Black & Blue & Bumpy: No Gain Without Pain

I just had Smart Lipo MPX performed on my upper...

I just had Smart Lipo MPX performed on my upper abs 4 days ago (June 3rd). I am a petite 5'2" and 110 lbs, but always had a bit of a belly. It was never noticeable with clothing on, but I hated the way it sagged and rolled when I sat. I was always insecure about my stomach as compared to the rest of my body. I work out avidly and have always maintained healthy eating habits. No matter what I did, the stubborn "muffin top" wouldn't fully go away. I started considering liposuction. However, I was looking for something not too invasive, with minimal healing time and consistent results. Traditional liposuction just seemed too traumatic and barbaric. The though of general anethesia also discouraged me.

So after a lot of research and mulling it over, I decided to do Smart Lipo. It seemed the perfect match for my body sculpting goals. So, I chose my surgeon, Dr. P, in NYC based on several reviews on this website. He is a very intelligent, accommodating, and sincere person. His staff are equally kind and considerate. His portfolio of before and after shots sealed the deal for me. The results on his previous patients were insanely good. No visible scarring and everything looked sleek and natural.

The $4,000 cost included everything from the anesthesia, surgery fees, medications, post-op visits, to the compression garment. The only other expense was my blood work which was about $250 additional. It was definitely an investment for me, but something I have wanted to do forever.

So, the actual procedure was quite tolerable. There wasn't any acute pain, just moments of discomfort. The application of tumescent lidocaine was probably the most unpleasant part. It stings and burns and jabs. But once you are numb, the rest of the procedure is smooth. I was definitely a bit loopy from the sedatives, but I remember seeing all the fat being sucked out and drained into this container. Kinda surreal. It took about 45 minutes from the time I laid down on the table to when they moved me into the recovery room. I didn't have much fat removed--about 300cc from my abs.

The first night was a blur because all I did was sleep from the drugs they pumped into me. I fully drained overnight, but they wrapped me up so well, nothing leaked out from the pads and dressings. I did feel some mild temderness and soreness, but nothing excruciating. People compare it to pulled muscles from a hard workout--and I'd agree with that. Second day out was pretty much the same. Third day was probably the worst. I started having a lot more swelling and inflammation of my abdominal area. It is tender to touch and I noticed a few lumps near my belly button area. I massaged them gently and they have gone down.

I also have a considerable amount of bruising which surprised the doctor on my post-op visit. I have very thin skin and tend to bruise easily. It looks really scary, but I have been taking Arnica tablets in the hopes that it will clear up soon. (I also was naughty--I had a few glasses of wine the day before surgery which is a no-no. Alcohol thins the blood and makes you more prone to bruising.) So I would caution anyone considering Smart Lipo to abstain from drinking for at least a week before and after the procedure. I don't see much of a difference in my body at this point. But then again, I was fairly petite to begin with and just wanted my "belly pooch" removed. I am trying to be patient and to see what happens once all the swelling and major healing is completed. I am a bit nervous that I put my body through all this trauma for nothing, but I will be optimistic. I just don't want to be worse off than I started or to have permanent scars. I will continue to update you with my progress...

It is now the evening of Day 4 post-op...starting...

It is now the evening of Day 4 post-op...starting to feel a little bit less tender, but still swollen. Bruising has improved, probably because I have been taking Arnica tablets religiously and drinking water. Was able to hit the treadmill for a very light 30 min workout without causing any stress to my body. I ditched the compression garment given to me by the doctor. I substituted it with a very very snug "Flexees" body shaper which actually holds everything in tighter and is less obtrusive. Tomorrow is Monday and the start of another long work week. I just hope this recovery gets exponentially better as the days come. I am trying to be patient...but I'd like to see some results other than swelling and bruising!

So today makes Day 5 of Post-Op recovery. The last...

