Chin Lipo 33 Y.o. Male - Stockton, CA
Well, I'll start by saying that up until I was...
- 12 Jun 2011
Well, I'll start by saying that up until I was 18 years old, I never remembered having any issues with my chin and neck-line. However, after four incredible years at Chico State, I left with not only a college degree, but a huge double chin. Obviously, from the time I got there, sports went out the window and competitive beer drinking took their place. I gained over 40 pounds from '96-2000.
After college, things only got worse. Beginning a career became my main focus and exercise was not included in my overall plan. As time went by, I began to steadily gain weight. After four years, things got out of control. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, 250 pounds (I'm 6'2"), and something had to change. Thanks to a great friend, I began working with "Team in Training" for the next three months to get ready for my first (and only) marathon. During that time, I lost over 30 pounds, but it hardly affected my neck. After the marathon, I went another five years, exercising only when it was convenient, often going all-out for up to about three months, but eventually letting all my progress slip away. As I look back, I think I've always done this at least partially because I always feel fat, no matter how great of shape I'm in because when I look in the mirror, I always see the same thing. It kind of left me with a "What's the point?" kind of attitude.
So, six months ago, I decided to pull the trigger on submental lipo to the chin area. Years of feeling fat, not to mention the fact that double chins affect most of my family members (on both sides), had finally taken their toll, and upon my 33rd birthday, I knew I was not ready to continue on this path. I made this decision right about Christmas time of 2010, but also told myself that as a pre-requisite, what I really needed to do was lose about 10% of my body weight to see how much of a difference that would make. So, for the next three months, I was really good about exercising. I kept a steady mix of long-distance running, swimming and spin classes. At the end of March, I was down to the lowest weight I had been since post-marathon (215), however, the chin was still there, hardly affected. That did it for me. I scheduled my surgery for as soon as school got out (I'm a teacher), and five days ago, I had it done (June 7th, 2011).
Here I am, five days post-op. I'll start by saying that for me, the worst part about the whole procedure has been what feels like solitary confinement/house arrest. I absolutely cannot STAND to be cooped up in the house all day with these ridiculous looking compression garments on my head! I could go out (and on day three I did take an all-day road trip with my mom's dog to the north coast...she doesn't judge me), but I guess I'm just too self-conscious to fully go into public looking the way I do.
I went in last Tuesday for the procedure and things went very smoothly. I was told initially that I would be receiving "Twilight Sedation," but upon waking up in the surgical center, I found out that they had gone ahead and put me under general anesthesia. I woke up feeling pretty good and was anxious to get in the car and head home to begin the healing process. My doctor had wrapped my head with a mix of tape and gauze, making what ended up looking like a crude helmet that completely covered my head and even my ears. It was pretty uncomfortable, but as for actual pain, I couldn't say that I experienced too much. I religiously took my Vicodins/antibiotics as instructed, but really probably would've been fine without them. I also had a giant ice-pack that wrapped around my head (even though I don't think the cold really could penetrate the helmet). The rest of the day was so-so, not much pain, but lots of boredom. Luckily, my mom was kind enough to take the day off of work and hang out with me, so that helped :)
The next 24 hours went by extremely slowly, particularly because I was looking forward to the part where doctor would replace my "helmet" with the compression garment. Up until a couple hours before the appointment, I got really crabby and annoyed. Not only did I look completely ridiculous, but I was having a hard time hearing, it was hot and uncomfortable and the worst part was that my brain was starting to manufacture itches that couldn't be scratched. 3:45 couldn't come soon enough!
When I got into the doc's office, he had me lay back in the chair as he took a pair of scissors to the helmet. I was so excited to see the initial results! I seriously felt like this was my own "Extreme Makover" unveiling (even though in my mind, I knew that after only 24 hours, there would be no "results" to speak of). After cutting it off, I felt this huge rush of blood to my neck (the helmet was REALLY tight). I got up slowly to look in the mirror and could already see the beginning stages of the new and improved me! He told me originally that as far as just below my chin, he could never get me a truly flat profile as that just wasn't the structure of my neck-line. I have too much tissue to ever have that kind of look that so many people want. However, he took as much fat from the area as he felt comfortable, but also kept a steady focus on the side areas in an effort to show more of my mandibles (jaw bones). This is where I could see the most improvement, and I have to say, my face lit up with the realization that everything seemed to have gone well and that I was on my way to the new look that I wanted!
