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Liposuction of Upper and Lower Abs and Flanks (Love Handles) - Atlanta, GA
- Jackie K
- updated 10 months ago
- Worth It
- Cost: $3,800
- Carmen Kavali, MD (Atlanta, GA)
Some background: I'm currently 27 years old,...
- 16 Jan 2012
Some background: I'm currently 27 years old, 5'5" and weigh 142-146. I work out (kickboxing) 3-4 times a week and I try to eat pretty healthy. I wasn't always this disciplined. Back during my early college days, meals consisted of Burger King (1 Large Whooper with Cheese, an order of large fries AND an order of large onion rings) or Domino's (1 large pepperoni extra cheese pizza with an order of large cheesy bread) and exercise might as well been a 4 letter word to me. One day, I was at Old Navy buying bigger jeans and I was up to about 190 lbs. The bigger sized jeans fit me perfectly, but I found myself staring at the label and then myself in the mirror. I broke down in the changing room. I vowed that this lifestyle was going to end that day...that I wasn't happy at all and I was going to turn my life around. Since then, I have been losing weight and keeping it off. I did have one rough summer, as I was with a guy who made me feel like I was "over weight" and not good enough for him, and I flirted a bit with an eating disorder. Family and Friends kept telling me that they were concerned about me and one day I finally listened and dump the negative guy :) Anyhoo, even though all of this (even the stint with eating so little and over exercising) one thing has always been constant: my stomach. No matter what I seemed to do, my stomach "rolls" were always present. No matter what,I couldn't get rid of them. :( When I decided that I wanted to get liposuction initially, I told myself that I was going to up my kickboxing and the intensity of the class and really watch what I ate for one year. To give myself one last shot to get rid of the stomach myself. That didn't work.
I went to two other doctors in Atlanta, but none were as efficient and kind and impressive as Dr. Kavali and her wonderful staff. I initially wanted to get breast implants as well, but after talking with Dr. Kavali, we both agreed that that is something I should probably do when I'm done with kickboxing and sparring. During my consult, she stated she could tell I worked out and was very fit...but that, due to my weight gain, my body (particularly my stomach) had basically gone through a pregnancy. She also stated that a tummy tuck was not necessary for me. Wednesday, January 11th Day before my Surgery Unfortunately, due to work making me travel AND a week after Christmas my gym being completely closed AND many family dinners...I hadn't been working out or dieting normally for about a month :( I weighed myself at 149lbs the night before the surgery and took all my "Before" pictures. As instructed during my pre-op appointment, I had stopped taking any and all medications that were restricted (basically stick with Tylenol and you'll be okay). I had also noted not to eat/drink anything past midnight. I had also filled my prescriptions already. I got a strong anti-botic, which should be noted CAN decrease women's birth control, so take note ladies ;), I also got OxyCodone (same as Percocet), and Phenergan which helps with nausea (as some people get nauseous from the painkillers). I packed the Phenergan in my bag to take to the hospital for the next day, in case the anesthesia made me queasy.
