Things To Look For in A Plastic Surgeon
Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery!!
If you are in Illinois you can check this site to for board certification AND see if they had any malpractice issues recently: http://www.idfpr.com/applications/professionprofile/
Otherwise you can check: http://www1.plasticsurgery.org/find_a_surgeon/
Are they a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons?
This means that they are board certified and their practice is mostly cosmetic.
Check out www.surgery.org -- browse around for other interesting resources as well.
Some other things:
How are their before/after photos?
Do they offer opportunities to talk to other patients? If so, take them up on it!
Do they have a reasonable revision policy in the event that you need one?
What is their revision rate? 1% of all patients? 5%?
Do they have hospital privileges? Hospitals vet their surgeons before letting them operate.
Did they give you realistic expectations?
How often does your surgeon perform this procedure?
Were they selling you on everything you wanted or did they temper your expectations and maybe advise against doing a specific procedure?
Are you comfortable with this person? Comfortable enough to ask any question? Communication is key when it comes to surgery and if you feel intimidated by your surgeon or his staff you might not get your intentions/expectations across and this could lead to a bad outcome.
Is the surgeon or staff easily reachable?
Will the procedure be performed in a Joint Commission certified facility under sterile conditions?
I hope this helps!
This is pretty helpful - I would add getting a female urinary director to stand and pee (like Freshette), an absorbent pad/sheet protector for your bed, and soft Kotex maxi-pads for heavily draining sites. All available on Amazon.
Less than 16 hours to go
I'm so nervous! I went shopping for finger food (fruit, peanut butter, baby carrots, hummus, pita chips), soup, and Ensure shakes. I prepped my "surgery bag" which contains my post-op antibiotics, pain meds, the sheet protector (to line the car seat), chapstick, Ensure, and a bottle of water. I have my dark drawstring sweatpants and zip-front hoodie top. The office has an extra garment for me too. I've prepared everything I can think of yet I still don't feel ready!
I DO want that flank fat removed. Especially that bulge on my hip on the right side in the picture (which is really my left hip)! But I worry about the thighs. I told my PS that I'm not looking for dramatic changes in that area because I know the thighs are NOT forgiving and I don't need a giant gap. I just want to soften that rounded shape.
I felt great at the consultation and I've been feeling pretty positive about it, but now that it's only a few hours away I can't help but imagine the worst-case scenario - lumps, scars, burn marks from the Vaser machine, sagging skin!
I wish I could openly talk about this with my friends and family but it seems that the first rule of plastic surgery is that you can't talk about it. People have very strong opinions on the matter and they are more than happy to share. I just don't want to be judged for something so personal that I've wanted for >10 years by the very people who matter the most to me.
Just wanted to rant a little. Wish me luck and a speedy recovery!
There will be blood
It's done! Waking up from general anesthesia was no picnic -- my mouth tasted like a 2 stroke engine and I was a bit nauseated. It passed after I breathed off all that anesthetic. I was LEAKING like a water balloon. I soaked through 6 Chux and half of my sheet protector. I'm ~24 hours post-op and the leaking is finally over. The Freshette funnel came in handy for the non-stop urination. I was up until about 2am just peeing.
My post-op appointment went well. Incisions are tiny and look good. The pain keeps evolving, but it's tolerable. The incisions sting and the liposuction areas are sore as expected. I'm up and moving every couple of hours. Appetite is low, but I'm taking docusate and senna to help move the bowels. I'm taking a multivitamin and vitamin C to help with wound healing. I don't need the Norco anymore, just plain Tylenol now. And of course -- post-op antibiotics.
It's so strange to reach down and feel a totally different body. It's hard to appreciate the changes visually, but there's a total difference. I will post pics after the stitches come out!
Post-op day 10 pics
I did need the norco for the first 3 days. Lipo makes you VERY sore.
I went back to work on post-op day 8 and it has been uncomfortable in my Marena 1st stage suit with suspenders due to the hook/eyes digging in. The ABD pads help cushion but they make the suit too bulky to fit under work clothes. With the blessing of my surgeon I wear a beige Marena 2nd stage suit to work with NO zippers and that makes working a lot easier and my clothes fit better. I wear the stage 1 suit when I am not at work because I am still swollen and want maximal compression. I do want to note that Marena bills their second stage suits as "tighter" so take from that what you will. Both suits have a full back with suspenders that can attach at the sides or in the middle so it gives you more options. The suits goe down to the calf. I am definitely glad I got the Marena brand in this style. Very comfy.
