Cleft Lift by Dr. Bascom Recovery Log - FINALLY!

Breathe

New Member
#1
Day 0
1/8/19 12:30pm


Hello all,

A little backstory...I’ve been dealing with pilonidal disease since I was 16 years old back in 2012. I had 2 surgeries done (both closed excision) and a wound vac put in place back then. After the wound vac I was basically all good. I was left with a tiny hole but the wound care specialist said it would close up on it’s own. Fast forward to present day, the wound has opened up and I now have 2 openings. I had a pretty bad flare up this past summer and that’s when I finally decided to give Dr. Bascom a call and see if the cleft lift was for me. Worked with his assistant over the phone to schedule a call and get him any info he needed. It was a very easy process. I had to take some pictures of the area for him to see and then we scheduled the appointment. Since he’s in Oregon and I’m in California I had to take a short 2 hour flight to see him. Back in October was when I was originally scheduled to see him but when I arrived I was told he was in a bicycle accident and wasn’t going to make it for the surgery. I was sent back home but overall I was relieved he was okay. We rescheduled the surgery for January 2019 and here we are!

Last night I got into Oregon and this morning I had a consultation with him. He’s the nicest gentleman and really makes you feel comfortable. I struggle with an anxiety disorder and I voiced that to him. He was very accommodating and reassuring that I’ll be as good as new in no time. He took a look at the area and told me I was the prime candidate for the cleft lift considering how deep my cleft lift. He said the deeper the cleft the better for this surgery because there’s more skin to work with. He then proceeded to spend 10-15 min with me drawing out what he saw and what the cleft lift procedure looks like. He was very detail oriented which I loved. I haven’t had the surgery yet but even from that short interaction with him, I can understand why people say he’s the best at what he does.

As I type this I’m in my hotel room waiting to head back to the surgery center. Surgery is scheduled for 1:30. I’ll do my best to continue to update this post on what’s going and how I’m feeling post-op.

Wish me luck! :)
 
Last edited:

Breathe

New Member
#3
Day 1
1/9/19

These past 24 hours have been pretty nuts. First let me say, I’m now in my hotel room laying on my stomach as I write this. All went well in the surgery and I now am on the road to recovery.

When I got to the surgery center they checked me in, got me in a gown and took some vitals. They proceeded to give me some medication that would calm me down (since I do struggle with an anxiety disorder) and Dr. Bascom was kind enough to come see and say hello. In my past surgeries no doctor has ever done that so that was really nice. It’s small things like that that really stand out.

After about 30 min they wheeled me to the cold surgery room. The anesthesiologist was talking to me telling me the anesthesia would kick in any minute. I did my best to keep my eyes open as a little game with myself, but I was knocked out in seconds. Next thing I know I’m in the recovery room and I apparently expressed my love to one of the nurses haha. As I laid there they noticed my oxygen levels were pretty low. A doctor that was in the surgery room with Dr. Bascom told me when they were taking the tube out of my throat I started to bite on it and basically caused negative pressure into my lungs. This caused some fluid to get into my lungs which was not good and explained why my oxygen levels were low. Long story short, my oxygen levels were not raising so they had to give me some medicine to help clear the liquid and they ended up keeping me overnight in the hospital. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about that but it was just a safety thing. They monitored me through the night.

I wasn’t in much pain at all from the cleft lift. They gave me some pain medication (Oxy) when I got out of surgery but I never like taking that stuff. So after the first dose I decided to stick to 650mg of Tylenol through the night and I was completely fine. On a scale from 1-10 the pain was at like a 4.

Due to Dr. Bascom being so busy today he wasn’t able to come see me and discharge me until a few hours ago so I spent most of my day in the hospital just hanging out. When I ended up seeing him, he took a look at the site and said it looked great. He took the drain out and everything (completely painless). He then proceeded to tell me that it’s a pretty long incision and there wasn’t as much skin he was able to work with as he originally thought so my crack is pretty flat at the top. Not the best news in the world but it could also be much worse, like having a draining hole on your butt.

I have an appointment with him tomorrow at 9:30am to see where I stand and to see when I can come home. He said I for sure don’t need to stay until Tuesday (like I originally planned) and could leave this weekend. We’ll go into more detail tomorrow about that and I’ll keep this forum updated.

But overall, 1 day post-op I’m feeling pretty good. I developed a cough from the fluid in my lungs so it doesn’t feel best on the surgery site when I cough but other than that I’m a happy camper and will be laying low for the next few days.

If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to reach out!
 
