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Not Perfect, but Improved - New York, NY

Like many others on this site, I have been plagued...

Like many others on this site, I have been plagued by cellulite since my early teen years. I am not overweight and have exercised regularly my whole life. The cellulite is mainly on the upper sides of both thighs, with some dimples on my butt. For some reason, my left thigh is more 'bulge-y' than my right, and it shows through pants, especially exercise pants. It's ridiculous that I am at the gym just about every day (real workouts, not just bouncing along lightly on the elliptical) and have been so insecure about how I look that I don't want to go on an exercise machine when there are people in the row behind me, or at the front of a class. I've perfected the walk of going through the gym with a towel hanging down just right to cover my left thigh.

I was browsing around the internet one day, looking for a solution to my problem (was thinking I'd need a leg lift of some sort, with some of the excess skin removed) when I came upon the Cellulaze reviews. I was completely obsessed with it from the moment I read, and made my appointment for a consultation with Dr. Katz right away (he was one of the doctors that performed the clinical trials). I wish I had read about this sooner, since it took a while to find an appointment for my procedure, almost 2 months later (busy time at work, so I needed a Friday to have the weekend to recover).

Procedure Day
Per the instructions given to me by the office, I had a big breakfast and arrived at 8:30am. I think it was at least an hour or two before the official procedure began. There were forms to fill out, and then Dr. Katz took pictures and marked me up (a horrifying process, but he didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all, and also the nurse was very nice). I was given an anti-nausea pill and a tiny pill that was supposed to regulate my heart rate (I think that was the explanation). Then we went to the operating room and I was given a shot of Demerol and some numbing shots. I had read on this blog about the numbing process being very painful, and at first, I thought those shots were it and was relieved.. but THEN they began the real 'numbing process', which was painful and felt like someone was trying to pull my skin off (I was not looking, but it felt like maybe a tube was being inserted under my skin?) I think they were putting fluid into my legs. When the actual procedure began, I didn't feel much, but I felt like it took forever. Then, the doctor had me stand up several times and then did something to remove the fluid (felt and sounded like a vacuum and it kind of hurt- but I wasn't looking). When it was over, the nurse put a ton of bandaging on and helped me into my compression garment. I asked where the incision was and was told "oh, you'll see it". As soon as I stood up, I felt very nauseous and had to sit back down. The nurse said I could unzip the waist part of the garment (it went all the way up my ribcage). My friend arrived to take me home, but I was so nauseous that I wasn't able to leave the room for at least another half hour (but I'm extremely prone to nausea and motion sickness). She brought soup and bread, but I was only able to slowly nibble on some of the bread. The nurse gave me another anti-nausea pill. The plan was to take a cab home, but since I get so motion sick in cabs on a normal day, my friend walked me home (4 avenues- this would take about 6 minutes on a normal day). It was a slow walk-- my steps were very small and I wouldn't say I felt pain, but just strange. Plus, I could feel a stream of fluid dripping down both legs the whole way. I arrived home, ate my soup, tried watching some tv but it was a bit uncomfortable sitting. As the afternoon went on, my legs started to feel painful when I stood up. I typically do not take any type of medicine, and was afraid the pain pills could make me nauseous again, so I didn't take it. I tried sleeping-- I definitely did not just fall right asleep like I was supposed to (perhaps because I didn't take the pain pills). I wasn't in pain when I was lying down, but was when I stood up and walked. I don't think I drank more water than usual, but for some reason I had to pee very often- around every half hour or so and it was a difficult process each time. The compression garment has a giant opening, but I was still afraid of peeing on it, so I used a plastic cup with a hole cut out of the bottom (read that tip on this site). I was clearly leaking right through the garment, but I was afraid to take it off and change the bandages, since it hurt and I didn't want to ruin what the nurse had done. I did not get a good night's sleep at all.

Day After Procedure
I woke up feeling much the same way as the day before. By that point, any pain medication I had been given during the procedure had definitely worn off, and I wasn't taking any more. I could sit on my couch and watch tv, but it hurt a lot when I got up and walked around. Unfortunately, I had to leave my house-- my pet had been hospitalized at the vet for the past 2 days, and it was time to bring him home. I never would have left my house if I didn't have to. As soon as it hit 24 hours past my procedure date, I was finally able to shower and slowly did so. I finally removed the compression garment and took off the layers of (very wet) bandages. I took a look at myself- bruised, puffy, and all marked up with the marker. With all the bruising and dark marker lines, I had to search for the incision and it was not obvious where it was. I showered, poured hydrogen peroxide over that whole area and washed the area with soap and water. It all felt very tender. Then I very slowly bandaged back up. I was still leaking a lot.