Thursday, January 12th Morning of my Surgery
Got to the surgery center a bit before 6:30am (when they told me to be there). I filled out several forms and had to pee in a cup. Later they took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature to ensure I was well enough for surgery. My mom drove me, but they wanted me to get changed into my gown and get an IV before she came back. The staff and Perimeter Surgery Center was FANTASTIC...they always wanted to know if there was anything that they could do to make me feel more at ease and kept reassuring me that everything was okay. I changed into my gown, compression stockings, thermo socks and hair net thingy (don't know what it was actually called) and they started an IV. Then they allowed my mom to come back and be with me. After maybe 30 minutes, Dr. Kavali came back to mark me up and once again, ask if I had any last minute questions. Very kind lady. :)
As they wheeled me into the operating room (which was RIGHT on the dot of when Dr. Kavali said surgery would start), I felt oddly calm. This was only the second time ever I would have been put under for surgery (the first being when I had my wisdom teeth removed). Again, when I saw the OR table that I knew I would be on...I didn't feel that nervous at all. When the anesthesiologist asked me how I was doing, I told her strangely at ease in which she chuckled and said "Yea, that's what I thought you would say...I already slipped you a little something in your IV". We had a good laugh and I let out a big "Oooohhh". They moved me over to my OR table and she then placed the mask over my face...after about 2 inhales I was out. I woke up in the recovery room at around 9:00 am, which again, was the exact amount of time Dr. Kavali stated I would be in surgery for. When I first woke up, I had a bit of pain. Well, I won't lie...it was pretty bad. Once the staff saw that I was awake they asked me how I was doing, I stated I was in pain and they gave me some painkillers via my IV. Within five minutes, the pain was gone. Another odd thing that happened when I awoke from the anesthesia: I started crying. It was so odd, and I couldn't stop for about five minutes. They kept asking me why I was crying, especially after the fact that I said I no longer had pain...and I finally squeaked out "I don't know!". Later, I found out that it's a very common reaction...women tend to cry and they stated men tend to wake up angry. Go figure :)
They had me stay in recovery for about an hour and gave me some antibotics and a bag of fluids to finish while I was there. AFter an hour the nurse helped me back into my clothes and wheeled me out to my mom.
Thursday, January 12th Afternoon of my Surgery
When we got home, I started to have some pain again, as they stated that the painkillers they gave me in my IV were "quick in and quick out". So I ate some soup and took my painkillers. The rest of the day I was a bit in a fog and needed a lot of help sitting down and getting back up (especially when going to the bathroom). You definitively need someone there with you for the first 24 hours. I wasn't in as much pain as I thought I would be, though. My doctor and her staff also suggested mixing Motrin with the painkillers, so that when a painkillers wears off, you're not left in extreme pain. For example, if you take a pain killer at 9 am (and you are instructed to take one every 6 hours), then at 12pm you would take a Motrin, and then finally at 3pm you take your second painkiller...and so on. My bottle of painkillers says take 1-2 every 6 hours, and thus far, I haven't had to take 2 at all...one has been enough. So, I would suggest, try 1 at first. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS!
Thursday, January 12th Night of my Surgery
I started to get a bit more sore and I was still not used to getting up/sitting down without using any of my ab muscles. So, getting into bed was an ordeal that lead to some pain. I would suggest sleeping at a great incline...that seemed the most comfortable to me and it leads to a bit easier getting up in the morning. So, maybe a 30% decline with your pillows.
Friday, January 13th 1 Day after Surgery
I was in less pain, but more sore and swollen the day after. Because I was more sore and swollen getting up and around was a bit harder. My mom came over again, but I made sure that I was up and walking around at least every 45-60 minutes. I found that the longer I sat the more stiff I would be and the more uncomfortable I would become...it's odd, you start to feel a bit better when you're walking around. I only needed help getting up about 40% of the time and I had finally figured out a "system" for going to the restroom by myself (but I had someone stand outside as I was still a bit light headed). Had some slight bruising coming in around the top of my thigh and my pelvic area.
Saturday, January 14th 2 Days after Surgery
Felt much better the next day and was able to walk to the mailbox and back completely unassisted. Still quite sore, so I didn't want to take a shower yet (as we have a tub shower that is pretty high, and I didn't want to attempt to make that stretch yet). I had called my doctor first, to ensure that there was no medical reason why I would NEED to take a shower that day (as the leaflet they gave me stated I would be able to take a shower by that day). They stated that because I didn't have any drainage with my incisions, that was fine to wait another day until I felt a bit less sore. So, I washed my hair in the sink. Still taking my meds as prescribed. And I have a lot more bruising and swelling on my legs and pelvic area know. I had also, accidentally, forgot how much sodium was in soup and ate too much..and I felt like a tick shortly after. So, definitely watch your salt intake.
