Fat Transfer for Asian by Dr.Bednar - Charlotte, NC

This is my first review -- hoping it will post...

This is my first review -- hoping it will post correctly.

I had my liposuction and fat transfer to breasts procedure done by Dr. Bednar in Charlotte, NC on 11/18/16. I am East Asian, 5'0'', 120 lbs. My body frame is athletic, muscular (Sylvia & others noted my gymnastics-like upper body and ''swimmer shoulders''). Also to note, I had recent weight gain -- I was 100 lbs in 2015 and 130 lbs at the beginning of 2016. This weight gain was due to medicine I had to take temporarily as well as less physical activity in the year of 2015-2016. I have lost about 5-10 lbs since, and even at 120 lbs, the fat has settled on my body very differently from before and none of my old clothes fit, even the larger, looser clothes I had.

Previously I was an endurance athlete and dancer w strongly defined leg muscles & shoulders...but fat always masked my strong upper arm muscles and abdominal muscles. So my primary focus of this surgery was for liposuction/body contouring and the secondary focus of this surgery was for my breasts. I wasn't really unhappy w the size of my breasts prior to surgery but my globular stomach and fatty upper arms always made my breasts look smaller than they are, so this fat transfer procedure seemed to be the perfect match.

My body proportions (Sorry, didn't get the measuring tape out prior):
- 32A (full)/32B. After weight gain 34A (full).
- Pant size: 0. 0,1, or 3 after weight gain.
- Height: 5'0''. Weight 120 lbs.
- Ethnicity: East Asian

*** Will followup w more posts and pics after this I make sure this post worked properly.

Pre-op photos

Here are pre-op photos. (Part 1)

These are most recent pics (after my weight gain). I forgot to take pics of me posing specifically for a "before-after" shot, but you can get an idea from these! =)

Pre-op photos (part 2 - before the weight gain)

Here are pre-op photos. (Part 2)

These are photos of what my typical body has been for the past 16 years prior to early 2016. (I wore the same clothes & same boobage since age 8. I hit puberty early.)

Wish pic for upper arms

These 2 images are not of me, but are wish pics. My upper arms look(ed) exactly like this girl's 'before' pic.

Post-op photos (Night of surgery)

These were taken ~7 hours after surgery. I will follow up with more details on how the surgery & recovery went after these images.

I'm very swollen & puffy. ACE bandage was tight and bit difficult to breathe, but loosened it a bit and was fine.

Decision-making for Fat Transfer w Dr. Bednar

After months of thorough research, including consults with doctors in East Asia and South America (both of which would have been over half the cost), I decided on Dr. Bednar because:

a. His vicinity to where I'm living so that I could drive and take breaks along the way. Staying elevated to avoid swelling is important post-op, and I prefer not to deal w the stress of lugging around luggage w taking a flight. (Remember lifting/carrying utilizes your pectoral muscles, and you want to avoid that as much as possible after your procedure.)
b. He was the only doctor who specifically spoke to me about the procedure relating to Asian body types/retention/skin. I did not want a doctor who lumped all ethnic groups as the same regarding surgery. It's not a matter of being politically correct or not, there *are* marked differences in ethnic races such as skin elasticity and being prone or not prone to certain issues, etc.
c. His office has had so many reviews posted on realself that I felt confident in that many of his other patients are well-informed of the procedure and very conscious of their decision to choose Dr. Bednar. There are also numerous accounts of realselfers who have had pleasant experiences w Dr. Bednar's staff including his wife/scheduling coordinator Sylvia.

Details of Several Weeks of Preparing for Surgery!

(Btw, sorry I didn't post more on realself before my surgery!! I was so busy pre-op, but pretty much this week post-op is serving as a ''vacation" so I can catch up on all this realself blogging as well as reading books, etc. It feels good to just...chill out, be lazy, and take it super easy, cuz you know, that is basically what I'm supposed to be doing for recovery! =P)

At least a month out from my procedure w Dr. Bednar, the office sent me a pre-op care package:
a. Folder incl directions, information about the procedure, supplements & meds to avoid 2-3 weeks prior to surgery, and prescriptions that you will fill when you arrive in Charlotte, NC.
b. Vitamin packets w a specific pre-surgery formula - 14-day supply
c. Natural supplement capsules of Arnica & Bromelain to help w swelling, bruising, and healing.
d. Arnica bruising cream
e. Scar cream
f. Comfy, soft Hanes bras (no wire) to wear after the procedure

So I'll do a chronology to make things easier to read:

