43 Years Old. 4 Kids. Need to Improve Self Esteem

My decision to go down the smart lipo path started...

My decision to go down the smart lipo path started when a friend shared a link for cool sculpting on facebook. She swore by it. I looked into that, but there are no practitioners where I live, and it sounds like you need multiple treatments to make a difference. Too much travel. And it seems like it works best for people who are pretty close to the shape they want to be (I'm not).

One of the clinic websites I researched cool sculpting on also offers many other procedures. I had always thought that traditional lipo was too invasive, and was turned off by the downtime. Smart lipo sounded better with shorter recovery time, and I like the sound of the skin tightening side effect of the laser method.

I read good reviews of Dr James Chen, and his clinic is not too hard for me to get to. So after a go ahead from my husband, and a preliminary appointment with Dr Chen, I felt good about booking the procedure. My date is set for June 1. Just over two weeks from now. (!!!)

I will be staying alone in a hotel about 10 minutes drive from the clinic. I kind of wish I'd have someone with me, but I don't want anyone except my husband to know I'm doing this, and he needs to stay home with the kids. I think I'll be fine though. I've read a lot of reviews on this forum and I think I know what to expect. I expect to be very uncomfortable for those first few days, and honestly kind of like the idea of getting them over with in peace and solitude. Initially I didn't plan to do a review (I'm a bit of a private person) but since I'm not telling anyone about this, I feel like I will really appreciate some forum support through the whole experience!

I will fly home on day 4. It's only a short flight. And go back to work on day 6. I'm equally excited and nervous! Has anyone got good tips on how best to prepare myself for a quick and smooth recovery?

My procedure is tomorrow! Before photos.

I know how helpful others photos have been to me! So adding a couple of my before pics. Feeling excitement mixed with trepidation!

12 hour post op

It's the middle of the night and I'm awake because I went to bed super early not because of discomfort. What better time to write up my surgery experience?!

What a fascinating day! I arrived at the clinic at 7.30am. Filled out paper work and then the nurse gave me Valium to make sure I was calm.
Dr Chen came in and did his lovely permanent marker artwork on my body. He's nice and I didn't feel uncomfortable. I asked him if this was the artistic fun part. He laughed and said it actually was :)
I relaxed for a short while on the bed there in the nurse's room before they took me through to the theatre.
After placing my cannula I was given the medication that put me under twilight anaesthesia.
Beyond that my recollections are pretty sketchy. I heard quite a lot of interaction between Dr Chen and his nurse, but really don't recall any of it. There were a few times when the treatment was uncomfortable, but if I made any noise or squirmed at all they asked me if I was ok. I was awake enough to respond and they would top up the pain relief, which took effect immediately.
After we were finished the Dr showed me 7 (!!!) bottles of fat that he took from my body. I could see that a bit of it was fluid (blood mixed with tumescent fluid?) but.... WOW! I am so impressed and can't wait to get a look at my results!
I'm staying in a place with no full length mirror, so can't really check it out yet. I did see my reflection in a window though, and am very happy with the silhouette!
My discomfort is quite manageable so far. I have taken 2 doses of Panadeine Forte, but the last one was 6 hours ago and I still feel ok. It's very much like others have said -- feels like I've done a massive workout.
The garment is pretty full on. I don't mind it though (so far). It makes me move stiffly but I'm sure I'll get used to that.
Honestly the ooze from the incisions is the main annoying thing. I was expecting it, and am only 12 hours out of surgery so it's way too early to expect it to stop, but it is very messy! I'm more conscious of it because I'm not at home making a mess of my own stuff! I'm staying with my sister in law and family, and don't want their kids to know, so pretty much have to stay in my room.
I have a follow up appointment tomorrow, so will likely have more to say after that.

4 days out

Well day 2 after surgery was my most uncomfortable. Today I'm feeling pretty good. I flew home today, and it's great to be back with my husband and kids!
I've decided that my garment doesn't fit me well enough. The tightness is fine, but I'm pretty short, so it's all bunchy and leaving lumps everywhere. At my follow up appointment with my Dr I asked if that would compromise my results and he said it would. He gave me the next size down to try, but that is just thinner, not shorter. So yesterday I went to a medical accessories place and got measured for a custom one, which should fit smoothly. Looking forward to receiving that in the post in a couple of days!

Back to work

So life goes on... and so I've been back to work for a couple of days now. I can't believe how much better I feel each day. The stiffness eases, and I don't have to brace myself for movement anymore.

I notice a lot of inner thigh/inner knee swelling now, especially when after a day of work when I've been either at a desk, or on my feet (not able to put my feet up). And those areas have a weird numb sensation too, which I'd read about, and I think is normal, but it's just so interesting to experience it yourself.

I still have heaps of micropore tape holding my abdomen/flanks taut. My Dr has asked me to leave that on till day 10 as he thinks it will help the skin to tighten. He took quite a lot of fat from those areas, and said he wasn't 100% happy with the tightening effect of the laser, so he wanted to keep extra compression on the area. I am reeeally looking forward to taking it off though! Only 4 more days.

I've found my cg too big - mainly too tall for me actually (I'm short), and so it sits all bunched up which is uncomfortable, and I'm worried about not getting smooth compression. I asked my Dr about this at my review appointment, and he agreed that it would compromise my result, although not in the first couple of weeks. He gave me the next size down, which is better, but still not smooth. So I've found a place that custom makes them to your own measurements. I've ordered one and hope that it arrives in the post in the next day or two. I think I will order a stage 2 garment from the same place... something without zippers, hooks and eyes etc. that will be more comfortable, and compress smoothly. I know that you can get spanx and things like that, but they are all too tall through the waist for me, and most of them don't go below knee, which I think I will still need.

Overall I am completely amazed! I cannot believe how big a difference there is already. I know it's still early days but am already so glad I did this!

Tomorrow I am booked in for my first session of lymphatic drainage/deep tissue massage. Very much looking forward to that.

After pics - one day after surgery

I have to keep the tape on till day 10. I'll post more pics once that is off.

Day 11

Finally was allowed to remove the tape strapping yesterday. I've taken updated comparison photos, and I think my recovery is going well. I'm really quite swollen today, which is to be expected at this stage, but I think the difference is amazing even so. Especially from front and back view.

4 weeks out

Feeling almost back to normal now. Just a little remaining tightness and numbness at the inner knee and flank areas.

Incisions fading nicely. Swelling very minimal - still get a bit at the knee area if I've been on my feet all day. I'm wearing my stage 2 garment most of the time, although I slept without it last night. My skin feels like it's properly attached to my body even without the garment now, so I think that's ok, especially if I'm laying down.

No regrets. Very glad I've done this. I still expect to see some improvement over the next few weeks/months as others have said you don't know the final results till around 6 months out. But even if there is no further improvement I'm so much better than I was, I'd be fine with that. My skin quality is better also - tighter and smoother.
Dr James Chen

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