It’s been a little over 1 month since I had the procedures of smart lipo on my chin/neck and buccal fat pad removal and will write a story of the experience from the outset rather than coming back to provide updates.
I have always had a fairly chubby chin/neck and moon face inherited from my father. I recently turned 40 and found it harder to lose weight in this area. I always hated my fat neck and chipmunk cheeks but also started to find it increasingly uncomfortable to do up the top button on shirts. What’s more due to the excess fat in my cheeks I would often bite my cheeks when eating which could be incredibly painful and frustrating. So my decision to have work done was not pure vanity but for the sake of physical health and comfort.
I first discovered smart lipo for the chin but at the same time discovered buccal fat pad removal which looked exactly what I needed. I live in London and was going to get the procedure done here but after doing some research I found Dr Vincente Rodrigo in Budapest who does both these procedures, Hungary. After contacting their office by email and sending them photos, I was advised by his assistant Joanna that the procedures were appropriate for me and they could do both at the same time for a substantially cheaper cost than I would have paid had I had it done in the UK. They charged around £2,000 where it would have been at least double this in the UK. So I booked myself a cheap return flight with Easyjet for 1 week in Budapest. My fear in getting both procedures done at the same time was it being too obvious that I’d had cosmetic surgery but Joanna told me that both would leave subtle results that wouldn’t be too noticeable.
So I flew into Budapest on Sunday night and my operation was first thing on Monday morning. While I would have preferred to have a consultation where we could have chatted about the procedure, the first time I met Dr Rodrigo I was already in my operating gown. He took a look at me and started drawing the markings of where he needed to perform the procedure. I found this a little disconcerting but accepted that due to the rushed nature of my visit I couldn’t waste time chitchatting. Being an experienced surgeon with overwhelmingly positive reviews (+95%) I decided to let him get on with it.
So before long he wheeled me into the operating theatre.
The procedure took about an hour. He first performed the buccal fat pad removal. He injected the inside of my cheeks and got to work cutting and pulling out the fat. He seemed to struggle more with my right side, there was a fair bit of tugging going on and at one point he pressed his instrument into my gum to which I groaned and he apologized but it was no big deal. When he finished the right side he moved onto the left which he did much quicker and with much less tugging. After stitching up my cheeks he went to work on my neck. He said because I wasn’t particularly overweight, he just needed to make one incision under my chin rather than the additional 2 behind the ears. So he injected under my chin which hardly hurt at all and the numbness kicked in very quickly. Then I could feel him insert the lipo rod and scrape up and down all along the sides of my chin and neck, soon followed by the sucking instrument. The procedure seemed all very pedestrian and I got the impression he did this as easily as a barber gives a haircut. Less than an hour later and he put in a single stitch into my chin and told me he was done. He said everything went well, and he showed me the buccal fat he had removed. I would guess he removed about 15-20 ml from each cheek and it was reassuring to see the blobs of fat that used to be in my face. A head strap was placed on me by the nurse and I was wheeled back to my room to rest. When Joanna first saw me she looked slightly concerned which I found a bit worrying. She asked me to smile slightly and then said the good thing was there was no nerve damage. I found this a little disconcerting as it sounded like she was trying to find the good in a bad situation. However she didn’t say anything negative so I decided not to worry. After resting in my room for a couple of hours I was ready to leave the hospital and got back to my hotel. I walked back with the head strap on which I found quite embarrassing despite being in a country where no one knows me nor will ever know me.
As I was told that I had to wear the chin strap all day every day for the week, I spent the rest of my time pretty much holed up in my hotel room. I did take off my head strap to go to his office the next day, which thankfully being so close to my hotel room was probably for a total of an hour and a half, but to which Joanna still wasn’t happy that I did. But neither did she make a big deal out of it. The post-op consultation was positive and Joanna said that my swelling had gone down a lot from the previous day, at which point I realised why she had looked so concerned the day before. However she said that that everything looked good and I should continue to wear the head strap for the rest of the week.
