank goodness for ‘friends with benefits’ who are non-judgmental!

  18. Same Boat! Says:

    greetings again ladies,

    just checking in after today’s pre-op for my abmyo on the 10th.

    regarding muffin states: apart from what i posted above–that my very flat-stomached gyn said that *for sure* this puffing goes away over time (she’s had a c-section herself)–the nurse in my doc’s office also told me not to worry and asked where i was getting all this worried feedback from (i didn’t specify).

    this said: she also offered (w/o my prompting) that t is quite common for people to have a tummy tuck and/or liposuction at the same time as this procedure (done, obviously, by people qualified in those areas)…though i took this in reference to women 100% sure that they weren’t interested in any more/any kids (you know, given the tummystretching properties of pregnancy). and, for what it’s worth: what’s common on New York’s upper east side tends to be a little over-the-top with regard to the quest for beauty & i’m not convinced that (as was the nurse’s & my gyno’s point) that time won’t offer the same results, albeit a bit slower.

    my doc is away this week but i will inquire more specifically about this matter & get back to you all with one more expert’s opinion. (he has, afterall, been serving a pretty choosy/fussy clientelle for some 35 years…)

    more on monday…

    SB

  19. Peace (2/9) Says:

    I don’t know whether it was because I went back to work full time, but my MT, at 8 weeks post op, is puffier than 2 weeks ago. Ugh! Another thing is that I didn’t do my nightly “heat thepary” – you know, lying in a recliner and watching TV while having a heating pad on my belly after applying Vita E and A oil. Anyway, I’m resuming the heating pad starting yesterday. Will report back. Towards the end of my 6th week, the MT was getting much better! This just shows that there is no linear recovery, we have to be careful for a while. It’s quite sensitive — like a place that’s easy to catches water but not easy to drain.

  20. Mary Says:

    Het getjules,
    Thanks for the reply, I’ve been “bubble Bathing Away”…..I Lvoe my Baths. So fr all is well with me…the “Top” is still there but growing smaller and smaller with each week. I find some outfits its o.k. to look at myself, others NO WAy… Although since I dropped about 12lbs after the surgery, and people just keep commenting on how much weight I’ve last, thats helps me be able to ignore it a little easier… I hope everyone has a Great Easter…. Bye for now.

  21. Peace (2/9) Says:

    Mary — 12 lb, that’s great. I’ve gained all my weight back, plus 1 lb or so. How many weeks post op are you? My MT is definitely not making much progress. In a pretty bad mood.

  22. Mary Says:

    Peace I am so sorry to hear you are Glummmm.
    I am now 7 weeks post op. Dont worry about it, first make sure you are healing o.k. before you worry about the weight. I was in so much pain before the surgery that it made my recovery so much better, also the dr told me and my family that both my ovaries were weighted down the masses and more Yuck than I would like to talk about. Another thing I think helped was she told me my uterus was twisted into and 8 and pushed to the front of my stomach. So that belly I could never get rid of was surgically removed…..Ha Ha. Really dont be bummed as long as you are well and getting stronger all the other stuff will soon fall into place…Take care and hang in there !

  23. fifi Says:

    Nice smile gal
    Your doctor sounds like a real prick, I think you need one with a little more compassion and sensitivity. what a jerk. I don’t believe you are stuck with the muffin forever, I have friends who have had c sections and eventually theirs went away. (mine hasn’t yet and I guess no one else on this site has lost theirs yet, (shit I have forgotten how to spell their/thier, oh their looks right) otherwise we wouldn’t be asking all these questions. So far there is a mixed consensus about all of it. But don’t worry you’ve got us. I too am wondering if there will ever be a man for me whether it be for ….oh hell I am going to be 50 in may and still haven’t found mr right. Muchless any guarantees of future sexual realations….. I am not actually ugly by the way…

    Ha Gemma
    thanks for the passove greetings, but you know I think I passed it over and forgot about it, I am cat sitting in the country and just looking out at mountains, and eating fabulously leven bread and yum organic produce from nice bakeries and wineries in the region. Woops guess I forgot ha ha.

    Hey mary, I think we are all hanging in there literally, isn’t that how this page got started….. hanging….. although I must admit even though I am doing plenty of exercise, I am eating too much good food, and I reckon that has a lot to do with my muffin not being absolutely gone.

