Upper, Lower Abs, Waist, Outer and Inner Thighs - Portland, OR

I had my pre-op at 4pm on 4/30/2012 and I was kind...

I had my pre-op at 4pm on 4/30/2012 and I was kind of discouraged overall but I am still somewhat hopeful. I am 43, 130 lbs, I run, bike, and lift weights at home and at 24 hr. fitness 1-2 hrs a day 6-7 days a week. I wear a heart rate monitor always when I work out, I count what I burn then calculate what I can eat, I eat no meat, avoid cheese and bread, and watch the quality and quantity of my food intake. My Body fat % is 25, the highest it has ever been as an adult and I have determined that a combination of 1. age and hormonal changes 2. being in school and sitting on my behind many hours a day and 3. eating/ drinking a few hundred calories more than I burn have contributed to my growing midsection. I could add additional structure to my life and eliminate all joy I receive from beer and wine "in moderation" but decided for a graduation/ birthday present instead.

I have always had a tummy pooch it is just larger now than I prefer. I also have large for my size legs, muscular with some side bags I have also always detested. The doc came in and after the requisite questions I pointed out the belly fat I wanted to have removed, which was clear to him, but I described the fact that I would like to sit and not have a belly roll over the top of my jeans. He said even models have some rolls and that the sagging of the flesh likely could not be corrected. I said I would like to see my belly button. He qualified his response with the fact the skin was already hanging over so he could not guarantee that I would see my belly button. He agreed that he could make it flatter. He then looked at my thighs and asked what I was expecting to be done on my inner thighs. OMG. It was sort of embarrassing to have to show a doctor what I wanted corrected. I mentioned bike shorts and the sausage legs that form when I wear them. I got the distinct impression that he didn't feel there was much to do so I felt like I was having to justify myself. Take a look at the pics, I am not emaciated in the least but actually a good candidate for this type of procedure. This was an unexpected awkwardness for me. I asked about my outer thigh and he said sure, there is some fat there and he can shave that off some but generally said I had muscular legs. I asked about knee and he said there wasn't much there. Saves me a grand which is nice but I said I was interested in having it done if blending with the inner thigh was necessary. He didn't say anything else. I told him I was feeling discouraged in kind of a light hearted but defeated tone, like he could not remedy my complaints. He said he could but that there wasn't much there so it was an easy case for him. That seemed a mix of odd and hopeful. I mean, I can grab handfuls of flesh with fat on my belly, I am surprised that it is not enough to feel confident to suck out. (And yes, I am in the medical field and understand the need for subcutaneous fat) But, that he is doing it means there must be enough for him to feel that I will see results because If I don't see results then he doesn't have a satisfied customer.

He didn't encourage the knee so he didn't up-sell me there. I asked about the waist and what determines waist because I wanted to confirm what the consultant said about doing my waist not my hips because of blending. Based on the diagrams the waist includes the lower back and I pointed out the little fat roll I have in back (flanks) that blends with the upper hip. He said that it was a fine line between hips and waist and he grabbed a piece he said was my problem area (yay, he actually recognized something) and said that it was so small he would do it with my waist. So, It was all kind of light hearted, our interactions, but I feel a little discouraged as though what I am having done is not enough to warrant the cost. But then I am getting the flanks done and no knee so hopefully I will at least be trimmer in he mid section with my skinny jeans.

Stats: Age: 43 Weight: 130 Height: 5' 5.3/4" Waist 1" above naval: 28.5" Waist at naval: 29" Waist 1" below naval: 33" R. Thigh: 21" L. Thigh: 21"

My procedure was on Monday April 30th. I was...

My procedure was on Monday April 30th. I was scheduled at 8am, got into the OR at 9:30 perhaps? I was on Demerol, valium and xanax so I was not super aware of fine details like time. But, when I was done, two staff squeezed me into my body suit, squeezed absorbent pads into the suit to soak up the drainage, sat me in a wheel chair, rolled me out at 12:30 (my ride was told 11am) and we were back to my home at 1pm.
I left with 13 holes:

3 on each side of my abdomen/ flank (6 total)
1 on each inner thigh (2 total)
2 on each outer thigh the second under my butt cheek (the ones I didn’t know about) (4 total)
1 between my breasts for the upper abdomen.

