I'm a 30 year old female that has battled with...
I'm a 30 year old female that has battled with large and saggy arms my whole life. My grandmother had them so bad, they would flap in the wind. Thanks, babciu. My weight has also frequently fluctuated throughout my life, so I do have a lot of extra skin with pockets of fat. My boyfriend and I have begun talking of wedding plans, which means now is the time to do something about this and give myself time to heal before a wedding happens.
I searched for a long time for different doctors. I made consultation appointments with three and then narrowed it down to Dr. Gutowski. I was pretty nervous going into the appointment, but once I was in the appointment room, it made me feel relaxed. He was extremely easy to talk to and down to Earth. He won't try to sell you crap you don't need, either. He and his patient care coordinator, Ellen, are fabulous at keeping in touch and getting back to me with any questions or concerns. Ellen has been great at getting me accommodated with my crazy schedule and getting surgery set up for the perfect date so I can recover over my vacation.
I am having multiple procedures done, so I will create a review/post for both and will keep them updated simultaneously. I will try to get photos posted as soon as possible.
I know a lot of people are curious about costs of plastic surgery. I will be put under general anesthesia since I am having so much done at once, so my procedure is costing a bit more than if you were to do any of these separately under local anesthesia. Also keep in mind, the cost can fluctuate based on each customer and their exact needs. Here is the breakdown of costs:
Arm Lift: $6,000 with $2,752 anesthesia fee
Lipo to back, bra line, hump: $3000 with $1,350 anesthesia fee
Lipo to abdomen and flanks: $4,000 with $1,350 anesthesia fee
Because I am having all done at the same time, because I mentioned RealSelf and because I am allowing them use of my before and after photos, it dropped the total from $18, 452 down to $15, 704.
From the other side!
It is now two days after surgery day. My arms finally feel well enough to update you all!
I was very nervous going into surgery, but Dr. Gutowski was great at helping to distract me from my nerves. My mom was in prep with me and Dr. Gutowski happily answered every question she had, in great detail and made sure she understood everything. The anesthesiologist Dr. Gutowski works with is great. They have a wonderful partnership and think very highly of each other. Everything was over before I knew it and I was on my way home.
Everyone always told me that day 2 is the worst, but day 1 was most definitely the worst for me. The pain was probably the worst pain I've felt in my life. It was very emotionally frustrating not being able to do anything for myself at all. I needed my boyfriend and mom to do everything for me, even helping me eat. All the swelling my body had was crazy. I was larger than I was before surgery just because of the swelling. Some of my incisions were draining a lot of liposuction fluid on day 1, as I did have a lot of high-volume liposuction done. The first night, I woke up many times through the night needing to urinate from all the fluid being absorbed by my body and all the fluid I'd been drinking. I had to have help getting out and into bed every time, meaning my poor boyfriend did not get to have a full nights sleep. Make sure your partners or caretakers are aware and ready for this!
First day after surgery, the swelling was even worse. I was in shock at the amount of swelling in my whole body. I really felt like the Michelin man! However, the pain was more under control and my mobility and range of motion improved. The incisions on my arms were leaking and bleeding, but Dr. Gutowski assured me it was normal after asking me to send him photos. The second night, I slept through the whole night but woke up very stiff and think it would be better to set an alarm to wake up, take meds and move a bit.
It is now my second day after surgery. When I woke up this morning, I was so happy to see how much my swelling has gone down. We took the outer bandages off, per doctor's instructions. The incisions on my arms really hurt now that there's not the extra bandages to cushion them. It's still morning, so I'll be sure to update more in a day or two.
Swelling and Compression Garment
So I told you all that my swelling has gone down. Well, it seems my areas of swelling and the amount changes quite a bit throughout the day. However, overall, each day is better.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. For now, the swelling in my tummy has gone down. My back continues to be very swollen and painful, probably because it is very hard to avoid putting pressure on it. I'm not really sure what I can do about that.
Since taking the outer bandages off of my arm incisions, my arms have definitely been in more pain. Dr. Gutowski says everything looks normal from pictures I send him.
I realized I haven't said much about my compression garment. It was put on me while I was still under anesthesia and I'm required to wear it 24/7 until I see Dr. Gutowski at my first post-op visit on Monday. From there, he'll let me know how much more to wear it. So, if I need to shower, I shower with it on. I can use a hair dryer to dry off if needed. As far as the fit, I don't feel that it is very tight, as I am used to wearing shapewear and compression hose to work. The arms do feel tight, but the rest of it is honestly nothing compared to my own garments. I could easily wear this for three more weeks if need be. There's an open hole for the gusset that is quite large. I've had no issues with urinating, but I think it needs to be open further up the backside for BMs. It is also very hard for me to reach back there due to my arm lift, so keep that in mind when recruiting those that will care for you after surgery.
My medicine has my brain a bit foggy, so I'll be wrapping up right now. I'll update as needed when things come to mind.
Today is two weeks since my surgery. I just went for my appointment and Dr. G removed the remainder of my posterior stitches. My arms are looking great! I was really surprised to see how thin the scar will probably end up - shocked, really. We are even discussing having my scars in shape in time for my cousin's wedding in one month (but full healing time will take 6-12mo). I'm feeling very good about my choice of surgeons and my decision to have the arm lift.
I have really felt a slew of emotions so far through the whole healing process. It really has been the most pain I have felt. The swelling is the worst part. I also started having intense burning sensations at my incisions, which is typical. I can definitely say the arm lift was worth it...but the liposuction? I will have to wait until my full results to say if I really feel it was worth it - which will be months. The swelling has caused weird creases in my body, which Dr. G said will diminish as the swelling subsides. My face looks fatter, my legs look fatter, my feet, my hands. The swelling has spilled into every part of my body. Keep in mind, I did have A LOT removed. My range of movement has improved greatly and I can now do most things myself (but carefully). I still cannot reach into tall cupboards, bend over too low, put shirts on or off or wash my hair, armpits or back.