Last edited:
#4
Day 2
1/10/19


I’ve done a terrible job updating this thread. I had planned on updating it each day but all I want to do after surgery is just rest. Major respect to all people who have stuck to their recovery logs each day. I’m just going to be playing catch up now.

Day 2 was okay. Before I left the hospital the day before, Dr. Bascom came by and told me he wanted to see me today. I saw him and he was extremely pleased with the way I was healing. He showed my friend how to take care of the incision (twice a day and after bowel movements). He said with the way I’m healing I could leave earlier than I originally planned. Originally I was supposed to be in Oregon until Tuesday the 15th but he said I could probably leave by Saturday.

Pain has been minimal and I still have only been taking Tylenol. We never even filled the prescription for the narcos. Everyone experiences pain differently I just have a fear of pills so I try to stay away from the hard stuff. If I had to rate my pain on a scale from 1-10 on day 2 it would probably be a 4 or 5. Only because I felt a slight sharp pain at the bottom of the incision in the morning. Dr. Bascom said this was totally normal and would subside. Sure enough it did!

I had my first “bowel movement” the night of day 2 as well. I put quotations around bowel movement because I don’t know if you even want to consider it that. Since I hadn’t had much food in my system and I also had taken different medications while I stayed in the hospital, my bowels were weird. *Warning this is gross* When I went, it was somewhat watery/messy and not fulfilling. Probably the worst kind of bowel movement I could have had after surgery besides having a rock hard one lol. Cleaning up was the worst. I used baby wipes and immediately got in the shower. I then had my friend do the rest of the cleanup. Overall, it wasn’t the most fun experience but not as bad as I thought. The anxiety of it all was worse. I sat pretty normally. At first I tried standing over the toilet but after slowly sitting down I realized I was capable of sitting pretty regularly. Just leaned forward a bit though.

Anyways, that was day 2 cleft lift post-op!
 
#5
Day 3
1/11/19


Day 3 post cleft lift was more of the same from day 2. I had another appointment with Dr. Bascom at 1pm. When we got there we had to wait 3+ hours to see him. They had a scheduling conflict and multiple people were stuck in the waiting room waiting with us. Not a fun thing for someone to do who just had surgery. Although, Northwest Surgical Center is a beautiful facility and the wait wasn’t terrible.

When I ended up seeing Dr. Bascom he was thrilled to see how well I was healing. He used the words “Fantastic” and “Very very good” which reassured me I made the right decision. I had a list of questions for him and he answered them patiently. He again advised me I was totally fine to get on a plane the next day and fly back home to LA. I shook his head, thanked him, and said my goodbyes. I was still hesitant on whether or not I wanted to leave early since it would have been nice to see him one last time the following week but my friend had to get back to LA and Dr. Bascom was confident I’d be fine. He instructed us to take pictures weekly and send to him which of course I will be doing.

We got back to the hotel and I had the sudden urge to have a bowel movement. A REAL bowel movement this time, unlike day 2. The anxiety set in and it took me almost an hour to round up the courage to finally sit on the toilet for the main event (lol). Overall, wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Deffintley felt weird but I wouldn’t say I had any pain. Also, in every day life we’re not focused on the sensation of going poop, we just go. But after a surgery like this, you’re focused on every single feeling down there so it’s expected to feel weird. It was a full bowel movement which I was pleased with and wasn’t as messy as day 2’s. Again, used wet wipes then hopped in the shower. Had my friend help me dry off and cleanup any spots I missed. She proceeded to clean the area and put gauze in between my cheeks as Dr. Bascom instructed.

Overall, day 3 wasn’t much different than day 2. Accordingly to my friend and Dr. Bascom the healing aspect of it looked better even 24 hours later which was very relieving. Pain was a 3 out of 10 and still have only been taking Tylenol.
 
#6
Day 4
1/12/19


Travel day! Today was the day I’d get on a plane and travel back to LA for 2 hours. I was lucky enough to upgrade my seat to first class for extra comfort and also purchased a coccyx cushion for the flight which I would HIGHLY recommend if you plan on traveling for your surgery. Without this I would have been in way more discomfort.

Before I get into how traveling was, I feel like I haven’t touched base on my physical activity for the past 4 days. Physically I’ve been okay. Walking is awkward but not painful. I could probably walk normal but I don’t want to stretch or tear anything so I walk with a slight limp. Each day has gotten better. As far as sitting goes, I’m not going to lie it’s challenging. The first time I really had to sit was day 3 in the waiting room at Dr. Bascom’s office. I mainly sat on my side and occasionally had to stand up and adjust positions. I wouldn’t declare it pain, more soreness/discomfort. Same goes for the car rides to and from the hotel.

