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Liposuction of Tummy Pooch (Abdomen) and Love Handles (Flanks) - Salt Lake City, UT
- posted 1 year ago
- updated 1 year ago
- Not Sure
- Cost: $3,300
- Salt Lake, Utah
I'm 41, 5' 5", and just under 140...
- 5 Jan 2012
I'm 41, 5' 5", and just under 140 pounds. I've had two children, and I developed a tummy pooch that I could not get rid of after the second child. It really has affected my self-confidence and keeps me from wearing tight-fitting clothes. I have been on several diets over the years, but the pooch remains.
I considered getting the cool procedure that freezes fat, but stumbled upon this web site when looking for more information about it. It seems like that procedure is still quite new and may not have dramatic enough results for what I wanted. I was very grateful to have the reviews that other folks wrote about the various procedures, which is why I am posting my own. I hope that sharing my experience will help someone like me (early 40's, had kids, has "loose skin", etc.) decide whether or not this is the right procedure for them.
I went to 3 different plastic surgeons for consultations. (I highly encourage anyone who is considering any type of plastic surgery to meet with at least 2 board-certified doctors--it's remarkable how different their recommendations and prices can be.) The first surgeon had a great personality, fancy office and nice staff. He was also very positive about the outcomes I could expect. After meeting with the other two doctors, I think he may not have been as realistic as he should have/could have been. He said my skin still had a lot of elasticity, the other two doctors said I did not. Once I better understood what they meant, I agree with the other two doctors, and I have a feeling I will still have a bit of a pooch of loose skin, once all of the healing has taken place.
Anyway, his estimate for liposuction of the abdomen and flanks (including the binder) at a surgical center was $5400. The second surgeon seemed the most serious/intelligent (not that the other two are not). She spent almost 2 hours at the consultation asking me questions, feeling my tummy and making sketches. Her estimate was $3030 to have the liposuction done at an actual hospital. She also gave me an estimate for a tummy tuck which was $5650, including an overnight stay in the hospital. She was concerned that the liposuction would not give me the results I really want, which is quite true, I'm sure, but a tummy tuck scares me to death, so it wasn't an option.
After seeing the second doctor, I actually decided not to do anything. The idea of going under anesthesia and having a non-essential surgery scared me and seemed too risky. But then I started to feel kind of bummed because I realized I would be stuck with the tummy pooch and I didn't want spend the next 10 years regretting not having lipo/thinking lipo could have gotten rid of it. After buying yet another too large shirt to cover the pooch, I decided to try one more doctor and see if he agreed more with the optimistic doctor or the realistic doctor. The third surgeon was the least interactive and was kind of brusque. He would do the procedure in his office with a nurse anesthetist (instead of a physician anesthesiologist--which kind of freaked me out). I think the other two surgeons do a lot of breast reconstructions for cancer patients or other medically necessary procedures, and the third one does mostly plastic surgery for folks who want to improve their appearance. I came away from the consultation not really loving the doctor or office, but after thinking about the three doctors and their different approaches, I realized that I actually would feel most comfortable with the third doctor. I felt like he probably does the most liposuction procedures of the three and was just being more matter-of-fact because he probably sees many more people who don't realize the limitations of liposuction and want more of a quick fix.
I booked the lipo for a time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, because I figured it would be cold and folks wouldn't notice a compression garment under my clothes. I don't have family in town, so it would be up to my husband to take care of me. I got my prescriptions (generic percocet, an anti-nausea drug and an antibiotic) filled the day before the surgery. For the record, the pharmacist told me the generic and regular percocet are the same thing, but the generic was $20 for 75 and the percocet was almost $400 for 75. I went with the generic, and am very glad I did because I ended up only using 5 of them. They made me feel horrible, nauseous and light-headed and gross! That was one thing I had not expected.
Okay, here is the graphic part. The day of the procedure, my husband dropped me off at the doctor's office. I met with the doctor who drew on my body and reassured me that he's been doing this for 30+ years and never had anyone die or have to go to the hospital. I met with the nurse anesthetist, who was also nice and reassuring. I was taken to the surgical room, swabbed all over my body with benedrine (or whatever that brown, freezing liquid is). The nurse put in an IV, and I woke up in the recovery area thinking I would puke. I just remember groaning a lot and being unable to stop from doing it. I even felt bad for the other person in the recovery area, as I hoped I wasn't freaking her out, but I couldn't stop.
The whole ride home was horrible, feeling like I would throw up or pass out. I sat in a recliner and ended up staying there all night. I was definitely uncomfortable and could feel the bruising on my hips and sides. I felt really nauseaus and definitely needed help to stand up and go to the bathroom. I tried to watch TV, but couldn't concentrate. I ate about 8 crackers, total, because you are supposed to eat when you take the antibiotic and the percocet. Otherwise, I had no appetite. Every time I went to pee, the incisions on the front of my abdomen would leak bloody liquid (make sure you have sheets/bed covers that you don't care about staining). NOTE: I only have four incisions for the abdomen and flanks. The other two doctors had said they would do 6-8 incisions.
I had assumed the nausea was from the general anesthesia, but the doctor called that night to check on me and told my husband that it is a common side effect for the percocet. I stopped taking the percocet the next day, and just used extra-strength tylenol. Day 2: I felt much better, still appreciated help getting up to go to the bathroom. Still had no appetite. Had a quick follow-up appointment with the doctor who said everything looked normal. Felt pretty crappy, but slept in our bed that night. I'll try to post some photos. Used Tylenol for pain, but it wasn't as awful as I had expected.
