Swollen and bruised... Oslo, Norway

After reading all the reviews in this forum, plus...

After reading all the reviews in this forum, plus extensive googel'ing and reading everything from personal blogs to scientific reports, I had this treatment done today on my lower abdomen. I am 40 yrs, 5.9 and weigh about 165 lbs. I have wanting to speed up the flattening of my belly for a while. With age and a less physically active work day, the kilos have come one by one. I have had one child, and although I think nature was kind to me by almost not stretchmarking me at all, I have definitely got a thick layer of extra fat on the front of my tummy. It is very obvious when I pinch it, that it is located on the front - and this does look very unattractive when wearing fitted clothes.

A little history: About half a year ago I tried out CaviLipo - after aggressive campaigns and many Groupon deals I decided to give it a try - could it be too good to be true? In fact, it was. With 5 sessions I lost a whole lot of my jelly belly, and was very happy with the results, before the fat eventually re-accumulated in the exact same spot, without any other gaining of weight. My doctor who performed the CoolSculpting described those not FDA approved alternatives that even hair dressers perform on almost every corner, as that they empty the fat cells of fluid, not destroying them permanently. And my experience is that this is so true, since it all came back to me, leaving me looking exact the same as post-CaviLipo procedure.

Anyway, back to CoolSculpting (just described the experience above to tell you why I wanted it done, and how much I hope for this result to be permanent!). I consulted a doctor who performs both CoolSculpting by Zeltiq and Laser Lipolyse, asking for the best option for me.. Hoping he will not sell me something that's not giving me the results I want. I am hoping the results will boost me and motivate me in my goals towards a healthier, fitter body, that I plan to get from Gym training and Yoga.

The procedure itself was OK. I had a consultation two weeks prior to the sculpting session, where he tried out the largest nozzle just to see if I was a good candidate. He said that it is crucial for good CoolSculpting results that enough fat can be inserted in the device, and that the layer between the plates are not exceeding 4 cm. Out from the 'length' that was possible to suck up into the device he deemed me to be a very good candidate, and even promised that I would have a flat looking tummy with just one session. I am a bit in doubt if I need a treatment on the upper abs as well, but guess I'll try out the lower abs first, and if the result gives me a bulk on the upper tummy I would do it as well on the upper, if necessary.

Details about the procedure:
My doctor marked out the area for treatment, with a cross at the peaking point a few inches below my bellybutton. I got photographed in many angles (but not weighed). The cold sheet is uncomfortable, but hey; bearable. The first minute, when all the fat is sucked in is kind of weird, and it is hard to breathe for a while. After checking if that was okay for me, that I did not feel nauseous, he decided to increase the suction power to 80 (no idea if this is normal/high? Anybody knows?), and got a new grip with the machine to suck in more of the fat, even harder. It hurt a tiny bit, and when the cooling came on it was a bit unpleasant for a few minutes, before it all got numb.

The last 5 minutes of the session was the only time things felt a bit different; a tingling sensation, like waves moving through the pinched tummy part. It was not uncomfortable, but a bit weird. The nurse explained it as this was connected to the dying of the fat cells (but I don't know what to think about that. If it is true, that explains why a whole hour is needed, because this was just the last 5 minutes sensation).

When they removed the machine I had a very peaky lower tummy! Like a small flat frozen mountain, red and buttery looking, completely numb. My doctor had described the massage as a contributor to success, and it was hurtful (but not unbearable) in the edges between the frozen and normal skin. He told me that the rough treatment would possibly give me bruises, but as it was a factor of success, I welcomed it. Then and there, at least, heh... I was told how to repeat this massage every day at home, to increase the effect of killing the almost dead fat cells, but I was also told that this might prove to be almost impossible to perform during the first days of soreness. I will try to do it, and we will see if I manage...

I have some concerns, as I could see from the red frozen area, that the machine was not placed entirely symmetrical on my tummy. But the nurse told me mot to worry, that the middle part of the treated area would get the most of it anyway. When walking home I just felt some random shots of weak pain, a strange sort of nerve-pain. But mostly I was numb, and still very cold at the skin. As the eventing has developed, my belly is still numb and very swollen. Look almost pregnant. Hard to imagine what to wear tomorrow at work. Right now I wear a kind of compression garment, a type of hight-waisted mamluk said to be effective on cellulite. I was recommended to wear shape-up tights over the belly by the nurse. The doctor said this did not really effect the results, but as people has told me in here, it might help on the pain. Will sleep with the pants tonight.