Puppy training Wee Wee pads for the couch and bed were laid out and I spent most of the day dozing under a blanket until I felt wet and needed a change. This occurred several times in part because the drainage was leaking rapidly, It could be seen running down my body as I was switching out the pads, but also that there were two holes I didn’t know about because they were in my bottom, meant I was soaking several jammy pants quickly. Every couple of hours I changed pads and took my Percocet and antibiotic at the prescribed intervals. But, by 6pm I was feeling well enough to receive a visit from a friend and walk to the corner for a light dinner. At 1am we were up, changed pads and I took my meds. I took meds again at 5 am and changed the pads again at 7am which is when we realized we had completely missed the holes in my bottom. The drainage was serosanguinous, red but mostly a mix of the saline with lidocaine (they pump in for numbing) and body fluid not blood, and was minimal by post up morning day one.

Post op day one May 1st, I did not take any more Percocet. I had given myself just 2 days to recover with work looming on Thursday so If possible, I needed to be off meds and feel what I was capable of without covering any existing pain or sleeping two days away. I did laundry, some housekeeping, washed my bedding and the pressure garment and dried it while I showered. I continued to drain but minimally. I had no real pain, just stiffness as if I had worked out hard and was sore. I was tired and dozed a bit on the couch again but also managed a walk to the store in the evening. I also lacked much of an appetite.

Post op day two, May 2nd, was my birthday. I was a bit more sore and kept discomfort at bay with q6 hr. 500 mg doses of Tylenol. I took a walk, did some school work off and on, ate a little more than the day before, took a brief nap, showered and washed my garment again.

Post op day three May 3rd, I am back at work. Stiff standing and sitting down and slow moving but with Tylenol I suspect I will be just fine.

Day 3 post-op: I worked today but as it was an...

Day 3 post-op: I worked today but as it was an admin/ training day I was able to sit much of the day. I am more sore than Day 2, I feel like I have pulled muscles from lifting or working out too hard and need a day of rest Generally I feel tired but I don't know if this is to the procedure or my schedule. I don't have a scale so I can't tell of a weight change, not that it really matters but I did take my measurements while I washed the garment.
Waist 1" above naval: 29" (+.5")
Waist at naval: 30" (+1)
Waist 1" below naval 32" (-1")
R. thigh 21.5 (+.5)
L. thigh 21.5 (+.5)

So, clearly from the measurements, I feel a little puffy and am not seeing any changes yet. I took a walk with the garment off this evening and felt less comfortable than with everything being held snug. As the swelling goes down I will take measurements and move into the 2nd stage garment. I am also noticing more visible brusing and the collection of swelling/ fluid in places gravity takes it ie: I had lower abs sucked so the fluid is collecting below the lower abs. Yuck. That will hopefully go away. Depending on how I feel I may even do a light workout, upper body only, on Saturday.

Day 7. Today, I geared up and took a 20 mile bike...

Day 7.
Today, I geared up and took a 20 mile bike ride with my garment on. It was uncomfortable at times but less than other activities. I figured if I renew my normal activities as I can, which my body is used to, I will maintain my fitness, weight, and the activity, while it may increase swelling, will serve as a type of lymphatic massage. Increased heart rate and muscle contraction moves blood and lymph so perhaps this will help with the swelling long term.

I have to say, I a feeling generally more discomfort now than I did a few days in. There is a general soreness to sitting, turning, standing and the discomfort is greater when I do not wear the garment I suppose because it holds everything tight so it can't move. I need a break from the garment daily, usually near the end of the day when I become uncomfortable from the binding feeling and at that point I wash it.

I measured myself today and there is no change at all. Disappointing. I would have hoped I would notice at least some of the bulk gone. I am hoping there is still a lot of swelling. My skin is sensitive and numb in places to the touch esp. around the rear waist.