    I am still doing vit e oil twice a day and massaging the incision area, haven’t given up yet…..

  24. fifi Says:

    Oh just had to stop myself from looking at a recipe for a chocolate meringue torte on yahoo front page……

  25. Sunday Says:

    I have not lost weight. I thought that i would! Now I have to go to plan B, actually cut down on the amount I eat and do a bit of exercise. I wish I could ‘magic’ the fat away. My muffin top is still big and quite hard and I wonder if it will actually go away when I do eventually lose weight? It feels different to other fat, probably because it’s scar tissue too.
    It’s strange, I have quite a negative body image now and I used to be so happy with my little waist and curves. Now I feel kind of battle scarred, because of this muffin. I don’t feel much incentive to get on any tread mill. For what? So I can be skinny with a muffin top? Eating is a comfort that i take great pleasure in. I’m not obese, infact I’m in my normal weight range, but I don’t feel toned or fit and I have this freakish protrusion. Whinge whinge whinge!!!! Don’t mind me, I’m pre-menstrual, or not, or who knows?

  26. Cass Says:

    Hey everyone,

    I am writing this for the ladies that are pre-op to try to prevent or decrease some of the MT anguish out there. The dread of the surgery and the MT aftermath caused me so much anxiety (especially after reading this entire section of the blog) that I was on anti-anxiety medication. The last thing my husband did before I was wheeled into surgery (seriously — I was merely yards away from the operating room) was confirm with my doc that she would close me up “the good way”. I think we nearly drove that poor woman crazy with questions — it is a miracle she didn’t tell us to find another doctor. She is an excellent surgeon so I’m glad she didn’t!

    I am now seven days post-op. My waist is completely back to its former size, and my swelling is very much diminished. It’s a bit more in the evening, but in the morning I’d say that there’s about an extra 2-inch layer of liquid in a solid triangle that starts two inches below the belly button and runs above the seams of the leg/abdomen join. So overall, a fairly small surface area that is puffed up. It was a different story four days ago — the external aspect of the healing is going along much more quickly than I’d anticipated. I hope my 17 incisions in the uterus are healing up as well!!

    My surgeon made a very, very small external incision — maybe two and a half inches long. She said that it would produce more initial bruising and discomfort, but that it would look much better (MT and scar-wise) afterwards. I am guessing this is because I have will have less of a scar shelf for anything to hang over, should I have any of that hard tissue the other ladies are discussing.

    It is possible that I will have an MT, but based on what I am seeing now, knowing this swelling will hopefully go down over time, it doesn’t look like it will be too bad even if it happens — and I have a lot of body anxiety so if I’m ok with it, it is probably objectively won’t look that bad. Maybe I am genetically lucky, maybe I had a great surgeon, I don’t know. I’m just thanking my lucky stars and hoping everything continues to go well.

    I just wanted the pre-op women out there to know that it is not inevitable that your body will be upsetting to you after you are healed. You still have time to talk to your doctor frankly about this. Your self-esteem and mental health matter as much as your fibroids, and a good doctor should care about you as a whole person.

    If your doctor is giving you a bad vibe — if you don’t trust that s/he will close you the right way and do everything else possible to make sure you heal up well, due either to inexperience or insensitivity, cancel the surgery and find another doctor. I am not sure what advice to give our overseas friends, who may have less choice in doctors. I also know that most of us have symptoms so intolerable that we’re desperate to have them out ASAP — but we have to live with our bodies (the doctors don’t). Based on the anger and anguish the women who have MT are experiencing, suffering a while longer to find a decent doctor sounds worth it.

  27. Sunday Says:

    As far as Australia goes, there is a PLETHORA of obgyns, and shopping around is not a problem; we’re not all in the outback riding Kangaroos you know!! We have one of the best health systems in the world, actually.
    Perhaps there is also the question of a person’s pre-op condition, how much weight the individual is carrying and how big the fibroid is. Maybe the muffin top is inevitable in some instances. Perhaps it is in the nature of the operation? I know that I have been whinging, but I still hold out hope with regards to the muffin top diminishing over time. I just don’t like it now.
    It is good advice to find a surgeon who is aware of the cosmetic element and who will take into account your aesthetic concerns.
    Good luck to all the people who are about to have an abmyo. Let this thread inform, not frighten. Recommend it to your surgeon, even. My concern is that many surgeons (all around the world it seems), are not taking the aesthetics of this operation into account. I would be really interested in knowing whether the muffin is sometimes inevitable. Could someone answer this question?
    Sunday.