Day 4 we packed in the morning (my friend helped me of course) and we were off to the airport around noon. My friend cleaned the incision before we left. Pain was almost non-existent at this point which I was thrilled with. We got to the airport early so again I had to sit around for a while. I had my coccyx cushion with me though so this helped tremendously.

The flight overall wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t the most fun in the world and I deffinley was worried I was doing damage to the incision by sitting on it for that long + the terrible turbulence. But my pain at max was probably at a 5. And even then it wasn’t on my actual incision. It was more in the area where Dr. Bascom took the drain out on my left cheek. It was a stinging feeling.

Once we landed and got home I had my friend immediately take a look to make sure all looked good. She was pleasantly surprised with how good it looked and said it even looked better than this morning. She could tell I had been sitting since part of the incision was a little red but didn’t look bad at all and said the bottom (where she had been cleaning) looked great! I was very pleased with that news since flying was the most exertion I was going to go through post-op.

I’m now back home laying in the comfort of my own bed. I was able to unpack by myself, being careful not to bend too much. I almost had a bowel movement but again, the anxiety kicked in and prevented me from going. Even though I’ve already gone without any troubles, I don’t think the anxiety of going will ever fully go away for a couple weeks. I just have such a fear of the bottom opening up which I’ve read is very common. I just don’t want to risk it though.

Anyways, I’ll continue to do my best updating this thread. And if you have ANY questions at all please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer. Also feel free to message me directly if you have a private question. I’d like to help in any way I can.
 
#8
Day 5
1/13/19


Today was my first real day back home and it was pretty eventful actually. Possibly too eventful but thankfully everything has stayed together!

Woke up and had a bowel movement which was pretty easy. The cleanup was the more difficult part. I’ve been taking Miralax every day since the surgery and my stools have been extremely soft. A little too soft. So this makes wiping a very long process that just didn’t seem to end lol. I hopped in the shower as well and even then it seemed it just wouldn’t get clean. After going through what seemed like 50 wet wipes I ended up just having my friend help me which was embarrassing. After that she cleaned the incision and was very happy with the way it was looking. Placed the gauze and sent me on my way.

Today I went out to lunch (sat for about 30 min on a regular chair with my coccyx cushion), went to Target and Ralphs, and then came home. Basically the most active I’ve been since the surgery besides traveling yesterday. I had a few minor stings here and there but when I got home my roommate said everything looked amazing and even better than this morning. So grateful!

I’m a little worn out from doing so much today, I think the anesthesia is still ingering and has been taking a toll on my emotions. I’ve randomly started crying multiple times today for no reason and that has never happened to me before. I might also just be overwhelmed with how happy I am I got this surgery and that it’s basically all over. Has anyone ever been over emotional after their surgery? Never experienced this before.

Anyways, just hanging out on the couch tonight taking the rest of the night easy. Will continue to update tomorrow!
 
#9
Glad to know everything is going smooth.. I am planning to have my cleft lift on May/June.. I am very scared actually thinking of the recovery..
 

JonH21

Very Helpful
#10
I’m glad everything is going well for you! Let’s hope the bottom of your wound doesn’t tear, but if it does try not to worry yourself to death. Many of us have had this happened, myself included and it still heals just fine. Wish you the best!
 
#11
Glad to know everything is going smooth.. I am planning to have my cleft lift on May/June.. I am very scared actually thinking of the recovery..
I completely know how you feel. The anxiety I had the weeks leading up to the surgery was excruciating. But honestly, that's been the worst part of this whole thing. The recovery itself so far (6 days in) is a lot easier than I had imagined. I read that all over the forums but it never made me feel any better. But now that I'm going through it, I understand what everyone is talking about. It really isn't that bad. It's more just learning how to adjust.

Wishing you nothing but the best. Feel free to direct message me and I can give you my email if you have any personal questions you'd like answered.

Hang in there :)
 
#12
I’m glad everything is going well for you! Let’s hope the bottom of your wound doesn’t tear, but if it does try not to worry yourself to death. Many of us have had this happened, myself included and it still heals just fine. Wish you the best!
Hi Jon! I've seen you all over the forums and know your surgery story with Dr. Immerman well. Happy to see you're still lurking around after being healed.

Thank you so much for the kind words. Hoping the bottom doesn't open as well. Doing my absolute best to take it easy and be gentle with the area.

Hope your living your best pilo-free life :)
 
#13
Day 6
1/14/19


Nothing much to report today other than I had another successful bowel movement with no issues! No bleeding or anything.

