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Saddlebags Lipo - Toronto, ON

Hi everyone. This website has been such a...

Hi everyone. This website has been such a wonderful resource so I wanted to contribute! Everyone has a slightly different experience, and it can be informative and comforting to compare notes.

KEY STATS:
5'7"
125lbs
28yrs old
250cc's removed per side (outer thighs)

I wanted to get my saddlebags area done. I know that this is one of the most common areas for women, but I still wanted to really shop around for the right surgeon. I find that there is something very strange about "shopping" for a doctor. Aside from reading reviews and judging whether you "like" a doctor's personality, it can really seem impossible to know what their real strengths and weaknesses are.

CHOOSING A SURGEON:

I had consultations with four different doctors, and didn't concern myself with the consultation fees because in the end it was worth it. The doctors I visited were all very different. The ones that were very established and had the latest technologies (like smartlipo), quoted me more than double the price I ended up paying. I had a consultation with one surgeon who was NOT a board certified plastic surgeon, but had >30yrs experience and had done fellowships in plastic surgery. While I found this satisfying, he was evasive when answering my questions, preferring to give "sales" oriented answers. He ran a very high-volume clinic with all the latest and greatest (but possibly unproven) technologies. In the end, I chose a younger plastic surgeon that was very straight forward and comprehensive in his explanations, could clearly articulate my problem areas, was very down to earth about costs, and was specific about techniques I asked him about. I really appreciated his professionalism.

GENERAL ANESTHESIA OR TWILIGHT SEDATION?

I've seen youtube videos where people are getting lipoed while wide awake and talking. This definitely spooked me - I don't think I can handle the sights and sounds and needle pricks well, so at first I was certain I would need to be under a general. The cost for a general anesthesiologist was about another $1000, so I started asking more questions about twilight sedation. I'm so glad that I did! I was told that most people fall into a sleep, and if not, are in a very relaxed state and are unable to remember the experience afterwards (I believe this is called IV sedation). Well - I went with the twilight option, and within moments of being administered the sedative, I was OUT. I work up maybe 1.5 hrs later, and didn't feel any pain at all. I was a little groggy for the first hour after waking up (I drifted in and out of sleep for a bit), but after that I was ready to go, feeling like myself (albeit tender). It was like a general but better - no side effects!

TRADITIONAL LIPOSUCTION OR SMART LIPO?

After doing a lot of reading (on websites like this and others), I opted for regular tumescent liposuction. My surgeon said its been used for decades, and felt it was the most reliable option. I definitely noticed that there are a lot of postings of "lumpy" and uneven results on the smart lipo pages, and also lots and lots of bruising. My only guess is that it can be hard to tell how much fat was actually 'melted' by the laser, so perhaps it is harder for the doctor to identify if the result will be even or not. I'm no expert though - this was just my sense. Also, the claims that smart lipo recovery would be shorter and faster was irrelevant to me - given that I was having outer thighs done, and not more sensitive areas like inner thighs, my surgeon said I'd be feeling comfortable within days. This proved true - my pain was very minimal. More on this later. I am very happy I went the traditional liposuction route - I was more confident in the results and I didn't have to pay the smartlipo premium.

SURGERY DAY

My surgery day was very straight forward. I showed up at 7:00 am, filled out a consent form, dressed in a robe and fluffy slippers, got marked up, walked myself into the operating room, got my IV, and then was out. The only thing I wish I had done differently was be more vocal about what I wanted. When the surgeon came in to mark me up, there was no mirror (I was standing next to a hospital bed with a curtain around us, holding up my robe while he marked me). Not being able to see my rear I couldn't really engage the surgeon. I figured that saddlebags were pretty obvious, but still, I think it is important to communicate well at this point.

The surgeon casually mentioned that he'd take about 100cc's from each side, and that it was important not to take too much and make me look like a boy. I didn't know what this meant in volume terms, and said nothing about it. Then I went off to surgery.

I woke up in bed and reached down to my side. It felt numb to the touch, but nothing was alarming. A nurse came in to get me fitted into my compression garment. Once I felt ready, I got out of bed to dress. There was quite a bit of yellow and bloody fluid on the sheets under me, but that is to be expected. I had open incisions for maximal drainage. I had no problem dressing and walked out to a taxi that took me home. I spread an old blanket out on the bed and got tucked in for more rest.

I had minimal pain right from the start, and very little bruising. The first evening, once all the numbing chemicals were out of my system, I could feel tightness, and bruising, but nothing enough to justify taking anything stronger than Advil. I have a puppy so every few hours I had to bend down to pick him up and take him outside - I had no problems with that, and the walking probably helped.

Day 2 felt the same as the evening of Day 1. Tender, sore, but nothing too bad. Still took no pain meds.

The morning of Day 3 I removed my compression garment to take a shower. I should have eaten breakfast first because I did feel a bit faint, and I did not wash the garment because i was worried about being out of it for that long. I experienced some bleeding out of one incision, and the large band-aids on each side were quite saturated (but the surgeon told me not to remove them, so I didn't dare).

The next series of days I noticed marked reductions in swelling and pain. My surgery was on a Wednesday morning, and I was back to work no-problem on Monday morning.