  28. Cass Says:

    Hey Sunday,

    I’m not sure if MT is sometimes inevitable, but I think it is definitely true that a really really _upsetting_ MT can be avoided as long as weight before the surgery is not a issue. I’m not saying that only the super-skinny will avoid the MT, either (I know I’m certainly not super-skinny).

    By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that Australia doesn’t abound with great docs — I know our English readers often don’t have a great deal of choice in doctor (and often have to wait on a list for the surgery), though, and thought maybe other international readers might be in a similar boat.

    The plastic surgeon I spoke with seemed to be hinting around that the necrotized fat issue brought up earlier in this thread could be a problem where more abdominal fat was present. Still, though, if a good doctor knows all about that in advance, something can be done to make MT less bad than it would otherwise be. It honestly sounds to me like some of these doctors who have operated on forum members are just totally clueless and don’t give a damn. It makes me so, so angry.

    You are NOT whinging, Sunday! And even if you were, whinge away. That is what we are here for, to support each other. Thank goodness Geek w/ Fibroids has given us this space.

  29. Sunday Says:

    Cass, you are right about the waiting period for non-private patients with regards to elective surgery. There is an option, however to consult an obgyn privately for advice or to request a different surgeon. Being on private health insurance, I was lucky as I had my choice of gyn. I’m sorry if I sounded snappy, of course you were not implying anything about our docs!! I’m not sure about the health system in the UK, but I’m really interested in how different countries work. Nothing’s perfect, but here we pay pretty large taxes and as a result the various services are ok. Much improvement is needed though. I think we all need to look to the Scandinavian countries and follow their model for great health care, maternity leave and aged care etc.
    I appreciate the go ahead to whinge. I think this thread is my whingy one, the abmyo part 4 is my share advice one and the mind, body, spirit thread is my thoughtful ponderous one.
    Cheers Cass, will share a whinge soon!!

  30. AlisaDM Says:

    I tried to ask my dr about the whole muffin top thing and he didn’t know what I was talking about. Would anybody PLEASE be willing to take a picture of this phenomenon so I can ask him about it? I know this is asking alot, but outside of the MT I already have when I put on my jeans the week of my period(!), I really can’t visualize this thing.

  31. Gemma Says:

    The Muffin top models! I knew there would be some future in this. I don’t think that many of us would mind taking a picture of this phenomenon because contrary to what Cass’s plastic surgeon implied, this muffin top thing has little to do with how much abdominal fat was present before the surgery. Everyone has subcutaneous fat layers below the skin (if we didn’t, we’d be dead) and a careful reading of this thread will reveal that those of us who have been complaining the loudest, were NOT plagued by exaggerated amounts of abdominal fat before surgery. All the more reason that the muffin top is so noticeable after surgery.

    I also have to say that the concept of a ‘good way’ and a ‘bad way’ of closing us up seems very unlikely. By now, we’ve all had a taste of the rather large egos possessed by most surgeons. If it really were true that there was a secret ‘good way’ that would prevent a woman from having the necrotized fat entrapment spot (MT) afterwards, don’t you think that ALL surgeons would want to boast that they used ONLY that method? Especially in these times when surgeons are using websites to promote themselves? These surgeons may be insensitive to woman’s body-image concerns, but downright stupid they’re not. They just don’t think of the MT issue when they’re presenting us with the health reasons for having the surgery because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal (at least not to THEM). In fact, it would seem that it’s such a given that this occurs, that they assume all women know about it from their friends/family who have had C-sections and other ab sugeries, that they don’t even feel compelled to bring it up. It only comes up when, as in the case of my surgeon’s patient/actress or in the case of Cass who made it an issue with her surgeon, the patient demands to look the same way afterwards, or else….

