Doc, Give Me Beautiful Legs! (Inner Knee Liposuction)

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*Treatment results may vary

I have hated my chubby knees as long as I can...

I have hated my chubby knees as long as I can remember. "Danny DeVito legs," as I (not so) fondly called them. Well, what I thought his legs looked like -- short, stumpy and chunky. Now that I just googled Danny DeVito's legs for the first time, though, he actually has skinnier knees than me, soooooo that's great. Anyway, 30 years old, no kids, 5'1" tall and 130 lbs, size 4-6, and overall very happy with my body -- except for these damn knees. They make me too self-conscious for short skirts and dresses, and they show even in leggings and skinny jeans.

So, I finally decided to do something about it. I consulted with two doctors here in the Chicago area, and chose Dr. Lorri Cobbins. I just loved her personality -- warm but no nonsense. I had actually made an appointment with her partner, Dr. Brian Braithwaite, but he initially canceled my first consultation, just a few hours beforehand. His staff called and said "the doctor needs to leave for the day." Okay, things happen, no problem. I got the second appointment, and my boyfriend and I sat in the waiting room for about an hour, with no real explanation. It was while I was there that I saw Dr. Cobbins' nameplate, and saw that she has F.A.C.S. after her name. I knew from researching plastic surgeons earlier that that meant Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, which requires an additional extensive evaluation (I'm sure it means much more than that, but that's my layman's understanding. Also, Dr. Braithwaite may have this too, I'm not sure, I just know Dr. Cobbins does, and it made me feel better, because I didn't really know anything about her before that). I told the receptionist I would be happy to meet with Dr. Cobbins instead, and she came out within like 5 or 10 minutes.

Prior to the consultation, I initially wanted my knee fat transferred to my boobs (i was willing to get more than my knees lipo'd if it would give me enough fat for my boobs!) She said she doesn't like to do those procedures (I think her exact quote was something like "if you got 100 plastic surgeons in a room and asked them about fat transfers to the breasts, they would all agree that implants are the way to go.") She also said they're mega expensive, like $10,000+ I think. So while I was disappointed that I couldn't get my fat transferred to my boobs, I appreciated that she was honest and didn't agree to a procedure that would make her a lot more money but maybe wouldn't turn out as great for me. (I want bigger boobs, but I don't want it badly enough to go through an implant surgery).

I consulted with her on October 10th, then interviewed another doctor, and ultimately decided to go with Dr. Cobbins. My surgery was yesterday, November 18th. I could have had it sooner, but my schedule was too difficult, so it was my fault, not the clinic's.

I opted to get just my knees done. Well, that's not entirely true, I also had 4 dermal piercings over my hipbones that I wanted her to remove. So the $1,500 covered both the lipo and the piercing removal. (I could have gone to a piercer to get them removed, like my sister did, but she said it was excruciatingly painful, and I'm not about that life.). I also opted for just local anesthetic, not general, which kept the cost down. Oh, and Xanax, which I'll talk about later.

My surgery was yesterday at 3 pm. I rolled in, chatted with Gordana the patient coordinator who is fantastic, and waited for the doc. Then, she told me to take my Xanax and it was showtime.

Now let me mention that I am a very anxious person. Just in life in general, but also related to medical stuff. I have never broken a bone or had stitches or anything like that, which I'm sure would have desensitized me to medical stuff. I also pass out when I have to have blood taken, or really just at the sight of blood, no matter how fascinated I am by the surgery or whatever I'm watching. So, i requested a Xanax ahead of time. (My dentist used to do that, probably better for him than watching me white-knuckle through the fillings.). They called me in a .5 mg pill, which, in retrospect, was not enough (neither they nor I had any way of knowing how much would have been a good amount). The poor Xanax didn't stand a chance against my wired little brain. Even though Dr. Cobbins and her nurses were perfectly lovely to me, and patient, I was still clenching my hands together throughout the entire procedure, 100% aware.

That's not to say I was in pain though. The initial local anesthetic injections hurt more than I had anticipated, but they were over quickly. No more real pain after that. But it is a very bizarre feeling to know that somebody is cutting holes in your legs and wrenching a giant needle around inside, because you know it SHOULD hurt, but it doesn't. It made me very anxious and uncomfortable just to know what was happening. (Now I am a very rational person and I know I should just be thanking my lucky stars that it didn't hurt, but anxiety does not listen to rationality.).

I was allowed to bring in earbuds and my phone, so I could listen to music and not hear the suction from the vacuum. That helped a lot, I think.

The entire procedure (lipo + dermals removals) was over pretty quickly, I think less than an hour and a half. They helped me get dressed afterward, told me I did great, and sent me on my way, with 2 pages of post-op instructions and a few prescriptions. Oh, and she ended up taking out ~300cc of fat, more than she had anticipated she would get. 300CC, Y'ALL! That's basically an average sized breast implant. I had breast implants on my knees. That's the level of weird knee fat we're dealing with.

