Cleft Lift- 11/21 Dr. Immerman

Nikolas

Helpful
Hey all- figured I would follow suit with some others and make a little log surrounding my surgery and recovery with Dr. Immerman in Eau Claire, WI.

Traveled to Eau Claire last night, flights were smooth, no issues. Staying at Staybridge Suites Altoona. FANTASTIC hotel. Super clean, very new, rooms are all like mini apartments with full kitchens.

Day 1 (Surgery Day)
Woke up pretty early, about 5:30 or so and took my pills (list of supplements and vitamins Dr. Immerman wants all patients on prior to, and after surgery). My pre-op appointment was at 9AM at Dr. I's office which was located basically down the street from the hospital. All I can say- Dr. Immerman is the most knowledgeable, laid back and sincere doctor I've ever interacted with. He examined me and went over my situation and reinforced that it's a very fixable condition and nothing out of the ordinary. He went over any questions/concerns and explained the operation to my fiance and myself. Great dude- highly recommend already.

From pre-op, we headed over to Sacred Heart Hospital to get registered and prepped for surgery scheduled for 11:30. Again, AWESOME nurses and staff. All incredibly kind. IV was hooked up (frankly, this was the worst part of the whole deal- Im a very vascular person so it's not hard to find a vein, but two nurses couldn't seem to get it done and got needled twice so they brought in a third (Jennifer was her name- phenomenal gal) and she got me going on the IV. They start with an antibiotic in the IV, followed by some sedation, followed by actual anesthesia. Dr. Immerman came in and just went over everything one more time then I went back to the OR. I remember being wheeled back there but then it was lights out. Surgery took about 1.5 hours. Woke up in recovery with some minor soreness (obviously just got surgery) but other than that nothing too bad.

I'm back at my hotel now standing and writing this on my laptop. Pain is very tolerable, SO much easier than when I had an open excision surgery. And by open excision I mean major- 8cm wound that was left open to heal. And it did, but the bottom part of the wound was deep in the cleft and was experiencing tissue breakdown and would open up often over the past 6 years. One thing- I am starving. Even 4 hours post surgery. But I was eating roughly 3-3500 cals a day beforehand with all the working out I do so that might be why.

VERY thankful for Dr. Immerman and staff, they are phenomenal and if you are on the fence about getting the procedure done- highly recommend it. I look forward to healing up the incision and putting this whole issue in the past for the rest of my life. Also thanks to those who have made recovery logs/reviews/posts on here about their experiences- with Dr. Immerman or not- you are the reason I acted on this and decided to get the cleft lift done. I'll update tomorrow and this weekend with how I'm doing!
 
Really glad to hear your operation went well! I think since you've already gone through a painful surgery, recovery for this will feel like a complete breeze. I had Jennifer too and she was fantastic!
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Really glad to hear your operation went well! I think since you've already gone through a painful surgery, recovery for this will feel like a complete breeze. I had Jennifer too and she was fantastic!
This one is certainly much smoother than the first few days after the open excision that is FOR SURE!
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Day 2-Morning of Day 3
Yesterday (day after surgery) wasn't too bad but the long acting numbing that Dr. Immerman injected started to wear off in the evening so I was pretty sore and took one of the pain meds. Have only been sitting for 10 minutes at a time or so. Believe it or not, the most painful part of this whole thing is the drain. Where it is inserted into my skin is fairly sore- the incision itself provides just a dull ache and is already much better this morning (day 3) than it was yesterday. Have had two bowel movements since surgery, both uneventful but it's certainly a strange experience with the gauze and whatnot down there. Moist wipes are a savior and I showered after the first just to be safe. Echoing some others- my fiance (absolute rockstar throughout this process for me) held the drain while I showered. Too tough to do everything one handed while holding the drain. Sleeping the night immediately following the surgery was pretty tough- I only got some shut eye for 30 mins at a time- because of the drain and trying to find comfortable positions. I slept MUCH better last night and probably got 6 hours at least. Appetite has gone down a bit and i am just eating when I feel like it. I have no problem walking around the hotel and going up or down stairs. Plan on just lounging today and watching college football. Will see what today holds pain-wise and will update tomorrow or Monday morning!
 