So today makes Day 5 of Post-Op recovery. The last two days were really bad in terms of swelling and tenderness. I was really beginning to lose morale. I was nervous that I was going to suffer like this for days on end. But after reading up on some other forums, I discovered a natural supplement called BROMELAIN. It is an extract found in pineapples and is shown to reduce inflammation in joints and soft tissues, especially after trauma or surgery. I went to Vitamin Shoppe this morning and bought myself a bottle of 500mg capsules. It is recommended to take the pills on an empty stomach to enhance its anti-inflammatory properties. And I can truly say this has helped tremendously in controlling the swelling in my belly. I took about 3 tablets today and felt leagues better than I did 24 hours ago. I highly recommend this supplement along with lots of water to help flush the system. It has renewed my optimism. With a lot of the puffiness reduced today, I got a good preview of the sleek shape that my body will ultimately take on once I am fully healed. Thumbs up!

Day 10 Post-Op...It is incredible how much better...

Day 10 Post-Op...It is incredible how much better I feel today than I did a week ago. The bruising is mostly faded away to a few spots, and my incision sites are scabbing over but they are pretty much closed up. Still taking Arnica tablets and bromelain supplements about 3-4 times daily. I can't stress how much of a difference the bromelain enzyme has done for me. It was a life-saver when it came to reducing the swelling. I still get some bloating in the lower belly throughout the day. It usually depends on what I eat or if I have been very active. My doctor said that it is normal to see more bloating after exercising because the lymphatic system is still repairing so the fluids don't drain as quickly. I sure hope so because I don't like seeing rolls in my belly when I sit down! At my one week post-op visit to Dr. P, he said that my healing is moving along perfectly. I definitely the mornings when the inflammation is at its lowest, I can really see the definition and tautness in my abdominal area. He said I should look incredible by the one-month mark. Wooot! I was told I don't need to wear the compression garment 24 hours a day anymore, but I prefer to keep it on as much as possible to help with swelling. It also feels nice to have everything packed in tightly. I have been going to the gym and am almost back to my normal workout routine--about 45 min of cardio and some light weights. Sometimes I think how incredible the human body is and how quickly it can bounce back. I have realized after doing SmartLipo that patience is very important. The great changes take time to materialize. And so I wait...

Oh and I forgot to add...I do have a very small...

Oh and I forgot to add...I do have a very small "lump" on the underside of my belly button. It is not visible, but I can feel it when I run my hands along my stomach. It is about the size of a grape and is a bit hard and tender. I try to massage it gently which seems to help a little. I am not that concerned as I have read that these types of lumps and bumps will eventually be reabsorbed by the body.

Day 11 Post-Op Pics

Day 11 Post-Op Pics

Howdy all. I am just about 3 weeks post-op and my...

Howdy all. I am just about 3 weeks post-op and my body is about 90% healed. No more soreness, no bruising, or strange lumps. However, I do still have swelling which comes and goes depending on the time of day and what I have eaten. Otherwise, I can barely remember how rough the first few days of recovery was. Overall, I am happy I did this and have no regrets. However, I'm wondering if I may need to have a touch up down the road because it looks like I still have some fat which wasn't removed the first time. I am praying that it is just swelling and that I will have the completely flat abs I was hoping for (and paid $4K for). I do see a difference in that I don't have a gigantic muffin top spilling over my pants, but I do still have a significant roll when I sit or bend over. I can't tell if it's truly residual fat that wasn't removed, or just bloating. I will keep my fingers crossed that at the "magical 6 week post-op period" my body will suddenly morph into a beautiful washboard stomach...But in any case, I would much rather have a little leftover fat than having too much fat taken out--those are the horror stories you read about where the person is basically disfigured and permanently scarred. I'll take some more pics in the morning tomorrow when I'm not as puffy.

Exactly 3-weeks post-op! Here are some pics I took...

Exactly 3-weeks post-op! Here are some pics I took this morning...and you know, I was getting discouraged about my progress, but now looking at the before and afters, I am impressed!

Ok, so I'm back! Ten months after my first...

Ok, so I'm back! Ten months after my first procedure of Smart Lipo, I ended up going for a second treatment. I felt I needed to get rid of fat that wasn't removed on the first round. I was hesitant about whether or not to put my body through the long healing process, but I figured, I better do it since I paid the money and I didn't have the body I expected to. I had to pay an extra $800 for the second procedure to cover the surgical fees.