 3 WEEKS PRIOR :
    - Stopped drinking alcohol completely, that included kombucha. 
    - Stopped my Fish Oil & Vegan Multivitamin supplements
    - Did not stop taking my daily antihistamine for allergies

 2 WEEKS PRIOR :
    - Started taking the pre-surgery formula vitamin packets (1x/day; provided by Dr. Bednar's office)
    - Started taking 3mg (1.5mg chlorella & 1.5mg spirulina) powder 1x/day.  This was *not* provided or specifically recommended by Dr. Bednar's office.  I generally take green powder supplements for natural health, and I chose these two because of their benefit for Vitamin K supplementation (Vitamin K promotes blood clotting or coagulation). 
    - Submitted a CBC Blood test w Differential done by Labcorp for $29.  Dr. Bednar's office needs this to verify that your Hemoglobin levels are adequate.

1 DAY PRIOR :
    - Started taking Arnika Forte pill (Arnica/Bromelain/Grapefruit Seed extract/Vit C, etc) (2x daily, provided by Dr. Bednar's office)
    - For a late dinner, I ate a Five Guys burger patty (for the recommended protein to help w recovery!), topped w all the veggies, fries. Yum!

Day of surgery (11/18):
    - It is absolutely imperative NOT to drink or eat ANYTHING before midnight of your surgery. Why? Because if there is anything in your stomach while you are under anesthesia, there is a chance it can be vomited back up your esophagus, then go into your lungs & choke/suffocate you to death. Don't even take a sip of water after the time that the office tells you not to.  

I ARRIVED AT 1030am :
Sou had me change into a gown; anti-embolism socks; grippy-soled socks; and hair shower cap.  Urine sample taken to make sure you are NOT PREGNANT & that you DO NOT have nicotine in your system (If you're a smoker, you should have quit smoking at least 3 weeks prior to the surgery).   I was also given: Prilosec (to avoid acid-reflux of any possible foods remaining in my stomach from last night's meal), Norco (yuck made me so nauseous), and Phenergan (since I don't respond to Zofran).

Then, Kendall, RN, got me connected to an IV of LR Solution to make sure I am hydrated w fluids throughout the procedure.  

Then, Joel, anesthetist, explained everything I was going to be getting in me during the procedure which included -- Versed (Midazolam), Fentanyl, Lidocaine, Propofol, and might have been one more thing.

Then, Dr. Bednar, artist/surgeon, came into mark my lipo/fat transfer sites.

Then, I was escorted to the operation table, and after breathing in a few puffs of the oxygen mask they put over my face, I was out.  My procedure took 4.5 hours (liposuction of upper arms; liposuction of flanks, thighs, abdomen; fat transfer to breasts).  I did not awake at all at the office for the 1.5 hours after I was out of surgery.  My friend had to wheelchair me to the car, then carry me back to my Airbnb condo.  All I recall was being in and out of consciousness after the surgery, with extremely severe nausea.  I was SOOOO uncomfortable from the nausea & dizziness that I didn't notice any pain from the procedure  

About 7 hours after the surgery, I was able to walk around & talk in full sentences.  Soon afterwards though, I fell asleep again (in an elevated position - several pillows behind my back as well as pillows elevating my legs).  I think all the IV fluids hydrated me so much that it caused me to wake up EVERY HOUR throughout the night to go pee!!!

Okay, I'll update you more soon!! Muah to you lovely ladies & night night!

Update: Day of, Day 1 Post-Op, Day 2 Post-Op

For the day/night of surgery, I was completely out of it & every slight movement made me feel like I would vomit my insides and a bit like vertigo. Couldn't hold anything down other than a few sips of water.  Around 9pm, my friend juiced cucumber, ginger, celery, apple in my centrifugal juicer but I immediately vomited it up after drinking half a cup.  I started going to the bathroom often & then got my friend to take pics of me (I posted them in a previous post above already w captions included).  Slept on the couch w tons of pillows, but kept waking up throughout the night to pee.  Had a BM just fine after surgery -- surprisingly no constipation & haven't had to take any constipation meds at all! But I will say, it's, umm, a tad awkward to have a BM while wearing your compression garment as the crotchless area is just barely above your butt crack.  Some women may prefer to take off the garment while doing their doo-doo, but make sure you have someone there w you to help you put it back on (it'll be extremely tough!).

-- DAY 1 POST-OP (Sat 11/19) --
Didn't do much all day, was nauseous until mid-day. My friend said I looked even more swollen & puffy than yesterday.  I eventually had enough energy to make my own juice of:
  Apples, cucumber, celery, carrot.