Sunday, January 15th 3 Days after Surgery
Getting around much better on my own. Even was able to take a short car ride to Target with my boyfriend today to get a new microwave and curtain rod. Still have a lack of appetite (I always do when I'm on pain killers) but doing my best to eat with my medications. I also, at Target, had to buy some Ex-Lax (TMI, I know). Dr. Kavali and her staff already warned that sometimes painkillers can constipate patients, and she was not lying. They had suggested that I start taking Stool Softners, which I had started Thursday night, but things still weren't working correctly yet, so I bought some ex-lax as well to take tonight. We'll see how all THAT goes. Also, took my first shower today. I was too embarrassed to have my boyfriend help, so my sister came over. When she started to take my compression garment off, it literally felt like she was ripping off my skin. It was the strangest feeling. I would also HIGHLY suggest that you have someone help you for your first shower for many reasons...one of them being that you can get quite light headed when your garment is off for the first time. The staff stated it's because the blood flow had been so restricted for so long to that part of your body, that the blood then "rushes" to that area. I was sitting down, but still felt my knees go weak. When you take a shower, have the water me warm and not too hot, as your skin is VERY sensitive. Also, just have someone outside the shower, just in case you start to feel light headed again.
Putting the garment back on was a little tricky as first, as we both had to remember where it was initially and how tight it should be. Again, this is where having someone else comes in handy, as putting it back on is quite uncomfortable. I would suggest, also, to start at the bottom and work your way back up. And again, because I didn't have drainage, the doctor stated all I needed to do is cover my stitches with bandaids (and that's just to ensure that they don't catch themselves on your garment). I didn't wash my garment yet, as the label stated that it can't be dried in the dryer, so I need to buy another garment at my post op appointment on Wednesday. Once it was back on, I felt soooo much better.
I'm now able to get up, sit down and even get into and out of bed completely on my own. I still walk fairly slowly due to my swelling and bruising, but my BF said it's night and day how far I've come :) I also took some more pictures to see my progress...and even though I know I'm REALLY swollen, I can really see a difference in my "pouch" area (the area under my belly button and above my pelvic area) since my "before" shots....that really helped brighten my spirits! I think a challenge is going to be to stay patient and positive during my recovery, but so far, I'm on the right track...mentally. Let me know what you think of my recovery so far :)
Monday, January 16th 4 Days after Surgery
Still woke up around 4 am this morning (around the time that my painkiller wears off) and needed to take another one. I'm hoping the night comes soon that I wake up at my normal time and don't need that extra pill to carry me through the night.
One thing to note, I went ahead and took this whole week off as well from work, but I worked out a deal with my manager that, towards the end of the week, if I feel up to it, I can work from home. So, I think I may start that Wednesday, just so I don't eat up so much of my vacation time. I finally was able to go to the bathroom during the morning and afternoon yesterday (yes, I'm talking about a BM) but it was pretty uncomfortable, so I'm hoping the stool softeners AND Ex-Lax I took yesterday will kick in soon. I think I'm also going to try and take an Epsom Salt Bath today, as my doctor stated that can help with bruising and swelling. I'm also really wanted to try and get back to working out ASAP, so I'm going to start small with walking to the end of my neighborhood and back (I think it's close to a half mile).
Tommorrow, I'm going to try and drive myself to the store...as yesterday, I noted that sitting straight up is still pretty uncomfortable, and I want to ensure that I can drive the 1 hour (round trip) to the doctor's office and back by myself (if not, I may ask my mom to drive me). I'm anxious to hear how she thinks I'm doing. And if I will need to have the lymphatic massage or not (I hope not)
Tuesday, January 17th 5 Days after Surgery Took...
- 17 Jan 2012
Took my walk yesterday and, even though it was a short walk, it was a lot more taxing than I thought it was going to be. Made me a little down as I realized how much further I have to go to get back to where I was.
