Post Cleft-Lift: Details For Anyone Considering it!

needurhelp2020

New Member
Country flag
Hi All,

I posted in September 2020 about possibly getting the Cleft Lift, and I wanted to give an update for anyone considering the cleft lift surgery, as I got the surgery done with Dr. Immerman in November 2020. Some background, I'm Female 21, had an open wound for 2 years post open-excision surgery. Getting the cleft lift with Dr. Immerman was the best decision I could have ever made- here are some details for anyone wondering if they should make the trip out to Wisconsin to see him.

-I'm from the east coast, so flying out to Wisconsin was a big deal and I completely understand why people would consider it daunting. I didn't think it'd ever get to the point where I'd have to consider going to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to have another surgery. However, it was the best decision I have ever made. If you have the opportunity to go see him, please do- it is so worth it. I arrived in Wisconsin 4 days before surgery to get a COVID test. Three days later, I met with Dr. Immerman for an initial appointment at his office. The next day, I had the surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital (virtually everyone we met reinforced how people around the country come to Wisconsin to have the surgery with Dr. Immerman). A drain was placed near the incision site, and I had to measure the fluid output twice/day. Six days post-surgery, I met with Dr. Immerman again to have the drain removed and have him check on the incision area.

-We stayed in a hotel in downtown Eau Claire for the 12 days we were there. It was very easy to get takeout especially during COVID. I flew home 7 days post-op (about a 3 hour plane ride) and I could sit with minimal discomfort.

-I'm 3 weeks post-op and it already has been life changing. I can sit as much as I want now without discomfort, my scar is strong, and I can walk comfortably (which I haven't been able to do the past 2 years). It seemed impossible after 2 years of either laying on my stomach or standing that I'd be able to sit so quickly, but I was able to sit just days after surgery- and Dr. Immerman encouraged it!

-In my opinion, Dr. Immerman knows this disease and surgery more than anyone. He has seen it all and is beyond willing to help. I never knew why my wound wouldn't close, but when I had my appointment with him, he explained it all and confirmed all of the things I was experiencing/feeling. I felt so understood for the first time in 2 years. It was the biggest breakthrough I had in the whole pilonidal cyst ordeal. If you're considering it- at all- reach out to him/his office. They are so organized and helpful (they gave out instructions prior to the surgery for post-op care and were willing to answer any questions). Also, the website is very detailed and I found that it was helpful to read through, to understand the surgery and the disease at hand.

I can't recommend the Cleft Lift with Dr. Immerman enough. Please, feel free to reach out with questions and concerns. I'd be happy to answer anything- whether it's your first or fifth surgery. After 2 years of struggling with this, I am happy to say that I feel more like myself than ever. Wishing you all the best of luck!
 

mom of teen

New Member
Country flag
Boston area family here. My son is 20 and I am talking with Dr. Immerman's staff re: scheduling the surgery. Did you fly directly into Eau Claire? Is that the best way to arrive there? And the lease painful way for post-surgery travel?

They did tell us we have to arrive early for the covid test. What did you do while you were waiting for the results?

And finally, my son is a college junior and will be returning to campus a week after his surgery. In your view, is this impossible? I have no idea what will happen post-surgery and the fact that my son is in college complicates things a little. But, we don't want to wait until the summer if we can get this taken care of in January. I just need to know if that's realistic or not from someone who has had the surgery.

Thank you so much for your help.
 

needurhelp2020

New Member
Country flag
Boston area family here. My son is 20 and I am talking with Dr. Immerman's staff re: scheduling the surgery. Did you fly directly into Eau Claire? Is that the best way to arrive there? And the lease painful way for post-surgery travel?

They did tell us we have to arrive early for the covid test. What did you do while you were waiting for the results?

And finally, my son is a college junior and will be returning to campus a week after his surgery. In your view, is this impossible? I have no idea what will happen post-surgery and the fact that my son is in college complicates things a little. But, we don't want to wait until the summer if we can get this taken care of in January. I just need to know if that's realistic or not from someone who has had the surgery.

Thank you so much for your help.
Hi! I am also a college student (senior), so hopefully this helps-

My mom and I took a direct flight from New Jersey to Minneapolis and drove an hour and a half to Eau Claire. This avoided a layover flight through Chicago to Eau Claire, since a direct flight was shorter from NJ (only a 3 hour flight). We weren't sure what the rental car options would be in Eau Claire, and we didn't want to have to Uber around Eau Claire for a week, so we opted for the direct flight to Minneapolis. The night before our flight home, my mom and I drove to Minneapolis so that I wouldn't have to sit 1.5 hours in the car on top of the 3 hour flight. There was a little bit of discomfort on the plane ride home after about 1.5 hours, but nothing compared to the pain I had while sitting before the surgery. To be honest, sitting was way more painful before the surgery than post-op. I could sit relatively comfortably just 3 days after the operation, even with the drain attached back there.