So, I went for Smart Lipo on my abdomen yesterday (April 6th), and the experience was pretty much the same as the first time. I really like Dr. P and trust him and his judgment completely. This time I was more diligent about abstaining from alcohol and started taking my Arnica tablets about a week prior to surgery to minimize bruising. The doc made 3 new incision sites so that he could sculpt and remove fat better. He ended up removing 400cc of fat this time--about 100 more than the first round. I knew that I still had fat after the first surgery!

I had a massive vasovagal response this morning when I went in for my one-day post op follow-up. It happened after I removed my compression garment and they were removing the dressings. I suddenly felt very lightheaded and nauseous. I started sweating and then really felt like I was going to faint. Luckily, I sat down and was able to let the moment pass. It happened about two more times while I was at the doctor's office but finally got better once I put the compression garment back on. So be very careful if you are removing your garment by yourself on day one. It is a very common reaction and is scary if you're alone.

I will post new pics soon. I am feeling very tender and swollen today. Hoping that time will work wonders quickly and that I can have my sexy abs ready for the summer. Cross your fingers!

So I am now on Day 4 of my post-op recovery....

So I am now on Day 4 of my post-op recovery. Everyday has been getting a bit better, but there is still a lot of swelling, tenderness, and discomfort. Symptoms seem to get worse as the day progresses. I have been taking Extra Strength Tylenol, bromelain, and arnica to help alleviate the pain. I am still wearing the compression garment, which is not fun, but definitely helps control the swelling. The bruising is starting to fade, so I am happy about that.

Pretty sure my tummy feels flatter despite all the swelling and bloating. I don't have a big roll anymore when I sit, so I am really hoping I to see a washboard stomach once I am all healed.

Will attempt a light workout at the gym tomorrow, but don't want to push myself. It's just hard not being as active when everything feels strained and uncomfortable.

Crossing my fingers that everything starts to feel normal again when I hit the one week mark.

Pictures to come...

So it is now approaching my 7 months since my...

So it is now approaching my 7 months since my second Smart Lipo procedure of the abs. It has been a real rollercoaster of regret, disappointment,anxiety, and frustration during these last few months. I realized that I was starting to gain weight and was gaining it rapidly in places that I was always very toned and lean. My arms (especially triceps), thighs, and buttocks got huge about 2-3 months post-op. Cellulite started forming on the back of my things. I weighed myself and almost fainted when I saw that I put on 8 pounds in a matter of weeks. I could no longer fit my pants and always felt bloated and disgusted with myself. I really couldn't understand how this could be happening even when I was quite strict about my diet and exercising the same amount as always. I became very depressed with the changes in my body and felt helpless. I definitely blame the lipo. Something changed after the second surgery. I have been doing some research and think that my lymphatic system may have been severely damaged from the surgery and is causing a lot of my symptoms. I recently started getting lymphatic drainage massages and I do think they are helping with the water retention. I also have had to hire a personal trainer to help me lose the extra weight I have put on. With a lot of hard work and focus, I am determined to get the body I want back so badly. I absolutely regret having this procedure and would give anything to turn back the clock and not do it. My stomach is relatively leaner than before the surgery, but it is by no means flat. All of this has wreaked havoc on my entire body and my mental state. Instead, I would have used the $5,000 towards a personal training regimine and nutritionist. I hope to have a more positive update for you the next time I check in.

Almost a year since my Smart Lipo touch up...and...

Almost a year since my Smart Lipo touch up...and still regretting it every minute. I hate what I have done to my body. Should have hired a personal trainer or nutritionist instead of wreaking havoc on my metabolism by having had the surgery. My clothes just don't fit well and I am still killing myself to lose the 8 pounds I have gained out of nowhere!!!!

I am adding some new pics to show the pretty...

I am adding some new pics to show the pretty obvious change in my physique just months after my second procedure. I think a picture is worth a thousand words sometimes...
New York Ophthalmologist

Helpful and kind staff. Doctor really takes time to answer your questions and to give you an honest opinion of whether or not your goals are realistic. Incredible portfolio of previous clients that reflect his skills. Most patients who went to Dr. P rave about his work.