He immediately re-wrapped my head with pads and gauze, and then placed the compression garment over it all, instructing me to change out the pads the next day. The next 24 hours were again incredibly boring. I also began to notice that my uvula had become extremely agitated/swollen and I could constantly feel it on the back of my tongue, which was somewhat of a nauseating feeling (like a piece of meat floating around in my mouth...just kind of a gross sensation). I attributed this to the breathing tube that had been placed down my throat during the operation. Although it wasn't painful, it was bothersome.
The next morning, I took off my compression garment in an effort to replace the pads. This was no easy feat, considering nobody was there to assist me! The doctor told me that I probably didn't need the gauze to wrap around my head, so I never bought any (I only had pads). But, after replacing the pads and compression garment, I felt like the pressure was too gentle. Although it was way more comfortable than it had been initially, I knew compression was an important part of the equation. A couple of hours went by before I broke down in a panic and called a friend to bring me some gauze so that I could get more pressure. Fortunately, she came through in the clutch and helped me out. After re-wrapping my head, I felt much better.
On to day three, I couldn't stand being locked up in the house any more, so I went on a six-hour road trip with my mom's dog. Although I still looked like a circus freak, I felt better knowing that people were only catching fleeting glimpses of me while I whizzed by at 65 mph :)
Yesterday, day four, I took off the compression garment and headed out to a "Relay for Life" event that my mom was participating in for a couple of hours. My doc told me that I should keep it on, but I was ready for a little break. However, before doing so, I made sure to read up on other doctors' advice on doing so. Nearly every one said that a 1-2 hour break was acceptable. I wasn't sure if people would notice much improvement, but they certainly could see what looked like ligature marks on my neck, like somebody had tried to strangle me! Although I didn't end up having too much bruising in the first few days, I did get two big ones on my lower neck (both sides) and a weird little pea-shaped bruise on my chin next to the suture mark. Even though it might have been somewhat of a risky move on my part to take everything off, it was a nice break mentally. After two hours, I raced home and replaced everything.
So, here I am at day five. I took everything off for a few minutes to take a quick picture so you guys could see my results at five days. Even though it's still really swollen, I'm still pretty pleased with the results. As I told a friend last night, even if this was all I was going to get, I'd still be pleased!
I've probably spent 50-75 hours reading posts from other people's experiences on RealSelf.com and pretty much every message board out there in the last couple of months. I can't thank everyone enough for being so forth-coming with their experiences, both patients and doctors alike. I'm somewhat neurotic about things like this, and it's been so comforting to see that every time I have a question, I've been able to answer it due to the fact that someone else has had it before me! So, a sincere thank-you to everyone out there in cyberspace for the comfort and support throughout this ongoing process!
I'm including a series of photos: immediately after, the next day (with gauze and compression garment) and today (day five, no compression garment). I'll update later with more pictures as results become more noticeable. But, I do want to say, that if any of you out there are considering it, I have only one thing to say...GO FOR IT! Even though I'm only five days in, I can already tell that the results are going to exceed my expectations and that I'll be kicking myself for not doing it sooner! And, of course, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, don't hesitate. I'm more than happy to share my experiences/knowledge with any of you out there :)
Dr. S is THE MAN! He's been performing cosmetic surgeries since 1978 (coincidentally, the year I was born), so obviously I felt comfortable in his care. What really drew me to him is the fact that as a hobby, he's an artist! He does oil paintings and even produced his own video that he plays for his patients prior to their lipo consultations. He's eccentric and exudes a pleasant, confident manner. I felt good knowing that he's got a blend of science/art in his practice, and I knew immediately after leaving my consult that he was going to be my guy. Plus, he's got a cool British accent! lol