While I was waiting for the COVID results, I just stayed in my hotel room and did homework. It was a little boring, but luckily I had work that needed to be done. My mom was able to get food very easily in Eau Claire and she would bring it back to the hotel for us. There are great food options in Eau Claire. I highly recommend a Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid if you end up going!

I didn't go back to school, since I was going home for Thanksgiving Break post-op, but if I had to go back to school one week post-op I would have been fine to go. A little background, I go to college on a really hilly campus in the mountains and I believe I would have been comfortable walking around campus a week after the surgery. Generally, the incision area is closed with stitches and there is no "open wound" to deal with, so it's a very different healing process than when I did the open excision surgery. There is almost no wound care that needs to be done- a gauze is tucked into the back area, just to keep the bottom part of the butt getting air flow, which your son would be able to do himself. Although, if the steri strips covering the stitches dont fall off after 2 weeks, Dr. Immerman wants you to take them off yourself, so I was fortunate enough that my mom could do that for me. I would have someone at his college do it for him as well, maybe a nurse at a Health Center.

But, all in all, one week after surgery I returned home and was sitting as normal, took walks in the morning to get exercise, and felt more like myself than I have the past 2 years. That being said, I am taking it very slow. I am about 3 weeks post-op now, and Dr. Immerman said my incision looks just as it should. I can lay on my back, sit, and walk, but I do not do any sort of physical activity that could damage the area (and Dr. Immerman said it is important not to fall). So being at college, your son should just be careful. Also, I recommend wearing only sweatpants and no tight clothing, and that will really help!

If there's anything you'd like me to clarify, please let me know. I am very happy to give you any more information you may need!
 

diva001

New Member
Country flag
Hi, sorry to ask something non cleft lift related but you mentioned you had tried open excision surgery in the past which didn’t end up working. Can I ask more about what happened with the recovery from this because I’ve just recently had this surgery and am worried about recurrence. Thanks in advance :)
 

needurhelp2020

New Member
Country flag
Hi, sorry to ask something non cleft lift related but you mentioned you had tried open excision surgery in the past which didn’t end up working. Can I ask more about what happened with the recovery from this because I’ve just recently had this surgery and am worried about recurrence. Thanks in advance :)
Hi! Yes, I had an open excision surgery 2 years ago (December 2018), and it took about 4 months to heal. The wound was located right below the tailbone, which was a very painful spot. I was using a WoundVac, going to a wound care clinic, and doing all the right things, i.e. never sitting or laying on my back for those 4 months, and it felt like forever.

During Summer of 2019, about 6 months after the surgery, I was healed and living relatively normally. Then, in September 2019, my wound reopened again, which was devastating. So for about 1 year (September 2019-October 2020) my wound was on and off open, and I found out about Dr. Immerman and how his surgery would help a chronic wound, which is what led me to have the Cleft Lift surgery. So I didn't have any sort of recurrence, it was just a problem with my wound that wouldn't stay closed.

If you have any sort of issue with healing, I would definitely recommend reaching out to Dr. Immerman. But, I also know of people who had the open excision surgery and everything healed nicely (including family members and friends), so I hope you heal nicely and that everything goes well with your recovery!
 

diva001

New Member
Country flag
Hi! Yes, I had an open excision surgery 2 years ago (December 2018), and it took about 4 months to heal. The wound was located right below the tailbone, which was a very painful spot. I was using a WoundVac, going to a wound care clinic, and doing all the right things, i.e. never sitting or laying on my back for those 4 months, and it felt like forever.

During Summer of 2019, about 6 months after the surgery, I was healed and living relatively normally. Then, in September 2019, my wound reopened again, which was devastating. So for about 1 year (September 2019-October 2020) my wound was on and off open, and I found out about Dr. Immerman and how his surgery would help a chronic wound, which is what led me to have the Cleft Lift surgery. So I didn't have any sort of recurrence, it was just a problem with my wound that wouldn't stay closed.

If you have any sort of issue with healing, I would definitely recommend reaching out to Dr. Immerman. But, I also know of people who had the open excision surgery and everything healed nicely (including family members and friends), so I hope you heal nicely and that everything goes well with your recovery!
Ah thanks for your reply! Do they know why it re-opened? Also did they know why yours healed slowly in the first place? I.E: was there any overgranulation or infection, etc?
Thanks for the good wishes and I wish you a pilo-free future! :)
 

Abhijeeth

New Member
Country flag
Hi All,

I posted in September 2020 about possibly getting the Cleft Lift, and I wanted to give an update for anyone considering the cleft lift surgery, as I got the surgery done with Dr. Immerman in November 2020. Some background, I'm Female 21, had an open wound for 2 years post open-excision surgery. Getting the cleft lift with Dr. Immerman was the best decision I could have ever made- here are some details for anyone wondering if they should make the trip out to Wisconsin to see him.