I will update with photos from post-session, and right after the session as soon as I get the uploaded to my computer.

Day 2 First day after procedure I was really...

Day 2
First day after procedure I was really swollen, looking pregnant even with compression pants on. had to wear a tent-like dress, but managed to not get any pregnancy questions. It feels like I've had 3-4 dl of fluid inserted under the skin of my tummy - really bloated!
Walking around and moving was very uncomfortable, as the stomach would tremble for every step I take. Especially when walking outside, I have to walk really slow my pace to prevent shocks of pain with every footstep. Bending over and picking something up on the floor is not possible, have to bend my knees instead.
And I am starting to see some serious bruising -worse than I've seen here before - will document with photo.

Have been sleeping well though. No problem...

Have been sleeping well though. No problem sleeping on the side, the big swelling is just located at the front of my tummy.

Day 3
The swelling is reduced, but the bruising is worse. This does not look like something to expect from a non-invasive procedure... I wouldn't think the swelling or the bruising would be less with liposuction, in fact maybe even better because then the excess fluid has somewhere to disappear through drainage, now it is trapped beneath the skin. The blue line in the bottom of my stomach is probably result of bruising draining down to the panties (which by the way leaves a clear line on my puffy stomach). I should have used arnica before the procedure, like I read some of the users here have done, if I knew it would look like this.
My doctor warned me that bruises would appear, and if the end result is fine I'll be okay with it.
The pain is getting better.

During the procedure my bellybutton was covered by the suction device, and I have a small scare here from an old piercing, that got a tiny bit of a stretch mark during pregnancy. This stretch mark has swollen up, and looks pretty bad. I really hope when swelling goes down, this stretch would not be more visible than before the treatment. Anybody else with stretch-marks who has noticed any changes on them after the intense suction by the Zeltiq machine?

Og, great. The swelling is accumulating downwards....

Og, great. The swelling is accumulating downwards. And so are the bruises - they have gathered up in a dark blue line (even darker than photo) on the bottom of the treated area, right above the pubic bone. The bruises seem to be very superficial. But the swelling lies deeper in the tissue, meaning it has not been stopped on journey downwards by pantyliners. Result is weird puffy looking Venus mountain. Should I have been lying flat in bed for many days to avoid this, perhaps? Hope swelling passes quickly!

Day 5: Thank god for hold-in underwear! Up til...

Day 5:
Thank god for hold-in underwear! Up til today has my discomfort (other than looking pregnant and trying to hide it) mostly come from the impact every step has had on my swollen-up belly, shivers and trembles that is painful. I have worn hold-in pantyhoses day and night, but as the swelling has decreased the fit is not so tight anymore, leaving me in more pain. I guess I would give this advice to any undergoing this treatment: don't expect to be very mobile in the time after (unsure yet for how long). I did not think of myself as a very active person, but its clear to me now that I do walk a lot, and rely on walking long distances in my daily life to just get to work, go to the store, go shopping. I don't have a car, but these days I have longed for a wheelchair...
So it was a heavenly relief to enter the underwear department today (managed to get there by walking extremely slow holding my stomach in a firm grip with both hands under jacket), to purchase some serious shape-up underwear in a too small size! I bought one pair of 'power panties' and one 'wonder waister' corset. Imidiately strapped myself with the corset and walked out the store like a Wonder Woman. Really recommend a visit to the women's lingerie store for all Coolsculpted men and women! Thank god for the trend providing these garments in every normal clothing store, in so many different designs! Perfect :)
As for pain, I am stil having some burning/stabbing sensations, but not too bad with the new garments on..

Day 6: Power panties does the trick:) I have also...

