Abdomen Smart Lipo in Southern California - Temecula, CA

This is an ongoing review as I just had my...

This is an ongoing review as I just had my procedure yesterday.

About me...
I am 33 years old and have never had kids (but am planning to in the future). I am in decent shape, but could never loose the fat around my abdomen. I'm 5'9" and around 165 pounds, so I was in a pretty healthy weight range, and exercise regularly (mostly functional weight training/heaving lifting/spinning and interval training) about four to five times a week. Two weeks prior to surgery I started working out in the morning and evening. I did this because I thought it might help with recovery.

I am off work most of the summer, with some work days booked here and there. I'm lucky that I have the flexibility to have so much time off. I cleared my calendar for 6 days after surgery and my job is not very active on most days.

I have never had any type of surgery elective or otherwise since I was a kid (tonsillitis). Needless to say I was terrified about having surgery I didn't need and the potential horrible outcomes. I'm trying to be as comprehensive as possible in this review in hopes of helping anyone else that might be in the same boat as me. If anyone has more detailed questions please feel free to PM me.

Pre-op consultation and before...
I saw several doctors and chose my doctor based on his certification and experience doing the procedure. He does think kind of lipo up to several times a day. He was no nonsense (which I like) and wasn't trying to sell me on anything I didn't want to do. His office staff is awesome and made me feel at ease. They were willing to answer all my questions, which I'm sure they hear a million times.

During my consultation the doctor was realistic with me regarding outcomes, recovery time, etc. He mentioned that individuals closer to goal weight and who regularly exercise usually recover faster. I had pretty much already made me decision to have it done, it was just down to choosing a doctor. I scheduled my appointment for exactly 7 days later. The doctor had told me that my skin elasticity was good, which I had a feeling he would. I've lost about 30 pounds over the last two years and haven't experienced any sagging. The only place I can't loose is in the gut!

The office manager and nurse when over pre-op stuff and what I would need to do. I started taking the Arnica and vitamins the Monday before surgery.

Day of surgery...
I was pretty nervous, but OK the day of surgery. My best friend drove me and she was a great calming force. The office staff was again great and assured me this was routine for the doctor and as long as I followed all the directions I would be fine. The nurse gave me two Ativan about 30 minutes before the surgery. It definitely kicked in and made me very relaxed (like being pretty buzzed). The doctor came in, reassured me again and took the before pictures. I was then prepped for surgery, which consisted of the nurse inserting the IV. That's when I really started to get loopy and fall in and out of consciousness. I had 'twilight' anesthesia so I was supposed to fall asleep. I apparently am resistant to anesthesia so I woke up several times and was seeing funny things, like a dog on the ceiling:) I did feel some of the procedures, but it wasn't really painful and as soon as I said anything the doctor inserted more anesthesia liquid to help. It felt like the whole thing only took 15 minutes, but I was actually in surgery for about an hour. I'm told I slept about an hour after the procedure and then the staff had let my friend know I was done. They wheeled me to the back door and I was on my way home. I got home and was starving (I hadn't eaten for over 24 hours). I was able to fix myself something (with supervision from my friend) - I wanted to see what I could do on my own.

As for pain - I wasn't in any pain immediately following surgery. My friend encouraged me to take a pain pill when I got home so I wouldn't be in pain once the pain killers from the doctor wore off. I was awake long enough to eat and babble some silly stuff to my friend, but then went out for about 3 hours. I had put an ice pack across my abdomen and between my legs. I got up and moved around a bit. No really pain, just some tightness. I took another pain pill at the four hour mark, just to make sure. I was knocked out again for about 3 hours. Changed my ice packs and iced the same areas. The first time I went to the bathroom I noticed how swollen my labia is/was. I know this is a normal thing to happen, but I was a little surprised.

I was given a compression garment that goes about halfway down my thigh. They told me that most people have multiple areas done so that's what they usually give people. I am looking for one that is a body suit only. I was also given compression stockings to prevent against blood clots/stroke. The doctor told me to wear the compression garment for two weeks and the stockings for one week. I was told to leave the compression garment on for two days before I take it off for a shower. I couldn't handle not taking a shower so I took one with the compression garment on - basically a sponge bath, but I thought the shower would be easier.

Took a pain pill around 1:30 in the morning, more for prevention than actually being in pain, and went to bed. I took three pain pills over the course of the first day and was never in any real pain. Slept like a baby and had no problem sleeping, even with all the garments.

The doctor did four incisions - two in my pubic area, belly button and one on my upper left side under my breast.

Day after surgery...
Woke up at my regular time and only felt a little tightness, no pain. I was able to get out of bed no problem, and have actually felt more sore after a really hard work out. I was able to do laundry, cook breakfast and all of the other things I would do in the morning. I took a pain pill and all my other meds, and am far less tired today than I was yesterday. It's over two hours since my pain pill and I'm not loopy or tired. I have been icing most of the mooring and the swelling in my labia has gone down a bit. That's the only place I can really see. When I touch my belly I can tell it's a bit swollen/numb. When I weighed myself this morning, I am just a few pounds heavier than I was yesterday. I am wearing normal clothes and don't feel that I'm really that swollen. The doctor and staff had told me that I wasn't having that much taken out and that my swelling and recovery should be good.

