My first surgery was to straighten out the "shark bite" left on my left inner thigh, and the ridges left on hips and flanks. The results were so good that I have also recently had him do my upper and lower abdomen. He takes extreme care in working on contouring so you end up with a smooth result.
Here are some things I have learned along the way that might help you if you decide to have lipo:
1. Get some arnica montana from your local health food store and take them for 4 days before surgery and 4 days after. They help a lot with bruising.
2. If fear of anaesthesia is keeping you from doing this, you should consider going the "local" route. After you have a couple of Xanax (or similar sedatives), you should be relaxed enough to do this. I won't lie, I was pretty much a weenie about this the first time, but I had both Xanax and nitrous oxide, and I wouldn't have cared if the cut my finger off! I wouldn't recommend going without sedatives; I did this last time because I was driving myself. While it doesn't "hurt", the anxiety sucks. Be sure to take enough to feel "goofy"; definitely say "yes" to nitrous oxide if offered. Sadly, Dr. Hamel does not use gas at the moment.
3. Have you had a baby? This does not come close to that level of pain. The worst part of the procedure is the first shot of numbing medication, which stings for 1-2 seconds.
3. Part 2 is when lidocaine and wet solution are pumped into the areas to be worked on. You may occasionally feel the cannula when it gets to the edges of the numbed area - sort of like bumping into a countertop - but it is not frequent and uncomfortable but not painful. If you are having work done over ribs, you may also experience an unusual sensation, kind of ticklish, as the cannula goes over that area. This is where I think being "properly medicated" with a couple of percocet or xanax is most important. Most of my discomfort came from anxiety due to sounds and expectations which would be greatly diminished by a couple of Mother's little helpers!
4.After lidocaine (which took about 15 minutes for 2 areas), everything else is a piece of cake. You are so numb, you feel almost nothing.
5. My procedure lasted about 1.5 hours including undressing, prepping, clean up and bandaging and redressing. Not bad for a new body!
6. Find someone to drop you off and pick you up. I am a stubborn mule, and drove myself both ways meaning I wasn't as drugged up as I would have liked. Even so, I didn't feel bad. I dressed myself and drove home with no trouble.
7. When you get home (or to a hotel), DON'T remove your bandages or garments except for changing pads. You will probably be draining fluid in places and retaining fluid in others which will make you panic that something as gone wrong. It hasn't, but you need to wait a few days (or longer) to know that for certain.
8. When I showered, I wore large band aids over my incisions to keep water, soap, etc. out..
9. As soon as it was comfortable, I did massage on the areas that has been worked on. It seemed to help in getting rid of fluid and in keeping knots and ropiness reduced.
10. If you're like me, you'll develop a few bumps, bulges and divots during the healing process. Don't freak out. Do keep your compression garment on. They go away.
11. If you have 6 lbs of fat removed, don't expect the scale to register a 6 lb loss. You will be swollen, both with tumescent fluid and bodily fluid aiding the healing process, and that may equal or exceed the weight you lost. Be patient. It will come off!
12. When you take your garment off for inspection, do it when you get up in the morning. My areas always looked best then, but by the end of the day, gravity could done some pretty weird things to me!
13. You will have days where you didn't look as good as the day before. Don't worry. This goes on for a while.
14. Drink water, lots of water. This helps flush out remaining surgical fluids and medication. If you can do it, stay light on the salt. This helps with the fluctuations you see in the mirror each day.
15. If you've done hips/flanks/legs, get yourself a few pairs of good compression tights and wear them! L'eggs sells a stocking called "Active Support" that is marvellous if you want sheer panty hose - 30% spandex in the leg is the key. I cut the feet off them so I can wear with sandals or dresses, since they are much cheaper than Spanx.
I hope this is useful to someone out there. My last piece of advice is to save yourself some anxiety and please use these online boards to find others who have had the same issues, they're probably there! And please post when you're done so you can help someone out as well.