Day 6:
Power panties does the trick:) I have also taken a ibuprofen two nights, because at night the pain is more noticeable, probably from moving around all day long. It is a burning, sometimes stabbing pain, located mostly around belly button area. Not too bad, but irritating, and nothing you would like yo loose sleep over. Which I haven't, thanks to ibu. Swelling seems less also, almost back to normal.
Called doctors office today, mainly to book appointment for follow-up in 9 weeks time. They told me to call them this week, and I suspect they also wanted to check on how I have been coping. Suspect they are aware of that side effects happen more often than they would like to tell you on beforehand.. I told nurse about serious swelling and bruising, and she referred to the treatment as sort of a surgery.. Same type of recovery, and that all my reactions sounded normal. She reminded me to wear shape-up pantyhoses, and encouraged me I will see results soon.
I have not been able to perform the massage like I should, it's far to hurtful yet. I would like the best results, but right now I want the bruises to become better first. According to nurse it's fine to drop massage first week (but what else can she say when I seem it impossible in the state I am now).. Will try again in a few days.

Day 8: Somewhere around day 7-8 I started feeling...

Day 8:
Somewhere around day 7-8 I started feeling almost normal again, in the sense that I can walk and move around quite normally, and even run slowly. I dont have an impact by every step, which is a relief :) Still wearing power panties, but as the swelling has reduced even more they don't have that super tight fit anymore. I'm having some of the burning and stabbing sensations that many reviews described, but they are not too bad, not yet at least. I've been looking for Neuragen, but not found it in pharmacies here. And maybe the worst pains are over soon anyway.
It still hurts a lot when I try to pinch the fat, the way my doctor showed me to perform the 'massage'. My belly still has an exaggerated shape in the main area where the suction was performed. So my problem area is really highlighted in all its glory (Looking just fab). I can also feel the tissue in this exact area to be quite a bit harder, like I actually have a small pod (like a really flat silicone boob) inserted under my skin. I really hope this means this is the amount if dead fat cells that my body will pass out over a few weeks time. My worst fear is that the bruisings will give me hard lumps in this area, and an uneven result.. maybe call the doctor tomorrow, just to be sure? I have tried pinching through it at two occasions, and regretted afterwards when a more intense burning sensation has followed the massage. And I can't even pinch really hard, like I think I should. Maybe I should go get somebody else to do it, it's really hard to hurt oneself like that.

Day 13: Things are going back to normal. Belly...

Day 13:
Things are going back to normal. Belly looks almost normal like normal size (and after extreme swelling I suddenly feel slimmer already, haha), and I am back in ordinary activities. The big flat hard lump I told you about has shrunken day by day :) The lumpiness has been concentrated around both side of my bellybutton, and for some reason the hard areas lies deeper in the tissues on the right side than the left.
I have performed the pinching massage technique I was shown (but in a quite light manner because ut still hurts) ca two times a day. Today the lumps are almost gone. The itching hits once in a while, and then a bit of massage helps (in a way that it helps scratching a mosquito bite til it bleeds). I have had some nerve pain, most of it around day 5-8, but it was never bad and I don't feel it anymore.
I guess it's just to sit back, and wait for the results, then...
Will update when that time comes.

4,5 weeks: I have just taken some new photos of...

4,5 weeks:
I have just taken some new photos of my progression. It has been slow, but I have suspected for over a week now that my tummy is actually getting smaller. And I can promise it is not from training or different diet, I live my life exactly like I did before. I do feel inspired though, to start training more to get an even better result, and maybe improve some other areas on my body as well...

I have decided to change some of the before-photos to the ones where I am pinching fat - I think those are better for comparing results (the other are with mobile camera and really bad lightning, and a bit too much close-up for any of you to judge the difference in my belly area. I suspect the pro-version I will get from my doctor will be better for this purpose, and will post them when I get them in March.

So far I am very happy with the results, and I suspect they will continue to improve over the next month or two. I would guess I have lost at least 25% of the tummy-fat already. The pinchable layer has really shrunken in, and when I look myself in the mirror, I think the remaining small bulge is just 'cute' (something I would never has described it as before!)

Conclusion: So far so good! If this result is permanent I will consider the pain in the first 7-8 days worth the deal.

Follow-up appointment 9 weeks: I went for my...

