I had my upper and lower abdomen done on April 30. Since then (coming up on about 2 months) I have gone through several phases of satisfaction with SmartLipo, and have indeed used this website a lot to check if some of my results / symptoms were common. In the end, I am already really happy with my results, and i can tell it's just going to get better until I'm fully healed. I'll cover every part of my experience; please feel free to ask me any questions as I am now a big supporter of this procedure, given that the patient has the right expectations.
- Why I did it: I am 23 and slender and athletic overall, but ever since my body changed around age 18 to be more womanly, I've had this stomach that wasn't VERY big, but was bigger than seemed proportional for me, and moreover it had what i swore was cellulite. My stomach had dents / divets across it, particularly in the upper part and it looked very odd, and def pretty gross. The doctore who ultimately did my SmartLipo said during me first visit that it actually wasn't cellulite, but was just an atypical way that my fat was presenting itself, and thus reducing the fat would help. I did believe him since I hadn't seen anyone with my kind of stomach, and it didn't really match the pictures i'd seen of cellulite
- The surgery itself: Overall, a breeze. I'd love to have a word better than "uncomfortable" to describe the procedure, but that's pretty much it. Most of the time it feels like the doc is using a hairbrush to scrub the inside of your stomach. Not really painful, and fully tolerable, but certainly unpleasant. There were a few moments where I had actually pain, but nothing that I can't take or couldn't be understandable given it's surgery, without general anesthesia. It was also pretty fast, like an hour and a half.
- Downtime: I took painkillers for the first night, and I was back the very next day to work (I have an office job with some movement but not much). They tell you it's like you did too many stomach crunches, and that's pretty accurate. I didn't have any other kind of symptoms, except this pain and soreness, which was strongest when I got up from sitting--pretty much anytime you move your stomach you'll feel it, but it wasn't debilitating in the least. I had four insertion points for the lasers, and those barely oozed at all, no problems there.
- Recovery: There were several phases. At first, basically my stomach was like silly putty, and this lasted about 10 days. The compression garments / pants / my hand---anything that would press against my stomach would leave a mark or dent, particularly if it was a long while. When I got up from sleeping, and thus only had the compression garment pressing against my stomach for the past few hours, my stomach looked absolutely fantastic; so flat and smooth. But that was way too early a stage to judge things; I wasn't at all healed yet, and i was in fact still numb inside. Then came the bad phase--starting about day 10 or 12 my stomach started to congeal basically, and form really hard lumps of varying degrees. The whole abdomen could be seen as a lump, made up of a bunch of other lumps. It was so bad to the touch, and you could definitely see the lumps visually too. But thankfully, my doctor told me this was normal and would go away--it's essentially the scar tissue amasssing after the major trauma experienced in the stomach. Sure enough, with patience after a couple of weeks the lumps pretty much have gone away--they're lingering in the lower abdomen, where they were hardest in the first place. I know that they'll go away eventually
- Results / Overall: Clearly, I'm very happy overall with SmartLipo. Clothes look so very good on me now, and i can totally change my wardrobe to include shirts that actually are tight around the waist. As far as my bare abdomen, the weird denty / dimply problem I had has gone down dramatically--it was definitely just caused by having a disprorportionately large deposit of abdomen fat. As this was the main reason I wanted to do SmartLipo, this alone would be enough to make me very happy with the results.The only things I don't like now about the appearance of my bare stomach: 1) the four dot scars that are pretty dark on my stomach--they're about the size of the ink dot of a sharpie (that's actually how they draw them before surgery), and they are conspicuous if someone looks at your stomach. However I am using Mederma every day and that helps at least with the collagenization part of the scar; i'll start to use something else to fade it. The other thing I don't like, and this is pretty significant I guess, is that there is some unevenness in my upper abs; the left side has a small pocket of fat that didn't get sucked out as much as the other side. My doc said that if I was unhappy with anything he'd fix it free of charge (considered included in my $5,500 cost), and I definitely will at some point. But I'm just not sure if I want to go through all that now during the summer, becuse it's not so bad that I couldn't just let it go for this season and get back to fix it during the fall / winter.
So there you have it. The amount I wrote reflects just how "worth it" I think SmartLipo is!