Cellulaze on 5/15/12 in San Francisco Bay Area - Oakland, CA

I'm 41, 5'7" and 150 lbs (a size 10)....

I'm 41, 5'7" and 150 lbs (a size 10). I've had cellulite for as long as I can remember. My mother has the worst (honestly) cellulite I've ever seen (although she's tall and thin) and as a kid I remember looking at her legs (covered from top of thigh all the way to her knee, front and back, in pretty severe cellulite). Since having kids, mine has worsened. I actually suspect that if I toned my legs more, the appearance of some of it might reduce, but barely enough to make a difference. I can see my legs are becoming my moms and while I've never been showy with my legs (I'm small waisted, flat tummy, big hips and thighs figure), it's gotten to the point where it takes a shot of courage for me to head to the pool with my kids (and the rest of our community) and wear a bathing suit. My size, while not petite, I can deal with. I'm okay with my figure and feel fine in clothes. But the amount of dimples and ripples from my bum to my knees (now back and front) is hard for me to look at.

I'm pulling the trigger and having it done next week. Honestly, it feels a bit hasty as I'm having it done by a plastic surgeon who's done lipo for 20+ years (but only a handful of Smart Lipo cases) and has only done 5 Cellulaze treatments. However, he's a very well regarding plastic surgeon and only a mile away and was willing to give me a significant break in the cost. I hope I won't regret this choice.

Because I'm having so many areas treated (buttocks, back of thighs to knees, front of thighs to knees, side of thighs to knees), he opted to split the treatment into two separate days (to avoid lidocaine toxicity). My first treatment will be Tuesday, May 15th (buttocks and back of thighs) and my second treatment will be Friday (3 days later), May 18th. I can only imagine after wearing the compression garment for 3 days, I won't feel too incented to return for more, but he feels this is best/safest (and certainly it's no financial gain for him to do it this way, so I appreciate his conservative approach).

The office took before shots last week. I will ask for them and (gasp) post them. I realize it's likely I won't see results quickly (sounds like all the MDs are touting 3 months as the litmus test), but I hope to feel even 50-70% improvement by mid-July (two months post-procedures) when I'll be taking a major beach vacation with the family. Hoping I'm not hoping for too much. I'll post again after my 1st procedure on Tuesday. Wish me luck! :)

Just home now from getting Cellulaze done this...

Just home now from getting Cellulaze done this morning. Getting the anesthesia in was more painful than the procedure, although at times during the procedure, I felt a sharp pang of heat (where perhaps the anesthesia was wearing off) and that was not fun. It was a LONG time to be face down -- 3 hours. I am very groggy, a bit woozy/nauseous and was wrapped in a combo of the following in order of when they were put on my skin: 1. Chucks to both thighs to absorb leaking fluid; 2. HUGE rectangular foam pads over the chucks (Doc feels they go a very long way to prevent bruising but THEY LOOK RIDICULOUS and feel not so great); 3. The compression garment. Despite all that stuff I'm sausaged into, I'm leaking fluid like crazy -- already stained the big flowy knit skirt I wore. Doctor wants me in this solidly for a WEEK without a shower or anything! I'm not to take it off (garment is crotchless, so obviously toileting is possible). I did not get stitches. I will be going back into his office on Friday for my second round of Cellulaze (today we did the back (lower buttocks, back and sides of thigh); Friday will be front of thighs.

Right now I feel groggy and ready to pass out. I am mostly upset about this foam -- it makes for a very wacky visible, regtangular contour under the clothes ... which to me means ... wait ... all of a sudden, unless I can find a way to disguise this ... I'm in a "down-time" situation and that was not discussed. For a week? Foam under this garment for a week? I don't see me complying, but I'll stay in it till Friday and discuss with doctor when I head in for round two. I did not anticipate this nausea. They gave me some Zofran and I may just take it. Sure hope I get some results for all this. :)

End of Day 1: I'd planned to attend my daughter's...

End of Day 1: I'd planned to attend my daughter's recital tonight (and I did), but it was a bit of a bad call. I'm leaking so much from my left leg (the fluid is pink-to-red like blood), that it soaks through the garment and through my clothes. So I stood the whole time with a pair of leggings over the garment and a big flowy skirt over the leggings and still, I soaked through (even while standing!). Thank goodness she performed first and after she was done, I left as opposed to staying for all the other groups to perform as I'd usually do. I'm now home in bed, legs up, draining and leaking like crazy onto chucks and towels. The pain is manageable for me without taking drugs. The compression garment is very tight around my waist and uncomfortable. Doc called this evening to check in with me and said the leaking is normal (even at this rate) and should be 90% finished draining by the morning. Laying and marinating in this totally soaked, tight garment is not so great feeling. And the swelling is significant. Looking forward to time passing and getting all this foam and packing off of me.

