Smart Lipo: StoriesWrite a Review
So Painful. So Worth It. Longest Article Ever. - Roseville, CA
- posted 2 years ago
- updated 2 years ago
- Worth It
- Cost: $5,400
- Dr. Robert Keller (Roseville, CA)
Procedures: Upper and lower...
- 13 May 2011
Upper and lower Abs,
This website has been a huge resource for me. I was terrified and wanted to know every little thing I could think of, so I want to give back!
My procedure will be upper and lower abs, and hips.
I originally had a consultation set with another office. I called this one second and they happened to get me in earlier, and I ended up paying a deposit before I left, so I never did make it to the original appointment. It was a little sales-pitch-ey. I'll explain everything in as great detail as I can.
I went in and was brought into the consultation" office. She asked me what I knew about SmartLipo, etc. She did a very pro-smartlipo speech, and gave me plenty of time to ask questions. She lowered her blinds and asked me to roll down my pants, and walked around me and even grabbed some fat exclaiming that yeah, they could help me. It could've been weird, but it was really alright. Let's face it, I was only there in the first place because I wanted the procedure, so it wasn't very hard to convince me. I paid a deposit.
We scheduled my pre-op and procedure appointments right there.
I went home having mixed feelings. Should I have done this? How was I going to pay for the rest? She was all for taking my deposit without my credit check coming back yet, so I was nervous. Lo and behold, I wasn't accepted, and the customer service kind of ended there. She basically told me to "get creative" to pay for it.
Well I knew I'd already paid, so I figured I'd make it work. I was very nervous so started doing as much research as I could. They told me I would need someone to come in with me to drive me home. I understood, but was wary because I didn't want to tell anyone! I ended up calling my dad and asking for his help. I did not tell my husband. Turns out when my dad agreed, he had mis-heard me and really didn't know what he was getting into. He didn't want to back out and abandon me though, so he's still taking me. (He's not happy about it) He's the one who ended up sending me a link to this website.
Granted, he sent it to me filtered to the "Not Worth It's" only, but I quickly figured out that it was the minority, and I felt better.
Because of this website I've seen the STRONG recommendation that you choose a BOARD CERTIFIED plastic surgeon to do your procedure, so I started looking into the doctor I was scheduled with. All I could find was that he was a Family Practice doctor, with "training" in SmartLipo. I looked up the training, and it seems to be that 8 hour course a lot of people on here talk about.
So finances aside, I became even more nervous. I called my consultant and told her I was uncomfortable with my doctor, that I'd like a board certified plastic surgeon. She had zero problem with this, and quickly rescheduled me with my new doctor, who I was going to request anyway, after doing my research. He wrote the book, it turns out! So, my appointments got moved back by about 2 weeks, and I had the doctor I would be comfortable with.
I went to my pre-op and met with... I'm not sure who. A nurse? Not a doctor. She spend a long time with me asking me for my concerns and pretty much giving me a play-by-play of what the procedure would entail. You'll take your meds, you'll feel fine, we'll make the incisions, administer the fluid, etc. I did blood tests before I left, and used 5 credit cards to pay off my balance. They said they'd send some prescriptions (vicodin) to my pharmacy, and to pick them up prior to the procedure and bring them in. (Which reminds me- I still need to do that...)
My procedure is now one week away and I'll continue my story then!
The day of the procedure they called and asked if I could come in at 10am instead of 1pm. I agreed and got ready to go. Had some eggs and toast, got there and went into the room. It was the same room I'd had the pre-op appointment in. I was surprised; I guess I had been expecting more of an operating room.
They gave me an antibiotic, a vicodin, and a Lorazapam to stick under my tongue. 45 minutes later, I was still anxious as hell, so they gave me 2 more. I don't know that it ever did anything at all.
The doctor came in and explained what he was going to do and what I wouldn't like. "You won't like me puncturing the skin, you won't like the saline solution I fill you with. Let's get that fact out of the way". That was an understatement.