    The fact that Cass’s surgeon felt so pressured into doing something different and making an incision less than half the size of the majority of our incisions, doesn’t make me buy into the concept that THAT was the ‘good way’. It simply meant that she was so terrified of having a law suit on her hands after surgery (something extremely common in the US) if she left Cass with a big MT, that she attempted a ‘work-around’ that would diminish the chances for the MT. Half the incision size=half the amount of MT. But not all surgeons can do a successful ABMYO with that small an incision, nor would you want them to try. Many factors would preclude using an incision size that small like the size of the fibroid(s), the position, etc. So I would use real caution before suggesting that the only ‘good way’ to do an ABMYO is to use an incision that size. I’m very happy that it worked for you, Cass, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the ‘good way’ for everyone. Each case is very individual.

    As for the ‘inevitability’ issue, the anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered both from this site and from all the women I’ve interviewed (re: any time of abdominal surgery), all point in the direction of confirming its inevitability. But that doesn’t mean that women who haven’t done the surgery yet should resign themselves to having an MT. I’ve already explained the option of having a plastic surgeon standing by to a colleague of mine who needs to have the procedure and she was very thankful to know this info in advance. Afterall, as Pam stated, a woman can save on costs in the future by doing the cosmetic ‘touch-up’ at the same surgery setting as the ABMYO because her anesthesia and the operating room are already paid for. She’s just paying extra for the cosmetic surgeon.

    And for those of us for whom the surgery is a ‘done deal’, there are also ways to flatten out the MT over time. After my doctor told me that a girdle would help flatten it, I’ve been wearing one for the last two weeks and I’ve seen a definite improvement. It also just feels good to have that area supported since it’s still numb and tender. I also spoke with a physical therapist yesterday who’s going to teach me techniques for breaking down the scar tissue through gentle massage. Many of us have already been massaging the scar area after hearing about it from others on this site. I was also told by a yoga instructor who had the surgery done twenty years ago that using a skin brush to massage the area would help (the brand name she gave me for the product was Yerba or Yorba). Judging from her results (you can barely see anything), I’m going to get one of those brushes today and start using it for massaging the area as well. For those who have had their surgeries only recently (the last few weeks), this massaging stuff has to wait a bit until you’ve completely healed, but at least you know that these options are there for you when you’re ready.

  32. Cass Says:

    Hello again.

    I think there has been some misunderstanding. All I am doing is sharing what other medical professionals have told me, in an attempt to empower the women reading this forum. That is what I thought the purpose of the forum was. I had been frightened, saw other women who were frightened, and did what I could to help. I did not mean to upset or challenge anyone by sharing the information that came my way.

    In the past, I have mentioned myofascial release (the massaging that breaks down scar tissue) and plastic surgery as possible fixes for those who already have confirmed and persistent muffin top.

    My surgeon insists that she did nothing dangerous or unusual in terms of how she closed me — she made one of two valid choices based on my physical condition and my personal concerns. My problem was that I had such a healthy mistrust of doctors after reading this forum that I couldn’t believe that she would close me up well until I consulted with a plastic surgeon to confirm that her method really would produce the best cosmetic result. I am not ashamed to admit that I had these fears and issues, and I am certainly not ashamed that I did everything I could to reassure myself before going into surgery. Advocating for myself did not pressure my doctor into making bad decisions.

    In terms of there being one “secret” way to close to avoid MT and/or the MT being inevitable, everyone’s body is different, and of course I am not a doctor. The “good way” I was referring to was not actually the size of my incision (I realize that not all of us will be able to have a small incision for medical reasons), but referred back to an earlier post where I shared information from a telephone chat with a plastic surgeon. From this chat, it sounds like the “good way” of closing tacks down the subcutaneous fat so that the scar, when it forms, attaches to the fat, and not to the muscle beneath. This minimizes the scar shelf, and, if necrotizing fat is _not_ involved, takes care of the MT. Again, this is just what has been told me and I tried to be clear in that post, as the doctor was with me, that everyone’s body is different but that that was the basic theory of MT formation _when_ necrotized fat was not involved.

    I don’t know how to respond to arguments about varying amounts of subcutaneous fat and the muffin top that results — I am not a doctor. All I know is what one plastic surgeon told me, and I shared it here in the hopes of giving women some peace of mind or at least some information.