Follow-up appointment 9 weeks:
I went for my first follow-up today. I got an appointment with a nurse, not the performing doctor. I told her the first week was tough, probably mostly due to intense vacuum settings, but that I am really noticing differences and that my lower abdomen is almost completely flat, and that I am satisfied with the results so far.
I also showed her that I have some irregularities in the results; the the fat layer on the left side of my bellybutton is thicker than on the other side, and she said of course they will offer me another treatment if this persists, because I told her about the asymmetrical placement of the vaccuum piece. But since my tummy still has some small hardened areas left (dead fat?) she told me this probably will pass ass well.
Then she measured me at three points, like they did before the treatment. I remember I sucked in my tummy a slight bit last time they did this, but it's hard to know if I managed to recreate the position correct. Results: waist -1cm, former peak of tummy -9cm (!), hips -3cm (but the last measure was probably too tight). Even if I was more relaxed in the first measures, there is still a remarkable change. And of course, I expected this - as I can see it in the mirror every day. Still, the centimeters seems like more evidence than the memory of what used to be, since this process has been so gradual.

About the asymmetrical result (which is not very visible unless I crunch), I think I'd rather wait a few more months. After all, they say it takes up to 5 months to see the final results.
I will revisit after Easter, and then they will take photos of the results as well. Will post for you to judge then.

Second treatment two days ago - no pain

I finally got myself together and ordered a second treatment. I did not want to do it during summer, since it got so badly swollen last time. I have been happy with the results, but have clearly noticed the asymmetrical shape of my stomach all summer long. I don't think it was really bad, but still it was something I would like do get done - to shrink down the fat bulge on the left side of my tummy as well (last time, the applicator was not 100% centric in placement - and as soon as I noticed results it was visible, especially when crunching). So now when bikini season is over here in Norway, I finally did it.

The photo is from a few hours after the treatment, and I have had so much less pain and swelling this time! I am so happy - last time the first week was quite tough for me because I swelled up a lot and got all black and blue (see photos in top). I think the less swelling might be for a couple of reasons:
- I put on the power panties underwear immediately after the treatment, and have worn them day and night
- I have rubbed the area with arnica cream to prevent bruising
- Even though the suction power was set to 80, even higher than last time, the suction marks show that a smaller skin area was sucked up into the device. And this is actually a good thing! Last time A WHOLE LOT was inserted in the grab, but the effect was most visible in the middle any way. (The doctor confirmed this theory of mine in the counseling - even though a lot of skin can be grabbed with the device if they push it in place really hard, it will still be the middle of the fat who gets most out of the freeze)
- The nurse did a slightly more tender massage of the frozen fat afterwards. Hope this still means good results though. I will start doing massages at home in a few more days, maybe in a rougher manner than last time to compensate - which is actually possible since I am less in pain.

All in all, when I wear the panties or a corset, I can live my life quite normally this time. Yay!

I am also very happy with the asymmetrical placement of the applicator. I had to convince both doctor and the nurse who performed the treatment that this was something I wanted - to compensate for the very center of treatment being a bit too much to the right last time. I am convinced this will even out the skewness, and I could see by the slight redness of the treated area that the center was perfectly placed on the peak of my tummy. Cant wait to start seeing results in a few weeks time.

Painless recovery

It's been a month since my treatment, and I must say that if everybody experienced this low amount of side-effects and discomfort in their recovery, Cool Sculpting comes through as a very easy alternative to lipo.
I did consider the treatment 'worth it' already after my first treatment, even though my recovery was quite painful, with excessive swelling, bruising, pain when walking and hard lumps of tissue (that eventually dissapeared). This time I consider the treatment even more worth it - I have practically not noticed anything. Just slight swelling the first few days and numbness for a couple of weeks. I started to notice results even faster this time, after 3 weeks progressively.

The only down-side with the treatment is that repeated treatments are very likely needed. That makes Coolsculpting as expensive as lipo, or more... The fat-freezing is targeted, but fat above/beneath might need treatment as well for a smooth result.

And although my tummy is now more symmetrical (very happy with the results from focusing on the left side of the abdomen) and quite flat (flat enough for me!), I still think a small bulk above the treated area needs to be fixed, with time. But I would need to get a really nice price to consider doing that. I have spent 3000 USD so far, and wont consider exceeding 3500 all in all (note: treatments of any kind are more expensive here in Norway, as price levels are generally higher).

Will update with photos from clinic when I get them.
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