So I spent the week in my hotel room watching movies and convalescing. The pain was minimal. My neck was swollen and yellow bruised and felt sensitive to touch with the odd spasm sensation and my jaw ached a bit. But by about Thursday I felt like I wanted to get out a bit so I went to the shopping mall from about 2-6pm after which I got back on put the strap on straight away. I spent the week eating instant noodles and sandwiches. I think the noodles flavouring probably had high salt content which was supposed to be bad for bruising, but I wasn’t going to obsess about it too much. I had to chew carefully and didn’t open my mouth too wide, yet at the same time the incision in my cheeks sat above where my upper and lower teeth rows met so there was never an issue of accidentally biting the wound. After each time I ate I rinsed my mouth with Oral B mouthwash. I later bought Listerine which was better as I think it contains alcohol and provides a better clean. It stings a little but not enough to cause pain and is reassuring that it’s killing the bacteria.
For the first couple of nights I slept upright which wasn’t very easy but the 3rd night I piled about 3 pillows on top of each other and lay down attempting to keep my head elevated as high as possible. I hoped I wasn’t breaking any doctor’s orders but I had much better sleeps in that position.
I went to see Dr Rodrigo again on the Friday. He said everything was looking great and at which point he took out the single stitch under my chin.
My flight back to London was on Saturday night but I was feeling so well that I decided to spend Saturday afternoon in the shopping mall again. However I made a big and stupid mistake of ordering nachos for lunch. This was probably the worst thing I could have chosen to eat as it was like putting shards of broken glass in my mouth. Due to my absent-mindedness I shoved a nacho into my cheek right onto the wound. I panicked thinking I might have torn the wound open. I quickly went to the nearest pharmacy and bought more Listerine to wash my mouth out. Thankfully there was no blood. I had gotten away with. But please learn from my mistake, DO NOT EAT NACHOS FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST 2 WEEKS AFTER BUCCAL FAT PAD REMOVAL!
I arrived back in London on Saturday night and by Monday morning I was back to work (office). While my neck was still slightly yellow I don’t think anyone noticed and received no comments of suspicion, though some people commented that I had lost weight. However as I had lost a fair bit of weight before I had the surgery people were just assuming it was my diet. By about half way through the 2nd week and the yellow bruising had pretty much disappeared though the swelling still remained but it wasn’t noticeable.
After 3 weeks I played football again for the first time. This appeared to be against all advice I had read (I think no sports for 3 months is the general consensus) but I simply couldn’t see why I shouldn’t play. Both incisions in my cheeks had healed and my neck was no longer excessively swollen so I felt there was no risk in playing even if I were to receive a knock. I played for an hour and a half without any issue whatsoever.
Now just over one month later and I am delighted with my results. My fat neck and chubby cheeks are gone and I have a nicely defined jawline and have nice contours beneath my cheekbones, I even have cute dimples when I smile! Yet at the same time the changes are so subtle that no one has actually guessed that I’ve had anything done, however I have been receiving compliments on how well I look. Because I (intentionally) had made a song and dance to everyone that I was on a diet a few weeks before having the procedure, everyone is now just assuming that the results are due to my diet. And the incision mark under my chin from the lipo is virtually invisible. If I pull my head back a tiny blemish can be seen but it’s too small and insignificant to be noticed.
So my conclusion is this has been a total and utter success. I am delighted I had these procedures done and for the first time in years, possibly in my life, I like what I see in the mirror and I don’t get depressed seeing my face in a selfie. I always previously avoided selfies and would insist people take a photo of me from a least 2 metres away and even then I would try to angle my face downward to avoid that big moon face. Now, I am happy for photos to be taken at any angle. This is one of the best cosmetic decisions I’ve made in my life and only regret not doing it years earlier.
There are a couple of things I want to reassure anyone thinking of going through with either of these procedures. I’ll preface it by saying that I’m not a fan of cosmetic surgery that produces unnatural results. It was essential that the surgery be subtle and discreet enough for no one to see that work had been done yet at the same time making your appearance more aesthetically pleasing.
1. Smart lipo on the chin/neck is the perfect procedure because (once the bruising fades after about 7 days) the swelling actually leaves your face looking close to how it did before the operation. So when your friends/family see you again there’s no dramatic difference in your appearance. However over the course of the following 6 months your face will slim out so gradually that it’s unlikely anyone will guess what’s happened.
2. Buccal fat pad removal is the perfect procedure for people with chubby cheeks/moon face because there is absolutely no visible sign of surgery. If done well the change is subtle and you’ll enjoy a more contoured face without any scarring or synthetic effects.
I hope this information proves helpful to anyone contemplating either of these procedures