Zap That Fat! - Vaser at Riverbanks, UK

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Tomorrow's the day! I'll be having vaser...

Tomorrow's the day! I'll be having vaser liposelection to my upper and lower abdomen and flanks (sides) by Dr Ravi Jain at Riverbanks Clinic in Harpenden, UK. I'm both excited and nervous. Excited because I can't wait to get rid of my horrible, pudgy stomach. Nervous because I am taking a gamble as to how it will turn out. I feel as though I have chosen my surgeon carefully, but after that what can you do? Your're in their hands. Just have to keep your fingers crossed I guess.

About me, I'm female, 36 years old, 5'5" tall and I weigh 10 stones 4 lbs (which I think is about 65kg). I'm the first to admit I'm overweight at the moment, but even when I wasn't I've always disliked my middle area. I haven't had a flat stomach since I was around fourteen years old. I have a job which involves sitting at a desk between 8.30am and 7.30pm Mon-Fri, and after that I tend to prioritize household jobs, preparing dinner and watching an hour of TV before bed, rather than exercising. I do a reasonable job at sticking to a low-carb diet (I avoid bread and pasta at all costs even though I like them a lot and I eat very few sweet things), but I do enjoy a large glass of wine with my dinner each evening. I'm generally active at the weekends, long walks, playing with the children etc.

So, I figured that I have two options if I want a slim mid-section: cut out the few pleasures in my diet forever and work out every day after a long shift at work; or pay a surgeon to permanently remove some of my fat cells to give me a smooth, flat contour. I've gone for the latter - wish me luck!!

Procedure day!

So let's start with the procedure day. I arrived at 8.30am and after about 45 mins, Dr Jain took photos and marked me up and I then went for a pre-op discussion with the anesthetist ahead of being sedated. Wearing disposable underwear and compression stockings I was laid down on the operating bed and I remember nothing after that.

I awoke to hear dr Jain telling me that the procedure was done and had gone well. He then left the room and the nurse and anesthetist helped to me to sit up and try to get me into the compression vest, garment and an adult nappy. This was a nightmare. I was anxious and my teeth were chattering non-stop, which the nurse kept telling me was the sedation. I was very unsteady on my feet and felt extremely faint. The garments were really tight and the whole experience was unsettling. I was guided into a reclining chair in an adjacent recovery room. I had some water to drink but continued to feel anxious and faint. My husband came to keep me company, I think this was around 2pm. The nurse looked after me and was absolutely fantastic. I had a generally horrible time post sedation and the area that had been treated was very sore. I remember crying and feeling enormously grateful my husband was there with me. Over the course of the next three hours in the recovery room I fainted, vomited all over the floor and wet my nappy when trying to have a wee on the loo, so all of the horribly tight garments had to come off again in order to change it. I think I had the maximum pain relief allowable: paracetamol, tramadol, ibuprofen and codeine. I had been at the clinic for 11 hours by the time I could go home.

Getting in and out of the car was very painful and walking was difficult. My husband helped me into bed, gave me a sleeping tablet and I managed to get 6-7 hours sleep, with a break half way through for a wee and more painkillers. Just a note on having a wee: it's almost impossible to do alone. The vest prevents you from leaning forward and the garment is very tight with the nappy underneath. The only way to go is to have someone sit between your legs, pulling the nappy to one side, holding a surgical bottle to catch the flow. Hideous!! Be sure to have a very good friend on hand those first few days.

4 days post op

It's been a tougher few days than I'd anticipated. The area that has been vasered hurts more that I thought it would and my mobility has been way more restricted that I thought it would, partly due to the best and garment, partly due to soreness. I needed help to go to the toilet, get in and out of bed, get in and out of the car, put my shoes on etc. The drains, two in the front and one between my bum cheeks, also take a bit of getting used to. I had a headache for the first couple of days, possibly a side effect of the sedation. I took antibiotics and painkillers three times a day.

I had bought 10 aftercare sessions for 1,000 GBP when I paid for my procedure. This was recommended by Dr Jain who said that the final outcome would be dependent on following their aftercare plan of manual lymphatic drainage massage, ultrasound treatment and pressure suit treatment over the first week following the Vaser. My first treatment was the morning after the procedure. This was my first chance to see my body without the garment, and even with bruising, swelling, drains etc I could see a big difference! My stomach was flat and I had a waist! I could feel muscle below the skin! What a relief! Dr Jain came by and reassured me that the procedure had been very straightforward and it was progressing well.

The treatment is a mixed bag. The therapists are wonderful, very friendly and helpful. The ultrasound is very pleasant, as is the 30 mins in the pressure suit. The manual lymphatic 'massage' is agony! I'm doing my best to stick with it, but MY GOD it hurts. It's effective at pushing out the swelling liquid that forms apparently, and thus avoiding seromas and other lumps. Here's some pictures...pretty grim bruises, beware!

8 days post op

A week has passed and i can't tell you how much better im feeling. Most of the soreness has now gone, apart from during the massages, and my mobility is now really only constrained by this vest rather than by pain. Ive had ten aftercare treatments now and a few more left to go. I think they really help disperse the swelling fluid. Im still very swollen, but the incisions have all healed, so no more nappy, which is a huge relief!

I still have brusing, but not nearly as bad as in the last photos i uploaded. Ill ask my husband to take a few more this weekend so you can see the difference.