Day 3: The leaking stopped last night (evening...

Day 3:
The leaking stopped last night (evening of Day 2), thank goodness! I haven't needed so much as a Tylenol for the pain. I'm definitely sore, sore, sore ... but it's not *pain* per se. When I'm laying down or standing, nothing hurts or feels sore at all. However, when I sit down, sit up, etc. it hurts at the moment of impact or lift. Super tolerable.

I'm very swollen and the compression garment is probably the worst thing I'm contending with now (that and the fear of little-to-mediocre results. As I mentioned, I"M GOING IN FOR PART TWO OF CELLULAZE TOMORROW -- THE *FRONT* OF MY LEGS. I have to admit, I'm dreading it. There's just no way after all this I'm ready to do this so soon, but my doc wanted to split it up between two days ... so here we are.

Because I'll have to get out of the compression garment for treatment anyway tomorrow, I asked the doctor if I could wash the garment before coming in for the 2nd treatment. That was ok'd and so, while the garment was being washed ... I snapped these Day 3 Recovery Photos. As you can see, I am very, very bruised. I'm taking the Arnica, drinking lots of water, and have worn the compression garment with foam non-stop since the procedure. Still .... there you have it.

At first peak, I want to say I notice a few dimples are missing from my left thigh ... but I'm so dang swollen and bruised, how can I really tell? (A girl can dream). Once the office sends my befores (HIDEOUS), I will post. Until then, I thought I'd post these so folks can see how bruised one can get from the procedure. The photo quality is awful as I took the shots with no flash in the mirror, but representative enough to see what the bruising situation is. I'll post after Round Two tomorrow. At least this time I know to expect the pain when the nubing meds are injected along with the nasty, nasty two days of leaking (so much for weekend plans). I can't believe I'm posing these photos. I've honestly refused to look at my own backside for the past 5-7 years and here I am broadcasting it. Hope it's helpful!

Day 4 of 1st Procedure (backside) / Day 1 of 2nd...

Day 4 of 1st Procedure (backside) / Day 1 of 2nd Procedure (frontside)

I got home four hours ago -- this time I asked for a 2nd Vicodin so I'd be more out of it during the procedure (good call). I also took the Zofran for nausea post-procedure (another good call -- I was nauseous after my first round ... not as much today).

Today I went in with a bit of a dilemma. I knew we were treating the front of my legs, but we hadn't decided to do the top of my legs or the bottom (by the knees). We ultimately went with the bottom of the front of my legs, but I feel sad for two reasons:

1) I saw my before pictures (which I'm posting). And I'm disgusted. No amount of cellulite erasing or reduction can fix a patentily ugly body. I don't know what a plastic surgeon would suggest for my knees (they are my mother's exact knees -- they are hideous), but I will simply remain grateful that I have healthy (albeit horrific looking) knees that allow me to walk and run and live an active, healthy life. I can't imagine, though, EVER feeling okay about wearing anything above the knees. I have ugly legs. Period. Cellulite is just part of their unsightly-ness (yeah ... I'm making that a word).

2) We did not touch the top of my thighs. I have a fair amount of dimpling there that bothers me. When I signed up to do this, I imagined we'd cover the entire front of my thighs. No matter how much improvement I get on what was done on the back and front of my thighs, I will still be covered in cellulite on the top front of my thighs and the interior/partial sides of my thighs. So, even if I get 100% improvement in the treated areas ... am I going to feel more comfortable in a bathing suit? I don't know. But it makes me very sad to realize I just spent $5,000 and may not ultimately feel more comfortable when in a bathing suit. Ugh ... those knees. I don't know what is needed (exercise? lipo? a leg lift?), but I'm motivated to really work out and do my best. I'm more embarrassed than ever seeing these photos.

Enough about me. Back to today's procedure:

Here's what I can say: The injection of the numbing solution is by far the worst part. It hurts but it works. Way less drainage today. WAY. Barely anything. I have no idea why. Also, I can already tell doing as much work near the knees as he did is going to be a more painful recovery. I felt it while he was doing the procedure and I feel it now. It hurts to bend my knees or walk. Hopefully, this will subside.

I will see the doc in three days (Monday) and have been instructed to keep my medical-grade compression garment on for two weeks solid, followed by another two weeks in Spanx. I can't believe I'm posting these pictures. Mortified. At least I have a good heart, my health, healthy kids, a pretty face and a blessed life -- if life was measured by body appearance, I'd be as distortedly unhappy as I'm feeling today. ;)

Day 5 of Procedure 1 (backside) / Day 2 of...