In the evening, my friend & I walked around Epicentre.  The 2 flights of stairs that I climbed caused me to have a hard time breathing and got me light-headed.  I was able to run up 12 flights of stairs a month ago just fine, but these measly 2 flights took the wind out of me!  So I've been making sure to take the elevators and walk slowly...I feel like I'm 80 years old  -__-;;

 Anyways, my friend & I ate French Fries from Five Guys then met up w another RealSelfer (who had her fat transfer procedure the day before mine!).  She had already been shopping the day before & was looking pretty glamorous...even made the "full-body girdle" aka compression garment look sexy in her outfit of sweater tunic & boots, lolz! =P  I was wearing big, baggy sweatpants and black jacket -- I looked like the Michelin man in black!  We're both East Asian & in our 20s, so it was surprising how differently our recovery has been going!

Dr.Bednar's office stated that I can take off the bandage wrap around my boobs 24hrs after surgery, so it was a relief to take them off today.  The dressings underneath the wrap looked yucky, but they were dry & there was no smell or anything!  I'm attaching some shots of my Day 1 Post-Op, including me still wrapped w bandage & then right after taking off the bandage wrap and putting on the comfy Hanes bra provided by Dr. Bednar's office (they gave me a black one & a white/black striped one...totally my colors!).

Meds today: Antibiotic (2x Day). Arnika Forte (2x Day). Promethazine (for nausea).  Note: I did not fill the prescription for the Medprol Steroids (to reduce swelling) or Norco (aka Vicodin or Hydrocodone), and I am not taking any painkillers (including Tylenol).  I am not a fan of pharmaceuticals or anything chemically processed, so I am taking the least meds necessary and focusing on my usual nature-based diet.

--- DAY 2 POST-OP (Sun 11/20) --
I forgot to take pics today, but swelling is down a bit.  Back of thighs still hurt when sitting on toilet or on couch. Boobs are very sensitive and hurt if I do any movement across my chest (ie bending over to pick something up on the ground.  It's better when I just squat down and keep my chest up and back straight...just like the proper position you'd have when you are doing a squat press at the gym.)

During the day, I juiced: Apple, Carrots, Beets, Celery, Garlic (---> anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidative, anti-thrombotic properties)
  (An overview of garlic's properties: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/)
  (Raw garlic has more anti-inflammatory properties than cooked: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23583806)

Snacks: Fresh fruit (pear & banana)

During evening, I cooked White Basmati Rice with lots of chopped garlic & onion & mushrooms in Spanish olive oil, along with a good dousing of paprika. Mmmm!

Then took Promethazine & Diazepam "Valium" (half-dose) around 11pm to get some deep sleep.

Update: Day 3 Post-Op

--- DAY 3 POST-OP (Mon 11/21) --

Woke up feeling tired and not too well-rested.  I think I'll avoid the Diazepam "Valium" tonight, even if it was only half-dose last night.

1100am Went in for my post-op follow up appointment w Dr. Bednar. It was a very quick appointment - he briefly looked over my breasts & noted that I had very little bruising or drainage & that things looked good.  He said he put in 500cc in each breast with the expectation that ~300-350 will remain after the rest gets absorbed. 

After the appt, despite not taking meds besides my antibiotic & arnika forte, I was still pretty drowsy for several hours & took a nap during the day.  Walking around is fine, even doing squat exercises, but I still have to sit down slowly & gingerly (ie sitting down on the toilet or car seat or couch). Boobs are still very sensitive & wearing the seat belt caused discomfort/slight pain so I had to move the shoulder strap behind me.  I accidentally smacked myself in the boob today while re-positioning my arm compression garments & that was a big ouchie.  My thighs, flanks, arms, and boobs are all itchy now, which is a sign of healing so yay!  Swelling is also noticeably less from the first & second days. 

I haven't really had any shock or overwhelming feeling about my breasts at all so far.  They don't seem much bigger to me, just a bit fuller; I'm looking forward to them settling and fluffing up in the following weeks/months. Patience!! =)

What I nourished my body with today:

Spirulina & Chlorella (1.5mg/1.5mg daily)
Juiced: apples, beets, celery, ginger, garlic.
Juiced: apples, carrots, ginger, garlic.
Pear. Kiwis.
White basmati rice + Veggie medley stir-fried in olive oil + avocado.

I'm attaching my Day 3 Post-Op photos to this post.

Update: Day 4 Post-Op (11/22)

--- Update: Day 4 Post-Op (11/22) ---

*Just a note - I previously mistakenly wrote 1.5mg/1.5mg of the spirulina/chlorella. It's actually 1.5g/1.5g (or 0.5 teaspoon). 