The main frustration now is the vest, it really prevents you from picking up anything off the floor and bending over in general...what its designed to do i know, but day to day its annoying. Taking trousers on and off and doing shoes up are still almost impossible and i get neck ache from having to sit so upright when eating meals at a table or writing, typing at a going to try working standing up for 10 hours a day and see how i get on with that. Im back at work today, fortunately i have the flexibility to work from home, which is a godsend.

My advice to anyone considering this procedure is to think carefully in advance about the first three weeks post op whilst you have to wear this huge bulky vest under the compression garment day and night. Despite the obvious discomfort, the other consideration is that you look like the Mitchellin is very obvious to others that you're wearing something heavy duty. If you don't have the flexibility in terms of work and social life to hide away at home for three weeks, prepar yourself to start explaining to is so obvious they are bound to ask about it, even covered up in a big sweatshirt and tracksuit bottoms! Im now very much looking forward to Christmas Day, which marks the date when i can remove the vest for 12 hours a day! Father Christmas won't be able to top that!! :-)

9 days post op

Photos as promised! Still bruised and swollen, but on the mend.

11 days post op

This vest is driving me nuts! After nearly 2 weeks, uncomfortable doesn't come close to describing it.

The worst part is the itching. I think because my skin can't breathe, the vest compressed so close to the skin gets damp and makes the itching feel worse, it's really driving me around the bend. Plus, when the tactel material gets damp it sticks to my skin and when I move it feels like it's pulling my skin, which is the most unpleasant sensation.

The vest also digs in, especially under my boobs and against my lower back, which is already sore from swelling and the drains.

I'm still pretty swollen generally so I know I need to keep wearing it, but my God it's horrible. It makes me feel quite irritable at times, especially when trying to sleep. I'm literally counting down the days until I can take it off for 12 hours a day, which will be total bliss.

Whilst I had it off the other day before showering I tried my jeans on (I've worn jogging bottoms ever since the procedure) just to see if there was a difference in the way they fit. The good news is that even with all this swelling they look way too big on the waist, so that was v encouraging, especially in the middle of my grump with the vest. Just trying to hang in there! Only 9 days to go!

15 days post op

Only five more days til the vest comes off! Not that i'm counting or anything! ;-)

19 days post op

Just a quick update as all generally going well. Two more days of wearing this vest 24/7 until I can drop down to just 12 hrs a day.

My stomach is looking great, I'm really pleased. It's flat, has a nice shape and the bruising has just about gone. I've got a few lumps and bumps, but nothing significant and the therapist says they'll go with time.

My flanks are still bruised and mottled and one side in particular feels hard and sensitive to the touch, but nothing troublesome.

I still have swelling and numbness in my lower back and the cannula incision got infected and became sore so I went to my doctor who gave me an antibiotic cream. I've been using it three times a day for the last couple if days and it's starting to look less inflamed.

Aside from that no dramas. I am even managing to sleep a bit more comfortably in the vest and the itching has calmed down quite a lot thankfully! Whatever you do, don't have this procedure in the summertime, that would be unbearable!

One of the things I'm most looking forward to about being able to take this vest off during the daytime is getting out of jogging bottoms. After almost three weeks in an elasticated waistband it will be great to feel like less of a slob! Jeans dresses and skirts here I come!!!

25 days post op

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! I had the best present ever: got to take the best off!! Woo hoo!!! For the first time since the procedure I felt slim and no longer look like robocop.

We've visited quite a few people over the Xmas period that hadn't seen me for a while and everyone has commented that I have 'lost weight' (which I have, but I do feel rather a fraud knowing that I've also had 3-4 litres sucked out).

I had an issue yesterday due to wearing tights. They left a deep indentation around my waist where they'd dug in and I was really worried I'd be stuck with it for good, but thankfully it had pretty much gone this morning after ten hrs in the vest.

The incision on my back still hasn't healed, still going with the antibiotic cream. Might have to go back to the doctor of it's not healed in a week I think.

Here are some pictures from a couple of days ago. As you can see, I got a pressure sore from lying awkwardly on the vest one night in bed, it rubbed the skin til it was sore. A bit of mottling still on the sides and my lower abdomen, lower back and waist sides are still hard and tender, but getting very slightly softer each day. Two and a half more weeks of the vest 12 hours a day (or night) and then I'll be free!

Almost 6 weeks post op

My recovery is still going well and in many ways it feels longer than 6 weeks ago since i had the procedure.

The incision just above my bum has finally healed, so as of yesterday im no longer using antibiotic cream, just bio oil now on all six incisions. I think the one that got infected and the two on my bikini line will always be visible, but im optimistic that the others will fade.

Since xmas day ive been removing the vest/binder for 12 hours a day (i.e. At night) without any issues. I have to be very careful about sitting when i dont have it on though or the compression garment digs in and causes lines across my mid section, which makes me look like a roast pork joint tied up with string!

My stomach is getting a little more definition week by week and although i havent measured my waist since the procedure i can tell by my clothes that ive lost several inches. The upper half of my abdomen is now almost soft, but the lower half still hard, which i like so im in no hurry for it to soften! Such a novelty having a rock hard stomach! The numbness in my lower back is reducing very slowly, as is the mottling on my sides.

We're going on a beach holiday in 4 weeks time, which will be two and a half months after the procedure. I plan to continue wearing the vest under my compression garment at night and just the garment during the day until then, after which time its bikinis all the way!!!
London Physician

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