After a few years of trying to decide, I made the decision to try to have my love handles reduced. During the initial consult, I figured if I was going to have the love handles reduced, I might as well have the beer gut reduced as well.
Around age 20, I went from around 180 to 240 pounds, due to late night pizza delivery and the college lifestyle. A few years later, I lost the extra weight and dropped to around 175 pounds. I maintained 175 pounds from age 22 to age 30, but unfortunately, the damage I did to my body at 240 pounds wouldn't go totally away.
I was the "fat, skinny guy." I looked skinny in clothes, but when my shirt was off, I had a gut. I finally decided to give SmartLipo a try.
My very first visit to the Dr. was six months before the actual procedure. After my initial consult with the Dr. I wasn't sure if I would go through with it, but a few months later I decided it couldn't hurt.
During my pre-op visit, the Dr. was very honest with me and said that because of my earlier significant weight loss, my love handles wouldn't totally go away. He told me that my love handles would likely be reduced by half. He also told me that I would have drains and be uncomfortable for a couple of weeks after surgery.
I scheduled a couple of weeks off from work and had SmartLipo MPX surgery on my flanks and lower abdomen on 1/11/2010.
I arrived at the surgery center around 1pm. I took a valium and two pain pills around 1:30pm.
The procedure was started around 2:30pm.
The Dr. and two assistants were very pleasant throughout. I started lying on my stomach while they did the love handles. I have a high pain tolerance and combined with the meds, I felt nothing as they numbed the area and then sucked out the fat. I could feel them manipulating my body but I didn't feel any pain. After the love handles were done, they asked me to flip over to my lower abdomen. During the procedure, I listened to my iPod and made small talk with the Dr. and assistants. The same procedure was done on my front, with an injection of numbing solution and then suction.
Towards the very end of the procedure I began to feel some pain as the numbing solution wore off and they suctioned the area near my belly button. About 3 hours had gone by, and the last 5 minutes of the procedure were painful. I attribute this to the numbing solution wearing off. Up to this point I felt absolutely no pain.
At the very end of the procedure, the Dr. inserted two JP drains into my abdomen, after having inserted two tube drains into my lower back.
When the procedure was over, I was able to sit up on my own and the assistants helped me put a compression garment on.
They insisted that I leave the facility in a wheelchair, and I had help getting into the car after the procedure.
The one thing I didn't expect from the procedure was the amount of drainage that occurred over the next 72 hours.
I had two open drains in my back and two bulb drains in my abdomen. I had a caregiver take care of me for the first 72 hours. I drained a lot, and I had to drain the bulb drains every few hours. Also, my caregiver taped maxi-pads to my back quite often.
I had the procedure on a Monday afternoon and had a lymphatic massage on Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon I said goodbye to the caregiver and drove 3 hours home by myself.
I did not take a single pain med aside from the two that initially took just prior to the procedure. I did not take any Tylenol either. There was pain when getting up from bed, or laying down in bed, but if I moved slow and took it easy, the pain was bearable.
Just shy of one month later I continue to wear the compression garment when lounging around the house, but I don't wear it at work or when out and about.
My experience was that there is a significant amount of pain during the procedure, which for me showed up at the very end.
I also think you need at least two full days, maybe three, before you can honestly consider getting back to somewhat of a normal lifestyle.
If you can have the procedure on a Friday, you'll most likely be ready for work on Monday, with some discomfort.
It's not a "lunchtime" operation, and it isn't pain free.
I'm a month out, and a week ago at my check up the Dr. said I am entering the "swollen/lumpy" phase.
I made the decision a while ago to not judge until 3-6 months out. If I don't look good in July then I'll be upset, but until then I'll continue to wait.
I haven't exercised yet, and I haven't eaten particularly healthy.
Feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions or comments.
While I still have love handles, they are significantly reduced from what they were, AND I WOULD DO THE WHOLE THING OVER IN A HEART BEAT!!!