    I must disagree with the suggestion that all doctors would of course do things in the most cosmetically pleasing way to avoid lawsuits. I have a chronic pain disease that took a very long time to diagnose. I don’t want to go into all the details, but I can attest from hellish experience that doctors within one medical specialty do not receive the same training, nor do they necessarily keep up with new research. Gynecology is not plastic surgery — it is not realistic to expect that all gynecologists are interested enough in the aftermath of their surgeries to learn the absolute best ways to avoid scarring and muffin top, lawsuits or not. Their primary job is to keep us alive and keep our reproductive organs healthy; those that also leave us looking as best as we can look after surgery are worth seeking out.

    If a doctor were truly concerned about a lawsuit, s/he would simply not perform the surgery and refer the patient to another doctor. It happens frequently in this age of high malpractice premiums; barring emergency, there is no obligation to treat unless there is no other doctor available to the patient. To imply that my doctor was frightened into treating me the way she did is not only unkind to me, it’s insulting to my doctor.

  33. Gemma Says:

    I’m sorry, Cass. My remarks were certainly not made with any unkind intentions. They were made out of real concern for the many women who would read that paragraph in your first post-op post and, not having read anything prior to that, could have easily assumed that the ‘good way’ to avoid MT was contained in the following words:

    “My surgeon made a very, very small external incision — maybe two and a half inches long. She said that it would produce more initial bruising and discomfort, but that it would look much better (MT and scar-wise) afterwards. I am guessing this is because I have will have less of a scar shelf for anything to hang over, should I have any of that hard tissue the other ladies are discussing.”

    I have seen many comments on these pages and the other related ones that are indicative of the fact that some women treat a lot of our collective suggestions and comments as ‘gospel’. That’s a scary thought given that none of us is a doctor and none of us really knows for sure what causes this muffin top phenomenon and whether it is absolutely inevitable. We can only deal in language like “it seems” and “anecdotal evidence” and all those other qualifiers.

    As for your doctor being “terrified of having a law suit on her hands”, I agree with you that that way of putting it was inaccurate, given your relationship with her. To say that she felt a great deal of pressure is more accurate, given your own description of how you and your husband kept at her about this issue, even considering making her sign a statement: “I have been insisting to my doctor that I absolutely want my body to look the same within 6 months”. These words, of course, are what gave me the impression that your doctor might be feeling some heat. I certainly don’t think that she did anything dangerous just to avoid repercussions. I just think that the way you described how your doctor handled your situation could have easily been construed by some as THE way to avoid MT.

    My posting was not meant to insult anyone. The only person I think that I may have insulted (anonymously) in my postings so far has been my own doctor and I believe I’m entitled to do so for not having been given certain information regarding this MT business BEFORE my surgery. My response to your post was simply meant as a cautionary note to the many women who might begin talking to their surgeons about ‘the right way’ and “the wrong way’ of closing them up, as if those expressions represented something based on established medical truth.

    Is there a doctor in the house? How helpful it would be to have their participation in this discussion! Otherwise, this becomes like that old game of telephone.

  34. Mary Says:

    Hey Cass,
    I whole heartedly agree that the most important thing that the Dr’s can do is make sure the suregery is success, and in my case get me out of pain.. You are so so right in saying there most important thing is to keep us alive….I would much rather be out of pain, and healthy after my surgery then to be laid out with a “perfectly flat tummy”, that alternative is Unacceptable. I think most of us will agree vanity comes second to feeling better and being Alive !!!
    Bye for now Ladies, “keep Hanging in there” !

  35. Sunday Says:

    It goes without saying that health comes before beauty and no body here is questioning that. I think that feeling good about ourselves is tied up in our health however. If doctors can take the aesthetic questions into account and inform patients about the forthcoming possible change to our bodies, then women could go into surgery being better informed and therefore able to prepare for the physical outcome of this surgery. It may not have to be an ‘either/or’ situation. Maybe there are ways to avoid the muffin top?? Maybe there are post operative treatments which can be recommended. What I pick up when reading this thread is a kind of unanimous surprise re the muffin top, and an degree of anger that no one bothered to inform us before the operation of this outcome. No one is asking the surgeons to put a patient into mortal danger in order to have a flat stomach, just to inform and advise the patient more thoroughly.
    Sunday.

