Cleft Lift Recovery Log (01/06/20) - Dr. Marc Brand


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I’ve been lurking this forum a lot the past few months and figured I would do my part in sharing my experience with others. Seeing the recovery logs of others is what convinced me to get the surgery done.

I meant to do this earlier but my computer is in the basement so walking down there never seemed like a good idea until now. I’ll do my best to catch you up on the first week and a half of recovery.

I’m a 29 yr old male and I’ve had pilonidal disease for around 10 years now. For the most part, outside of probably 4-5 flare ups, I was able to keep it controlled eating as healthy as I can and keeping the area clean, so I was never really in too much of a rush to get surgery. Well this past August, I had a pretty bad flare up and while it drained on its own, it never stopped. I was forced to keep gauze or tissue on the area every single day. At my breaking point in October, I went and saw Dr. Marc Brand in Lisle. I had researched him years ago during a bad flare up and seemed like the best guy for the job if you live in the Chicagoland area. The great reviews for him were not wrong. When I met with him, I got a full lesson on why this thing probably occurred and what my options were for getting it fixed. He put me totally at ease. I scheduled my Cleft Lift for 01/06/20 because I was set to do a lot of traveling around the holidays.

Day 0 – 01/06/20

Surgery is at the Naperville Surgical Center. I was a little surprised because it seems more like an office building than somewhere you would have surgery. The staff was great though. I was obviously nervous as heck but everyone was super friendly and kept me calm. I arrived at 6am as I was supposed to be the first surgery of the day starting at 7am. I was also pretty worried because the last time I had surgery, I had EXTREME nausea. The anesthesiologist was awesome though and gave me a patch that I could wear for the next 72 hours to combat any nausea that I might have. I also saw Dr Brand right before and he did some markings on my rear of what he needed to fix. They then walked me back to the operation room and that’s about the last thing I remember until I woke up in recovery. It’s strange though, you actually wake up on your back. I had no pain and I was most grateful that I also had no nausea. I also had 2 jackson pratt drains put in to drain all the fluid and was instructed to dump and measure them 3 times a day. I eventually left the surgical center around 11am and went home. I actually sat the whole way home, being mindful to kind of keep my weight on one side and use my legs to prop me up a bit. I didn’t have any pain though.

I was pretty groggy most of the day and really just slept a bunch. I never once felt any pain or discomfort and just slept on my side. One thing that was HUGE for me is that my wife got me one of those leg pillows you put between your legs. For me it was a game changer as any time I didn’t have it nearby, I was very uncomfortable.

Day 1 and 2

These days were about the same for me surprisingly. I still did not have any pain and didn’t take any pain meds. My appetite started coming back too but I avoided anything like cheese or dairy. I made sure to take a bunch of probiotic supplements since I was put on 2 different antibiotics. Was still very much dreading my first BM and thankfully had no urges to go. I was draining a decent amount of fluid in both drains during these first couple of days. Having to sleep with the drains attached also was an uncomfortable feeling. The only thing that was painful during those first couple days was backpain from laying on my side for too long. It was mostly just tough to find a comfortable position to lay for extended periods.

Day 3

I had my first BM and it was quite an interesting experience. I had to more or less stand in a very slight squat to do it, I have no idea how anyone could actually sit that soon after surgery. While nothing was painful, the dressing that Dr Brand uses keeps everything tightly together and made it a difficult experience. Very excited to get these drains off soon though as it’s just annoying to have to drain and avoid laying on them.

Day 4

I started to have some small aches in the area. I took some Tylenol which was enough to make it completely go away. BM are still very difficult, so I find myself going multiple times a day since its hard to completely go fully.

Day 5

Drain removal day! Was scheduled for a follow up with the PA to check on the wound and remove the drain. First time driving in a car too since Monday. I attempted to sit but actually felt super uncomfortable to do so I had to kind of lay awkwardly on my side in the backseat. The PA said the wound looked like it was healing nicely and removed the drains. What a weird sensation it was to have those come out. It’s not painful at all though. She also cut a few stitches out where the drain holes were. She also showed my wife how to replace the bulky dressing on the area. It was a big relief to have the drains out and was the biggest jump in quality of life. I also get to shower which I was very excited about. I keep all the bulky dressing on during the shower and replace it all with new stuff afterwards. Pain is still not really there, if anything there is just a dull ache but totally tolerable even without Tylenol.

Day 6 and 7

A little more aches these days but nothing severe and haven’t taken any meds for it. I find myself moving around the house more and standing for a good chunk of the day. When changing dressing, I notice there’s a good amount of blood/drainage on gauze.

Day 8

Surprisingly the pain is a little more intense today, I’d say a 3 out of 10. So still not bad at all, just more noticeable. I feel it mostly on the lowest part of the incision and mostly after a BM where I’m forced to kind of get into a squatting position. My wife said there’s a part down there that may be opening up a little bit, probably around 1cm. It doesn’t look deep and isn’t bleeding. It kind of looks like a paper cut. I also had the courage to look at the incision today. I’ve only see a photo my wife took when I was laying down but it doesn’t seem that bad. While the wound is pretty long, I don’t feel it looks unnatural down there in terms of shape.

Day 9

I feel like I’m going backwards a bit. More pain, maybe a 4 out of 10. BM’s are also getting painful. I have been getting more active walking around the house. It’s weird because the rest of my body feels back to normal but sometimes I’ll move a certain way and realize that I probably should avoid certain bending positions. I’m going to try and limit my movement for the time being and see how it goes. I have been standing more most of the past couple days. I tried to sit earlier and was still very very uncomfortable so I quickly popped back up.

Day 10

Pain is better today thankfully. I’m getting a little discouraged as I see other users who were able to sit by now. I feel very far away from being able to do this. I’m able to walk around almost normally though. Any of sort of pressure to the area just hurts though. The opening on the lower part of the incision looks a little better today, though hard to tell completely. There is still some drainage happening when I have the gauze replaced. The rest of the wound isn’t bleeding or draining anything.

Day 11 (Today)

Pain is even better today. The only real pain I feel now is where the tape holds all of the dressing together. My skin is super irritated down there from constant tape being applied to the area. I have a follow up appointment 1 week from today so I’m hoping everything will be good and I can discontinue the bulky dressing. Not bending or attempting to sit has been good for pain. Anytime I have prolonged pain its because I bent down and tried to pick something up off the ground. I also am starting to have those random shooting pains that others have mentioned. They’re usually short lived but can startle you for a bit.

Thankfully walking around and using the stairs is the most normal since surgery day. I’ll continue to update with progress and answer any questions that you might have!


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Day 20

Just a quick update. I had my 2nd post op checkup on Friday and was able to stop wearing the bulky dressing. It has been a huge improvement not having to wear anything beyond the small gauze I'm supposed to put inside the crack for the next week or so. I've actually begun sitting down which has been uncomfortable, but not painful. This seemed like it would have been impossible just a week ago. I'm starting to really feel normal again. I do have a rather large area of enlarged tissue on the opposite side of the wound which some others have also described. This freaked me out at first but was told that this will fade over time.