WORRYING ABOUT RESULTS

However, on Day 5 I started to get really worried that maybe, the lack of pain and swelling were signs that my surgeon didn't take enough out. I'd look down at my saddlebag area and I looked exactly the same as I did before. I've seen other people posting noticeable results by this point. Also, I was concerned for three other reasons.

First, there seemed to be a lot of bulge to grab. Much more than 100cc's (I found out that volume wise, this is about 100ml, so I poured 100mls of water into a plastic bag to imagine what this might be). I was really disappointed because it didn't seem like much at all! Not enough to give me the results I wanted! I started to have anxiety that all this was not worth it at all.

The second reason I was worried was that the marks that the surgeon drew on me were two simple ovals around either saddlebag. He didn't draw smaller circles to identify where the main area of 'bulge' were (which for me was closer to my butt). I was convinced that if I was lying down for my surgery, the surgeon wouldn't have been able to tell where the main area I wanted reduced was!

Third, my mind started spinning about the surgeon's comment that he "doesn't want to take out too much and make me look like a boy." I really regretted not having a mirror during the mark-up so that we could look and see what kind of shape I was looking for. Maybe we have different ideas about how much weight is 'best' to carry in my hips. I was kicking myself for being so quiet on the day he marked me.

Out of worry, I posted a question on RealSelf to the doctors, asking if they felt my surgery was too conservative. I explained that the surgeon had taken only 100cc's and that my size on day 5 was the same as pre-surgery. Some suggested this was possible, but that I really needed to discuss with my doctor.

Day 7 rolled around (still no improvement), and on this day I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon. He said he could see quite a bit of swelling and felt there was no point in even taking pictures yet. Then, he told me that once he had me on the operating table, he found there was more fat in the area than he expected. He actually took out about 250cc's per side. he also said that he explained all of this to me in the recovery room, and while I do remember talking to him, I have no memory of what he said specifically. He said that usually people can't remember their conversations after coming out of the sedation, and I was a case in point. All that worrying about 100cc's for nothing!!!! Knowing how much he removed, relative to my size, made me confident that I'd see results in time. He recommended that I wait until 3 weeks to start judging. Also, in about 1 month I will go back for another follow-up.

Today, I am 11 days post-op, and I can say that I am seeing small changes every day. I have nearly NO PAIN at all. If I lie on my side, or if I press on the area, I can feel bruising, but that is all. My bruises are fading fast, and my incisions are totally closed.

I will post pictures at the 3-week mark so we can judge a preliminary before and after.

Thanks for reading :)
Kastle.

THE VERDICT IS IN...NO RESULTS!!!! So, I've...

THE VERDICT IS IN...NO RESULTS!!!!

So, I've hesitated with posting this message because I kept hoping that maybe there was still swelling or something. I decided tonight to face reality and take a photo to compare against my day 5 photo posted in December.

I am completely blown away by what my camera shows...I look EXACTLY the same!!!!

There is an explanation for this...The surgery really did occur: I did have incisions, I did have pain, so it's not as though 'nothing' happened on my surgery day to produce zero results. Rather, I think that my earlier fear actually did materialize...I think that the surgeon took the fat out of the sides of my legs (I can see this visually and this is where my pain was concentrated), but he did not take any fat out of the "epicentre" of my saddlebag area...ie, the area most prominently seen from a rear view. I can't even take a picture to show you the area he did remove fat, because from a side angle you don't notice it at all. I can tell when I look down at my sides only, which is pretty useless. Also, I really truly question whether the doctor took out as much fat as he said he did in my week-after follow-up.

I think the big message to take away from this is that you really need to communicate clearly with your PS about the exact result you are hoping to get. I used the words "saddlebags" and didn't point out exactly the main area that I wanted reduced. My advice - next time, take pictures that show the part of you that you'd like to see improved, so the doctor can very clearly see the angle you're speaking to.

I have an appointment on the 27th with my PS, and now that I've seen these photos I'm convinced that I'm going to do a revision. I'm disappointed that I didn't get it 'right the first time' and now have to fork out more $$$, but if I don't do it, I'm going to feel like I didn't fully follow through on this endeavour.

Hope this review helps others avoid my little communication problem!!!!

P.S. for those of you who might think that I've just gained back the weight, think again - my diet hasn't changed and I'm more active now...

Hello again, After seeing no results the first...

Hello again,

After seeing no results the first time around, I decided to go for a revision. My first surgery cost $3,000 and the revision cost me $700. The second time around is easy-peasy, because I knew what to expect and wasn't at all worried about the pain or the anesthesia. In fact, this time I think the doctor used a little less of the sedative because I bounced back really quickly. My surgery was at 8am, I was home by noon, and I was full of energy and feeling great. I was swollen of course, but in terms of pain all I could feel was the sensation of bruising. Believe it or not, I went to work the very next day!!!

Anyway, as my photos show, I can see a definite improvement this time. The surgeon removed 300cc's in total, and although I wish he took a little more (if you look at my left side, there is clearly more of a bulge there than on the right), I know that lipo is a 'blind' surgery - so it's hard to get things exact. The left side isn't perfectly even either, and while I could revise this, I'm not sure I want to spend more time and money at this point - I am satisfied, even though I don't feel like the results are ideal. I'll see how I feel in 6 months or so. For now I've come to terms with this being my butt for the summer :)
Name not provided

I'll wait a few more weeks to rate my results.

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