So, this evening (Day 4) was my first shower since the procedure. As instructed, I showered w the compression garment on and after I washed all the exposed parts of my body, I unzipped & unhooked out of the garment while in the shower and washed my abdomen/flanks/thighs. I also showered in cool water...the cold was unpleasant initially, but my body/swelling actually felt much better with cool water than warm/tepid.  After I got out, I got some quick shots of me before I put the 2nd garment on (there are still some water droplets on me in the pics).  I was able to put on the 2nd compression garment on by myself no problems, so it wasn't as difficult as expected.  The upper arm compression garment is impossible (the velcro straps across the top of your back) to get on properly by myself though. Just to note, I am a size S in the full-body girdle compression garment & a size S for my upper arm compression garment as well.

I drove 3.5 hours today before my shower btw, and my thighs & lower back are still very sore and I am slow to move in and out of the car. 

SWELLING / BRUISING
I haven't paid much attention to bruising since I've been just keeping on my compression garment all day/night long as much as possible. I was surprised to see the bruising in the back of my thighs after my shower, but that seems to be normal along w the several other gals' recoveries.  I very gently rubbed some homeopathic arnica cream (provided by Dr. Bednar's office) on my breasts & thighs & flanks & arms (making sure to avoid the incision sites).  I haven't noticed it make a difference but it's nice to have something to rub into my skin. 

I don't see any difference w my stomach or upper arm fat/shape, but I know I'll be waiting several months to see the end result.  I feel like the compression garment is also flattening out my butt, but I look forward to getting that plumped up again w running & weight training after I recover as well.  The upper arm compression garment is causing chafing & raw skin of my arm pits. Trying to avoid moving my arms as much as possible!

My left nipple popped out but not my right one yet. Both nipples are very sensitive. 

DIET
Still been keeping to juicing during the day w different veggies (apples, celery, beets, carrot + garlic + ginger) and eating fresh fruit (kiwis). For dinner, I ate beef w grilled veggies & potatoes. 

Having to wear the compression garment ("full body girdle") is also a great way to taper your diet down to healthy foods & avoid overeating/sugar because of how tight & uncomfortable it's be if you bloated up!

PHOTOS
I am attaching my Day 4 Post-Op photos (7) to this post.

Update: Day 5 Post-Op (11/23)

---- DAY 5 POST-OP (WED 11/23) ---

Last night, I slept in a motel & despite having lots of pillows, I was so uncomfortable I could barely sleep even tho I ended up taking 50mg of Diphenhydramine HCl to help sleep. I also kept waking myself up thru-out the night scratching myself -- my boobs, abdomen, arms, thighs were soooo itchy, as if a hoard of mosquitos had been feasting on me. =/

I drove ~6 hours today; it was an easy drive. I helped a friend w taking in groceries to the house in the evening, and I got nearly out of breath & really tired. Whoa.

The incisions in my butt crease are very irritating on both sides & scratching my skin. These dissolvable stitches remind me of when I got sea urchin spines stuck in me. I wonder if I can pull out or cut them for less irritation soon. I found this thread on RealSelf that has multitudes of doctors' responses on the question: https://www.realself.com/question/long-leave-dissolvable-stitch
...but if anyone has experience removing it themselves, let me know!

Update: Day 6 Post-Op (11/24)

---- DAY 6 POST-OP (THURS 11/24) ---
I took a Valium last night & was out for 10-11 hours.  I was slow-moving & eyelids were heavy all day long.

SWELLING / SORENESS
Still very sore when taking a seat (chair, toilet, couch, car seat, etc). Have to sit down gingerly!

DIET
Juicing: Apple, Celery, Romaine lettuce, Kale, Garlic, Ginger
Supplements: Spirulina & Chlorella
Dinner: Turkey!!! Carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potato.
Meds: Arnika Forte & Antibiotic

PHOTOS (2)
I am attaching my Day 6 Post-Op photos to this post. Just me in my compression garments & bra.

Day 7 Post-Op (11/25)

--- DAY 7 POST-OP (FRI 11/25) ---
SLEEP
Slept well even tho I didn't take any meds last night for sleep. 

SWELLING / SORENESS
About the same. Some itchiness.

DIET
Juicing: Apple, Celery, Romaine lettuce, Kale, Cucumber, Garlic, Ginger
Snacks: Chia seeds, fresh pineapple & other fruits, almond butter
Dinner: Stir-fried veggies, bok choy, seaweed, and rice.
Supplements: Spirulina & Chlorella. Aloe Vera (~2oz taken orally in water 1x Day, whole leaf, preservative-free, Lily of the Desert brand).
Meds: Antibiotic.