  36. Gemma Says:

    I totally agree, Sunday. The problem is that most doctors don’t seem to be concerned enough with the aesthetic questions to give us the full story of the impending changes to our bodies before our surgery. Imagine my surprise and frustration when my doctor very calmly described how he was going to avoid the muffin top phenomenon with his patient who is an actress (AFTER my surgery had already produced the undesired MT) by having a plastic surgeon close up the last two layers. If the option was good enough for her, then why wasn’t good enough for me? I guess in his mind, since I didn’t make my living with my physical appearance in the forefront, it wasn’t worth bringing up. And perhaps I would have opted to do exactly as I did anyway, without a cosmetic surgeon present. But the full array of knowledge about options and post-surgical appearance should have been offered to me and to every other woman BEFORE her surgery and WITHOUT us having to initiate the conversation based on various comments we’ve heard on sites like this.

  37. Cathy Darr Says:

    I found this blog very informative, much more so then my “ho hum doctor” and other sites about fibroid surgery. I had 7 fibroid tumors removed on April 4th and honestly had no idea I was going to end up with a”muffin top.” After examining myself in the full lenght mirror yesterday I was horrified to see what I looked like. I have a muffin top! and my stomach looks like a 90 year old’s! Prior to my surgery I took spinning classes 4-5 times a week and yoga 2-3 times per week. While I am not a spring chicken (being 47) and at 5′ 1″ and 139 lbs not exactly skinny, I was in pretty good shape. I was not ready to part with my uterus after hearing horror stories from other friends about fallen bladders, etc. after hystertomies and thought this was the way to go. I wondered why these could not be removed vaginally but after asking my doc he said they could not be removed that way because of their location in the wall of the uterus. So my choices were to live with a stomach that looked 4 months pregnant, or have the fibroides removed.

    I still feel pretty crappy. The worst thing was the 15 staples they left instead of the good old fashioned black stitches. The staples were simply unbearable and I looked like Frankenstein. Thankfully 5 days after the surgery, those came out. While the pain was managable with Motrin during the day, at night I resorted to the Vicodin which prompty (even on a full stomach) made me throw up. I cannot sleep on my side at all without feeling like my innerds are “falling” inside my body. I tried putting a pillow under my knees and sleeping on my back, but feel like I am in a coffin and when I wake up my knees are killing me. I sleep about 2-3 hours wake up and then cannot get back to sleep. I long for an eight hour stretch of sleep.

    The heavy feeling inside is incredible. Almost like a very bad period. Also, I still have a stabbing pain like feeling but only on my left side for some reason. And why was there no vaginal bleeding afterword? You would think with all the slicing and dicing going on inside you would have vaginal bleeding.

    Even urininating is not the same. I feel like I really have to go and then when I go it is not that much, why? Plus, the painkillers have wrecked havoc on my bowels.

    I cannot wear anyting but sweat pants and loose dresses and actually dread putting on real clothes. (Not that they would fit with the muffin top anyway.)

    I have my post op visit with my doc on Thursday of this week and plan to bombard with a list of questions (hope he blocked out a good chunk of time.)

    The most interesting thing about all of this is that I am convinced birth control pills lead me to these fibroids. I have 2 sisters and 1 sister whoose husband had a vasectomy never had developed fibroids. Me and my other sisters who have been on birth control for over 27 years both develped fibroid tumors. Her’s was the size of a grapefruit! Are there warnings about BC pills causing fibroids?

    Cat

  38. fifi Says:

    Woah. It didn’t read to me like anyone was digging at anyone else.

    Gemma, your comments about myofascial release has had me researching on the net about it. It sounds very logical, and I would like to find someone who practises this therapy who does not charge the earth. I still hate the idea of the necrotised fat. did the doc who told you about that say that losing weight and exercising would make it go away, or is it trapped there forever?forget plastic surgery in this instance as financially it is not an option for me.

    My intuition before the op told me to lose that excess belly fat before the op mainly as I thought when they stitched you up it would cause a ledge which I hadn’t actually heard anything about before hand. It was looking for an explanation for the muffin which brought me to geek before it ended becoming a forum page of itself. this is why the necrotised fat thing bothers me. Have you had myofascial work yet?