-I'm from the east coast, so flying out to Wisconsin was a big deal and I completely understand why people would consider it daunting. I didn't think it'd ever get to the point where I'd have to consider going to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to have another surgery. However, it was the best decision I have ever made. If you have the opportunity to go see him, please do- it is so worth it. I arrived in Wisconsin 4 days before surgery to get a COVID test. Three days later, I met with Dr. Immerman for an initial appointment at his office. The next day, I had the surgery at Sacred Heart Hospital (virtually everyone we met reinforced how people around the country come to Wisconsin to have the surgery with Dr. Immerman). A drain was placed near the incision site, and I had to measure the fluid output twice/day. Six days post-surgery, I met with Dr. Immerman again to have the drain removed and have him check on the incision area.

-We stayed in a hotel in downtown Eau Claire for the 12 days we were there. It was very easy to get takeout especially during COVID. I flew home 7 days post-op (about a 3 hour plane ride) and I could sit with minimal discomfort.

-I'm 3 weeks post-op and it already has been life changing. I can sit as much as I want now without discomfort, my scar is strong, and I can walk comfortably (which I haven't been able to do the past 2 years). It seemed impossible after 2 years of either laying on my stomach or standing that I'd be able to sit so quickly, but I was able to sit just days after surgery- and Dr. Immerman encouraged it!

-In my opinion, Dr. Immerman knows this disease and surgery more than anyone. He has seen it all and is beyond willing to help. I never knew why my wound wouldn't close, but when I had my appointment with him, he explained it all and confirmed all of the things I was experiencing/feeling. I felt so understood for the first time in 2 years. It was the biggest breakthrough I had in the whole pilonidal cyst ordeal. If you're considering it- at all- reach out to him/his office. They are so organized and helpful (they gave out instructions prior to the surgery for post-op care and were willing to answer any questions). Also, the website is very detailed and I found that it was helpful to read through, to understand the surgery and the disease at hand.

I can't recommend the Cleft Lift with Dr. Immerman enough. Please, feel free to reach out with questions and concerns. I'd be happy to answer anything- whether it's your first or fifth surgery. After 2 years of struggling with this, I am happy to say that I feel more like myself than ever. Wishing you all the best of luck!
Hello! Thanks for sharing the info, it is really helpful. I have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Immerman in a couple of weeks. I guess i am more anxious about Anesthesia than the surgery itself. Also, how long did the surgery last for (hours) and did you stay at the hospital after the surgery ? Did you go through the anxiety phase ? If so, how did you overcome ? Any help is deeply appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.
 

needurhelp2020

New Member
Country flag
Ah thanks for your reply! Do they know why it re-opened? Also did they know why yours healed slowly in the first place? I.E: was there any overgranulation or infection, etc?
Thanks for the good wishes and I wish you a pilo-free future! :)
I believe it kept re-opening due to the location. I always stood or laid down, and rarely sat (nor exercised), but it would reopen with the smallest of movements. It's just the unfortunate part of this disease- the location makes it difficult for an open wound to heal. The Cleft Lift gets rid of this problem by moving the wound off of the mid-line (butt crack) so it can heal and prevent recurrence.

At one point there was overgranulation, but then it healed and reopened again. I didn't really have any infections or anything else- the wound itself was clean and healthy, it just was a matter of location. I hope you heal well and always feel free to reach out with any more questions!
 

needurhelp2020

New Member
Country flag
Hello! Thanks for sharing the info, it is really helpful. I have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Immerman in a couple of weeks. I guess i am more anxious about Anesthesia than the surgery itself. Also, how long did the surgery last for (hours) and did you stay at the hospital after the surgery ? Did you go through the anxiety phase ? If so, how did you overcome ? Any help is deeply appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.
Good luck! Dr. Immerman is the best. He relieved a lot of my worries because he answered my questions and was really willing to help explain anything I needed to know. I personally was not as worried for the operation, just because I was so excited to have the surgery and overcome this difficult disease. Something that really helps is that the hospital staff couldn’t be nicer. The nurses and doctors were so beyond kind and helpful. They came in to see me before surgery and provided detailed instructions about anesthesia, post-op care, and anything else one could ask for. Dr. Immerman’s expertise also helped me feel comfortable in the situation. If you are nervous about it, I would let them know!