I did get a quick look at my new bum for the first time and boy was I freaked out. I had to lay down for a second because I got a little taken back. I was so surprised how different it looked. Don't get me wrong, I still have a bum and it looks NO different with underwear on. But seeing the way my cheeks are basically stitched together is going to take some getting used to. After that, every time I walk I can’t help but think about and focus on that feeling back there and how it just feels like my cheeks are together (I mean, they are). However, it looks no different than pictures I've seen online (although my incision is pretty long) it was just shocking to see MY bum look like that. I was debating on posting a picture but I don't think anyone really wants to see that. If someone does want to see the Cleft Lift Dr. Bascom did on me, let me know and I’ll message it to you privatley.

As far as physical activity goes, I didn't do much today. I stayed inside and worked from my bed while I let the area heal. Tomorrow I'm thinking I'll go for a little walk and try some sitting at my desk. Today I just wanted to rest and I'm happy I did, your body needs rest after surgery!

My roommate says the bottom area (where I haven't looked yet) looks better each day. Today she took pictures and we’re going to send them to Dr. Bascom since he requested them 1 week post-op. She said there is no openings and the incision/scar is starting to look better each day. Hopefully it stays this way.

Pain today was almost non-existent other than when I get up from bed at a weird angle. Even then it’s not a pain, more like a tugging/soreness. Tomorrow is 1 week post-op and so far I’m a happy camper :):wigglebum:
 
Last edited:
#14
I completely know how you feel. The anxiety I had the weeks leading up to the surgery was excruciating. But honestly, that's been the worst part of this whole thing. The recovery itself so far (6 days in) is a lot easier than I had imagined. I read that all over the forums but it never made me feel any better. But now that I'm going through it, I understand what everyone is talking about. It really isn't that bad. It's more just learning how to adjust.

Wishing you nothing but the best. Feel free to direct message me and I can give you my email if you have any personal questions you'd like answered.

Hang in there :)
Thank you so much.. I am planning to have the surgery from Dr. Sternburg at SFO.. Wish you a speedy recovery ! Get well soon ! :)
 
#15
1 Week Post-Op
1/15/19


Just a reminder, for 7 years I had 2 large draining wounds in my cleft that I would just take care of daily. After having 2 failed surgeries + a wound vac I didn't want to go through another procedure. Now, exactly 1 week after pulling the trigger and getting the cleft lift I'm feeling like a whole new person. I do still have some healing left to do but I'm in 0 pain and don't have any gross drainage on my underwear anymore. Although my bum doesn't look the same as it used to, my self-confidence is at an all time high. I really haven't felt this good since I was 16 which is when I was first diagnosed, I'm now 23.

It's all thanks to this website. Without it, I wouldn't have known about the cleft lift and Dr. Bascom. So I just want thank all the people who have continued to contribute to this by sharing their stories and making people like me feel not alone. I'm very grateful.

Anyways, today I went driving for the first time with no problems! Sat on my coccyx cushion and drove for about 15 min before getting a little sore, nothing too bad though. I've also sent pictures to Dr. Bascom as he requested and am now just waiting for a reply. My friend tells me the incision looks better and better everyday. She continues to clean it daily with iodine and probably will for the next week unless Dr. Bascom instructs otherwise. Nothing else to really report.

I've made a lot of progress in 7 days so I'm excited to see how well I'll be doing in 2 weeks.
 
#16
1 Week Post-Op
1/15/19


Just a reminder, for 7 years I had 2 large draining wounds in my cleft that I would just take care of daily. After having 2 failed surgeries + a wound vac I didn't want to go through another procedure. Now, exactly 1 week after pulling the trigger and getting the cleft lift I'm feeling like a whole new person. I do still have some healing left to do but I'm in 0 pain and don't have any gross drainage on my underwear anymore. Although my bum doesn't look the same as it used to, my self-confidence is at an all time high. I really haven't felt this good since I was 16 which is when I was first diagnosed, I'm now 23.

It's all thanks to this website. Without it, I wouldn't have known about the cleft lift and Dr. Bascom. So I just want thank all the people who have continued to contribute to this by sharing their stories and making people like me feel not alone. I'm very grateful.

Anyways, today I went driving for the first time with no problems! Sat on my coccyx cushion and drove for about 15 min before getting a little sore, nothing too bad though. I've also sent pictures to Dr. Bascom as he requested and am now just waiting for a reply. My friend tells me the incision looks better and better everyday. She continues to clean it daily with iodine and probably will for the next week unless Dr. Bascom instructs otherwise. Nothing else to really report.