  39. Gemma Says:

    Fifi, I haven’t ‘officially’ started the myofascial work yet because the physical therapist I want to see was booked for the next 10 days. I’ve been working with the skin brush, though, because it was recommended to me by a colleague/friend of this same physical therapist. This friend, by the way, is the same woman who had abdominal surgery many years ago and used these brushing techniques (as well as stretching) on herself. You can’t notice any ‘shelf’ whatsoever on her. Below is a link to a site where they explain the technique of using the skin brush and, of course, they sell them.

    http://www.yerba.com/skinbrush.asp

    I follow the instructions that they give, but I also spend more time on working the area of the scar/muffin top. Since the brushing is to be done dry, you think that it’s going to irritate the skin at first. But as long as you’re working with a brush with all natural bristles and you’re not rubbing too hard, it actually feels quite good.

    As for my doctor’s recommendations for reducing/eliminating the muffin top, he stressed exercise and wearing either an abdominal binder or a girdle (not just for cosmetic or support purposes either. He maintains that it will actually make the muffin go down over time). The girdle is easier because it’s less restricting than a binder. Remember that belt that your friend loaned you? Your instincts were right about that too. My doctor didn’t stress weight loss because he didn’t think I needed it. I, however, can always justify losing a couple of extra kilos. I’m sure it couldn’t hurt.

    I’m anxious to meet with this physical therapist/osteopath because I want to get specific instructions on what kind of exercise/massage techniques will help this problem the most. As soon as I find out, I’ll let you know.

  40. Sue Says:

    I had my myo on April 6th. It was hand-assisted lap — removing a 13.5 cm/10 pounder. My stomach went flat right away — the bouncing baby fibroid was right in front. Now, 10 days later I’m plumping up above the bikini incision. I hope this is temporary! I’m sure most of the surgeon’s handiwork is hidden away. No idea how much, though. The thought of rubbing anything or doing excercises makes me laugh (not too hard, though).

  41. Sunday Says:

    Sue,
    the muffin top is not just swelling, it has a little signature look all of its own. Imagine bread dough rolled out flat and then about an inch is pinched up along a 10cm horizontal line. The pinch just sits there looking doughy, standing out. It is also called an overhang or a ledge. Lovely eh? Remember ‘Hope’ is the last thing to emerge from Pandora’s Box! We live in hope that the muffin is on the way out.

  42. kymmy Says:

    LADIES I AM SO GLAD I FOUND YOU
    I had my AM on March 27th, 2007 and cried all the way into the OR…never had surgery before allI knew was that thing doubled in size n six months and i said it’s gotta go, went in throught the navel and wouldnt you know it there were eight the biggest the size of a half watermelon…where was that! Ladies I got to keep everything and I dont have children so I am so glad….I was worrying about all kinds of things and just reading your comments clamed me down so much…they are sick of me at the doc’s office…..My parents took me ome for two weeks after surgery and let me come to my own house…not married…so I MISS MY MOMMA…..went to class on last Saturday….In grad school, came home saturday afternoon and stayed in bed until Monday afternoon missed church…I am a minister I dont miss church but I bet you I missed it that day! I am so thankful to you all my sisters
    I have felt on top of the world one day and then like it was dropped on my head the next…..the night sweats OH MY LORD….I said to my mother who checked on me all through the night….did i get up and go jogging??????? I work out and walk three miles a day…for a while couldn’t walk three steps…doing better now BUT I CAN NOT WAIT TO THROW THOSE GIRDLES AWAY. I had to wear them with everything and my back hurt all the time and now its gone…did not know all that was there….you know i was in pain and had severe pressure and now I feel so hollow and my friends say YOU SHRUNK…… THANK GOD FOR YOU ALL!
    Write me back ladies PLEASE

  43. Gemma Says:

    Welcome, Kymmy! So happy to know that you made it through your surgery successfully and that you got to keep all your reproductive organs. The night sweats immediately following surgery are normal after the adjustment that the hormones have just gone through. If you go up to the top of this page and click on the other site “Comment on How You are Feeling After Your Abdominal Myomectomy Part 4″ (at the right of your screen), you’ll find many more comments that pertain more specifically to the post-op phase and how women are coping with it.

