Painful Due to General Anesthesia, but Worth It - Westport, CT
I had liposuction done on my hips, inner thighs,...
- 5 Feb 2010
I had liposuction done on my hips, inner thighs, outer/rear thighs (aka "banana rolls"), arms and knees. Even though I'd always been slender, I had certain areas that were problematic, especially "haunches" on my hips, fat bulges on my upper inner thighs, and chubby arms. At the age of 44, after working with a personal trainer for nearly two years, I was in the best shape of my life, but the problem areas were still there- and in fact they almost looked worse by comparison to the rest of my body. I decided to have surgery so I could take pride in my entire body and it would reflect all my hard work.
I got recommendations from my dermatologist and did a lot of online research as well. I wanted a surgeon who was board certified and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as well as The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and and the one I picked was also recognized in Castle Connolly. My final decision was made easy after going for consultations- the doctor I chose was the one who gave me a realistic picture of what I could expect, instead of just telling me what I wanted to hear. He was the only one who told me he wouldn't risk doing my lower abdomen because the fat was minimal and it was mostly loose skin, and the bulges I had at my arm/chest juncture was mostly muscle- he couldn't guarantee a good result with either area so his advice was to leave them alone. He also warned that there was only so much he could do for my arms, a lot of it would depend on how much the skin tightened up, and I needed to make sure to wear compression sleeves for a full 6 weeks.I say all of this because I do think choosing the right doctor, who will give you the right expectations, is the absolute #1 criteria for having successful surgery, whatever the procedure.
As for the surgery itself, it was MUCH more painful than I had been led to believe (this was the only disconnect between me and my doctor). Because I have GERD and needed to lay on my stomach for him to get the backs of my thighs, he felt general anesthesia in a hospital setting was safer than doing the procedure in his office under local. Since I was completely unconscious, he didn't use lidocaine in the tumescent fluid, and I woke up in EXCRUCIATING pain. I needed IV pain meds and 2 percocets just so I could get dressed and make it home, and had severe pain for several days afterward.
I was on percocet for 6 days- I tried to stop sooner because I hated the side effects (extreme itchiness, constipation and stomach upset) but it just hurt too much. I had a lot of swelling in my legs for the first several days and went to the bathroom constantly- I had stitches at my sites so no external drainage to speak of after the very first day. I developed extreme bruising all down my thighs, but that was completely gone after two weeks, aided by arnica gel, witch hazel, and a heating pad. That was almost a miracle because I tend to bruise easily and my bruises take a long time to heal. But this wasn't actually bruising from the treated areas, per se, it was the migration of blood and fluid downward.
I wore a lower compression garment for 3 weeks, and sleeves for 6 weeks. They had kept everything very small and tight, so I did "expand" a bit once I finally took them off, but nonetheless my results were fantastic. I went down at least one pants size, and even my stomach fat went down without having been treated. When I went for a follow up visit, the doctor found I'd lost even more weight than what took from the lipo (about 1800 cc) and I've kept it off since.
Despite the pain, it was absolutely worth it and I love my body now! No more unsightly bulges- those fat cells are GONE FOREVER. My arms are still slightly flabby but much better than they were- and I take comfort in knowing they are the best they could possibly be, without getting an arm lift and a horrible scar.
Dr. O'Connell is board certified, very skilled, and honest with what he can and can't do.