I am 45yo, 5'2", 130lb and in great...
I am 45yo, 5'2", 130lb and in great physical condition. This is my second procedure in the last year (breast lift and aug last November). I have cellulite on my outer and inner thighs and a little on my butt. During my consultation my doctor suggested that my inner thigh cellulite which is in the lower thigh area was very minor and some of the rippling was actually caused by the heaviness of the fat on my upper inner thigh pushing down on the skin below. So we decided to address the upper inner thighs with smart lipo during the same procedure. I decided to not do my butt, maybe later as it is not that bad. The smart lipo procedure (especially when combined with cellulaze which made it a five hour procedure) is pretty intense so my doctor normally does that with twilight sedation. However since I would be on my stomach for a good portion of the procedure it would make it difficult to monitor my airway. Therefore my doctor recommended general anesthesia. This drove up the cost but I thought was worth it.
I am now roughly 12 hours post procedure and I have to tell you that the immediate post-op recovery was more difficult than either the TT ten years ago or the BL/BA six months ago. Being under for five hours was the primary cause since I was extremely nauseous when I woke up (I've been under before and never had that). My inner thighs where I had smart lipo were also extremely painful - a very deep pain that I've read others describe on this forum. A double dose of pain meds plus Tylenol kicked it back after about four hours and I was finally able to sleep. Thank god for HGTV! I've now been up walking around the house several times and the soreness is very manageable. Im wearing the usual compression garment and foam and I'm draining like crazy although some spots never make it through the foam and others drain constantly. Overall the draining has steadily decreased over time.
I had the procedure done on the 31st and return for my follow up on the 3rd (day 4). My doctor said to remove my compression garment and foam at that time and replace it with spanx. Can't wait for that! The compression garment isn't bad but it stinks to have to wear wet clothing (from the drainage). The foam also makes me look HUGE which is obviously not the look I am after :). It should be interesting taking off the garment as the nurse told me it took three people to get it on me in the OR.
Not worth taking pictures yet since I'm wearing the garment but I'll post my day 4 pics as soon as I take them!
5 days post op
First things first, getting smart lipo and cellulaze over most of your thighs is not for the faint of heart! I actually really appreciate the small portions of my thighs where nothing was done because the skin there looks so good compared to the rest and those small areas are pain free!
The first four days were hell. In addition to the pain from swelling and bruising, the burning and itching sensations, and the painful procedure of getting the garment off and on for bathroom trips and showers, I also have felt completely run down. I usually have tons of energy so it has been pretty frustrating.
On the bright side, I am just starting to see a bit of the swelling go down on the cellulaze'd outer thighs and those areas are also a bit less painful. My inner thighs (lower where I received cellulaze and upper where I received smart lipo) are still really swollen and tender. I am measuring my slow progress by how much pressure I can stand when sitting on the toilet. I was hovering a few days ago and I can now actually touch my thighs to the seat. Progress!
On day three I briefly thought I could manage with just Tylenol but that only lasted until dinnertime! I'm now back to meds in the morning and evening with Tylenol in between.
The bruising, as bad as it looks is actually a little better. I am taking arnica and bromelain and doing very light self message (only what feels good) with arnica cream. I am also doing a fair amount of slow walking and movement (not miles on the treadmill, just making sure I am up and about). I am used to running 15 miles/week so this is a big step back. I have to believe this helps with circulation and the movement of all of the extra fluids in my legs.
In spite of all of this, I'm still happy with my decision. I will post again around day ten when my stitches come out and I received my first round of external ultrasound therapy.
Two weeks post op
Yesterday was two weeks post op. Brusing and pain are almost gone on my outer thighs although I am seeing the dreaded purplish gray mottled look that almost EVERYONE seems to tall about! I will be relying on the expertise of my spray tan gal to get me through this. I am still a bit swollen on my outer thighs. I'm not even looking for cellulite at this point, would just seem like a set up for disappointment.
My inner thighs are a different story. While the swelling has gone done enough for me to have my knees back, I still have what feels like a considerable amount. Progress though seems to be speeding up. A week ago I could barely bend my knee to a 90 degree angle. Now I can easily cross my legs. Next milestone is sitting cross-legged and sitting all the way back on my heels.
I've had two external ultrasound sessions and one manual lymphatic drain massage. The massage therapist used brushes instead of her hands. I was worried it would hurt but it felt DIVINE. I highly recommend this. It is exhausting to be in constant pain for a long period of time so the massage if nothing else was an hour of absolute relief.
I was taught how to apply kinesiology tape a couple years ago, not an expert, but have tried my best to apply it to some of my remaining bruises to see what happens.