Day 5 of Procedure 1 (backside) / Day 2 of Procedure 2 (frontside):

Oh my goodness ... the PAIN. Yesterday (Friday) I had my knees done. On Tuesday, I had the back of my thighs done. I had no pain (just soreness) with the first procedure. But ... I can not BELIEVE the pain I'm in with my right knee especially. It hurts to bend it, extend it or walk. It hurts to sit down or get up. It hurts when I'm just laying down. I'm caring for our toddler on my own today and this was not a good idea. I can barely hold him and getting up and down any stairs is beyond painful ... I'd say a "6-7" on the universal 0-10 pain scale. I can deal with soreness, but this is downright PAIN. I can not walk normally. I am very swollen at the knees. I'm hoping this will fade in time and nothing was done to damage any of my knee. The left one is just tolerably sore. The right knee -- well, something feels wrong. I see the doc on Monday for post-op. We'll see how much better I am by then. Feels like it needs ice and elevation. I mean, I can barely move the thing without wincing. A bit disheartened here.

2 Weeks Post-Op The good news: The bruises are...

2 Weeks Post-Op
The good news: The bruises are fading, but are still there. I'm still pretty sore, but no longer in any pain. The incisions are healing nicely. The bad news: Still a little swollen. And ... I see absolutely no improvement. None. Many people see an immediate improvement in the more pronounced dimples they had pre-Cellulaze. Not me. I am very disappointed. I have looked at my before pictures and then looked in the mirror. It all looks the same to me.

I saw my doctor yesterday, pointed out all the dimpling that still remains, and he said, "Yes, I noticed that when you stood up after the procedure. I noticed that they were still there and I didn't expect them to be. What that tells me is that your "dimples" are not really "dimples" (or else they would have responded to the bands being cut by the laser), so your appearance of dimpling must be a result of sagging skin." Needless to say, this is something i would have loved to have heard BEFORE I spent $5K and put myself through the process and recovery. Now, maybe this is something a doctor can not tell until s/he gets in there and does the treatment, but it seems to me that a huge part of a doctor's job is assessing who will be a good candidate for any given procedure.

The doctor attempted to reassure me that he still believes that we'll see some significant improvement from the skin tightening that occurs around the 3-6 month post-op time frame. And perhaps we will. But ... I signed up to get those rid of those dimples. That's what they were selling. And that I see no immediate improvement anywhere has me doubting how much of an improvement I will see with final results. So disappointing -- as you can see from my before shots, it looks like I have tons of standard cellulite dimples -- dimples that are pitted dimples, alongside all the saggy skin. I'm left wondering:
- is the doctor correct? Are my dimples not clinically dimples, but saggy loose skin?
- is the doctor incorrect? And perhaps am I still dimpled because he's newer to the procedure and didn't go after that area correctly/aggressively enough?

Honestly, I just don't want to think about it anymore. There is nothing I can do about it. I chose to go with a physician that I was aware did not have a lot of experience. And I can't do one thing to impact the results from here on out. I was very much looking forward to that "some immediate improvement" that's always mentioned regarding Cellulaze for an upcoming beach trip in July. Given the fact that my dimples remain as deep and prominent as they did pre-procedure, I have a feeling I'm going to be looking pretty much the same as I did pre-op. Time will tell. For now, even though the doc said I could switch to Spanx for the next two weeks, I'm finding I'm more comfortable/secure in the garment. When it's off, it feels like my skin is going to fly off or detach at any moment! :) Just a weird sensation. I hope to start exercising again this week and plan to stop looking in the mirror at it. I certainly wish you all good results. My two cents? Soreness, bruising, swelling and this lasting numb sensation are no small thing. If you are going to invest your time, money and weeks of discomfort, go with the most experienced doctor you can find so you don't second guess it in the rear view mirror. Hoping to post a much happier update in 2.5 months.

Really quick -- I realize that in my last update,...

Really quick -- I realize that in my last update, I posted that "I chose to go with a physician that I was aware did not have a lot of experience." I should absolutely clarify that my physician is a very experienced and regarded plastic surgeon with over 20 years of body contouring experience in liposuction, etc. He just has not had much experience with Cellulaze or the Smart Lipo Triplex.

ONE MONTH POST-OP REVIEW: I met with my doctor a...