My shape is evolving every day. I'm still swollen and doughy so I will not make any judgements about the outcome until that goes away. I don't want to focus on any details until my shape is set. Here are some pictures to show you how I'm doing.
Not Happy Right Now
The 2 month mark is when the swelling significantly reduced and the contour irregularities and problems became apparent:
-Left inner thigh dent (measuring 2.75" x 3") with fibrous band of scar tissue (measuring 1" x 0.5") underneath
-Dents in outer left thigh
-VERY loose inner thigh skin on both legs
-Moderately loose skin on flank/love handle area
-Front entry points not hidden
-Scars still very red
It's almost as if the left inner thigh was over-suctioned because the skin in the "dent" has tacked itself down to the muscle and feels very attached as opposed to the surrounding skin which is loose. My surgeon told me to "mobilize" the tissue by pulling on it and kneading it. He said that he would fix anything that was wrong in a couple of months as it is too early to think about revisions. He also said the dents in the outer left thigh were not from the lipo, but none of my pictures show any evidence of the outer thigh dents existing prior to the lipo.
The contouring on my waist and flank area looks good considering what he had to work with, however I did not expect this degree of skin laxity. The flanks are much looser than expected, but I can deal with it.
The thighs are the major source of my dissatisfaction. The dent in the inner left thigh is visible and palpable. It feels like a crater when you run your hand over it. All the loose skin just makes it feel that much more creepy. I don't want to let anyone see my legs let alone touch them. Never in my life have I looked at my reflection in a mirror and cried due to frustration and disgust. The dents in the inner and outer left leg are visible in stretchy workout apparel as well as jeans. I would not dare wear a bathing suit in public at this point even IF the entry points were hidden within the bikini line.
I really hope the surgeon fixes the dents for the price of materials (no surgeon fee). Looking at my before pictures I think my thighs were not the same size prior to surgery, but according to the operative report he took out the same amount of fat (200cc) from the inner thighs and I think that's why the left one looks so deflated and has the scarring underneath the skin. He took out more fat from the outer left thigh than the outer right thigh (because I had a larger saddle bag on the left) and again I think the dents are due to the lipo being more aggressive on the left outer thigh.
The surgeon seems like a nice guy who wants to please his clients and I'm hoping that's going to be the case.
1 year post-op
The inner thighs feel like empty bags of skin that belong to an 80 year old woman (see downward light photos). I specifically mentioned *right* before surgery that I did not want to be aggressive on the inner thighs because they are not forgiving and the surgeon was quick to correct me and say the outer thighs are less forgiving - unfortunately we were both right. Per the operative report he suctioned 200cc from each inner thigh. My legs are completely uneven so either this report is wrong or I had asymmetrical amounts of fat in my inner thighs which is something that I would expect a board certified plastic surgeon with 15+ years of experience to pick up on and lipo accordingly instead of just pulling out equivalent amounts of fat irrespective of the pre-op fat difference in the legs.
Left: Inner thigh dent goes down to the muscle fibers (can feel fibers with my finger tips - also still have pain there 1 year after surgery) and right below is a hard lump. It looks like I had some kind of accident or shark encounter, which is why this deformity is called a "shark bite" deformity. The outer left thigh started off with cellulite, which now looks like a hole (see downward light photos).
Right: Inner thigh is rippled, but not as badly oversuctioned. The outer right thigh looks good - he only took out 50cc here which is appropriate.
Left hip: Pre-op I had a significant amount of flank fat with a flat valley just below, which created an odd curvature and a bad silhouette. After lipo the flank also looks like a deflated sack and that margin between the fat "hill" and the flat "valley" is like a ridge/roll (see photos). Again, I would have expected some kind of suggestion to maybe fill it in with a fat transfer if there existed a probability that there would still be a clear ridge there given how much fat overhang existed beforehand.
Right hip: Looks good and natural.
Incisions: Scars are very visible - red and irritated after 1 full year. This may not be due to technique however the front incisions are outside of the bikini line/groin crease. Again *right* before surgery he marked the incisions inside this line and I woke up with incisions in a different place. If I wear a bathing suit they are so obvious.
Overall: My body looks unnatural in a bad way. I wish my thighs were not suctioned at all. It makes me more self-conscious than before. I do not let anyone touch my legs now because I feel so grotesque. I wish he suggested a fat transfer to the "valley" on the left hip. For a surgeon who "doesn't go a week without lipo" I expected more from him.
Dr. Wiener said he would try to repair the inner thigh dent with fat transfers for the cost of supplies. He said it would take a couple of sessions. I am trying to decide if I should do the repairs or just move on with my life.