BEFORE SURGERY - I wanted to share my Vaser...
BEFORE SURGERY - I wanted to share my Vaser Liposuction experience in the hope that it’s useful for those younger people who are perhaps considering having this surgery, as it’s a huge decision to make, particularly at a young age, when you’re working full time and before you’ve had children etc.
I’m 22 years old, I haven’t had any kids, and I have always been relatively petite (I’m only 5 foot 3 tall and I have never worn clothes larger than a size 10).
Excessive drinking and late night eating in my first and second year at university saw my weight increase quite significantly from 8 stone 7 lbs to 10 stone 2 lbs. In my final year I decided to lose the weight and it dropped down to 8 stone 9 lbs by simply eating less – I still ate biscuits, chocolate, sweets and the lot, but with only eating 2 meals a day this didn’t matter, and the pounds dropped off.
Although I knew I was not overweight, and my BMI was exactly as it should be, I still couldn’t get over the fact that I had quite large hips and love handles, particularly in relation to my waist. I also had some stubborn pockets of fat on my lower abdomen and inner thighs that I started to dwell on. I tried dieting a few times but never really had the motivation to be strict with myself as I was still relatively small and it wasn't essential.
I’d never considered traditional liposuction, but when research led me to Vaser Lipo I had my heart set on going ahead. I have already had a breast augmentation when I was 18 year old due to having very small, tubular breasts. I had implants put it to make them fuller and a size C/D. Because of this the idea of surgery didn't really phase me, I had already experienced general anaesthetic and the same surgery clinic that did my breasts were also able to perform vaser lipo. I spent hours on this website reading through reviews and they confirmed to me that I would be an ideal candidate, so I booked my consultation
Photos Taken 1 Night Before Surgery
Here are a couple of photos of myself before the surgery - As you can see although I am not overweight I have relatively wide hips and a small pouch of stubborn fat on my abdomen. As I am only 5 foot 3 I felt they were disproportionately wide and I began to hate my body like this. (The blue blur on my hip is to disguise a tattoo)
Vaser Lipo Consultation
I had my Vaser Lipo consultation at a clinic on Harley Street. I went in to see my surgeon Dr Mileto and he was lovely. I explained that I wanted my stomach, sides and thighs slimmed down, and after examining my body he said I was a good candidate for the surgery - I was a healthy weight, fit and almost at my ideal weight – I just wanted a flatter stomach and a slimmer shape. He said in order to achieve what I wanted I would need to have four areas of my body done – upper abdomen, lower abdomen, flanks, and inner thighs – and for this he would recommend a general anesthetic as the procedure would last 2-3 hours. I was also told later by my patient care coordinator that they are able to take more fat if you have a general as opposed to just a local. Although there was an additional cost for the anesthetist I was happy to do this, I thought I would be much more comfortable being fully sedated and I had no troubles with the general anesthetic when I had my breast augmentation – it is after all hugely safe.
I booked a date almost exactly 4 weeks from the consultation day. Luckily it fell on a Friday so I would have my worst days at home at the weekend. My care coordinator told me it took about five days for her to feel normal again, so with my operation on the Friday I booked the following Monday and Tuesday off of work. I was SO excited!
1 day Pre-Op
I was ridiculously excited and a little bit nervous all day. I ate and drank what I wanted all day as I had been told I needed to stop eating from midnight and to stop drinking soon after, in preparation for the anesthetic (they don’t want to risk any chance of you being sick under general).
I started taking Arnica tablets about a week before surgery day, Nelson’s Arnica tablets which you can buy in Boots. My care coordinator, who had Vaser Lipo a few months ago, told me these would be really good for the swelling and the bruising (In hindsight she was right – I didn’t have as much bruising as I anticipated following surgery – although quite a bit on my legs I had hardly anything on my abdomen!)
OPERATION DAY! FINALLY!
I was ridiculously excited and a little bit nervous all day. I ate and drank what I wanted all day as I had been told I needed to stop eating from midnight and to stop drinking soon after, in preparation for the anaesthetic (they don’t want to risk any chance of you being sick under general).
I started taking Arnica tablets about a week before surgery day, Nelson’s Arnica tablets which you can buy in Boots. My care coordinator, who had vaser lipo a few months ago, told me these would be really good for the swelling and the bruising (In hindsight she was right – I didn’t have as much bruising as I anticipated following surgery – although quite a bit on my begs I had hardly anything on my abdomen!)
Fortunately, being chauffeur driven to and from the hospital was included in the cost of the surgery, so my chauffeur collected me at 4.30am and drove me to hospital, about a 2 hour drive away. Upon arrival I was taken to my room which had a bed, big window, flat screen television and sofa. The nurse told me to have a quick shower and to pop on my medical gown and medical stockings (the stocking are to help prevent blood clots during and after surgery when you are immobile) and remove all jewellery. I had a few checks done by the nurse – blood pressure, urine sample checked, a blood test, my weight and a few measurements taken for the compression garment I would be wearing straight after surgery.