Day 10: Beyond discouraged. I am finally not...

Day 10: Beyond discouraged.

I am finally not too uncomfortable outside of the garment for a few hours in the evening when I wash it. Although they say I can go down to wearing it only 12 hrs a day, I am wearing it to sleep because I want to do all I can to see results. The giggly belly is still giggly where it was before and I feel I know my body well enough to sense that this is fat, not swelling. I have had other procedures and at least with them I saw some progress early on even if I had a long way to go before I saw final results.

Measurements are not encouraging:
R and L legs started at 21" now 21.5" (up 1/2")
1" above naval started at 28.5" now 28.25" (down 1/4")
Naval started at 29" now 29"
1" below naval started at 33", now at 32.25 (down 3/4")

Day 14: No change. I move mostly without pain...

Day 14: No change. I move mostly without pain now so have begun some lighter workouts again; low impact and weight lifting and some 20 mi. bike rides. I also weighed myself and am 4 lbs heavier than I was pre-op. So, I am moving OK and it feels good to do so. However, I have returned 100% to my pre-op measurements. Seriously, no change. I am told I have to wait months for the final product and that the swelling takes a long time to go down. But really, right now, I am just looking to see that anything happened at all. I am uncomfortable, the garment is a drag to wear and I am out 6K so I would like to know that it was worth the process. At some point I would like to be able to click a button other than undecided.

Day 19: Post op was day 17. No weight change. ...

Day 19:

Post op was day 17. No weight change. Measured today and no measurement change.

Post Op Day 20: I should have mentioned in my...

Post Op Day 20:

I should have mentioned in my last post an interesting observation I have made. I have been wearing my compression garment stage 2, 20 hours a day (sleeping in it then wearing it to work under scrubs). 4 nights ago I started just wearing it during the day (12 hr shifts) and sleeping without it. My skin is still very sensitive/ tender to the touch and I have found this to be true sleeping. What is also interesting is that rolling and getting out of bed without the garment in particular requires a lot more care. Skin moves when rolling over and with that there is tenderness as if the skin is not yet attached. Yesterday morning I did not roll and get up as carefully as I should have and I felt a tearing feeling inside. It was not in a location of one of the holes otherwise I thought I would find blood on the sheet. It was strikingly painful and although subsided in a few minutes, I felt a minor tenderness there all day.

Also, my garment was in the wash so I thought I would wear the binder given right after surgery just for support of the abdomen and the back area I felt tearing. This worked OK but my legs then became tender as well. So, I determined that even at nearly week 3, I am not ready to go very long without the compression garment. This to me indicates that I am still very much healing. Not sure how much swelling remains but it is hard to imagine that I have much. But, the soft tissue is still recovering from its insult.

I have seen absolutely no weight change or change in my measurements as stated above. I have seen however a cleaning up of my thighs, they are a little tidier looking and I feel my abs are a little bit as well. Not much, not where I want them or was hoping for by a long shot but I am mentally preparing myself for a redo of the tummy.

6/18/2012 Week 6. I have gone a lot of this...

6/18/2012 Week 6.

I have gone a lot of this week without the 2nd stage garment, not intentionally but because I do need to wear it to run, have to wash it and just with timing haven't managed to get it back on. Most of the discomfort is gone but I do have some reseidual hypersensitivity in the waist/ flank area. The feeling is similar to having the flu...and really sensitive to even the brushing of a t-shirt on the skin over that area. There is the occassional pull or odd feeling on the abdomen as well but overall the discomfort is mostly gone. I am not yet hwoever comfortable running without the garment because of skin movement.