Also took a Epsom Salt bath last night AND a shower right after it. The bath did seem to help with my soreness this morning, but I'm still bruised as ever :) It did seem to cause my skin to itch though...I'm wondering if it dried my skin out a bit.
I will say that having my compression garment off for a bath AND a shower, and then having to towel off, reapply my bandages to the incision sites and then trying to get my garment back on took about an hour (maybe a little bit more) and by the end of it, I was also in some pain. It's amazing to me still, how much better I feel with this thing on.
I had also taken my bath/shower around the time that my painkillers were ended and I didn't take my Motrin in between, so that may have been why it hurt so much. But, I was proud that I did it all by myself (just needed by BF to help me make the top part of my garment a bit tighter).
Today's plan is to go to the store and see how driving agrees with me.
Tomorrow is my post-op appointment and I'm very nervous. I'm mostly concerned with how bruised and swollen my pubic area is. I mean, it's dark purple and it's not getting ANY better. Also, concerned about how lumpy my stomach seems to be and I'm wondering if I will have to get a massage to even it out (again, I really don't want to do it....just sounds painful). :(
Wish me luck! I will probably take some more post-op pictures either tomorrow or the next day.
Wednesday, January 18th 6 Days after...
- 18 Jan 2012
Took another shower last night and did EVERYTHING by myself without any issues. Still get rather uncomfortable after about 30 minutes with my garment off, but again, it's less than it was before. It's hard to explain it, as it doesn't really hurt to have the compression garment off...it's just gets increasingly uncomfortable.
I still don't have that many bruises on my stomach, but the ones on my sides, thighs and pubic area remain.
Went for my post-op appointment today and Dr. Kavali was VERY pleased with my progress thus far. She also noted that my busing wasn't bad at all and the swelling is definitely there, but not that bad either. She also said that having really severe bruising in the pubic area is COMPLETELY common as that's where the blood flows and drains to, so I was glad to hear that was completely normal.
She even exclaimed, when she saw my stomach "Look at you and your little waist!" She said that I was definitely a good candidate for liposuction and that I look great now, but it's only going to get better as I swell less and less.
My stitches actually would have dissolved on their own in another 7-10 days; however, Dr. Kavali said that if I wanted them out now, they could remove them for me. I went ahead and elected to get them removed, because it's a bit of a pain to have to cover those areas every time I get out of the shower before I put my compression garment back on. It was a bit of pain getting them removed, but not too bad. The PA also suggested to start rubbing the incision sites, as she said that when they start to heal, they can have the tendency to heal inward and massaging that area could help stop that. So, I'll have to start doing that in the shower.
Dr. Kavali also stated that I should really ease back into exercising, when I asked about it. She said maybe start with brisk walking (as running right now would be a bit too high impact) and maybe start doing lunges/squats and slow exercises like that that are low impact.
Lastly, she suggested the lymphatic massage. She said it's not required, but a great option to consider and that I could start getting them today, but understands if I want to wait a bit longer until I'm a little less sore.
The way that she explained it, she stated that it won't feel "great" during the massage, but nearly all her patients state that after the massage they feel so much better. Another added benefit is that it will help smooth out my skin and remove any hard lumps that may form (although, she felt my stomach and sides and said that I wasn't forming any hardness under my skin...yeah!). So I may go to her suggestion massage therapist next week.
I plan on taking some pictures tomorrow as it will be my first week post op :)
But so far, I'm still SO happy I did this :)
Thursday, January 19th 7 Days after Surgery One...
- 20 Jan 2012
One week post op!
Started working from home full time again yesterday as well as doing some more cleaning of the house (finished up the dining room and living room). Still didn't feel comfortable enough to do exercises after trying some squats really started to hurt...plus my legs are so sore as I've really been using them for sitting down/sitting up/picking things up, etc etc. They've been getting a great workout since my surgery!