I'm going to wait until the pain meds wear off and go run some errands. I am planning on taking a long walk (it's four miles around my block) later on this afternoon. Walking doesn't hurt and the moving around is actually helpful.

I will continue to post pictures and talk about my recovery, but so far so good. I was pretty terrified reading some of the reviews on here, but I must say my recovery has been relatively painless.

Day 3 update... I woke up this morning with a...

Day 3 update...

I woke up this morning with a bit more discomfort/feeling than I'd had the day before, but once I was out of bed and moving around I felt fine. My stomach was tingling a bit, which I believe means I'm starting to heal and that's the nerves healing. I took a four mile walk and did not feel any discomfort or pain. I was able to take a shower today and was pretty amazed by how well I'm already starting to heal. I have some bruising and I'm still numb and swollen, but overall I'm happy with the results. The majority of my swelling is in my labia, which was not something I had expected. It's not really painful, just an odd feeling. I did not have any dizziness or nausea when I removed the compression garment or during my shower.

One more thing...I am also thankful that my...

One more thing...I am also thankful that my doctor/nurse removed the black sharpie marks before sending me home. I also did not have any drainage, etc. when I removed the compression garment for the first time, but I could see in the padding that the nurse put inside the compression garment that there had been a bit over the first two days.

Day 4... Feeling better every day. The pain is...

Day 4...
Feeling better every day. The pain is pretty much gone, and now all I have is a feeling of tightness which is a bit uncomfortable. I have been wearing the compression garment 24/7 except for taking a shower. I left it off today for about 15 minutes after I got out of the shower and tried on a few bathing suits. They were 'wish list' bathing suits that I wish I would have taken pictures in before:) Taking the compression garment off feels odd for the first 5 or 10 minutes, but then after I had showered and moved around a bit without it on I felt pretty good. The numbness and overall tightness is still there, but I think I'll be ready to go without it in a few weeks. I should note that the little bump on my left side was there before I had the lipo and I didn't expect it to go away afterwards as the doctor told me that I would maintain the general shape I had before.

One week... It has been one week since my...

One week...
It has been one week since my procedure and I'm feeling better and the swelling/bruising is continuing to improve. I am back to light workouts and have been walking a lot (4 to 7 miles) with minimal discomfort. I am regaining feeling in my stomach and am not uncomfortable when I take off the compression garment, but I'm still wearing it all the time except for showers. As I regain feeling in my stomach it does make me think that I'm gaining weight in my stomach or bloating, but I know that's in my head:) I haven't really seen much visible improvement since the procedure, but I was really surprised at how quickly I saw results immediately following the surgery. I'm still happy with the results and my overall recovery.

Two weeks... I am about two and a half weeks out...

Two weeks...
I am about two and a half weeks out and am healing very well. Eleven days after surgery I was able to jog lightly and otherwise workout (including lifting weights) at almost 100%. I stopped wearing the compression garments, except for when working out (and then it's spanx), at day 19. For the most part I am comfortable without a garment, there is just some mild tenderness which goes away after a while. The most discomfort is when I first stand up after sitting for a while. On days 15 and 18, I had to work all day, which had me on my feet, in heels, for about 7 hours. By the end of the day I was mildly sore, but it was on the same level as having menstrual cramps. Every once in a while I get a somewhat sharp pain around my belly button that feels like something is tearing, but it goes away very quickly and has only happened several times.

On day 20 I lightly pulled on my dissolving stitches and they came out very easily. My incision wounds are barely noticeable and I started putting scar hard on them today - I do not anticipate any real scarring. I had a small mole removed on my stomach about 15 years ago and that scar is already more noticeable than the lipo incision on my stomach.

Around day 10, I began to notice that my stomach was harder and I can feel some lumps. I have been massaging them at least twice a day and I am already noticing that they are less noticeable. There are barely visible - I've included some recent pictures. I am having my first massage tomorrow and the masseuse is familiar with post lipo massages. Even without the massage, I think that the self massages I've been doing have been effective and I'm not worried about the bumps. I am confident this is just part of the normal healing process. I do notice that there is still slightly more swelling on the side that had the second incision (I had two incisions in my pubic area and one on the left side of my stomach). I am assuming that this is due to the increased surgical insults on my left side. It is barely visible, and I figure this will also go away as the swelling continues to decrease.

I am still very pleased with the surgery and the results. I was sooooo nervous and worried about potentially negative outcomes that I kind of feel silly for being so worried. I have never had elective surgery before, so I'm only basing my review on a very limited amount of experience, but from reading many of the reviews on this site I think that doctor has to have a pretty significant impact on outcomes and recovery. I couldn't be happier with Dr. O'Neil. I also don't think the pictures do the positive results of the surgery justice.

I also forgot to mention an unexpected (at least...