Day 2-Morning of Day 3
Yesterday (day after surgery) wasn't too bad but the long acting numbing that Dr. Immerman injected started to wear off in the evening so I was pretty sore and took one of the pain meds. Have only been sitting for 10 minutes at a time or so. Believe it or not, the most painful part of this whole thing is the drain. Where it is inserted into my skin is fairly sore- the incision itself provides just a dull ache and is already much better this morning (day 3) than it was yesterday. Have had two bowel movements since surgery, both uneventful but it's certainly a strange experience with the gauze and whatnot down there. Moist wipes are a savior and I showered after the first just to be safe. Echoing some others- my fiance (absolute rockstar throughout this process for me) held the drain while I showered. Too tough to do everything one handed while holding the drain. Sleeping the night immediately following the surgery was pretty tough- I only got some shut eye for 30 mins at a time- because of the drain and trying to find comfortable positions. I slept MUCH better last night and probably got 6 hours at least. Appetite has gone down a bit and i am just eating when I feel like it. I have no problem walking around the hotel and going up or down stairs. Plan on just lounging today and watching college football. Will see what today holds pain-wise and will update tomorrow or Monday morning!
Sounds about right for days 2-3. The drain entry point stung and was sore for me too. I think you'll feel better tomorrow though! Enjoy your down time. It's one of the nice things about recovery for sure.
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Day 3 (second half)
The rest of day 3 was fairly uneventful. Still pretty sore to be honest. I think the varying levels of pain people experience are due to the condition of the area Dr. Immerman operates on. I had a good amount of scarring from my previous open excision 5 years ago so it doesn't feel fantastic. I lounged around and watched football most of the day. Bowel movements continue to be uneventful, but still very odd because of the location of incision/gauze/drain. Draining roughly 15cc/day so hoping to get the drain out at post-op on Monday AM. I took a good look at the incision and whole area for the first time today. By no means will I ever be a butt model the rest of my days but it really doesn't look all that different. Shallower cleft for sure and a nice long incision that will be a story-teller of a scar but other than that, a butt is a butt.

Day 4
Approximately 72 hours post-operation. Still holding steady with the soreness- sitting for more than 10-15 minutes is rough. None of this is a sharp shooting pain by any means, it's more of just an uncomfortable, tight, sore feeling from the entire area back there. To be expected this soon after an operation though. I was given Tramidol for my pain management post-surgery by Dr. Immerman (basically a double strength tylenol) and it does the trick if I keep up with a 50mg tablet every 6 hours or so. Sleeping- Laying on my back is not an option because of the drain. The area where it is inserted is just in a bad spot and it gets irritated. I have been sleeping on my stomach/side with a pillow between my legs and that has been fine- 6-8 hours the last couple of nights. I went out with my fiance today and wandered one of the malls out here then went to a brewery where I had the pleasure of watching her enjoy a beer as I sipped a water. Eau Claire really is a nice little town, even this time of year. My appetite has still remained slightly less than what it normally is. Drainage is minimal at this point- 10cc or less. Post-op appointment tomorrow at 9am with Dr. Immerman, followed by a LONG day of travel.

Day 5
96 hours post-operation. Woke up and took my pills, showered and had breakfast- shot over to Dr. Immerman's office for my post-op. He said the incision looks fantastic and took my drain out (thank god). It is so much easier getting around and sitting without the drain being attached to your backside. Pain level has gone down some and is maybe a 3-4/10, but I haven't sat more than maybe 15 minutes at one single time. Have an hour flight, followed by a 3 hour layover, and another 1.5 hour flight to get home. My fiance and I went over to the mall to kill some time as our first flight didn't leave until 1pm. Side note- we flew into/out of Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire...I've never been in an airport with literally one (1) gate and two flights per day but everyone there was also phenomenal. Not that I needed it, but the gate agent let me board first since I let them know I had surgery. Travel: not going to lie- the flights sucked. I had a coccyx cushion that I used but even with that, I was SORE after each flight. During our layover we kind of just wandered around (still not walking full stride as fast as I normally would) and stood at some of the charging stations. If we had a short layover and I was required to hustle to the next gate, I have no idea what I would've done. I think some of it may have been mental as I thought my incision was just opening right up from sitting for so long. This is literally impossible with the layering of sutures beneath the skin and the incredible work Dr. Immerman does. The reality is- just a tiny bit of spotting on the gauze placed at the bottom of the incision, again to be expected. Anyways, I got home around 10pm and showered and passed right out, glad to be home.