I keep scaring the crap out of myself by reading all of the reviews in Cellulaze and I have to say that the actual Worth It rating seems like it should be more like 50%. However there is nothing to be gained for me to be pessimistic at this point so I am just going to keep doing the best I can to heal and hope for the best.
One positive note is that I can really see the smart lipo results on my upper inner thighs. That is awesome and I know the results will continue to improve.
One note re photos
It is soo hard to get good photos! I will ask my dr for my pre-op photos and will post them so everyone can see the difference. My mirror is next to my window so usually it's a great place to see cellulite but the photos make it look better than it is.
I am now three weeks post op. swelling has gone down considerably but the skin on my inner thighs is still intermittently hot and firm and blotchy red. If my legs are elevated they look OK but once I stand up they turn a more purplish color - the bruising and veins really stand out. The swelling also pretty much goes away when my legs are up but returns right away once I stand up. Definitely still wearing my spanx workout capris 24x7 for that reason. I wonder if other people have this and when it will go away.
The outer thighs are definitely smoother but I don't trust it yet because it could be swelling.
Pain is slowly diminishing. I started working out a couple of days ago which has felt pretty good, especially long stretching sessions which definitely make my legs feel better. I ran to my car yesterday because it was raining hard and the first fifty feet didn't hurt but I could definitely tell that I'm not ready for high impact yet.
One particularly annoying issue is all of the new spider veins EVERYWHERE. Docs really should start mention that. Clearly many women get them after this procedure.
I've had two lymphatic drain massages and four external ultrasound sessions so far. I guess they have helped but I'm not sure how I would really know that since I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't done them.
Smart lipo induration, bruising is pretty much gone. Hard to say with the swelling. My legs where I got the smart lipo are definitely smaller but I don't know if they'll get even smaller.
Overall I'm getting pretty tired of this recovery process! I hope this is all worth it!
Four week post op update
Not a lot to report. Everything is a little better than a week ago but still have bruising/ swelling/ mottled skin tone, just less so. At this rate it will definitely be several more weeks before my legs look normal. On the bright side I'm finally going to make the call that the cellulite on my outer thighs looks better. I can tell that most of the swelling in this area is gone and my skin is definitely smoother. The bruised look means I'm still nowhere near wearing shorts but at least I'm getting the result I've been looking for.
Nerve pain and itching seems to be getting worse, or at least not any better. Also lots of flaky skin. I've started to use a gentle glycolic acid face wash on my legs to clear it up.
I also started with vitamin K cream twice daily and will report on any progress I see with that. I've stopped taking arnica and bromelain. Maybe I'm wrong but it just feels like after four weeks of continuous use. I've probably gotten all of the advantages I'm going to get from them.
Will post pics at six weeks.
Almost five weeks.
Good news - swelling continues to go down very slowly and my skin continues to look smoother than it did pre-op.
Not so good news - "bruising" still very apparent although I use bruising as an umbrella term to describe what is likely a few different things. My legs look pretty good in the morning or after long periods of elevation. However standing up without compression for more than about ten minutes makes them turn reddish/ purple. Some of that is small capillaries that appear in clusters which from a distance look like a bruise. Some of it just looks like typical bruising. Brownish purple staining is always present but looks darker after standing up as well. Also, five of my twelve incision are red. Looks like PIH to me so I'm using retin a and hydroquinone in the evening on them.
I've also started vitamin K cream twice a day. Not sure if it will help but I'll do anything at this point if there is some chance it will help my legs return to a somewhat normal color.
Still wearing compression most of the time as I suspect the increase in bruised appearance when standing is still underlying swelling, leaky veins, lymph damage etc. Big question is, when will it resolve? Would love at least a general time frame. Sigh.
Seven weeks postop
18 Jul 2013
2 months post
Cellulaze on outer thighs is definitely less prominent but the discoloration is still very noticeable although ever so slightly better than it was 1-2 weeks ago. I really look like I took a fall down a long flight of stairs - I assume that is what people must think when they see my legs. Still have that tight feeling on my inner thighs and they still get a little swollen if I am out of my compression (wore it continuously for six weeks and now just wear it during workouts or if I am hanging out at home) or after a hard workout. Still a decent amount of itchiness at night but not terrible. Very little nerve pain at this point - maybe 1-2 sharp pains a day which take a minute or two to resolve.
Still using vitamin K cream - I have absolutely no idea if it is helping but I bought it so may as well use it. Have had two more lymphatic drain massages (four total) and may go in for one more although my swelling is pretty much gone so I assume I don't need more than one additional massage.
Smart lipo on my inner thighs makes a big difference. The skin is definitely a bit looser there but only noticeable when my legs are at certain angles. It may tighten up for the next several months but I don't know how much. You can't tell when I am standing up. Everything fits better!