I also forgot to mention an unexpected (at least for me) side effect. I was on my period when I had the surgery and have continued to spot throughout the month. It is minor, but after doing some reading online it seems that this was probably due to the surgery (spotting is not common for me).

4 months later... I have a little more than 4...

4 months later...

I have a little more than 4 months post op and could not be happier with my results. To me, the results look natural (e.g., I still have a bit of a curve to my stomach) and any bumps that were present before are completely gone. I went on vacation about one month after surgery and spent most of my time in a bathing suit and in the pool or ocean. I was gone for about two weeks and during that time, I pretty much finished healing. After the month mark, I didn't have any swelling, bumps, pain, or any other signs of surgery. I have one very small scar on my abdomen, but it is hardly noticeable. The two scars in my groin area are nearly invisible and can only be seen when I am naked.

I did three endo massages and another regular massage about 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery. I was also massaging several times a day. I'm not sure if this did anything to help speed recovery, but it helped smooth some of the bumps out at the time. I wore spanx off and on in the two weeks after surgery and the month mark. I wore the compression garment pretty religiously for the first two weeks, especially a night.

I would definitely do this again, and am sorry I didn't do it sooner.

One more thing...after about a month my results...

One more thing...after about a month my results pretty much leveled off (I just forgot to post pictures).

A little over 8 months post op... Not much new...

A little over 8 months post op...

Not much new to report, except that my results have continued to maintain. One of the things that I was worried about was that either the results would not maintain, or that I would gain weight in a weird way. When I look at older pictures, the results really did only get better. The skin tightened up a bit more and I have more definition in my abdomen area than I did a month or so after surgery. I have had no pain, discomfort or any other unpleasant results from the surgery. My only regret - I didn't do this sooner.
Kelly O'Neil

I did a google search for doctors in the area and then interviewed several. After hearing how often Dr. O'Neil performs the surgery and talking with his staff I felt confident. I also made sure that no formal complaints had been filed against him.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (12)

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Thank you so much for post your story! You look amazing! I have my surgery with Dr. O'neil on Wednesday and I so excited! I'm glad to hear how much you liked him and see the job he did. :-).
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Good luck with your surgery.
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He did a horrible. Job on me . I hate the day i ever went into that office. The worse birthday gift i ever gotten.
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your results are amazing. thank you for posting!
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Hi! I scheduled my Smartlipo with this same Dr., after seeing your results. Im two weeks in today, gotta tell you, i'm loving the outcome! Thanks for sharing your experience with him. If you hadn't have posted, I might never had known him to exist.
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Hi - I'm glad the review was helpful. I know I was very nervous and this site in general was very helpful. I hope you continue to heal well.
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Hi La,Wow, nice work on your ten mile run! I have also had a few of those longer runs that are so hard and suck the life out of me:)Great prtucies and I love the boots:) Looking good LA! Take care!

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My doctor had recommended two weeks for me, so as soon as that time came I was done with it:) I thought that I might want to wear it longer, but after having it off for a few days and noticing that I was becoming more comfortable with it off I am not going to go back to wearing it. I had moved to wearing a spanx like garment, but even that had started to get old...mostly because it's so hot! I was concerned that swelling, or other undesirable side effect, might pop up if I stopped wearing it, but so far I'm not seeing anything.

I am basically doing my own version of a light deep tissue massage. I do it lying down and find any bumps/lumps and rub it with as much pressure as possible. I also massage the harder areas in my lower abdomen. I do it for about 5 minutes. I really couldn't handle the pressure or touch until after two weeks. Now it actually feels good.
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I'm actually still wearing my garment, my doctor recommended wearing it for a minimum of three weeks, which is up this Thursday (tomorrow). I wear it while I'm working out too, but I don't think it's as massive a garment as some people wear. It's kind of like a baby-bump-wrap thing, not a hinging corset type thing. They told me it's best to wear it as much as possible through the Vela, so unless I'm swimming (or seeing my boyfriend), I'm just going to keep wearing it through four, maybe five weeks, and even then I may sleep in it through six weeks. I don't mind it, really, it stops me from overeating and makes me look even thinner ;)
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By the way, how are you doing your self massage?
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Hi! Glad to know there is someone in the same place as me:) I am looking forward to my massage today - I know that the masseuse told me the name of the treatment, but I can't remember what it was called. I went back and forth with the VelaSmooth, but in the end didn't think it was worth the money (it wasn't included in my procedure). I am also going to try endermologie. My lumps were actually the worst they'd been this weekend, but with the morning and afternoon self-massages I've noticed a real reduction. I have now been without the compression garments for nearly 48 hours, except for when I'm working out. The longer it is off the more comfortable I feel without it. How long did you wear your garment?
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Hi there! It's good you had such a positive experience! I had my procedure the same day you did, and seem to be in about the same boat. I've just started VelaSmooth to help with the lumps (my doctor includes six treatments with the procedure), and saw them helping immediately. Your results look great from here, even if you don't think the pics do them justice!
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