And so here we are on the morning of day 6. Feeling much better- still a little tender from the travel day and sitting is still a uncomfortable feeling if it's more than 30 minutes or so. Nice to not have gauze covering everything (aside from the drain hole). Looking forward to continued improvement over the next few days and weeks. Again- anyone dealing with chronic pilonidal disease- I highly recommend Dr. Immerman and his cleft lift surgery. My fiancee is in medicine and knows other surgeons very well- she even said she can tell he is so devoted to his craft, he is up to date on the best methods and truly invests himself in each patient's individual case. The recovery from this compared to my open excision is so much easier it's hard to put into words. I will update again after the holiday! I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!
 
Day 3 (second half)
The rest of day 3 was fairly uneventful. Still pretty sore to be honest. I think the varying levels of pain people experience are due to the condition of the area Dr. Immerman operates on. I had a good amount of scarring from my previous open excision 5 years ago so it doesn't feel fantastic. I lounged around and watched football most of the day. Bowel movements continue to be uneventful, but still very odd because of the location of incision/gauze/drain. Draining roughly 15cc/day so hoping to get the drain out at post-op on Monday AM. I took a good look at the incision and whole area for the first time today. By no means will I ever be a butt model the rest of my days but it really doesn't look all that different. Shallower cleft for sure and a nice long incision that will be a story-teller of a scar but other than that, a butt is a butt.

Day 4
Approximately 72 hours post-operation. Still holding steady with the soreness- sitting for more than 10-15 minutes is rough. None of this is a sharp shooting pain by any means, it's more of just an uncomfortable, tight, sore feeling from the entire area back there. To be expected this soon after an operation though. I was given Tramidol for my pain management post-surgery by Dr. Immerman (basically a double strength tylenol) and it does the trick if I keep up with a 50mg tablet every 6 hours or so. Sleeping- Laying on my back is not an option because of the drain. The area where it is inserted is just in a bad spot and it gets irritated. I have been sleeping on my stomach/side with a pillow between my legs and that has been fine- 6-8 hours the last couple of nights. I went out with my fiance today and wandered one of the malls out here then went to a brewery where I had the pleasure of watching her enjoy a beer as I sipped a water. Eau Claire really is a nice little town, even this time of year. My appetite has still remained slightly less than what it normally is. Drainage is minimal at this point- 10cc or less. Post-op appointment tomorrow at 9am with Dr. Immerman, followed by a LONG day of travel.

Day 5
96 hours post-operation. Woke up and took my pills, showered and had breakfast- shot over to Dr. Immerman's office for my post-op. He said the incision looks fantastic and took my drain out (thank god). It is so much easier getting around and sitting without the drain being attached to your backside. Pain level has gone down some and is maybe a 3-4/10, but I haven't sat more than maybe 15 minutes at one single time. Have an hour flight, followed by a 3 hour layover, and another 1.5 hour flight to get home. My fiance and I went over to the mall to kill some time as our first flight didn't leave until 1pm. Side note- we flew into/out of Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire...I've never been in an airport with literally one (1) gate and two flights per day but everyone there was also phenomenal. Not that I needed it, but the gate agent let me board first since I let them know I had surgery. Travel: not going to lie- the flights sucked. I had a coccyx cushion that I used but even with that, I was SORE after each flight. During our layover we kind of just wandered around (still not walking full stride as fast as I normally would) and stood at some of the charging stations. If we had a short layover and I was required to hustle to the next gate, I have no idea what I would've done. I think some of it may have been mental as I thought my incision was just opening right up from sitting for so long. This is literally impossible with the layering of sutures beneath the skin and the incredible work Dr. Immerman does. The reality is- just a tiny bit of spotting on the gauze placed at the bottom of the incision, again to be expected. Anyways, I got home around 10pm and showered and passed right out, glad to be home.


