Smartlipo to Arms, Axillary and Bra-line; Coolsculpting to Flanks and Lower Abdomen - Durham, NC

My upper body had always been out of proportion to...

My upper body had always been out of proportion to my lower- which was fine while I had no extra fat... V-shaped but athletic and healthy, no problem. Then I experienced adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism- the ensuing weight gain and inability to lose it was ugly and depressing...no amount of exercising was making a difference. Dieting was very bad for my recovering adrenal glands and imbalanced blood sugar.

So, after reading his reviews on Real Self (and talking my husband into it!), I saw Dr Jason Miller at Renewal Body Contouring in Durham, NC for Smartlipo to arms, underarms and bra line. The initial consult is free and you see Dr Miller, not just someone to explain what Smartlipo is and hand you a price list as happened at another office. Dr Miller only does body work (as opposed to also doing facelifts and running a medspa like some surgeons) and has extensive experience with Smart Lipo- a huge plus in my book. He and his office staff were professional, helpful and understanding. When I asked him about also doing lipo to my flanks and tummy, he suggested the much cheaper and less invasive Coolsculpting. When discussing Smartlipo, he made it very clear that it, while not as invasive as traditional liposuction, is still surgery and involves downtime and the willingness to follow his pre and post-surgical instructions carefully. Their price quote was quite reasonable and Dr Miller included the axillary area with the arms since there wasn't a huge amount of fat to be removed. He could have charged me separately for both areas and I would have been none the wiser- this speaks to his integrity to be sure. My husband had tons of questions-he wasn't with me at the consult, but called back later- he didn't really care how much fat I had on my arms but was terrified of anyone doing any surgery on me- sweet man! And he offered to pay for it, so I figured he had a right to ask as many questions as he wanted :) Anyway, he called and absolutely peppered them with questions- they answered everything in detail and also let him speak to Dr Miller and allayed all of his concerns.

Dr Miller's office gave very specific pre-op instructions which I followed exactly. They worked with me so I could still take my thyroid medication the day of. The day arrived and I spent 3 hours having CoolSculpting to my flanks and tummy. The technician made me comfortable and even went and bought me a salad for lunch since I couldn't leave the office! The Coolsculpting is uncomfortable at first and strange afterwards; I had minimal bruising and a little discomfort but nothing severe. This thing works like magic. A couple months later the fat just disappeared and I went down a pant size in two weeks. Really does what they say!

After the Coolsculpting, they prepped me for surgery with Halcion (a sedative) and once in the operating room (in office, not hospital), a topical pain killer. They might have given me something else and if they did, I'm sure they told me, but I was getting sleepy and relaxed and don't remember! Dr Miller made three incisions per side, each half the size of a staple. I could feel the cannula being inserted- it felt like someone tracing on my skin with a stiff straw- even though of course, it was going under my skin! I felt no pain, but the sound was disturbing, to me at least- it sounded like raw chicken being pulled apart- sorry for the graphic image! I felt as though if I could see, it would look like straws bending and winding back and forth under my skin. I even asked Dr Miller if my skin looked strange and he said no, it was completely smooth. But during all of this, I was not in pain, just uncomfortable and times and certainly eager for it to be over.

When it was over and I was suited up in a compression garment with padding taped around my elbows, my husband picked me up and took me home. I had pre filled the prescriptions ( Keflex 500mg-Antibiotic-had already taken two before the procedure, per their instructions; Hydrocodone 500mg-Pain Reliever; Phenergan 12.5mg-Anti-Nausea) and lined my side of the bed with a cheap shower curtain liner under the sheets. I immediately went to bed (with old towels under me for the drainage) and since my stomach is very sensitive to everything(!) took a Phenergan, which put me right to sleep. When I awoke, I changed the pads and towels and stayed put. That night I took one pain pill- it was the only one I ever needed. The next day I had a followup appt where they removed the compression garmet for the first time, cleaned all the incisions and massaged my skin with arnica oil (which I was also taking in capsulized form along with Bromain). They gave me a clean compression garmet-heavenly! I took the other home- one to wear and one to wash- that was how it was for three weeks. I only took the garmet off to shower, and religiously cleaned the incisions with alcohol and applied Neosporin twice daily. I purposely had this done in the fall so I could wear long sleeves to cover the compression garmet- it was like a sports bra with 3/4 sleeves. The first 4 days I didn't do much (the draining only lasted that one night and next day). I ate only lean meats, fruits and vegetables, watched my salt intake carefully for the next three weeks- I took 20 min. walks after the first 2 days. I was very swollen and had pretty severe bruising. After 5 days, I was pretty much back to normal activities. I saw the doctor a couple more times until they were satisfied the swelling was at a more normal level and the brushing was gone. I bought some arnica oil myself and used it for a month- I kept taking arnica and Bromain this entire time. The three weeks of wearing the garmet were fine. Two weeks after surgery I started basketball practice (I coach)- my arms were quite sore at times, especially when scrimmaging with the girls, but overall I think this helped (Dr Miller said it was fine as long as I wasn't involved in super hard physical activity for more than 30 minutes or so- after 3 weeks it was fine to do more). The swelling was the worst as I kept wanting it to go down quicker, but it was 8 weeks, just like they said it would be. You have to be patient with this thing!

It's been 4 months since the procedures and I'm so pleased with the results. Every once and a while I feel a little pull on the back of my arms, but it's almost completely gone. The incisions have practically disappeared. My shoulders, arms and back are balanced with my bottom half now. I'm fitting into blouses that were way too tight in the arms and back before. Even my winter coats fit better. I didn't really drop a size at the top, everything just fits now like it's supposed to.

I highly recommend Dr Miller and everyone at Renewal Body Contouring!

For Coolsculpting, the cost was $650/area (2 flanks and 1 tummy- basically it's an area everytime they have to attach the suction thing)- $1950.

For Smartlipo it was $2500 for the arms and underarms and $1880 for the bra line.

I'm not including a picture, but my arms are the only arms pictured on the Renewal Body Contouring website for Smartlipo.

The picture is on the carolinalipo website for...

The picture is on the carolinalipo website for Renewal Body Contouring under "Advanced Liposculpture."
Omaha Plastic Surgeon

Real Self

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (3)

I just had my arms and bra line done by dr miller about a month ago. How long did it take for your skin to tighten? I know it differs widely per person but I'm curious.
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It's just now fully tightened- 5 months post-op. There was some soreness under my arms until about a month ago as well. Happy healing!
  • Reply

Hi there, welcome and thanks so much for sharing your journey with us.

Your review is very detailed, which is great for our other community members who may not have had the procedure yet! I'm glad you've got good results and things are working out for you!

Your photos look good!

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