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What to Do When You Have a Bellyful

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Jackson likes his patients to stay home from work between three and four days after surgery. He also expects them to wear a garment that compresses the surgical area 24 hours a day for the first week, 18 hours a day the second week, and 12 hours a day the third week. "It's like a binder," he says. "You wear it underneath your clothes like a tight band."

 

Sam returned to work four days after his surgery. He had enough discomfort to require pain medication. He weaned himself off the medicine during the second week, stopped wearing the wrap after the fourth week, and lost all but a little swelling by the fifth week.

 

"You need to be cautious and not overdo it," says Sam, who was told his skin would be sensitive for six months to a year. "When they separate your skin from your body in a large area, you will have some discomfort. But it is certainly manageable."

 

Sam says it will take 13 weeks to fully appreciate the results of his surgery. But that doesn't seem so long compared to what he says was a lifetime of embarrassment.

 

"I feel really liberated, and I'm excited about seeing the summer come and going to the beach," he says. "My results were so good that I would say to anyone who can afford it, don't put it off. Because every day after the fact, it will be more fun for you."

 

Bob Calandra is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in several magazines including People and Life. He lives in Glenside, Pa.

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