I laid down and they rubbed my stomach with iodine, or something. Cold. Then I started to panic, cause I knew the stab was next. I was not numb in any way. It's not like they put anything on the area to numb it. He told me it would feel "weird", like water filling me up. It did not. It felt like a freezing cold needle sticking far into me. He told me there was no needle, as I screamed that it was stabbing me. He stepped away from the table to show me his empty hands saying "I'm not doing anything". In my mind I'm like... well duh, you just left it there!
Anyway, it was horrible. It was excruciating pain. The assistant had to hold my arms to keep me from swinging them around, and I know I had my legs in the air the entire time. I was cold before it started, so I had a towel on my arms. I ended up bunching it into a ball, stuffing it in my mouth and screaming bloody murder. You guys, the "tumescent" fluid part is TERRIBLE. I saw some people on here say "it felt weird" or, "it was the most uncomfortable part". It was horrifying for me. He did it in 4 sections, so when he said "I'm a quarter done" I freaked out, cause I couldn't believe we had 3 quarters more to go, and that's just for my stomach.
When he was done, he had me roll to one side to do my hip. Same thing all over again. A LITTLE less horrible cause there were no ribs involved this time.
He then stopped and said we'd wait to do the other side to see if I could actually handle the procedure. He left for about 20 minutes. My stomach was full from the fluid and looked alien. It was huge and inflated.
When he came back we started the actual smartlipo. It was not as bad as getting the fluid in. The fluid began numbing me from the inside-out, so he started saying "can you feel this?" and I would say no. Turns out he was making small incisions when he asked me this. A couple of times I said yes, and he put more fluid on the spot. Felt like he just poured it on top of the skin, but my eyes were shut tight.
The cannula feels weird. It vibrates pretty hardcore, so it's not just swift in and out movements, it vibrating in and out. Once he hit my ribs with it and it made them reverberate, and I yelled. I know I screamed out loud a few times during the smartlipo, and he would put more numbing fluid on the spot.
After he did my stomach and one side, he inserted the saline (tumescent) solution into my other hip, which was of course painful all over again. He left again. He came back and did the smartlipo on the last side. Again, this is nowhere near as bad as getting the numbing solution.
At some point I looked down and my eyes played a trick on me. The skin was very loose, and I thought he had cut me open, plus the assistant was looking at me weird, so I thought that's what I was seeing. It looked like he had cut and lifted my skin up. The assistant immediately asked me if I was ok, that my eyes had just gotten huge, and I just sort of nodded. (He did not cut me- I know this now)
When we were all done he stuck a small laser in all the holes and did... whatever that thing does. Stimulates your skin to get tighter, I've read. I believe it pulses, because I did feel a "zap" sensation here and there.
This is when he said to take a look, so I tried. There was no mirror in the room, which I still find odd, so I had to just kind of look left and right at myself. I said I thought there was a dip on one side and not on the other, so he went to work on the spot I pointed out. I kept asking "you're doing this, right?" and pointing a little higher up on my love handles. I was asking because I thought I was getting a specific area of my love handles done, and I hadn't noticed him do it yet. I kept trying to touch the area to ask them, and they kept trying to keep me from touching my skin. This part comes into play later.
So, I get to take a look again, (without a mirror) and he did my lower waist, and then it kind of bulged out again a little higher up. I thought this was extremely strange. If this area wasn't considered an area I paid for, it should at least be "transitioned" to look smooth, not an abrupt line where fat was removed, and then not. Plus, it was higher up, so it wasn't a natural area to have this bulge, such as the love handle area. I asked about this. He started to act weird, telling me I had paid for my "hips" and not my waist”. I just kind of sat there being a little quiet, looking at myself and not meeting anyone's eyes. I was scared. I started mumbling about how I just thought that I was getting this particular area done, etc. That when I paid, I was told that this area would be done. The doctor kind of huffed out, and said he'd go get my consultant. It was awkward.