And so here we are on the morning of day 6. Feeling much better- still a little tender from the travel day and sitting is still a uncomfortable feeling if it's more than 30 minutes or so. Nice to not have gauze covering everything (aside from the drain hole). Looking forward to continued improvement over the next few days and weeks. Again- anyone dealing with chronic pilonidal disease- I highly recommend Dr. Immerman and his cleft lift surgery. My fiancee is in medicine and knows other surgeons very well- she even said she can tell he is so devoted to his craft, he is up to date on the best methods and truly invests himself in each patient's individual case. The recovery from this compared to my open excision is so much easier it's hard to put into words. I will update again after the holiday! I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!
Glad to hear you are recovering well. The first week is definitely the worst. You're over the hump! I'm so glad you don't have to think much about pilonidal disease anymore. It must be a huge relief.
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Day 9
Overall feeling pretty good. I'm walking with a normal stride now and can just move around much easier. Sitting is still a little tender for long period of time. I may have overdone it with some Christmas decorating and sitting on various chairs on Thanksgiving day. I helped my fiance bring some bins and whatnot out of the basement (lots of stairs) and was sitting quite a bit all day. This has led to the steri-strips coming off the very bottom portion of the incision, and the drainage/spotting on the piece of gauze I put down there has increased quite a bit. It's Saturday morning now and I would say the last 36 hours the spotting on the gauze tucked in down there has been pretty steady but much more than what it was earlier in the week. My fiance said the incision looks good, just the steristrips fell off and the drainage is to be expected for a little while. Does/did anyone else ever see any blood on that gauze they tucked at the bottom of the incision? I know small splitting issues are certainly common in the weeks after surgery but this seems relatively soon. Other than that, it seems to get better every day like I said. Back to work Monday morning so we will see how that goes.
 

MexoButt

Helpful
Day 9
Overall feeling pretty good. I'm walking with a normal stride now and can just move around much easier. Sitting is still a little tender for long period of time. I may have overdone it with some Christmas decorating and sitting on various chairs on Thanksgiving day. I helped my fiance bring some bins and whatnot out of the basement (lots of stairs) and was sitting quite a bit all day. This has led to the steri-strips coming off the very bottom portion of the incision, and the drainage/spotting on the piece of gauze I put down there has increased quite a bit. It's Saturday morning now and I would say the last 36 hours the spotting on the gauze tucked in down there has been pretty steady but much more than what it was earlier in the week. My fiance said the incision looks good, just the steristrips fell off and the drainage is to be expected for a little while. Does/did anyone else ever see any blood on that gauze they tucked at the bottom of the incision? I know small splitting issues are certainly common in the weeks after surgery but this seems relatively soon. Other than that, it seems to get better every day like I said. Back to work Monday morning so we will see how that goes.
Dr. Immerman mentioned to me that spotting is normal for the first 6-8 weeks. I had about 3-4 episodes of minimal spotting during the first week, however, I have been extremely cautious and am just now (27 days postop) doing more strenuous things like walking longer distances/slowly going upstairs/etc. At the beginning of the second week I was bending over a Lot (because I felt normal) and stretched out the skin adjacent to the incision. The area was real sore for a about a week and there was cracking of the skin. I say this to remind you to take it easy! :) You just had surgery...I know the feeling of wanting to do normal things but take things slow and easy. Also, when I had the Steri-Strips the lowest one fell off at about five days after the surgery. I asked him if this would be a problem and he said no and that the incision will hold. If you have any concerns whatsoever I would recommend you send him pictures of the area in question. He usually responds within 1 to 2 hours. I’m not saying you have splitting but I wanted to reiterate what he told me when I asked about splitting… As long as the incision is off the midline and is not in a cleft any splitting will heal.
 