It is now ~30 hours post-op, and i'm not really in any pain. They gave me prescriptions for Norco and Motrin 800. My one small quibble is that the Norcos are really upsetting my stomach, and I had mentioned that I had taken Vicodin once when I got my wisdom teeth out and they gave me severe stomach pain. When I saw the Norco prescription, I didn't realize that it's basically the same as Vicodin (I really don't know much about painkillers.). I wish that they had given me something else, instead of Norco, but maybe that wasn't really an option, I'm not sure. Maybe any strong pain reliever has the potential for stomach pain and nausea like that. Anyway, tomorrow I will just try to eat more food and see if that helps. If not, I'll call the office and see if they can switch me to something more stomach-friendly, or another prescription to counteract that. (I asked the pharmacist today if there was a good over the counter anti-nausea med and explained about the Norco, but he said that the OTC kind wouldn't really help because something about receptors? I'm not sure.)

Anyway, I brought my own Spanx for the surgery, and I just took them off for the first time a couple minutes ago so I could change my underwear. (They told me I could shower today, bc my dressings were waterproof, but I was too chicken). I was nervous about what I would see, figuring I would be black and blue, and boy was I SHOCKED at what I saw when I pulled down my pants...ALMOST NO BRUISING AT ALL. Seriously. I was expecting to be all kinds of crazy colors, but nope. The incisions are all well-behaved, covered with their tape (aside from one that's apparently been bleeding like a brat), the surgical marker is still there, and everything looks relatively normal. They did seem swollen, but not a whole lot -- basically, they looked like I had fat knees, which I'm already used to! I only had my pants off for 3 minutes, long enough to take a few photos, and then I put those babies right back on. I figure one of two things: either these tight-ass pants are helping to keep down the bruising and swelling, in which case I'm going to store today to get another pair; or the bruising and swelling just hasn't set in yet. I don't know a lot about the field of medicine, I just assumed that most of the bruising would have already set in, over the course of the first 24 hours, but maybe that's not how it works. I guess I'll see soon! My knee skin looks kinda baggy, actually, where the fat was removed, and the clear tape makes it look worse, but the doctor assured me that would happen and that the skin will contract over time.

[Written between ~11 pm Saturday November 19th and ~11 am Saturday November 20]
Note: I have the "not sure if worth it" because I don't feel like I can honestly say "Yes, worth it!" yet, although I am confident I will feel that way when the swelling/bruising has subsided!

Hopefully, if I can figure out how, I will update this as I go.

78 hours later...

It's 10:30 pm Monday (so about 78 hours post op) and I feel even better. The bruising is still minimal, the incisions look like paper cuts, and i've cut my pain meds down to one at a time, twice a day. Had a giant bowel movement today, first time since surgery, so I think the cutting down of the narcotics is helpful. I'm anxious for the swelling to go down so I can see what I have! The swelling still isn't bad, it looks about what I had before except it's smoother - the transition from calf to knee to thigh isn't as sharp. In the photos, the bruising looks worse in the photos than it does in real life. I wonder how much of that is attributable to the bromelain/arnica I started on a few days before the surgery.

I can't wait to see my final form! 7 days post op

More bruising has appeared since my last update (I didn't realize there would be a lot of delayed bruising). But, I feel good. Still swollen, which is of course to be expected, plus I am on vacation so we have been out & about and walking a lot, so i'm sure that is contributing. Yes, the doctor's purple writing is still there, because that would necessitate scrubbing to remove, and i'm not about to do that!

Another update

I realized I didn't really include good photos of the knees from straight on (the ones in the previous update are from me just holding my phone out in front of myself at arm's length). These are taken from ~10-15 feet away, in a mirror. They give a more accurate idea of what's happening down there currently. I'm still wearing tight leggings all day, and wrapping them tight in ace bandages at night because it was too hot to sleep in leggings. Including bonus pics of the bruising- such beautiful colors ????. The incisions look good though. In the last 2 I tried to show how "deflated" the inner knee looks - which is exactly what I want! The area above that is still pretty puffy which makes it look weird, but I think once the swelling goes down it will look great! (I assume that because there's less tissue in the inner knee it just isn't as swollen as the part above it. Right after the surgery the doc reassured me that she made a good transition from knee to inner thigh.)

Two weeks out!

Had my checkup yesterday, doc seemed pumped regarding my progress but noted there was a lot of swelling. She said I could switch to silicone scar sheets, and do compression 16 hours a day instead of 23 (I had expressed concern about wearing leggings to work everyday, since I don't have work pants loose enough to wear leggings underneath.). I will still wear it more than 16 hours when I can though, and I'm still wrapping with ace bandages at night. Today I am just wearing skinny jeans and I don't really like how it feels, so I may end up wrapping today underneath my jeans. Photos are attached. Please disregard the gross chicken skin - I haven't been taking care of my leg skin at all. And i've been getting weird dry skin patches - like REALLY dry, it looks like I have a bit of baby powder on my skin. Disgusting. A bit of baby oil really helps that though. Now that I see the before and current pics, side by side, I see that there's still more swelling than I had realized. Oh well, more patience.

33 days post op

Still some swelling but seeing an improvement. The double collages are before surgery and now. The triples are before surgery, the progress photo from last time, and now.
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Love Dr. Cobbins. Her bedside manner is great. She is patient and knowledgeable, and very skilled. I can already tell that I will be going back to her and her alone for any other procedures!

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
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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