Vaser Of: Upper Arms, Abs, Flanks, Hips, and Sacral (Lower Back) - Bellevue, WA

I am a 32 year old female runner (~20 miles a...

I am a 32 year old female runner (~20 miles a week) with no kids, 5'4" tall, 140lbs pre-op

Depending on the amount of areas treated, Vaser Lipo will result in significant down-time. Immediately following surgery, I was able to walk around, but at granny speed.

Now at 3 weeks post-op, I'm still considerably swollen, numb, and very tight in many areas but I continue to diligently massage myself twice a day which helps smooth things out. I've been visiting my doctor on a weekly basis and am assured that my recovery is on track. In total, 3500cc's were removed (~5lbs) from my upper arms, flanks, abs, hips, and lower back. I know it's still early too soon to tell what my final results will be, but I'm very pleased with the progress so far. Prior to the procedure, my waist size was always around 29" and no amount of exercising or mileage logged was able to get me any smaller. Day after the surgery (post-op Day 1), my waist was at 27"!! I tell myself to be patient everyday and I press on with my massages. Here are some things that I've learned so far that I wasn't aware of prior to surgery or that others have not mentioned on this site:

Drainage/Oozing: I had "open" incisions (2 on my frontal bikini area, 1 right at my butt crack, and 1 on each elbow). I expected drainage to clear up within a few days, however, at Day 21, I AM STILL OOZING from 2 incisions while the others have closed up, healing, and are barely noticeable. The incision on my butt crack weeps regularly and my right elbow is still oozing a few drops of serous fluid a day. The drainage is straw-colored with the occasional pink tinge and is perfectly normal per my surgeon even this late post-op, but it's a major hassle to keep them properly covered and clean. For the first 2 weeks, I wore an incontinence panty (Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear) non-stop to catch all of the oozing and I've just recently been able to transition into a standard Always maxi pad placed further back on my panty. The incisions are healing, but at a snail's pace and I suppose "better out than in" in terms of drainage fluid. My lower back and arms have had pretty minimal swelling and I suspect it's because there's been so much drainage coming from them. I recommend buying a whole bunch of Nexcare Tegaderm strips, non-sticking gauge, and Aquaphor. I think I've gone through almost 12 boxes of the Tegaderm strips trying to keep up with the drainage.

Swelling: The tightness and swelling on the abs and flanks is INSANE. I can see why people on this site are freaking out about the swelling because it's feels so uncomfortable and it severely limits range of motion. It feels the worst when you've been in a sitting position for some time and then go to stand up. It's as if your stomach muscles are straining and resisting the tension being put on them to stretch, even just a little. It does get better though. I just wish the rate at which this improves would go faster. The only thing that makes this area feel better (more flexible) is with lots of massaging. organic coconut oil has been my go-to massage oil. It works wonders for post-op dryness caused by the compression garments and helps protect the skin.

Compression Garments/Epifoam: I bought 2 (1 nude, 1 black) so I always had a clean one to change into. For 2.5 weeks, I wore a compression vest for my upper arms. I'm still wearing a girdle that comes up right below my breasts and goes down to my thighs, which zips up on either side. I was also fitted with a square epifoam pad for my upper/lower abs, and 2 triangular shaped epifoam pads stacked underneath the compression garment on my lower back. At 3 weeks post-op, I'm still wearing 1 of the epifoam pads on my back and the girdle 24/7 at my surgeon's instructions. I count every. single. day I have to wear this because it's extremely claustrophobic and I can't stand it. I know it's important for skin retraction and swelling to wear them, but I just wasn't prepared for the amount of crankiness and frustration I've felt wearing them. If I eat a "full" or normal sized meal, I feel like I'm going to pop out at the seams so I've opted for mini-meals and "liquid" meals throughout the day.

Post-Op Day 23

Slowly but surely "softening" up. Still draining from one elbow incision and the incision at my butt crack. Those two incisions are so persistent! Haven't yet returned to fully working out but able to do leg lifts and bicep curls during my free time in front of the tv.

1 Month Post-Op

The last two incisions finally closed up and are healing nicely. The incisions really just look like small paper cuts that'll probably fade away in a couple months. The downside to the incisions closing up (especially the one on my butt) is that the swelling increases. The inflammation fluid that I was normally able to push out through the holes isn't coming out and even though the body learns to re-absorb the fluid eventually, it feels like recovery is a bit stalled as a result.
As of Monday (25 days post-op), my doctor gave me the green light to be out of the compression garment completely. HOORAY!!! I was expecting him to have me wear my girdle for another few weeks at 1/2 time like I've read online so when I was told I didn't need them at all, that's been the highlight of my week, maybe even month. Surprisingly, the swelling hasn't been that bad without it too. Nonetheless, I did buy myself a Maidenform Flexees tank that I wear at night to bed just because I like the more secure feeling in them.
I still massage myself twice daily and I bought myself a new 3mhz ultrasound massager on eBay (Bracemart makes good ones) that I use twice a week that seems to help with the scar tissue lumps.
I've also been taking Ibuprofen for the last week (OK'd by my doc beforehand) which is a godsend for swelling and inflammation. I take 4 Advil three times a day (no more than 2400 mg daily). Tylenol just doesn't work the way Advil does on me.
I still haven't gone out for a run yet... I guess I'm still working up the nerves (both mentally and physically) to do that. This weekend, I've booked myself a Swedish massage at my favorite spa (also OK'd by my doctor). My body has recovered enough to the point where I can tolerate a good amount of pressure and I'm looking forward to having someone else massage me for a change.
Just a tip for those of you thinking about Vaser lipo: Do this procedure in the winter time!! You look like a marshmallow for a good month and wearing those constricting compression garments in the middle of summer will drive you absolutely crazy.
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 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
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