For my entire adult life, I’ve had a not-bad figure, but I’ve always had a very square torso and a bit of a gut, no waist to speak of. After three years with a personal trainer, pretty good eating habits and no real results in shape-change, I decided kind of impulsively to get liposuction done. I picked Dr. Langdon because he had excellent patient reviews and is a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The staff was great in answering questions. One of the questions I asked was had they ever had procedures done themselves—they looked reassuringly normal, and not like plastic people. Yes, they had… it was a situation of looking like someone who was aging well, vs. looking like someone who had too much work done. This made me feel like I was at the right place.
Dr. Langdon was pretty quick in his assessment, but he assured me that yes, I was a good candidate for what I wanted: a flatter stomach and more of an hourglass shape. Note: I am 5’8 and weighed 163 on the morning of the procedure, which is about where I’ve been for a decade or so, give or take 5 pounds. Even at my slimmest, though, I’ve never had that waist and always had to wear Spanx or suck in my stomach, and I was sick of it.
The morning of the procedure, I was pretty excited and nervous. Dr. Langdon came in, took some pictures, drew on me and said he’d see me in about an hour. The nurses were very chatty as they swabbed me with Betadine, gave me a valium to relax, then injected the painkiller, epinephrine (to minimize bleeding) and fluid. That makes your look incredibly bloated, and your skin gets white and hard from the fluid. Freaky.
It didn’t hurt at first—but you definitely know something is going on. Sometimes, there were sharp, needle-like pains. The nurses had said to speak up if the pain got too bad, and he would add more painkiller. I’ll be honest: It was much more painful than I expected. I was sweating at some points, and clenched like a fist. I tried deep breathing and the like, but it was pretty brutal. Dr. Langdon asked if I wanted a shot of Demerol, and I said, “Hell, yes.” That helped tremendously. I wish I’d known I could’ve had it it earlier.
The lipo itself is like having a tiny rake inserted (though it doesn’t look like that). But picture your fat as packed soil. The cannula rakes over and over it. I had my upper and lower abdomen done, and my flanks. I could feel him going over ribs, and I actually laughed a few times, as it was ticklish. The whole thing took about 5 hours. Dr. Langdon was really nice; he paused to give me breaks and was very talkative and friendly. All that being said, I wish I’d been out for the procedure. A little Versed or something to put you to sleep wouldn’t seem out of line for the pain, but it would add to the cost and risk factors, too.
I took a shower afterward and seemed to be standing in a puddle of blood, but it’s the red-colored fluid they inject, with a little blood in there as well. I had 15 insertion holes, more than I expected. The nurses bandaged me up on every spot, told me I’d be leaking like a sieve for the next 24 hours, and put a compression wrap around me, which is basically a 36 inch Ace bandage with velcro.
Dr. Langdon told me they’d taken out 5 pounds of fat. At first, I was a little disappointed—that was all? But then again, this was pure fat. Fat that will never come back. He also told me to lose 5 more pounds in the coming year. Since my diet is already pretty good and healthy, I’m going to do this by cutting back on my daily glass of wine and make it a couple times a week, and save desserts for special occasions instead of a few times a week. Portion size at dinner is another thing I’m trying. Just little things. Five pounds isn’t that much.
My body looked hideous. My stomach was rippling with fluid, and I was bruised like I’d been beaten with a baseball bat. I didn’t look thinner, which they had told me to expect. Even so, I could see where my waist was going to be.
The rest of the day was tough. I took a nap and could feel the fluid leaking out of me. I had bought waterproof pads to put on my bed, and boy, did I need them. Dr. Langdon called to check on me, reassured me that the leakage was normal and good.
When I took off the dressings, they were soaked with what looked like blood, and a lesser woman might’ve fainted. My husband was a little freaked out with how beaten I looked, even though I’d warned him it would take weeks or more to get the final result.
I took a shower and it seemed like I was standing in blood again, but it did taper off. The shower was probably a half an hour. When it came time to replace the bandages, the nurses had recommended taping on maxi pads. This was pretty awkward; the medical tape didn’t do a great job sticking. But I put a camisol on over them, then replaced the wrap, which we’d had to wash and dry, because it too was soaked with fluid. I sat down and watched TV, tipped back in my chair. An hour later, we had to replace the pads again, and wash the compression garment again, because all this fluid had leaked out my back. WARNING: For the first day, use those waterproof pads under you for everything.
Finally, it was bedtime. More pads on the bed and under the sheets, and over me, too. I got up to pee in the middle of the night and my shirt was soaked. This procedure is definitely not for sissies. In the morning, the pad beneath me was soaked with reddish fluid, and the maxipads were, too.
Thankfully, my husband had to go to work; his nervousness was making me nervous, and I was better off alone. The leaking was just about over. I took off the compression wrap and washed it, and took a very long shower. I wasn’t leaking anymore. so I just put on a thick cotton t-shirt and put the compression wrap around it. The bruising was worse this day; it had migrated down to my lower abdomen and labia. The stretch marks I had when I was pregnant had popped up again, because the fluid was all there. My stomach looked like waves of flat, puffy, flat, puffy. I still felt kind of numb on the skin, very sore beneath it.
That day was really hard. The tylenol didn’t cut it. I used ice for pain relief that night, but bending over or going to the bathroom were as painful as just about anthing I’ve experienced, including a c-section. I’d give lipo an 8, c-section a 10. It was a long day. I took slow, painful walks…it was as if I’d done 1000 sit ups and threw out my back, too. But moving is important, so I moved. I couldn’t wait to go to bed. There was no more leaking; just a couple of spots on my cami. I tightened the compression garment and again, could already see progress in the flattening of my stomach and curve of my waist. I was excited to see more progress. The bruising, though. Yikes.
I woke up feeling much, much better. Still pretty sore, but not hobbling anymore. Another shower; I can’t get the magic marker off my stomach or back. The bruising is better, though my labia and lower abdomen are still swollen and horrible to look at. But the nurses did tell me this would happen. I’m really grateful they were so complete in giving information. Nothing that’s happened has surprised me. As far as results, I already have an hourglass waist (first time in my life!) and can see, I think, that I’m going to look a lot slimmer. I already do.
I didn’t want to tell anyone but my husband I had this done (vanity), so I told anyone who saw me that I’d thrown my back out and was wearing a brace. More swelling has gone down, but I’m still kind of lumpy. And I’m still quite sore, but not nearly as bad as Day Two.