I typically would have walked to the vet (a very long walk across town and then north), but I wasn't in the condition to do that. Cabs make me very motion sick, so I thought I'd at least try to walk across town and take the cab north. It was a very slow, very painful walk across town. People were passing me on the sidewalk. I eventually got into a cab and to the vet, and then ended up in the waiting room for longer than I would have liked. Stayed standing because it was painful to sit on the hard bench, and I could feel the fluid dripping down my legs again. We finally arrived home, and then I had to go out again to buy more bandages and tape (the doctors office had given me a bag with stuff, but not enough to last more than another day). Another slow, painful walk, and a guy on the street even asked if I needed help when I was taking my tiny-stepped walk home.

Remainder of Week After Procedure
Each day, the amount of pain slowly decreased, although it was definitely the worst when I'd been sitting and first got up. It was most comfortable to sleep flat on my back, which is not my preferred sleeping position. I went back to work on Monday and was walking a little funny, but I don't think anyone noticed. The worst part was the compression- not bothersome at all on the legs/butt (where I needed it to compress), but the garment zips all the way up to the ribcage and it's suffocating. Whenever possible, I'd unzip the waist and wear a big sweater over it all as if I were cold. I had a lunch meeting where I had to keep myself zipped up, and I got terrible heartburn after (which I never get). I had heartburn more in that week than I've had in my entire life. As soon as I got home, the waist stayed unzipped. I felt all 'off' that week, because my normal routine is to workout each morning, but I was told I couldn't exercise until day 8. I wasn't that hungry- I think a combination of not exercising and being compressed.

1 Week After Procedure
Day 8- time to exercise again! I went to the gym with spanx under my pants (uncomfortable). It was the first time my cellulite didn't show through my pants (but I had the spanx on under there). I was able to do the elliptical for an hour without a problem. The next day, I tried to run, and OW- it felt like everything was jiggling. I was very afraid I'd 'undo' the procedure if I pushed it and kept going. So, I went back to the elliptical and was bored out of my mind, but continued on. Next day, I went back to a Body Sculpt class I typically take on Mondays. I told the instructor I had a 'procedure' and may not be able to do the high-impact stuff. I felt too jiggly any time I tried to jump, but I was able to modify and get through the class. Throughout the week, I took my usual classes, but had to replace the running I normally do with the elliptical. Surprisingly, I was able to do spinning without much of a problem.

I was still pretty bruised, and the marker still hadn't completely washed off. My legs didn't look perfect, but I thought I saw some type of improvement. The area was tender, and I was still bandaging up my legs. I had thought there was one incision, but I realized there were actually three on each leg-- fine, but I wish they would have told me that. I was only properly cleaning out one, since I didn't realize the others were there. The uppermost one seemed a little infected (not terrible, but a little pus). It was time-consuming to clean out and bandage 6 incisions each morning, and squeeze into spanx before working out. I also had been told I only needed to wear the compression garment for a week, but most of the other doctors on here recommend much longer, and so I wore spanx to work just in case (it also hurt to walk to work with all that jiggling). I'd wear the official compression garment only at night.

2 Weeks After Procedure
Two week follow-up appointment. With the nurse practitioner instead of the doctor. I waited for 45 minutes to see her for 3 minutes. She said that everything looked good (including the incisions I thought were infected), that I could stop bandaging up, and that I wasn't undoing my procedure if I tried to run. She also said I should continue to see improvement, since I was still very swollen. I had read on this site that I should try lymph drainage massage and so I asked her about it and she said "oh yeah, that's good". She also told me I should 'push' on the hard areas in my legs whenever I could- just massage around for 'as long as I could stand'.

Three Weeks After Procedure
I went to a highly recommended lymph drainage therapist (yelp). She helped get some of the excess fluid out of my legs, and recommended that I continue to wear the compression garment.

Weeks Three to Six After Procedure
Slowly continuing to improve, still hurts to walk immediately after getting up after sitting for a bit. Still feel jiggly and it hurts to run. I made myself do most of the jumping in exercise classes, but continuous jumping hurts.

Legs are still bruised, but starting to look better. Right leg cellulite looks much improved, and the left is improved, but doesn't look as good as the right (but it was worse to begin with).

Weeks Six to Eight
I can run (with super compression pants)! Surprisingly, I am able to pick up at the speed I left off at more than a month ago. It jiggles/hurts a little, but I can get past it. It seems that I need to start out running, because I get more jiggly as time goes on? I ran a couple of miles to a class, and then in the class, I felt too jiggly to do the little jumping moves I normally can do. I can't wait until this jiggly feeling goes away.

My legs are looking better-- the right one is looking really good, and the left still has some lumps, but it only slightly shows through pants. I am not embarrassed to stand in front of people at the gym anymore, and I don't have to walk with a towel in front of my leg. My conclusion right now is that this was definitely worth it.
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Dr. Katz was good during the consultation and during the procedure, but I didn't see or interact with him besides that. The two week follow-up was done with a nurse practitioner. I'm told the three month follow up is with him. But, most important thing is that I got results from the procedure.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 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
2 out of 5 stars Wait times
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