I've made a lot of progress in 7 days so I'm excited to see how well I'll be doing in 2 weeks.
It's nice to hear ! Glad that you are recovering good ! I too have similar draining wounds on my cleft for the past two years! I totally forgot how it feels to sit without any pain/soreness on my tailbone area :-(
 
#17
2 Weeks Post-Op
1/22/19

Today it has been exactly 2 weeks since I was in Eugene, OR getting the cleft lift done by the wonderful Dr. Bascom. I’m here to report all is well!

Nothing new really to add, I feel better each day. My roommate is still cleaning the bottom of the incision with iodine every morning and night due to Dr. Bascom’s orders. It’s not painful when she does it just...weird. The incision almost feels numb which is expected. Sitting/driving is the only uncomfortable thing at this point. If I sit for too long the incision area is sore for an hour or 2 but nothing terrible at all. I’d give the pain a strong 3 out of 10.

I’ve sent pictures to Dr. Bascom, just waiting to hear back. My roommate says the incision looks good though. I did have one slight concern that one of the dissolvable stitches at the top of the incision is apparently poking out. My friend says it’s tiny and it’s at the very top which makes her think it could have just been where they ended the stitch. I’m not sure. I asked Dr. Bascom in the email with the pictures so I’ll update this thread with his comments. If you ever experienced this issue please let me know.

Other than that, I haven’t felt this confident since this disease showed up in my life about 7 years ago. I’m overjoyed and very grateful for this forum. As always, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you!
 

LILLY

Very Helpful
#18
Hi Breathe! I just now got your PM. I'm so glad you are on your way to being healed. It's such a stressful thing to deal with and people outside of it have no idea.

Also, thank you so much for your kind words. It really means a lot to me.

Keep healing and keep in touch!
 
#19
3 Weeks Post-Op
1/29/19

3 weeks post-op today. Still feeling great! Sitting is a lot easier (still use a coccyx cushion). I am lucky to have a standing desk at my office that I have been frequently going from sitting to standing through the day.

I started work last week as well. I was able to work 3 days in office and then 2 days from home. It’s an hour commute in total and I wasn’t prepared to sit for that long for a full week. After an entire, day my incision would tend to be a little sore but nothing major. On the days that I worked from home I just laid on my bed/couch and laid on my stomach to give it a rest. This week I’m back to work full time so we’ll see how that goes.

Dr. Bascom wrote back and informed me that I no longer need to have my friend clean the area with iodine and place gauze. I’m officially bare butt on underwear and it feels great! :) Every time I check my underwear I’m so happy to see there’s no drainage. It sounds so weird but after seeing drainage stains on my underwear for the past few years everyday, to finally see them gone it’s just kind of crazy.

The incision is healing nicely. My butt is definitely different, I’m not going to lie. But the pros outweigh the cons and I’m not as upset about it as I thought I would be. I’m in a good place and starting to feel like I’m back to “normal” again. I’ve been having a little bit of anxiety about the bottom opening up but my friend highly doubts it will as the scar looks very strong. Still keeping an eye on it.

I’m not sure how many people have read this log so far. I haven’t got much feedback but if someone out there somehow stubbles across this thread and they’re deciding whether they should get the cleft lift or not, I hope my experience has helped you in some way.
 
#20
1 Month Post-Op
2/5/19


Well here we are, 1 month post-op from the clef lift with Dr. Bascom. I'm happy to report all is well!

No issues other than an undissolvable stitch sticking out at the top of my incision. Although painful, it's not a huge deal and will resolve on it's own. The entire incision is closed and is already skin color which is pretty remarkable! Again, my incision is about 7-8 inches long and comes a little less than an inch away from my rectum.

Sitting is pretty normal now. I still use my coccyx cushion every chance I can (home, work, and car) but even without using it I'm not in any pain. I do notice soreness if I sit for about an hour straight without getting up. However, by standing up it fades immediately. Bending is the biggest challenge I've had so far. Not because of pain but because of the new shape of my butt. The skin isn't as stretchy as it used to be so I'm still getting used to my limited bending capabilities. However, I'm told with time my skin should become more flexible and I'll eventually be back to normal. No issues with bowel movements either. I have started using wet wipes as it's cleaner and less aggressive on the area. I highly recommend doing this if you proceed with the cleft lift.

I can't think of much else to report, I'm just so happy with my decision to finally get this surgery. I wasted 7 years of my life because of fear and procrastination. Don't let yourself do what I did. If you're considering the surgery, find a doctor who is familiar with the procedure and schedule a consultation.

If you have any questions for me, as always please feel free to reach out and ask. I'm not sure when I'll be posting again but I get notifications to my email on this thread so if you respond I'll get back ASAP.

Well, I guess there's only one thing left to say...

I'M PILO FREE!!!
 
Top