I saw the anaesthetist first who was lovely and very reassuring – he told me how many thousands of patients he had put under a general before and how safe it was, and promised me I was in very good hands which I really appreciated, as I was beginning to get quite nervous. I seemed to be a lot more nervous about the general anaesthetic more than the surgery itself, which was silly as both are so safe!
Next the surgeon came in to confirm everything was okay and to mark up my body with pen (see photo). Again Dr Mileto was so reassuring and lovely. He took some before photos from all different angles with a camera which I will post on here when I get hold of them. My patient care coordinator had the same surgeon to do her Vaser Lipo and she told me he was generous with the amount of fat he removed. I mentioned this to him and said I would be grateful if he would be generous with me too!
I was sleepy from the 4.30am collection so decided to have a nap in the bed whilst I waited to be called – I was called in at around 11am (an hour earlier than the 12 midday time I was told) and a nurse led me up to the surgery theatre. Everyone was so lovely and reassuring and kept me chatting so wasn’t thinking about being nervous, there was music playing in the background too so it was a very comfortable atmosphere.
After less than 3 minutes in there I had a needle inserted into my hand and the anaesthetic injected, I fell straight asleep and woke up what felt like seconds later, although unbelievably 4 hours had passed!
Initially I felt no pain, just very tight as I was compressed in a garment (see photos). Upon waking up everything was a bit of a blur and I began to get quite nervous again in my semi-conscious state. My right hip and leg suddenly began vibrating which made me panic, but the nurse told me this was normal and that it was just some fluid leaving the incision there. As you can see from the photos it stained my nice clean garment almost straight away. I was given a gas mask to help me relax and I felt much better within minutes – still feeling no pain as such, just a barely noticeable ache.
I was due to stay one night in hospital, and it was very smooth. I was told a lot of people don’t feel like eating after general anaesthetic but I was desperate for some food, and they bought me some biscuits, a tuna sandwich and crisps of which I ate most of it apart from the crusts. They emphasised that it was really important I drank a lot of water to flush out the anaesthetic and fluids. I had a jug by my bed and tried to drink as much as possible.
The nurses came in regularly to check my blood pressure and keep me topped up on painkillers, and I had some help me for the first time I needed the toilet. With all the water I was drinking I needed the toilet about 4 or 5 times during the night. It was quite a long ordeal – lowering my bed, slowly using my arms to push up and lower myself to the ground, and shuffling very slowly to the toilet – I wasn’t able to sit or bend in my garment at all so had to stand up and hover to wee!
I was told it was good to get up and go to the toilet and that it was important to be mobile as quickly as possible to prevent blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. Even in bed I tried to raise my legs and circle my ankles every hour to keep a good blood circulation.
Both my anesthetist and my surgeon came to visit me separately in the early evening. The anesthetist told me everything went well and asked me how I was feeling. My surgeon then came in and I asked how much fat he had removed - He said he had inserted 3 litres of fluid to break down the fat and removed almost 3 litres of fat, which he said was a lot for someone of my size, so I was very happy! He said I would be very happy with the results. Obviously because of the inserted liquid and swelling I would actually be heavier now than before the surgery but as the swelling subsides and the remaining emulsified fat leaves my body naturally I will gradually get lighter again.
I was a bit anxious about falling asleep and kept jumping awake just as I was about to nod off, but at 3am the nurse suggested I sat up a bit more to make breathing in the garment easier, and I fell asleep soon after that.
1 day Post-Op - RECOVERY
I left the hospital with two lots of painkillers to last me a week and some antibiotics. My chauffeur collected me at 7am after a light breakfast and I stayed awake the car journey home. I was still needing the toilet a LOT so despite going before I left I needed it again soon after.
In terms of recovery it was pretty simple - keep the compression garment on 24/7 for 1 week, take the painkillers and antibiotics as instructed, and do not shower, bath or exercise - just rest and walk.
I was feeling the pain more today, similar to if I had been hit by a bus! Getting in and out of the car was painful and so was walking up and down steps - I spent most of the day lying down on the sofa and had a friend round to cook and keep me company. I was told to make sure someone was with me the first 24 hours after leaving the hospital to help and be there if I suddenly felt any severe pain.
The pain was bearable though - it only hurt when I moved. When I was lying still it was almost as if I hadn't had a big surgical procedure 24 hours before. I kept taking my arnica pills and I felt like these were working, and although I think the pain would have been bearable without painkillers I continued with these too.
I found it much easier sitting upright when I went to sleep and found it much easier to breathe deeper this way - the compression garment could feel really tight with the swelling so I felt quite claustrophobic lying down.
All in all it was a relatively okay and smooth first day of recovering and looking at my body in the garment in the mirror I could already see results!
6 Days Post-Op
It’s the first day I haven’t taken any painkillers, only my antibiotics, and I feel surprisingly okay – there is a slight ongoing ache but it is not painful enough to notice. I’m still walking with the posture and speed of someone four times my age but my muscles feel a lot more relaxed now when I walk and I can stand upright. It's mainly in my legs that I'm feeling the pain, probably because my legs are by far the most bruised part of my body - at least from what I can see as I still haven't removed my garment yet, just peaked underneath.