samskeyti

New Member
Day 9
Overall feeling pretty good. I'm walking with a normal stride now and can just move around much easier. Sitting is still a little tender for long period of time. I may have overdone it with some Christmas decorating and sitting on various chairs on Thanksgiving day. I helped my fiance bring some bins and whatnot out of the basement (lots of stairs) and was sitting quite a bit all day. This has led to the steri-strips coming off the very bottom portion of the incision, and the drainage/spotting on the piece of gauze I put down there has increased quite a bit. It's Saturday morning now and I would say the last 36 hours the spotting on the gauze tucked in down there has been pretty steady but much more than what it was earlier in the week. My fiance said the incision looks good, just the steristrips fell off and the drainage is to be expected for a little while. Does/did anyone else ever see any blood on that gauze they tucked at the bottom of the incision? I know small splitting issues are certainly common in the weeks after surgery but this seems relatively soon. Other than that, it seems to get better every day like I said. Back to work Monday morning so we will see how that goes.
Looks like I saw Dr. Immerman 1 day ahead of you! I have not seen any blood on the gauze tucked at the bottom yet, but have been extremely cautious about my physical movements.

I just posted this question to someone else who saw Dr. Immerman, so hoping to get additional feedback. It's personal, so feel free to ignore if not comfortable, but just wondering if you've been sexually active since the operation. Just started dating someone so this is honestly my main concern at the moment, haha. Hoping to hear from the experiences of others.
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Looks like I saw Dr. Immerman 1 day ahead of you! I have not seen any blood on the gauze tucked at the bottom yet, but have been extremely cautious about my physical movements.

I just posted this question to someone else who saw Dr. Immerman, so hoping to get additional feedback. It's personal, so feel free to ignore if not comfortable, but just wondering if you've been sexually active since the operation. Just started dating someone so this is honestly my main concern at the moment, haha. Hoping to hear from the experiences of others.
Haha I hear you- I have not since the operation but my will power can only last so long. Probably two-weeks post-op is when ill consider it. Just have to be as careful as you can I guess!
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Dr. Immerman mentioned to me that spotting is normal for the first 6-8 weeks. I had about 3-4 episodes of minimal spotting during the first week, however, I have been extremely cautious and am just now (27 days postop) doing more strenuous things like walking longer distances/slowly going upstairs/etc. At the beginning of the second week I was bending over a Lot (because I felt normal) and stretched out the skin adjacent to the incision. The area was real sore for a about a week and there was cracking of the skin. I say this to remind you to take it easy! :) You just had surgery...I know the feeling of wanting to do normal things but take things slow and easy. Also, when I had the Steri-Strips the lowest one fell off at about five days after the surgery. I asked him if this would be a problem and he said no and that the incision will hold. If you have any concerns whatsoever I would recommend you send him pictures of the area in question. He usually responds within 1 to 2 hours. I’m not saying you have splitting but I wanted to reiterate what he told me when I asked about splitting… As long as the incision is off the midline and is not in a cleft any splitting will heal.
Thank you so much for the info! I sent photos to Dr. I and he said all is well- nothing out of the ordinary to have some drainage on the gauze the first few weeks post surgery. I also need the constant reminders to relax...now that I feel good enough to go out and about it's tough to remain still. Every day has been better than the one before and I head back to work tomorrow so I look forward to that. Cheers to everyone's recovery!
 

MexoButt

Helpful
Looks like I saw Dr. Immerman 1 day ahead of you! I have not seen any blood on the gauze tucked at the bottom yet, but have been extremely cautious about my physical movements.

I just posted this question to someone else who saw Dr. Immerman, so hoping to get additional feedback. It's personal, so feel free to ignore if not comfortable, but just wondering if you've been sexually active since the operation. Just started dating someone so this is honestly my main concern at the moment, haha. Hoping to hear from the experiences of others.
I asked Dr. Immerman when I could be intimate with my wife and he said as long as it’s comfortable you should be ok. I am almost a month out and have not had intercourse as I don’t think the constant hip motion would be comfortable/I’m afraid of something happening
 