Didn't have the best day today. I took another shower, but this time, I did it while my boyfriend was still at work, as I assumed that I would be fine, given the fact that I've taken 5 showers and one bath since my surgery....I guess I was wrong.
When I took my garment off, I was sitting down like I always do and I give myself a "moment" to ensure I'm not feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Once I determined I was fine, I snagged my camera to take some more post op pictures. I noticed that it feels like I'm getting a little hard spot near my rib cage on my right hand side....pretty bummed about that. I also noted that's where, sometimes when I'm sitting down, I feel a little sting of pain if I lean over to my right too far.
Anyhoo, got in the shower and used shampoo, Conditioner...so it had been SEVERAL minutes since my garment had been off.
Then, BAM, started to get a little light headed. Luckily, I have fainted A LOT in my life, so I know when it's coming. I was able to sit down quickly in the shower before I fainted.
When I came to, I quickly finished up in the shower and got my garment back on...I still didn't feel "right", so I ended up taking a 1 hour nap.
Not sure what all that was about. :(
As far as everything else, it looks like my swelling is starting to go down and my bruise on my pubic area is still there, but starting to SLOWLY decrease in size and that area isn't as swollen either.
I'm getting new bruises on my sides, though, which I'm not too thrilled about...as this means more time sleeping on my back (I'm a side sleeper).
My back has really been bothering me the last couple of days too. Granted, I have a bad back, but that's in the small of my back...this pain I've been having is in my lat area. Just gets super tight and achy sometimes.
Starting to ween myself off the pain killers. Was taking them every 6 hours...now I'm taking them every 7 or 8 hours instead and making it through the night without one. Happy about that :)
Been doing well with my diet so far too and getting back to healthier eating....getting liposuction is a GREAT motivator, as you don't want to eat poorly and waste away ALL that money, time and suffering you had to give up :)
Anyhoos, I'm mainly keeping this review up-to-date for myself as well as for others, I found when coming on this site, that people who constantly updated gave me better insight into the recovery process and a lot of what I'm going through I know is pretty "normal" because I had read about it in other reviewer's experiences. So, I hope I'm helping someone else out there. :)
Posted some 7 days post op below...lemme know what ya think!
Thursday, January 26th 2 Weeks after...
- 26 Jan 2012
Well, it's been a week since my last update and I gotta say there have been a lot of changes.
My bruising has gone down A LOT and I'm starting to get feeling back in my stomach (upper ab area and pelvic area). Still can't feel my midsection, though.
No more fainting spells (thank goodness) and I've been really good with my diet (lost 6 lbs since my surgery). Also started to lightly start to work out and did a full 30 minutes of moderately paced kickboxing yesterday (I've got a punching bag in the garage).
Still swollen and I find that sitting at my desk for 8 hours each day leads to some really sore nights. I also hate how my garment/pants/shirt are leaving "traces" on my stomach (you can see in my recent pictures where the garment was by all the lines on my stomach).
I'm going to probably make an appointment today for a massage for next week. Not looking forward to it, but I want to ensure I do everything I can to heal correctly.
I'm getting a bit apprehensive about my belly button area, though. It's starting to look a bit "sagging" almost like excess skin...worried that that won't go away after all the swelling has subsided and I'll have loose skin. :( I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Thursday, February 2nd 3 Weeks after Surgery I...
- 3 Feb 2012
I took pictures; however, there isn't much difference between this week and next week, so I'll probably wait until around 6 weeks post op to post new pictures. :)
Yesterday I went to my lymphatic massage with the massage therapist that was recommended by Dr. Kavali.
I really don't want to scare anyone, but thought I would be honest here. That was EXTREMELY painful. I know that it's needed and the benefits that it brings, so I will keep going (bought a ten massage package, as it turned out to be around $30 a session that way).
He was able to find all my sore spots VERY quickly and it turns out I have a few spots where some scar tissue is starting to harden up. Every time he would start to press on the one on my rib cage, it took everything in me not to scream.
