39 Year Old, Stomach, Lower Back, Thigh, Hip Lipo - Illinois, IL

I'm a 39 year old woman with two kids. I'm an...

I'm a 39 year old woman with two kids. I'm an active person who completes 2-3 half marathons a year and did a full marathon in January. Even though I consider myself a physically fit person, I've been very unhappy with my appearance since having kids. I initially went to my PS to discuss a breast lift and/or implants and a tummy tuck. He suggested trying lipo and was very honest about what to expect. Namely, I'm likely to have some loose and wrinkled skin and would have to get a tummy tuck if I want a totally flat stomach. I decided that it's most important to me to look good clothed and I'm not planning on wearing a bikini anyway. Lipo seemed like the best option to get the most results for the money. I'm still considering implants, but that would be something I would do many months from now.

My PS does lipo under general anesthesia and I was fine with that. I don't handle needles, blood, or medical procedures very well and I had no desire to be aware of what was happening to me. I showed up the morning of my surgery feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing. I met with the anesthesiologist first and he was wonderful. He asked me about my history with general anesthesia and if I had a tendency to get motion sickness. Since I'm very prone to motion sickness, he put one of those patches behind my ear and said he would be giving me a shot of anti-nausea medicine before I woke up. Then he gave me something to relax and my PS came in to mark me up. After that I walked into the procedure room, laid down, and was out really quickly. I woke up in a recliner wearing my compression garment. The nurse helped me get dressed and I went home. They gave me a shot for pain and I was really comfortable for the rest of the day.

I was told to be as active as possible and my husband made me go for a 20 minute walk after I slept most of the afternoon. I felt sore, like I had done a really tough workout, but I didn't have any sharp pain. I also had almost no fluid leakage. I took a pain pill that night and slept ok. I had to use the bathroom a lot and it felt like I was constantly waking up to go.

The day after was definitely my worst day. The pain meds made me sick and I had to stop taking them and switch to Tylenol. I couldn't eat much and started to swell. I managed to walk a mile as directed by my PS, but spent most of the day with my feet up wondering why I thought this was a good idea.

I haven't had much pain at all since day two. It was uncomfortable getting in and out of bed, but that was it. I continued to take Tylenol at night, but haven't needed anything during the day. I did bruise terribly even though I was taking Arnica and using the cream. My swelling seems to have peaked yesterday and today (one week after surgery) I noticed significant improvement. I've been wearing my CG 24/7 and this morning it felt loose. I did swell up a bit as the day went on.

I've had a lot of problems with feeling lightheaded and dizzy. I felt well enough to return to work on Monday, but was so lightheaded that I stayed home another day. I ended up calling my PS because I was concerned and he had me come right in. Turns out I just needed some Gatorade and I was fine. While I was there, he removed my stitches and explained what he had done. He removed 4,400 ccs of fat and told me that he could have removed more from my stomach, but left some because he didn't want me to have wrinkled and loose skin. I should be happier with the final result this way.

I already see results after only one week and the recovery is going much better than I expected. I'm back to walking 4-5 miles a day and will be able to run in another two weeks. It really does feel better to be active and I'm glad I was able to resist the urge to lay around afterwards. I'm having trouble fitting into my work clothes because my legs are quite swollen and I'm certainly uncomfortable by the end of the day, but it's not that bad.

My PS gave me some advice that I haven't seen posted here before. He said I should stop wearing my CG at night after a few more days because that will allow for better circulation to reduce swelling and bruising. He also suggested taking a baby aspirin each day to help the bruising go away. He gave me the standard advice to do self-massage as soon as I can tolerate it.

All in all, I'm really glad I did this and I can't wait to see my final results. I've got a follow up appointment in two weeks and I'll post an update then.

Before pictures

One week post-op

I took arnica before and after surgery, but I've still got extensive bruising.

More swelling

I'm 10 days post-op and my PS told me to expect the worst swelling days 6-10. I'm much more swollen than I was when I took my pictures on day 7. I didn't drink as much water as I need to while I was at work, but I'm home for the weekend and I'm really going to focus on that. I tend to retain water as it is, so I expected a lot of swelling.