The assistant was telling me while we were alone "you need to say something" and "why don't you say something" and I kept wondering, can't you say something for me too? You're his assistant, can you help me tell him I'm unhappy??? In any case, the doctor and my original consultant came and she pulled out all these notes on our consultation. She was saying "you said you wanted hips, not waist." And I was saying, "well I don't really know what you classify what area is, but what I do know is what area I POINTED to and/or grabbed to show you. Whatever you wrote down, I assumed was the area I SHOWED you I wanted done..." I was being very shy about this, I wasn't yelling or anything. The doctor just kind of stood up and shoved a sharpie at me and said "draw the area you want". I kind of tammered, not knowing what to do. He took my hand and put the sharpie in it and said "draw it" again. I drew a weird circle, shrugged, said I didn't know what was classified as an area... he said just draw it. Then I drew a circle on the other side. I had no mirror, it wasn't precise and it wasn't the same on both sides. He said "lie down." and left.
My father was in the waiting room and said he was walking around slamming doors. When he came back through he told my dad they were going to give me "a two thousand dollar Christmas present" so we weren't done yet. My father said "Are you PISSED OFF? Because I don't want you touching her if you're pissed off". My father told me that that was when a switch kind of clicked on the doctor, and he calmed right down, and said he was so sorry, of course he wasn't upset, yadda yadda. He then asked my father back into the room where I was waiting.
I was annoyed because he was acting like I was tricking him into doing additional procedures. That really wasn't the case. He asked the assistant if I'd indicated that he was doing the wrong area, and she said "well....she DID keep pointing to an area on her waist asking about it..." He said "Fine" and explained to my father and I that he was going to do a little more, a little higher, and said the bit about a 2k present again, that the main goal was to make sure I was happy. He wasn't exactly rude about it this time.
He left again, and apparently went to my dad in the waiting room and tried to get him to eat some BBQ sandwich someone had brought him. He kept saying no thank you... cause it was weird. Said the doctor was obviously trying to make up for his little fit, had his arm around him, trying to be buddy- buddy. Then he said "well let's see if (me) wants it!" and came in and kind of made me eat a bite, and a french fry. He was trying to be nice. Weird, I know.
Then he did the two more upper areas (still one area, if you want my opinion) and both sides took all of 15 minutes total. I did notice that he didn't do the laser part again.
I think this is when I FINALLY started getting groggy, cause I was totally alert the whole time until now. I remember him pushing and squeezing my skin to get as much fluid out as possible. I remember them having me stand up, barefoot, in a pool of everything that had dripped out of me. The assistant stuck a lot of maxipads on, not as many as I needed, cause I leaked on the ride home. They stuck me in a compression garment (too loose) and I don't remember going out to the truck.
When I got home, my dad helped me change the pads, I put thicker ones on, and I put one BELOW every pad covering a "hole" (I have about 8 larger "cuts" and about 10 "pinpricks" kind of going in a circle around my tummy and love handle area. I put pads below the ones necessary so they would catch what leaked.
My husband came home at some point, and I could hear him talking in the front room. I thought it was morning, and was telling him he needed to get our daughter up. He told me it was 9PM.
In the morning, I told him I had thrown my back out, and that I was staying home from work. Everyone kept telling me I wouldn't be able to pull this off. The assistant during the procedure was giving me a really hard time about it. She kept saying "you know you're going to be draining, right?!" I kept brushing her off. I was a little annoyed too, cause she assumed he was paying for it. Really? Why would you assume that?!
Thanks to the extra pads I used, I did not leak onto anything overnight. My husband went to work and dropped our daughter at daycare. A few hours later my dad came over to help me get up. You all need to be VERY careful about this.
I have read here that the first time you take your wrappings off, you can get lightheaded. Scratch that, it's the first time you sit up. So somehow I had gotten up to pee in the middle of the night, and I do remember being very dizzy. I tore through some wrappings and pads and managed to pee without passing out, and crawled back into bed. I don't even know how I did that, because when I got sitting up straight the next morning, the most horrible feeling of faintness washed over me. The world started swimming away, my own voice sounded miles away. I could hear my father yelling at me to answer him, could I hear him, am I ok, etc. I don't know if I answered. I remember slapping myself in the face to keep from passing out. My dad wanted to call 911, I told him I had the doctor's number, so he called him instead. We got him immediately. My dad described the faintness, the cold sweats, etc.