I have not changed size or lost weight at all. Nothing. My shape has changed, my stomach is flatter and waist indents more, my thighs around my lower buttock are shaped better and overall I am please with the improvement. While I am happy so far, the discomfort was more than I anticipated. I have had a boob job and this was far worse I think because the discomfort affected the whole body and all movement, limiting my ability to exercise. I also hope for more change over time and would have liked to see a bigger change for the price. So, the results are worth having had this done, I guess I would have paid most anything to rid myself of some of the fat pockets I had. But at the same time I would feel much better about the results if I had paid $3K rather than $6K. For the price I expected more drastic results. I will post pics as time allows.
Banoo Sharma: Sono Bello

Maybe I am more needy than I should be emotionally but in paying $6K for a surgeon to cut into me I feel the need for a little more reassurance than I received. He answered my questions but minimally and did not offer an expansion on his original response. He spent the necessary amount of time with me but walked out without saying good bye at the pre-op and on the day of the procedure as well, though I was too high to care. I arrived on my op day at 8am. There was no one in the office but a sign that said they would be with me shortly. I waited for 15 min. and no one came. I called the procedure room, (interrupting someone else's procedure) to let the person who answered know that I had an appointment at 8am and was waiting. This seemed so odd to me since I had an appointment. An LPN came out, had me sign some more papers then took me to a room to change and wait. She asked me to pee in a cup and handed one to me. I asked for a label and she said I didn't need one. While changing she walked in on me without knocking. It was no biggie but it is a courtesy to knock. Overall everyone was very nice but the support staff lack professionalism. Payment was partially done with care credit and the other half cash. I am suspicious of Car Credit. They have an offer for 1 year, no interest if paid off in that time. Great, free loan. But because they were difficult to make my first payment to, difficult to reach in person as well to discuss my concerns, I suspect the goal is to encourage a missed or late payment so that high interest can kick in.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
3 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
2 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
2 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful

Comments (7)

Nikki,
Thanks for the encouragment. I too am a runner and am not running. I am lifting only with upper body and cycling which is totally low impact. To tell the truth I could not imagine running right now anyway.

Honestly though, I hope you are right. For $6K I need to see results you know? I am not made of money but this meant a lot to me as someone who is fit and healthy and can't get those strange little pockets of fat to go away. This was a huge splurge and present to myself that I don't want to regret. I am already planning for the need for touch ups and dreading having to go through this post-op garment period again. I can't do anything about the progress but I will try to hold hope. Thank you for the encouragement.
  • Reply
Coffeebean, don't be discouraged I felt just like you around 10 days in. I was thinking that I wasn't seeing results quick enough, even though I knew I really wouldn't for at least 4 months. Then all of a sudden the swelling started going down the 3rd week and its been only getting better and better. Today is my one month mark, and I feel pretty good about what I am seeing. If you over-exercise the first month, it aggravates the areas and causes swelling. Don't overdue it. I am a runner and my surgeon said wait one month. I followed his advice to the letter. Be patient, you are gonna be fabulous once the swelling goes down.
  • Reply
Nikki,

I am at 18 days now, I had my post op last night and no change in weight. I have been wearing my 2nd stage garment 20 hours a day until the last 3 nights when I slept without it.
I ran earlier this week and felt good. I ran again today (both times the the garment) but because I was on my way to work after I put the garment into soak and took my 1st stage with me in case. My upper abs felt tender/ sore mid way through my shift so I put the 2nd stage on. I am worried of course that I dislodged something permanently. Also very discouraged. I see some cleaning up of my outer thighs and the back of my waist but nothing significant in the abs. I have not measured myself since my last post, scared to. I suspect based on my weight, that nothing has changed.
  • Reply
Oops yes lol PRE-OP ;) I had my procedure on April 12th & 13th so I had a lot done two days in a row. It was easier than I thought it would be. It just felt very weird because I was awake the entire time. Just make sure you have all your creature comforts pre-arranged before your surgery. You will have a much more comfortable recovery. The advice on RealSelf was a lifesaver for me ;)
  • Reply
I thought you and I looked to be about the same Post Op size. However, you are actually smaller than me. You are going to look awesome after your procedure. I bet it will exceed your expectations. Make sure you are taking Arnica Montana, it really helps with the swelling. Good luck!
  • Reply
Do you mean pre-op? I have no idea yet about post op. Hard to tell but I hope this was worth it. When was your procedure?
  • Reply

Hi there, thanks so much for sharing yoru review with us. Please keep us updated on your results as they progress.

  • Reply