Liposuction Worth It if You Have Realistic Expectations - SE Michigan

This past week, I had lipostuction on my lower...

This past week, I had lipostuction on my lower abs, flanks, and inner and outer thighs. They removed 1.5L of fluid during the surgery but I don't know how much fluid had been injected (so I don't know how much of that was fat). I would call my procedure more "lipo sculpting" versus going for mass removal of fat (I'll explain more later). I am a few days into my recovery and it's not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. I have approximately 10 sites in which they used smaller-sized canulas (3 mm max). Each site has sutures that look great; I've had very minimal drainage that lasted for approximately 24 hours. My first reaction upon waking was that it felt like I had done a million sit-ups. These past few days, the sensation of my muscles recovering is very similar to the feeling after a very intense workout. I took Percocet every four hours for the first 2.5 days then took 1 day to increase the interval until I switched to ibuprofen. After 4 days, it's slightly uncomfortable, but I've been able to take showers on my own, get up off the couch on my own, and take short (and very slow) walks for a few days now. I have two sites of numbness and both are small patches approximately the size of grapefruit in mirrored locations on the back of my flanks. I hadn't realized it for the first 2 days, but now that the sensation is starting to come back, it feels strange.

Now for my back story... I've never been a big girl. I'm fairly tall and have always been a size 4 on top and have ranged from a size 4 (only very recently as I cut my calories low) to a size 8 (for a short time in college) on bottom. I've always been happy with my upper half, but 1) I have felt like my lower half is unproportinally larger than my upper half and 2) I've always had a deposit of fat just under my belly button that, despite diet and exercise, would not go away. I work out 2 - 3 times per week using cardio, running, and weight lifting and I eat quite well, but there were still defined deposits under my belly button and in the "saddle-bag" area. When I gain a few pounds, they immediately went to my hip area and made me look pear-shaped. Therefore, I had written instructions for my physician that we reviewed the morning of the surgery that spelled out my number one priority is for my end result to be a smooth, proporitional shape. I didn't want my doctor to go for as much removal as possible and leave me with weird dimples or pockets as my thighs curve into my hips, etc. This is what I meant by "lipo contouring". In this written directive, I also outlined my hopes, concerns, and issues with each area I was having done. This helped me to remember everything that had been floating in my head leading up to the surgery and helped us discuss particulars as he made the markings for the surgery.

I had considered liposuction for these defined areas of fat deposit for years. I'm still under 30 years of age so I tried for years to work it off, but I came to the realization that these deposits aren't going away as long as I'm in a healthy weight range and they're only going to get worse as I age. I rathered the surgery to remove these trouble sites earlier while I'm very healthy and don't have kids to take care of.

I did a lot of research online to consider the risks, doctors, availability of techniques, costs, etc. After many discussions with my husband, who tried to talk me out of this but has been supportive of my decision, I met with some board-certified plastic surgeons in my area. Once I got prices from a few doctors, I went back to the doctor I felt most comfortable with and negotiated a lower price with him, using quotes from other doctors.

I planned my surgery shortly before a holiday so that I would have to take less time off of work. They told me to plan on 9 days off of work but I will try to go back after 6 days (I have a desk job). Due to my fitness level and level of fat removal, the doctor's office expects this 6 days of rest may be adequate for me but we have yet to see how I wake up feeling that day. Based on the strides my body is making from day to day, I am still hopeful.

When in recovery, the doctor's office told me to be sure I stay on top of the pain management. They told me that if I don't take my pain meds at the suggested intervals and the pain kicks in strong, I will not be able to get it under control again. This is why I took my pain meds for just over 2 days before starting to increase the intervals.

I also have a compression garment that I have to wear for 2 weeks straight then a couple of weeks only at night. This has helped heep the swelling down. My yoga pants still fit with this garment it helps keep everything in place so that it doesn't hurt so much and can heal faster. I have to take the garment partially off to use the restroom which, for the first few days after the surgery, was the worst part of my day. When the garment is unhooked, my blood pressure drops and I felt very light-headed and nauseous. I had to get the garment back on as quickly as possible to stop from convulsing which is a killer on my sore abs. I learned to unhook the garment from the thigh, up to the stomach, and slowly unwrap it from my stomach. To help with the nausea from the antibiotic (which I take religously on time with 10 holes in my body) and pain med, I sip on diet cola to soothe my stomach. Water seems to make the nausea worse.

As I mentioned, my yoga pants still fit and the garment helps with swelling. I have been shocked at the lack of swelling, especially considering I have not had much draining. My belly button is almost swelled shut, but the swelling is not outward due to the garment so my waist measurement with the garment on is only approximately 1" greater than it was before surgery.

My husband has been amazing through this. I would definitely not been able to do this on my own. For the first couple of days, he had to make and bring my meals to me, adjust my pillows and legs, help me get up, and constantly bring me fluids.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask. I'm obviously no expert but I can answer questions about my personal experience.

It's been eight days since my surgery and the...

It's been eight days since my surgery and the healing process is underway but I've been surprised at how originally-tender locations now feel alright while originally-fine locations are now very sore.