Last night I slept without my CG and I hated it! It was very uncomfortable. Not sure what I'll do tonight. I started self-massage yesterday. I don't live in an area where I can get lymphatic massage. I'm just working on the hard areas in my stomach. I know it's normal, but it looks terrible.

Thanks for your kind comments!

2 weeks post-op

Not much has changed since last week. I think the swelling has gone down just a bit, but I seem to be losing and gaining the same 1 lb of water. My bruising is starting to improve. I've got some lumps and bumps and I'm massaging those twice a day. I've got an appointment with my PS next week and I'm hoping he'll confirm that this is normal and they will eventually go away on their own.

I've moved on to a stage 2 CG and it does a much better job of compressing my stomach. I'm able to wear my pre-surgery clothes now. They are starting to get big in the waist, but fit about the same in the thighs. I didn't have much removed from my thighs because I asked my PS to focus on my stomach first since I wasn't sure how much he would be able to safely remove. I need to step up my strength training to tone legs and upper back in order to stay fairly well proportioned.

2 weeks post-op

Progress

I lost about 3 pounds in the last 24 hours. I'm really happy to see some progress, but I wish I wasn't waking up 4-5 times a night to use the bathroom. It's really irritating.

I'm able to be more aggressive with massage now. I'm using an electric massager to sort of loosen everything up and soften the hard spots and then I use my knuckles to basically kneed my stomach. It doesn't hurt at all as long as I've used the electric massager first. My stomach feels great when I'm done. The lumps keep returning, but knowing I can make them go away temperarily is very reassuring. Hoping I'll be able to see improvement when I take my 3 week photos.

Half marathon

I walked a half marathon today and I'm feeling pretty tough if I do say so myself. I'm sure I'll see a temporary increase in swelling, but I'm proud that I was able to finish only 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. It was so much fun I'm planning to do another one next weekend.

3 weeks

I didn't have time to take pictures this morning, but I'll take and post them soon. I had my 3 week appt with my PS yesterday and now I won't see him for three months. According to their scale, I've lost 7 lbs. i haven't been tracking my measurements at home because I forgot to take my measurements prior to surgery. The nurse measured me yesterday and said I've lost a couple inches off my upper abs, 5 (!) inches off my lower abs, 1 inch off my hips (I didn't have much removed from my hips) and 1.5 inches off my upper thighs.

I asked my PS about the weird dent in my lower abs. He explained that there is still some swelling there, but it's really more of an issue with my skin. I have a lot of stretch marks and a couple of c-section scars and it's just going to take awhile for the skin to firm up. I'm supposed to continue massage for the hard areas, which do seem to be improving. He also told me in no uncertain terms to stop wearing my CG at night. He believes that it slows down the skin tightening process and contributes to long term swelling because blood and fluids don't circulate as well. I didn't wear it last night and woke up slightly swollen and SORE, like I had done a killer ab workout yesterday. But I'm going to follow his directions because I'm sure he knows what he's doing.

Got a new stage 2 CG from design Veronique after a recommendation from here. Holy cow is it tight! It has a higher back and is doing a better job of squishing the fat around my bra line. I didn't have my upper back or arms done and the difference between my upper and lower body is quite obvious. I'm cleared for running and vigourous exercise now and plan to do a lot of upper body strength training. Even if I still carry some extra weight, it will look better if the muscles are toned.

Finally, I fit into a size 6 yesterday! I'll admit that it was in a brand that I know tends to run big, but I don't care. I was wearing a size 10 or stretched out size 8s before surgery. Getting into a 6 is simply amazing to me. My oldest daughter wears a 6! I still need larger tops to accommodate my arms and shoulders, but I bet I'll see some progress there by the end of summer.

3 weeks post-op

Sorry for the poor quality photos. Now that much of my swelling has gone down, my three stomach "waves" are more obvious. My PS swears this will get better as the skin firms up, but I will not have a perfectly flat stomach. I knew that going in so I'm going to be happy if it just smoothes out.