I finished the bottle of Arnika Forte, so I got some pineapples so that I can supplement bromelain from the fresh pineapple. Take note though, the main source of the active bromelain is in the stem/core & rind of the pineapple, so I plan to put all parts of the pineapple into my juicer. 

I added Aloe Vera as a daily supplement taken orally due to its properties in increasing collagen content of wounds.  It also "accelerates wound contraction & increases the breaking strength of resulting scar tissue." (Study references included below.)

REFERENCES
Meta-analysis of Bromelain (NIH): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3529416/#B15
Naturopathic Doctor Article w refs: http://ndnr.com/botanical-medicine/bromelain-pineapple-extract-and-modern-immunomodulator/

General & Simple Abstract on Nutritional Support in Wound Healing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14653765

Aloe Vera - An overview w links to more detailed studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/#CIT11

Day 8 Post-Op (11/26)

--- DAY 8 POST-OP (SAT 11/26) ---
SLEEP
  Before sleeping around 12am last night, I became extremely itchy, so I took a Promethazine HCl 25mg hoping for its anti-histamine properties to kick in.  Even at 2am, I wasn't feeling drowsy from it, but eventually I fell asleep.

Throughout the next few hours of sleep, I kept waking up scratching myself.  Finally at 7am, I realized I had unzipped the sides of my compression garment in my sleep to scratch myself so I took a Diazepam 10mg + Acetaminophen HCl 1000mg.  I was desperate to get some uninterrupted sleep.  It was also the first painkiller I took since surgery day, but this was in desperation that maybe its analgesic properties could ease the itchiness, especially since Promethazine HCl didn't affect it at all. 

I slept til 130pm. I was then super drowsy all day long & slow-moving as a tortoise, mentally too slow to be functional at all besides watching a movie.  Then, I fell asleep at 6pm til 12am.  So now my sleep schedule is all messed up....AND I AM STILL SOOOO ITCHY. 

POST-SURGERY SYMPTOMS
Swelling/Bruising - I have no worries on it; it'll pass w time.

In re: stitches or "suture spitting", I took cleaned tweezers to my suture sites & either pulled them out or clipped them as close to the knot as possible.  The suture on my lower right boob slid right out without any resistance at all, and the others came out fine or clipped right to the skin fine. There are still part of sutures left, but we'll see in the future if they get absorbed or spit back out too.

My main issue is INTENSE itchiness that is EXTREMELY distracting, uncomfortable, and unbearable.  My nipples are particularly sensitive/itchy.

I've been reading up on RealSelf and forums about how liposuction often causes itchiness as the nerve fibres regenerate/heal. 

This is what I've tried so far to help w the itching:
    -- 20-min walk outside (temperature is 32F, could see my own breath). It felt unusually pleasant. I walked w my jacket unzipped for the cold air to hit my skin.  It probably would have felt even better to walk around w no clothes!  Still itchy afterwards, but the chill served as a distraction from itchiness for a bit.
    -- Acetaminophen 1000mg + Cetirizine HCl 10mg ("Zyrtec") : I'm praying maybe the analgesic effect of the Acetaminophen and the different anti-histamine might take away the itching. [Turned out -- No difference, still itchy!!!]
    -- For hypersensitive/itchy nipples: I tried leaving on a dab of Arnica on each nipple & covering w a bandaid.  When that didn't make a difference, an hour later, I tried the same with Diphenhydramine HCl cream & bandaids over the nipples.  Still itchy, but comes & goes instead of constant intense stream of itchiness. 
    -- Ice pack on flanks, thighs, upper arms.  It helps w itchiness only while the ice pak is cold.

DIET
Poor today due to messed up day schedule. Didn't juice. Ate pineapple & finished off a bag of sweet potato tortilla chips.
Supplements: Spirulina & Chlorella. Aloe Vera (p.o.).
Meds: Antibiotic. AM - Diazepam 10mg.  PM - Acetaminophen 1000mg. Cetirizine HCl 10mg. Topical Diphenhydramine HCl. Started the provided "Scar Heal Creme" (provided by Dr.Bednar's office) on incision sites.

Lastly, other suggestions/research I've come across to help relieve the itching is: Calamine lotion and Capsaicin cream. I'll try them tomorrow & update on their efficacy. If anyone else has suggestions, I'm all ears!

PHOTOS (3)
You can see bruising on thighs are mostly gone + side view (arm + boobage)

Incision Sites : Photos on Day 8

--Incision Sites --
Photos taken on Day 8 Post-Op, attached to this post

Incision Sites: Sutures Photo

Forgot to attach this one photo in the last post. This is a shot of some of the sutures that I pulled or clipped out.
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon

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