Days 3 & 4: Showered on the third day, which felt good, although I felt strange taking off the binder. Felt a little better each day. Used Tylenol. Again, the pain was from some of the bruises, there was not a feeling of fire or having my skin ripped off (one of the other reviews said something like that). The discomfort was mostly trying to find a way to sit or lie down that didn't put pressure on the hips or ribs (so stayed on my back, a lot). It was also tough keeping our 4-year old away from my body. Every elbow or knee to my sides really hurt. NOTE: I can't imagine how folks do this and have their thighs or buttocks liposuctioned, too. I would think it would be impossible to be comfortable if you have to sit on your bottom and it hurts like a huge bruise or worse.
I had the procedure on a Tuesday morning. I think I could have gone into an office job on Friday, but I would have been pretty uncomfortable. Saturday was even better. Monday would have been fine. There are sore areas, mostly by bones like the hips and ribs, and there are some very hard parts of my abdominal area. It's a very strange feeling. It's kind of numb and tender at the same time. Sometimes when my husband touches my back or tummy it hurts, like a bruise. Other times it just feels weird. Something else that I hadn't expected was the bruises moved down from my body to my thighs. I'm very glad I didn't have to wear shorts! My thighs don't hurt, but they look like I've been in a car accident.
Days 5 +: The swelling has really gone down. Dramatically. Day 11: I was able to get some Christmas shopping done. I am not supposed to exercise for the first 3 weeks, and I'm supposed to wear the binder 24 hours a day for the first 3 weeks. It's not so bad, but I do get itches (which is weird, because I can't always feel when I scratch). 4 and half weeks later: Back to normal levels of activity. My abdominal area is very hard. Up until a few days ago, it was uncomfortable to sit upright, because the abdominal area was so stiff. Hard to explain, but it is uncomfortable, not painful. My abdomen, sides and even hips still have tenderness. Again, hard to explain. If I put the flat of my hand on the area, it's okay. But if I poke it with a finger, it hurts. Showering is still a bit painful when the spray hits the abdominal area.
There seems to be a second round of bruising happening, though very light, not like the dramatic initial bruising, which lasted almost 3 weeks and sank down to my outer thighs. What is very strange is to put lotion on my tummy and then rub it. It's like the tummy area is covered in a water blister with hard lumps underneath. Also, my belly button is still pushed in about an inch from the rest of the tummy, which I find bizarre. I saw the doctor a few days ago, and he said the lumpiness is normal. He told me to use a massager twice a day for 10 minutes each time and push hard and massage the areas that are hard (do this for a month). He also said I could use the binder whenever I felt like things were swelling up.
To sum up thus far/tips/things to learn from my experience: Get more than one consultation, especially if you are debating between liposuction and a tummy tuck. Be sure to wear front opening shirt and pull up/loose pants to the surgery, so they are easy to get on and off. Also, pick clothes that you don't care if they get ruined/blood stains. I didn't expect the amount of nausea from the pain-killers (I assumed it would just be from the anesthesia). I guess some people don't have that reaction to painkillers. Extra-strength Tylenol worked fine for me. (Granted, I did wake up in the night for the first week, because of the discomfort on my sides and hips.) Make sure you have a bottle of Tylenol/acetaminophen in the house. You won't be able to take aspirin or Advil. My doctor told me to take a multi-vitamin with iron twice a day for a month after, so you may want to check with your doctor ahead of time to see if you should buy some. Abdominal liposuction did NOT hurt as much as I expected, but that is my experience. I think that other areas of the body may hurt more. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt, it just didn't feel like my skin had been ripped away from my flesh (as I read in someone else's review). I thought I'd be able to get some work done on the computer by the second day, but didn't feel up to it. Try to stay home from work for at least 4 days. I hated having to wake up in the middle of the night to take the antibiotic, but that's over now. I bought some Gatorade and plain crackers before the procedure, anticipating some nausea, which was a help. You really do need help that first 36 hours! Even if you have a friend who can stay with you the first day and then check on you every 3-4 hours on the second day. Do what ever you can to avoid sneezing the first 2-3 days! Coughing, too. I found that lying down and holding my hands on my tummy while coughing felt much better than coughing standing up.
I did buy a girdle-type thing from Target to wear while I washed my binder. It is a slide on thing. I tried it day 3, while the binder was washing. It was AWFUL. I was able to pull it on, but it hurt so much trying to take it off, it felt like it was tearing my insides. I had to get my husband to help. I would recommend getting a second compression garment, but not a slide-on. Something with a zipper or eye-hooks would be better (or a 2nd compression garment). My compression garment is a wrap-around with velcro. It gets bumps in it and itches, but it's not horrible. If your doctor recommends a compression garment, wear it. After the 2nd day, I recommend repositioning it every few hours, so you don't get weird bumps from the garment's seams or wrinkles. If you don't want to tell people you had lipo, avoid them for the first 5 days.
Avoid situations where folks will want to give you a big bear hug for a couple of weeks (I learned this the hard way when my daughter hugged me from behind and tried to pick me up! It did NOT feel good :) You won't want people to see your tummy or hips or thighs for a few weeks, so don't have this done a month before a trip to beach! At this time, it's still too early for me to decide if it was worth it. I'll have to check back in in a couple more months.