Photos

Half marathon, again

Did another half marathon today. I was cleared to run a few days ago, but of course I haven't trained to run anything in over a month. I walked most of it, but was able to throw in some running intervals. It felt good to run again. I don't have to start training for another race until August. Going to spend the next few months focusing on strength training and other cardio. I think trying some new things will help me tone up and lose more body fat.

Tired of the swelling

I'm feeling pretty negative today because I've had some bad swelling since the weekend. My stomach is really uneven and doesn't seem to be getting better. I'm tired of eating pineapple (the supplements do nothing for me), drinking gallons of water, and massaging. I just want to be fully recovered already! I know, I know, it takes time and I have to be patient and it will get better with time. I think I've finally reached my low point and needed to vent to people who understand.

4 weeks

Not much change from last week. I probably won't post more pictures for several weeks after this because the changes from week to week are so subtle. I took a couple of close-ups of my stomach to show the sagging skin and unevenness. My PS thinks I will see a lot of improvement in a few months, but he did warn me that I would need a TT for a completely flat stomach. Overall I'm not concerned and feel like the results are meeting my expectations.

Random thoughts

1. I wish I could figure out why some days I have a lot of swelling and other days I'm in the bathroom every 10 minutes. I basically eat and drink the same stuff every day. The other morning I woke up 5 lbs heavier than the day before. Today I think I flushed it all out. My coworkers must be wondering what the heck is going on because I'm constantly walking from my cubicle to the bathroom. I had to stop on my way home after work and it's only a 20 min drive!
2. I'm frustrated by the constant up and down because it makes it difficult to monitor my "real" weight. I know I need to reduce my caloric intake because I should need fewer calories to maintain or reduce my post-lipo weight. I can't figure out if I've adjusted enough because my weight is all over the place. For that matter, my clothes are falling off me some days and tight on others.
3. I'm really trying to resist buying new clothes until I'm past the three month mark. It's difficult to resist temptation because I hate the way my clothes look now. Everything I own was purchased to hide my stomach and now I look kind of ridiculous. I have picked up a few basics, but those are kind of loose sometimes and I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes I won't be able to wear in two months.

Another quick update

I don't have pictures to post because I basically look the same. My weight seems to have stabilized around 153-155 (was 161 before surgery) and I feel good about how I look in my clothes. Still have my lumps and bumps, but I'm not being as disciplined about massage as I need to be. I am dry brushing on a semi-regular basis and using coconut oil because everyone seems to think it's a miracle cure for everything. I'm trying to decide if I should get a new CG or a waist cincher to wear over my current CG or something else. I admire those of you wearing corsets, but I just don't think I could handle that, especially at work in the summer. I do like my CG, but the legs are pretty long and I have to wear my cheap flexees with the shorter legs when I wear skirts. My CG feels great on my thighs, but I could probably use more compression over my abs. I'm leaning towards a new cheap flexees since I don't wear anything at night and really don't need a medical grade CG anymore. If that isn't tight enough, I could get a cincher to wear over that. Any suggestions?

An update, finally

Sorry I disappeared for awhile. Things have been pretty rough at work for the last few months. I haven't been as dedicated to diet and exercise as I need to be, but I have been at least maintaining.

I'm still happy with my results. No more hard spots, but I have a lot of loose skin, as expected. I do hope that it will tightened up over time, but I look great with my clothes on so it really doesn't bother me. I posted some close-ups. I've got a little patch of loose skin on my right inner thigh that you can see in some photos. I only noticed that in the last week. I'm going to keep an eye on it and will ask my PS about it during my next appt at the end of July. I still hate all the stretch marks and cellulite, but I knew lipo wouldn't fix that.

I'm going to work on getting out of my work induced funk and focus on exercise. Working out always helps my mood and I want to go from maintaining to losing again!

Uneven results

You can see in some of my pictures that my back is uneven right below my bra line. My left side is noticeably larger than my right. Any chance it's uneven swelling or something that will get better with time? I think there is some swelling going on because the difference is more obvious some days than others.
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