I would highly suggest, when you go for your first appointment, to be prepared in two ways: 1) Know that it's going to hurt (Dr. Kavali and prefaced the idea of a massage during my post op; however, I wasn't expecting THIS much pain for some reason) and 2) take some OTC pain meds BEFORE you go to try and take the edge off (I didn't this time, but I will for sure NEXT time hahaha)
Having said all that, the fact that something on my body hurts THAT much when pressure is applied to it tells me that I needed this treatment badly. He said that the longer you wait, the worst it can get and it CAN get to the point where there is nothing that he can do for it. He also advised taking it easy with my ab exercises (I had started back this Monday) as that can just tighten up your muscles and make the massage a bit more tough/painful (as you're all tense).
He said by him breaking up the scar tissue it's going to help my stomach not appear so "lumpy" and help resolve some of my lingering swelling.
Lastly, the doctor that Dr. Kavali recommended is AWESOME! He's very knowledgeable and friendly. At first, I was little hesitant about having a strange man rub my stomach (I know he's a professional, but it was still weird to me). But, he made me feel COMPLETELY at ease with everything (well, except the pain HAHA)
Later that night and this morning, I was amazed how much better I felt after the painful massage :)
So, in closing, I will say it's a necessary evil. If you pay this much money and go through the pain/soreness of lipo and you don't finish it up with that last step, then you might regret it.
Well, FINALLY got around to taking some more...
- 15 May 2012
I'm about four months post op now and I've got to say that I'm generally VERY happy with the results. I have one area that I'm still not too pleased with but, seeing how it can take 6-12 months to fully heal (and I have some good and bad days still with my swelling) I'm going to try and keep patient.
I went to the massage therapist about 7 times and I must say it really did help a lot, but sadly, due to work, I haven't been able to go in about a month :( Hopefully things will slow down here soon and I can return and finish up my sessions (I have about three more).
Working out has been doing well, and I'm actually starting to train again to be in the ring, but we'll see how that goes.
Please see below for a comparison of where I was January 11th 2012 and what I look like today, May 15th 2012. The area I'm not too pleased with is my right side...specifically my hip/love handle area. It just seems to be more rounded than the left and stick out more...and almost looks lumpy. The PA said to me, when I went for my one month post-op that they would look at it again at my 6 month post op and, if needed, do a touch up in that spot. But the PA said it's hard to tell as, again, I'm still swollen (and that area was probably my BIGGEST area).
Let me know what you guys think...I honestly can't tell much difference from my last "after" shots that I took around 2 weeks after my surgery...
July 9, 2012 Hello again! :) Well, I got a...
- 9 Jul 2012
Hello again! :) Well, I got a call the other day from my PS' office informing me it was time for my 6 months post-op appointment. I cannot believe it's been 6 months already!!
I decided to post a picture of me in my new bikini. I must say, overall, I'm VERY happy with my results. My only slight complaint is still two areas: the area just above my belly button AND my right love handle. Above my belly button the skin there just hasn't "snapped" back like I had hoped and it's a bit saggy (and as you can see in the picture a bit, it gives me a slight "crease" on the right side just above my belly button). And my right love handle is still too large, IMO and now looks even more pronouced as the area above it is so much smaller (luckily, it's easy to hide with clothing...as it's still kinda hard to see even when wearing a double string bikini).
I've been working out a lot. I've also really been trying to watch what I eat. I haven't lost a lot of weight, per se, but I have lost some inches and overall my tummy has gotten tighter (I joke and talk about my 2 pack...as I'm still far away from a 6 pack...although my 4th pack is very slowly starting to form HAHAHA I think if that skin was tighter it may be a bit more pronouced).
I'm hoping that maybe some light touch ups in the PS' office can help tighten me up some. If not, still sooo happy I did this as I'm leaps and bounds better than I was at the first of the year.
My Doctor: Carmen Kavali, MD