Doctor said that was all normal, a lack of blood flow combined with leftover medicines.
I laid backward on my bed, with my legs still hanging over, and waited for it to pass. The doctor then had me sit up and flex my calf muscles. When that worked, he said when you first stand up, to go up and down on my tip-toes, kind of an exercise to get the blood flowing.
I believe that was the last time I came over so faint. Later that day (still day 1) I took the bandages off and expected it again, but was fine. Took a very quick shower, cause it made me feel a little ill, put all new maxi-pads all over, and switched into a different body-suit. I had one that was from thighs to shoulders, with cutouts for your privates. I pulled underwear over the cutouts.
The rest of the day I was able to get up and walk around. The more I walked, the better I felt.
As far as actual pain, there's not much. I took a vicodin maybe twice that day, mostly out of fear of the pain, not because I had any yet.
Today is day two and I am at work! Full day! I haven't had any pain meds today. Mostly I just forgot to take any. I have a desk job, and sitting down is actually worse, so I'm trying to stand a lot. Short walks around the building make me loosen up whenever I get too stiff. Again, no real pain.
I don't mind my compression garment, though I'm actually wearing 2. Mine, which fits my whole body so I don't get weird creases, and then theirs, which is the size of your abdomen, over the top of it.
Tomorrow is my post-op, it's not with the doctor.
Now, the very most important part. The results. They were IMMEDIATE. My stomach is FLAT. It does look a little uneven in 1 place, but I'm obviously not too worried about it, either it will smooth out, or if not, I don't think it's noticeable. My love handles- which were the reason I wanted this- are GONE. I mean... handfuls and handfuls of lovehandles. Gone. They're just...not. there. It's amazing. Imagine yourself looking in the mirror at your unwanted areas. Gras hold of what you don't want. Imagine it actually gone. It's better than I expected! I have no lovehandles!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Long story, but I wish I had every detail of other people's experience before I went in for my procedure. This website is a huge help.
I know it sounded like a lot of scary stuff happened, but really, I think it's just because I'm trying to describe it in such detail. My appointment was at 10:30am, the first incision was made at probably 12 or 12:30, and I was done and being driven home at maybe 2:00? Overall, quick. Not painless.
But again, it was the tumescent fluid that hurt most, not really the smartlipo. Remember that it vibrates.
I think that's finally all! I'll post post-op notes if anything significant happens!
The main point- WORTH IT! I might post post-op photos, and see if I can get hold of pre-op photos. You wouldn't believe the difference. I look skinny now. I wasn't. The after pictures are kind of pointless without the before shots, but you can contact me if you'd like to see anyway.
I'd recommend this procedure for results.
Day 3: Saturday. Today I had my post-op, they...
- 16 May 2011
Today I was able to get into my car, which I couldn't do yesterday cause it's really low to the ground. Right after my appointment I was able to take my daughter to her gymnastics class, though I just stood in the corner and watched.
Sitting and lying down don't help. You want to stretch. The more I walk, the better I feel. A friend gave me a free treadmill today, and I love using it. I kind of crave walking on it, because of how much better it feels than sitting. Trust me.
Day 4: Sunday
Today, I sneezed. Learn from my mistake.
Today I was able to go out to lunch with friends. I'm getting around really well now. I cleaned up some furniture to sell on Craigslist and everything. Up and down, up and down. I kind of crouch, no problems there. I finally have bruising, nothing too bad. Just a few spots here and there.
It hurts pulling my compression garment on and off, I put it on in the mornings after my shower and don't take it off again until the next morning's shower.
Day 5: Monday
Back at work. Sitting is worse, like I said. Every hour or so (really needs to be sooner than that) I get up and walk around to un-stiffen. Helps a lot! I can carry my daughter without too much discomfort, picking her up and everything. Just as long as she doesn't jab me with her knees.
My family still thinks I threw my back out. Success!
I'm a little puffy finally, having not had much swelling until now. I still don't feel really swollen, I probably lucked out.
My Doctor: Join to view doctor's name
Great, sweet man. Wrote the book on the procedure. Became a little flustered at one point, but snapped out of it. Just great at what he does.