ONE MONTH POST-OP REVIEW:
I met with my doctor a few days ago. It'd been 4 weeks since my procedure and I'd felt that I'd seen absolutely no improvement. I was feeling fairly discouraged, especially on the heels of my last post-op appointment (see former review). Well, this time ... he took some post-op pictures. I'm so glad he did, as I truly felt there had been no change. While not the striking difference I'd hoped for by now, there does appear to be some smoothing (especially my left thigh) and I concede (gladly) that the dimples that remain (which I'm not happy about at all) are at the very least, visibly more shallow. At least I think they are. Or am I grasping for straws here? ;)

I know we've been told to wait three months for full results. I was so disappointed to not have any "initial improvement or smoothing" that so many report. But, perhaps I actually *have* had some initial improvement that is just very subtle, especially in light of my loose skin, etc. I'd appreciate any feedback on whether or not you happen to notice any difference. Tomorrow, I should get my 4-week post-op photos of the front and will post as well. I will see my doc in another 4 weeks, take another round of photos and post them then. Really hoping that while the dimpling wasn't cured, at 3-months post op I'll be smoother and tighter.

I am 14 weeks post-procedure. I waited the full 3...

I am 14 weeks post-procedure. I waited the full 3 months (plus a few weeks) before posting my "Was It Worth It?" response. For me? No. Not by a long shot.

While I'm sure I've had some mild improvement (I'll have to go back into my doc for some "after" shots), to the naked eye ... just looking in the mirror as opposed to comparing before and after shots ... the change has been minimal. Areas that were dimpled before are still dimpled. Perhaps a bit shallower, but the cellulite remains. The all over look is not a significant "smoothing" as shown in Cynosure's "before and after" photos. At all.

What I wish I knew beforehand?
- That 3.5 months later my legs (front and back) would be significantly discolored.
- That 3.5 months later my legs (front and back, but mostly the front) would still be quite tender.
- That 3.5 months later my legs would still have a numbness sensation ... in some areas, quite a bit.

I took a risk. I went with a well regarded and seasoned plastic surgeon with years of liposuction experience who was honest about his relative INexperience with Cellulaze and the "smart lipo triplex." My guess is the two things that contribute most to my lack of results are:
1) My physician's lack of experience with this particular technique
2) Perhaps I was not a good candidate for the procedure, but due to my physician's lack of experience ... he could not easily identify this. (Meaning, the cause of my cellulite or type of cellulite might be due to factors not helped or altered by the Cellulaze surgery.

My doctor is a nice man, a good man, and I don't fault him. I love that he is not one of those sleazy cosmetic derms who runs a surgical mill and is so transparently driven by profit. I love that he is also a well regarded plastic who serves at our local Children's Hospital. I also would have loved some results ... BUT ... I'm a grown up and made the choice to do the procedure. I was a perfect patient in terms of my compression garment, follow up care and I've even lost a few pounds and have been exercising more. So ... I fault myself for going with an inexperienced physician and also ... not waiting for a season to pass to watch reviews come in on Real Self so I didn't spend $5,000 that we really (honestly) didn't have to ultimately end up with discolored legs that I'm embarrassed of. My legs are worse off from than before (due to the underlying bruising or WHATEVER this pigment is), but I am trusting that their discolored appearance is transient and that by next summer, hopefully, it will have faded and returned to normal.

I long for my legs to no longer be tender. I long for the strange numbness sensation to fully subside. I long to rid every reminder that I made this choice. The ugly, patchy, discoloration is ALL OVER my upper legs and man ... is it unsightly.

What can I say? Live and learn. I had ugly legs covered in cellulite before. I have ugly, discolored legs covered in cellulite now. You know what I also have? Two functioning legs that are otherwise strong and have taken me walking, running, hiking, swimming, bike riding, dancing and surfing (for the first time!) this summer. So, I choose to focus on gratitude for two strong (but -- UGLY) legs that get the job done. I hope they serve me just as well for the next 41 years! ;) But was it worth it? Hell no! :) Best to you all.
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

So far, so good with Dr. Cedars and his office. What I love about him most is he's conservative, not at ALL one of those sales-type plastic surgeons or cosmetic dermatologists. He's not promised the moon -- but reiterates that we "should see some very nice improvement." I appreciate that. He doesn't sell or oversell and has called me every day since the procedure to check in. Also, his private plastic surgery practice is not all he does -- he's quite involved clinically with the Children's Hospital in our area helping infants and children with Cranio-Facial disorders and is very respected as a surgeon. An MIT engineering grad, he's got the background to suggest he's not going to attempt procedures that don't have solid data/science behind them, so this was comforting to me as Cellulaze is new and I'm one of his first handful of Cellulaze patients. So far, so good. I'll post a final review when I'm three months out from procedure.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 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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