samskeyti

New Member
Haha I hear you- I have not since the operation but my will power can only last so long. Probably two-weeks post-op is when ill consider it. Just have to be as careful as you can I guess!
I asked Dr. Immerman when I could be intimate with my wife and he said as long as it’s comfortable you should be ok. I am almost a month out and have not had intercourse as I don’t think the constant hip motion would be comfortable/I’m afraid of something happening
Appreciate the feedback! This was my hunch, that as long as it is comfortable it's probably fine, and not doing anything that puts too much stress/pressure on the area.
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Two Weeks Post-Surgery:
Better every day! Whatever spotting I had on the gauze tucked at the bottom of the incision has gone away- the incision itself looks great. I took off the steri-strips yesterday and got my first real good look at the change in scenery back there. Frankly, I could care less what it looks like now that the issue is taken care of. And in reality, it doesn't look all that much different. I've been working all this week and been more comfortable each day. I have a standing desk in my office so that's been great if I want a break from sitting in my chair. I've driven up to about 45 minutes at a single time and while it doesn't feel like normal just yet, it's certainly doable and I just do some minor adjusting every 15-20 minutes or so. Same goes with sitting. Very soft furniture doesn't feel great still as it seems to pull on the incision (still feels tight back there). I was using the cushion to sit for the first week or so but I have since ditched it (mostly because I just forget to bring it with me). I'm dying to get back in the gym however. Does anyone have any guidelines on getting back in the gym post cleft-lift? I know Dr. Immerman said 6 weeks for full clearance to do anything but did anyone go a little earlier to just do upper body/standing work (pull-ups, dips, lighter DB work, etc.)??
 

Piloproblems

New Member
Hello, Im glad to hear that you are recovering the cleft-lift seems like the best choice reading so far. May I ask, How much did the procedure cost for you?
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Hello, Im glad to hear that you are recovering the cleft-lift seems like the best choice reading so far. May I ask, How much did the procedure cost for you?
Hey there! I have not gotten a bill yet but will be sure to update and give a final cost once I receive it. Dr. Immerman, as well as Sacred Heart Hospital were in-network for me, not sure about pathology or anesthesia. Flights+hotel for 5 nights for my fiance and myself was a total of about $1500. Worth it to be healthy finally. I recommend the cleft-lift, and Dr. Immerman specifically, 100000%. Life changing.
 
Glad to hear you're feeling better! I'm really glad you're happy with the results. I've been feeling kind of restless too but I haven't done anything but walking at the gym so far. I think as long as your upper-body workouts are gentle and don't strain your incision it should be fine. Maybe just don't bend over to pick up heavy barbells. A workout can seem like it's just an upper-body workout but you end up bending over to pick heavy things up to get set up which is definitely more of a lower-body maneuver.
 

samskeyti

New Member
I'm not planning on doing any exercise until 6 weeks passes, and might even hold out another 2 weeks after that before getting back into heavy squats, deadlifts, etc. I'm a bit worried of doing heavy straight leg deadlifts and deep squats and what that will do to the incision. So, will likely start out with cardio and upper body lifting, and then ease into lower body stuff after that.
 

Nikolas

Helpful
Glad to hear you're feeling better! I'm really glad you're happy with the results. I've been feeling kind of restless too but I haven't done anything but walking at the gym so far. I think as long as your upper-body workouts are gentle and don't strain your incision it should be fine. Maybe just don't bend over to pick up heavy barbells. A workout can seem like it's just an upper-body workout but you end up bending over to pick heavy things up to get set up which is definitely more of a lower-body maneuver.
I'm not planning on doing any exercise until 6 weeks passes, and might even hold out another 2 weeks after that before getting back into heavy squats, deadlifts, etc. I'm a bit worried of doing heavy straight leg deadlifts and deep squats and what that will do to the incision. So, will likely start out with cardio and upper body lifting, and then ease into lower body stuff after that.
I will probably hold off until the 4 week mark then ease into body weight stuff that I know isn't going to put a strain on the incision. Walking is totally normal at this point so I've been doing as much of that as I can. Seeing my fiance go to the gym 5x a week in the morning while I stay in bed is BRUTAL. Just starting to feel a bit sluggish even with a healthy diet. Need to work on my patience lol
 
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