We got to the hospital a few hours before surgery for prep, and the surgery was about 1.5 hours itself. I only stayed in the hospital for about another 1.5 hours after surgery before heading home.

Congrats on taking the step to meet with Dr. Immerman- he’s incredible. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any more concerns!
 

mom of teen

New Member
Country flag
Hi! I am also a college student (senior), so hopefully this helps-

My mom and I took a direct flight from New Jersey to Minneapolis and drove an hour and a half to Eau Claire. This avoided a layover flight through Chicago to Eau Claire, since a direct flight was shorter from NJ (only a 3 hour flight). We weren't sure what the rental car options would be in Eau Claire, and we didn't want to have to Uber around Eau Claire for a week, so we opted for the direct flight to Minneapolis. The night before our flight home, my mom and I drove to Minneapolis so that I wouldn't have to sit 1.5 hours in the car on top of the 3 hour flight. There was a little bit of discomfort on the plane ride home after about 1.5 hours, but nothing compared to the pain I had while sitting before the surgery. To be honest, sitting was way more painful before the surgery than post-op. I could sit relatively comfortably just 3 days after the operation, even with the drain attached back there.

While I was waiting for the COVID results, I just stayed in my hotel room and did homework. It was a little boring, but luckily I had work that needed to be done. My mom was able to get food very easily in Eau Claire and she would bring it back to the hotel for us. There are great food options in Eau Claire. I highly recommend a Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid if you end up going!

I didn't go back to school, since I was going home for Thanksgiving Break post-op, but if I had to go back to school one week post-op I would have been fine to go. A little background, I go to college on a really hilly campus in the mountains and I believe I would have been comfortable walking around campus a week after the surgery. Generally, the incision area is closed with stitches and there is no "open wound" to deal with, so it's a very different healing process than when I did the open excision surgery. There is almost no wound care that needs to be done- a gauze is tucked into the back area, just to keep the bottom part of the butt getting air flow, which your son would be able to do himself. Although, if the steri strips covering the stitches dont fall off after 2 weeks, Dr. Immerman wants you to take them off yourself, so I was fortunate enough that my mom could do that for me. I would have someone at his college do it for him as well, maybe a nurse at a Health Center.

But, all in all, one week after surgery I returned home and was sitting as normal, took walks in the morning to get exercise, and felt more like myself than I have the past 2 years. That being said, I am taking it very slow. I am about 3 weeks post-op now, and Dr. Immerman said my incision looks just as it should. I can lay on my back, sit, and walk, but I do not do any sort of physical activity that could damage the area (and Dr. Immerman said it is important not to fall). So being at college, your son should just be careful. Also, I recommend wearing only sweatpants and no tight clothing, and that will really help!

If there's anything you'd like me to clarify, please let me know. I am very happy to give you any more information you may need!

Thank you so much for all the information! We have the surgery scheduled for January 20th and are following your advice re: traveling directly to MN and then driving to Wisconsin.

I will keep everyone posted with respect to my son's surgery; it will be his first as I was reluctant to ever do the open wound procedure. So my poor kiddo has had a leaky cyst for a long long time. I'm praying that this cleft lift fixes it for him.

He's very fit and likes to work out. Anyone else around the age of 20 who is also fit/works out a lot, with advice regarding when he can actually hit the gym again realistically?

Many thanks to all!! And Happy New Year!!!
 

Bubufxr

New Member
Country flag
Thank you so much for all the information! We have the surgery scheduled for January 20th and are following your advice re: traveling directly to MN and then driving to Wisconsin.

I will keep everyone posted with respect to my son's surgery; it will be his first as I was reluctant to ever do the open wound procedure. So my poor kiddo has had a leaky cyst for a long long time. I'm praying that this cleft lift fixes it for him.

He's very fit and likes to work out. Anyone else around the age of 20 who is also fit/works out a lot, with advice regarding when he can actually hit the gym again realistically?

Many thanks to all!! And HappyI have two teenaged sons that have developed pilonidal cysts over the last few months: 1 required a. I/D within days of developing it due to an abcess. The other has not abcessed but has developed a sinus which will require surgical repair: if we do the repair now, it will ruin his candidacy for his upcoming athletic scholarships opportunities. I’m a nurse & know the hazards of what can occur if we delay the procedure.
 
For those of you on the East coast I would highly recommend Dr Wadie. I am sure Dr Immerman is great from people posting but Dr Wadie also is a great option. He had been treating this condition for about 15 years and got the training first hand from Dr Bascom. He did the cleft lift on my 2 sons more than 2 years ago and they are doing great. He helped so many people with this condition with great results. I honestly think he is the best. Check his website pilonidalsurgery.org
 
Top