I visited my doctor six days after the surgery and my incision sites were healed enough to remove the sutures. This process was quick and relatively painless. My incision sites are quite small and do not hurt. This was the first day I noticed discoloration developing on the surface of my inner thighs as well as an area of numbness on one of the inner thighs. I am told the numbness I am experiencing will disappear as my nerves heal.

The doctor told me that the total amount of fluid that was removed was closer to 2.5L. He said that typically the amount of fluid removed is 50% pure fat. However, in the case of someone who is having less removed, they use a bit more fluid which put me at about 1.5L of fat was removed of the 2.5L total. Also during the visit, the doctor reviewed massage instructions and incision/scar care with me. He explained to me that I'll need to massage the lipo sites three times per day for three minutes for three weeks to reduce the retained fluid and ensure a smooth finished product. I'm not looking forward to this, but I have one shot to do the recovery right so I'm doing everything by the book.

Different parts of my body are tender now than originally. My stomach muscles feel fine now and using my leg muscles to walk or lift my legs doesn't hurt anymore either. However, the lower part of my back where I had a small deposit removed just above the buttocks is very sore. Also, my inner thighs are very tender and are uncomfortable to sit on. Taking Ibuprofen doesn't seem to help much with this. The outer thigh area is not nearly as sore and already looks great. I can see it's slightly swollen, but when I put on my pants, I definitely notice a smoother, sleeker leg shape. From a 45 degree, my thigh looks MUCH thinner. Due to the decreased pain in my abs and quads, my walking pace is getting mucch faster every day.

With the compression garment on, I can wear my usual relaxed-fit pants to work. The hardest part of my day is absolutely getting in and out of the car. It's at a comfortable height, but sitting down on my swollen, tender thighs is quite uncomfortable. By far, the worst part of my day is getting in and out of the car. The second worst part of the day is sitting down; it used to be sleeping since I could only sleep on my back and I was waking up achy at night, but as of last night, I can sleep on my side. This is a HUGE improvement.

I have less than one week of wearing my compression garment during the day and I am looking forward to being able to remove it for hours. My skin at the seam points is becoming irritated and sensitive and it makes me feel more swollen than I look.

My next doctor's appointment is in two months but in the meantime, there is much work to be done to assist with the healing process. I'll continue to update as the healing progresses. If I find tips and tricks to the scar care or massage techniques, I'll be sure to share.
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Comments (5)

I had 4.5L removed. Not sure what the equals to in lbs, only b/c I haven't googled it yet!! Haha!

I still have my original compression garment on, 24/7. I am to wear it for another 2 wks, so 1 month total. Then half days.

My garment is security for me, I love putting it back on after my showers! I do not believe I will be buying another garment, my dr. didn't recommend another garment.

Moving around is the key~ well..and staying away from salt/sodium!!

Good luck!!
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Hi Nikki,
I've had lipo on my back/flanks/abs/inner & outer thighs a little over 2 wks ago. I went in for surgery on Friday morning, and back to work on Tuesday! I also have a desk job.

I have had a similar experience, but the second day after surgery I was up and walking for an hour with my family. My Dr. wanted me to get up as soon as I could, and fight through the pain if possible. Of course I was on my Pain meds the whole time!
I go in for my 2nd follow visit today, still wearing my garment, however its crotch-less so I don't have to remove it to use the restroom, but I do handwash it every night and put it in the dryer on Air Fluff, in the mean time I bought a control garment from JC penny's to wear while the original is drying.

2 wks into this, I'm feeling stiff if I sit too long, I have trouble bending over, it is still uncomfortable. I only have 8 incisions, the one's i'm struggling with the most are right above my pubic bone. I have 3, and the area is swollen still, and is hard when you press on it. I am going to get it looked at to make sure it is normal. I have had NO leakage the entire time! My numbness has went away, but still swollen. Not too bad. I have a hard time keeping my slacks on at work, and I can't wear a cute belt as of yet due to when I sit it feels too tight.

Just thought I would share my experience with you. Feel free to ask questions if you would like. :)

Have a good recovery!!
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WOW, I cannot believe you went back to work four days later! Well I believe you, but that's incredible. How much did you have removed?!

I wish I would have gotten up and walked around earlier but I was so afraid of tearing a suture point and my lower back was sore so I stayed on the couch instead hahaha.

Now that you're two weeks in, do you still wear a compression garment during the day? My doctor told me some women purchase a Stage 2 Liposuction garment or a Spanx compression garment (max control) to continue to wear, but I haven't decided if I'll do that or not yet.

Thanks for sharing and I wish you a healthy and speedy recovery!
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Hi Nikki -- Thanks so much for sharing your story so far! The yoga pants are a good idea, although I'm surprised they still fit (no offense... just b/c of swelling ;).

Take it easy and keep us updated when you can!

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Thanks, Sharon! Yep, the yoga pants are incredibly comfortable and with the compression garment, they stretch comfortably and don't inhibit whatever movement is possible in the garment. One piece of advice about this is: be sure the pants taken to surgery (for the purpose of wearing home) do NOT have a snug waist band. The band can be felt through the compression garment and if/when you need to remove the pants, you've been sleeping and swelling so they do not come off as easily as they went on!
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