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
5 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
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 3 others found this helpful

Comments (38)

Sort by

You rates this as "not worth it"?? Why??
  • Reply
Please read my entire review and you will understand why. should consider looking at the thread "Did You Gain Weight After Liposuction" here on Real Self. It will explain a lot of the unexpected and unpleasant changes that can happen to the body after liposuction (which of course the surgeons rarely discuss since they just want to take your money). Good luck.
  • Reply
  • Reply
Hi, thanks so much for your posts. I had tummy tuck surgery last summer and had internal stitching to bring my abs back together. It went really well, but getting fit again has been a long haul. Just in the last few weeks I've been feeling huge on my upper abs and back, and I'm not sure whether it's for real or just perception, by contrast with my post-op tummy! I've been starting to think about smart lipo, wondering if that would sort it, but reading your experience I think I will redouble my dieting efforts instead! I have the flat tummy I wanted, and that went really well, so I'll live with the rest! Thanks for sharing all the reality of your experience and I hope you're feeling better now.
  • Reply
Hi! Thanks for visiting my page. Congrats on getting beautiful results with your tummy tuck! It really is a wonderful feeling to love what we see when we look in the mirror. I am glad that after reading my experience with Smart Lipo, you are more hesitant to have it done for your back and upper abs. I really stress going the route of a healthier diet and more exercise. It has been the only solution for me after the nightmare I created two years ago. I have finally started to see a semblance of my old physique only after going straight Paleo/Primal with my diet and doing heavy weight training. I no longer count calories, but have to watch carb intake. I have become very neurotic and depressed at times, but I finally feel like I have some control over my body and the massive weight gain post-lipo. Best of luck to you and enjoy your fabulous flat tummy!
  • Reply
I love your current picture. Yes!!! Winning.
  • Reply
Hi Natalie. You are an angel. I really appreciate your kind words. I hope you are doing well and gaining strength every day. Stay optimistic and positive. Big hugs.
  • Reply
Damaged. that's what we are talking about.. Exactly. . Yes, yes. yes. I have a ton of those pictures... I am going to post tooo. if people can't see the changes after this then there is no hope saving them. I think if anything these real photos still show What the hell happened to us.... I think you are still amazing and beautiful but like me you've lost the best body and have to come to terms with a new one. Same darn thing happened to me.
  • Reply
Hi Natalie. It took a lot of inner strength to post these pics. But I felt compelled to do it realizing just how far these images can reach. Thank you for your continued support and inner/outer beauty as well. It really has helped me through some very tough days. I wish you all the best in this never-ending nightmare.

And to others, please feel free to ask me questions. But please no judgemental posts because I really won't tolerate it.
  • Reply
Thanks for you posts. Thanks for sharing with us. We are all here for you. I have had 3 good days and then today. A horrible day. I sit down with my legs crossed and my legs are just pant material no definition of a leg anymore and absolutely no hips left. Just saggy pant material. argh... soo depressing.
  • Reply
Thank you so much for not being lazy to describe the details and for getting back to the site with following up. It is very useful for estimation what can happen.
  • Reply
Hi Lilmary,
My previous post was not aimed at you. In fact, thank you for showing concern and support. I am more upset at the people who come onto my page alluding to the fact that I have let myself go after having had the lipo. They insinuate that I don't exercise or let myself go, when in fact, it is quite the opposite. What I am describing is the fact that my body and/or metabolism has changed drastically after I had the procedure done. I have always been active and slim. Now I have to kill myself to keep myself from gaining weight. I exercise intensely EVERY DAY and eat extremely clean. The shape of my body is much different and not at all what I wanted or expected from "body contouring." These are all changes that have happened to me. I try to be honest and express this on my profile for others to understand my experience. But I get very frustrated when people come on and tell me I am causing the weight gain and fat redistribution to happen. My physiological changes are a DIRECT result of Smartlipo. While I don't know exactly what is wrong or what the exact cause is, I do know that my body has changed for the worst.