I went back to work on day 5 with a pillow for my chair. I was no longer feeling lethargic and was able to get on with work just fine, but getting in and out the car was a struggle. I actually felt quite well at work - I got up every now and then to walk around as its quite uncomfortable on an office chair - I was still limping around slowly too - but again I only really felt pain when moving from a sitting to a standing position or vice versa. Once I was sitting/standing I was fine.
I'm still taking arnica tablets to help with the bruising and swelling which I think are working. What's bothering more than anything is the itching! From about day 4 I began getting really itchy, particularly on my lower back where most of my swelling was. I tried to just gently rub the itchy area over the garment as opposed to scratching as I didn't want to agitate the wounds. I've been told the itching is just a result of the nerves fixing themselves and completely normal!
I decided to take 1 pain killer before bed, as I usually wake up once in the night feeling a bit of pain, particularly when moving positions. I have been sleeping on my back each night though as this is the best position for keeping the garment smooth with no folds.
7 Days Post-Op - FIRST WOUND CARE APPOINTMENT, GARMENT OFF AND STITCHES OUT!
I had my my first wound care appointment this morning, which I was really excited about. Just to be reassured that everything was healing okay made a big difference to how I felt, and more than anything I was ridiculously happy to be able to start showering again and to be able to remove my blood-stained garment!
My nurse was absolutely lovely and answered all my questions. When I removed my garment I felt quite faint, so my nurse suggested I lied down on the bed so that she could remove my stitches, as opposed to me standing. I was a bit worried about this, thinking there would be some sort of pain, but I felt absolutely nothing when she removed the dressings and cut the stitches out, to my relief! This was the first time I was able to see my whole body - I had some yellowish bruising on my abdomen and quite a lot of purple and green bruising on the sides and backs of my legs - but from what I could see lying down I was really happy and I could already see a difference!
There was one stitch on my bum that she was unable to get to - I stood up to make it easier for her but the leg of the stitch wasn't coming out whatsoever. I started to feel faint again and wished I had eaten more than just pineapple for breakfast, but the nurse fetched me some biscuits and water and I felt better almost straight away!
What surprised me more than anything was how TINY the incision marks were. They were barely visible even after just one week and all of them had healed really well. Unfortunately I realised my surgeon decided to make one incision right where the hole for my belly button piercing was (which I removed for surgery) so that was the only disappointing discovery of the day!
I brought with me my new black garment with shorter legs, which I squeezed into - I found putting it on for the first time really hard, but the nurse showed me it was all about where the seams of the garment were - it would only fit if the seams were along the insides of my legs, so finally I was able to do the fastenings up! Getting my bruised body back into the garment for the first time was quite uncomfortable - I could really feel the bruises but it was definitely bearable. It's supposed to be quite hard to get back into the garment after you've taken it off, as the body swells a little bit when the compression is removed, but once fastened in I felt great, if a little claustrophobic.
Below is a photo of me at work after 7 days in my new black garment - as you can see from the photo my waist is looking noticeably smaller. I was really excited to have my first full glimpse in the mirror at myself with no garment when I got home after work that evening.
2 Weeks Post-Op
The past week has been a dream - Day 8 marked the beginning of the end for me - I was walking around London all day with no pain at all. It's still only in the mornings that occasionally I wake up and feel quite stiff, particularly in my thighs, as well as at the end of the day if I've been quite active. I haven't had any itching for a long time now, and with each day that goes by my garment is getting easier and easier to squeeze into - signs that the swelling is gradually subsiding! I actually find the garment really quite comfortable to be in, when I take it off to shower I miss having it on!
I had two Manual Lymphatic Drainage massages during this second week which I found really relaxing. A lot of people tend to get out of their garment and have a massage in the first couple of days following surgery. I was advised this was a bad idea - not only should you keep your body compressed for 5-7 days after surgery 24/7, but having a massage straight after surgery would be extremely painful and therefore not very beneficial. You still have all your stitches in and wound dressings on straight after surgery, so I would advise people to wait a week before beginning these. By this second week, although still a little bit bruised, I found the massages almost painless and my masseuse was lovely and knew a lot about the recovery for Vaser Lipo. Your lymphatic nodes are just under the skin so these massages are very gentle and soothing. Following a 45 minute massage I genuinely felt a lot less stiff and swollen, and I was able to move around with a lot more ease afterwards. My masseuse said I was looking really really good, probably the best she'd ever seen, which is always good to hear! She advised me on what kinds of food I should be eating, such as berries, pears, carrots and avocados etc. Any food with high water retention is great. She also reminded me of the importance of drinking loads and loads and loads of water! I keep a water bottle in the office at work and fill it up 5 or 6 times a day to ensure I keep drinking enough.
The massages are very expensive though - so I think I'll book in another 2 more sessions then try and mimic it on myself at home - I know there are a few youtube tutorials that show you what to do! For my next post I will get some progress photos up.