    Actually, based on what you said about your doctor going in through the navel, it sounds like you had a laparoscopic myomectomy (as opposed to abdominal myomectomy) and therefore, you probably won’t have to deal with the dreaded ‘muffin top’ that all of us have been complaining about because you had a few half inch incisions instead of the bigger, lower horizontal one that the rest of us had. I don’t know if there are any swelling issues that accompany the post-op phase with laparoscopic myomectomy, but you may want to ask that question on the Part 4 site since you might find someone else who has had the same procedure you had. The advantage with the laparocopic procedure is that the recovery time is quicker.

    In any case, be thankful that you had the courage to take care of this problem and that you now can have your life back.

  44. LikkleMissGutted Says:

    Oh My God, Thank god for this forum. I had an ectopic pregnancy and didn’t know. I was suddenly rushed to hospital and had a laparotomy approx 6 weeks ago. It actually erupted and that’s why the surgery was done so quickly.

    Since then my six pack as I am a runner, cyclist and swimmer has become a huge belly like I’m 5-6 months pregnant. It sticks out more because the rest of my body is so small size 6-8.

    Its so good to read this forum and see that others are experiences something similar even though its for a difference type or surgery. I’m pleased with the incision and it’s very neat, but the bloating huge belly feeling is driving me crazy. As someone said on the forum thank god for the fashion of big baggy dresses etc. I can’t fit into any of my jeans as they are generally low cut skinny fit and my t shirt tops are small size 6.

    I feel horrible but am getting about and doing a bit of swimming. Back at work this week doing approx. 3 hours a day. I will keep an eye on this forum and thanks to everyone for there comments. It’s like a mini cyber support group.

    I have also been taking Vit C supplements and Arnica a homeopathic remedy for healing.

    I’m not sure when to start doing something like yoga or Tai chi any suggestions like I believe Sunday said I’m scared of exercising and hurting myself from working out 6 times a week to nothing is seriously depressing me.

    Mwah! To everyone with muffin top…….!!

  45. fifi Says:

    Gemma
    thanks for that, I am not checking in as often now. so I will check out that site. I actually have a natural brush which I use for body brushing when I am motivated once in a blue moon.

    LikkleMissGutted
    Yep this is a great cyber support site, You may want to check out some of the other pages regarding the type of op you had and recovery time.

    Kymmie
    wow! half a watermelon… how did they get it out?

  46. Elena Says:

    Has anyone had discomfort from the muffin overhang? I find that my belly jiggles and it is uncomfortable…I haven’t been able to find much in the way of tummy support.

  47. Lani Says:

    I had a complete abdominal hysterectomy 6 weeks ago and I did experience jiggleness and discomfort. I had to sleep with a pillow up against my stomach at night. I did read previously in this website about a tummy support item. You might want to read back through the conversations. It’s so much better now. What procedure did you have done? how long ago?

  48. mg Says:

    hi all, i just had my AM 10 days ago. it was great reading this blog as i prepared for the procedure. i just wanted to post this link to the hyster sisters website for an abdominal binder they sell for “swelly belly,” or as it is also known, “muffin top.”

    i got one for my sister but she never used it, so she’s now passed it on to me. i ahve not used it much so far. my dr. said no.

    https://www.hystersisters.com/xcart/product.php?productid=16139&cat=0&page=1

    i was also wondering about using tea tree oil on the scar. everyone is talking about vit E, but no mention of tea tree….

    thanks all

    mg

  49. Elena Says:

    I had an abdominal hysterectomy 4 weeks ago today. They took the uterus and one ovary…I had fibroids and was bleeding profusely…had to have a transfusion and bleed for 56 days straight with one week break…been having hot flashes for 4 weeks straight since the surgery. I have had a great recovery…(lots of people praying for me) I am back at work and this week I could tell I turned a corner.

    I was wondering when is it ok to wear my jeans? I have been wearing loose clothing for the past 4 weeks.

  50. sona Says:

    thank you all – for your comments and suggestions. i realised that i am not the only one with the feeling and feel nice that i am not alone and there are a lot of people with me.
    thanks


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