I do appreciate your kind words and hope the doctors give you hones answers. But I already know what their response will be. And it is only half the truth.
  • Reply
Starp33, dont be upset, we are here to learn from each other from our live real experience on this case you took my comment in a negative or attacking way it was not my purpose Im sorry :-(
I got surprise, but i never meant to question you, i even sent that as a question to the dr to the realself to see what do they say. I feel this site is really good , i feel we are all like good friends with the same interest.
  • Reply
I have to say that while I am not a doctor, I don't see how your metabolism can get screwed up after lipo. It's been over a year since I have had mine done and my metabolism is the same. I have not gained any weight but lost and gained muscle but that's because I eat well and work out 6x a week.
You can't expect a quick fix.
  • Reply
I am deleting my account as soon as possible because I am truly sick of reading people's comments on MY PROFILE telling me what they think they know about MY BODY! It is depressing and demoralizing that I have to defend myself. Congrats if you had a great experience and you love your results. I am just describing what has happened to me and what I am going through. Please do not make me defend myself or ask me to show proof. I am already emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted beating myself up every day over having has this surgery done. Please do not add to my torture. Good luck to everyone.
  • Reply
Wow! The metabolism get crazy after lipo oh my god, does anyone know how can that be prevent?

Im going to sent a quetions to the dr of realself to see what they suggest
  • Reply
I had BodyTite which is similar to Smart Lipo, with a boost of skin tightening in Jan 09. I did flanks and abs. I was 5'2 125 pounds. After, I gained 10 - 15 pounds (new boyfriend and lots of new food). None went to my stomach area, it spread evenly in my thighs and a little in my arms. I lost 7 pounds on my own with dedication. But the last 8 pounds won't budge. I often thought of having another session of bodytite/smart lipo, but I don't want to go through recovery again. I'm looking into Velashape to reduce the circumference in my thighs. Overall, I don't regret it. Cause my tummy is still flat. My only complaint, is that they make you feel like you will feel 100% right after the treatment and I felt like a bloated, stitched up pin cushion and for those grueling couple of weeks I did regret it all. And draining SUCKS SO BAD. I wouldn't wish it on my enemy.
  • Reply
Hi Cia21twc,
I totally hear you. The body is an incredible thing. It somehow keeps up with all the abuses we take on. No matter how discouraged I am after having had SmartLipo, I believe in my body. I pray that with all my hard work, extremely clean diet, and intense exercise, I can and will eventually be happy again. People think that 7-8 pounds isn't a lot of weight, but it can be on someone who is already quite small. It would have been easy to work the weight off before my metabolism got all whacked by SmartLipo, but now every ounce is really quite grueling to lose. At least for me. It sucks, but I won't give up.
  • Reply
Again, why oh why won't you post any new pictures to show what you're talking about? I'm positive your lymphatic system didn't get messed up during your smartlipo surgery thus causing your metabolism to slow down.... I'm 5'3 and 120 lbs and am currently 25. I gained about 10 lbs right around the time I hit 21 and didn't feel I was doing anything different either however it's funny the how your body changes when you stop paying attention, even for a short period. And eight pounds isn't exactly a lot. Post new pictures please?
  • Reply
Sorry, but not really happy taking photos of myself and posting them right now. I'm glad your surgery went well, but I KNOW my body and I KNOW something is not the same after the lipo.
  • Reply
And eight pounds is a lot on a 5'1" frame. I can barely fit into my pants.
  • Reply
I agree with Bristol_Girl. I think you look great in your photos. I had smart lipo done almost a year ago and while I am not perfect I am happy with the results. I lost my muffin top and because I have been working out more often, I have not gained weight, in fact, I have lost weight.
I bet you look great, we can be our own worst enemies.
  • Reply
I'm a bit confused as to why you think that you gained weight as a result of smartlipo. You looked very small before the surgery anyway. You seem to be kind of young as well, so it is not unheard of that metabolism begins to slow at a certain age. For example I was 115 lbs up until I was about 21 and then began to gain weight quickly. I gained a total of 10 lbs in less than a year. My point being, I don't think it was the smartlipo that caused your weight gain.

However, I think your pictures look great. Can you post more updated pics so we can all see what you are talking about?
  • Reply
thanks so much for your thorough discussion of the first and second surgery. a few years ago I had lipo done on my legs... then gained only about 10 pounds (over the following year). as a result, the extra weight went straight to my stomach and my arms. now that I have lost that 10 pounds, I still have a muffin top (which, before the first lipo, I never had.) I was considering smart lipo... seems like I should try more herbs and weight loss before anything else.
  • Reply
An Opthamologist performing body contouring? That's quite different from his specialty.
  • Reply