When I first went in to Dr. Reichel’s office I was a bit nervous. After all, I have had my double chin all my life (it’s genetic) and did I really need to spend the money on something I thought others might consider frivolous? So I was understandably a bit jumpy when Dr. Reichel came in and I told her what I was looking for.
Her matter of fact approach and friendly tone put me at ease and both she and her staff were so helpful and considerate. I did not feel as if I were getting some sort of sales pitch -that was very important for me as I feel it is very wrong to prey on a person’s insecurities. I went back several times with questions like ‘Will I be completely out?’ ‘No, you will be awake for the full procedure.’ to ‘Since you pull the skin away from the fat layer, will that stupid black chin hair that always shows up go away?’ ‘Unfortunately not, but we do have laser hair removal if it really bothers you.’
I was so excited the day of my procedure. I had my little head sock (compression garment) ready to go and I had my antibiotics and pain pills –I was set! We took some ‘before’ pictures and then Dr. Reichal took sharpie markers and drew all over my chin – it tickled! I had a shot to relax me and they injected some chemicals to do the work so that the fat could be removed. I spent the time chatting with both the nurse and Dr. Reichel. The conversation is a little fuzzy but I remember laughing quite a bit.
Once the chemicals had done their job, Dr. Reichel started removing the fat layer. I felt pressure, no pain, kind of like at the dentist really. She had me make some faces, and it felt a little strange, but was not unpleasant and before I knew it, we were done! The nurse helped me put my little head sock on and I looked a little swollen and was tired but all in all, it was not as bad as I had thought it would be.
The first day after the procedure, I went ahead and took the pain medication just in case, but it really did not hurt all that much until the second day. On that day it kind of felt like I had fallen and banged the tip of my chin on a table and that day I was really glad to have the pain meds. I had thought my biggest challenge would be keeping the little head sock on 24/7 but to be honest, it felt far more comfortable to have it on that to not have it on. This was a good thing because I have a tendency to channel Houdini when I sleep. Any medical device I have had to wear to bed always ends up neatly by my bedside in the morning and I have no memory of removing it. Luckily, I liked having the sock on and it stayed put.
The pain was not bad at all, and only lasted a couple of days. Then it kind of tingled and I would get a little zinger every once in awhile but that did not last all that long. The hardest part I think was the itchiness. As the scar tissue forms and the nerves grow back it feels very itchy, but the itchy is below the skin so scratching really does not work. I found that gently rubbing the area (I used a moisturizing skin lotion) was far more effective.
After the procedure, I kept checking the area – it felt weird as the nerves had to grow back and the skin was numb, and my neck felt lumpy. Dr. Reichel had explained how scar tissue would form between my layer of skin and the layer of muscle beneath, but I still was a bit worried that I would have a lumpy neck. She had also said there might be some bruising but I really did not have much at all, maybe a little yellowish tinge in one spot, and the incisions were small and in an out of the way place (one behind each ear, one on the underside of my chin). I actually had to show people where they were.
I had the procedure done on Thursday, took Friday off from work, rested for the weekend and was back to work on Monday. I kept feeling the lumpy bits beneath the skin but I reassured myself that Dr. Reichel had said there would be swelling and it could take 3-6 months to actually see the final result. As I repeatedly examined the lumps, they seemed to start forming a line and a light went on in my head. I was probably feeling the leading edge of scar tissue that I had been told would form. This scar tissue would keep my skin adhered to the muscle even as I age (I’m 42) and I would not experience the chin waddle that I have seen in so many of my female relatives. That made me excited so of course I had to track the progress of the lumps coming down from my chin and up from my neck.
Today I am happy to report, I do not have a lumpy neck. Before I had done the procedure I had lost 38 pounds, and people had noticed here and there. I did the liposuction and removed that HORRIBLE double chin I had and suddenly I am getting comments like ‘wow, you look 10 years younger’ and ‘wow, you have really lost a lot of weight’. The chin made a huge difference and my sister, who has the same chin, is jealous! I told her she needs to catch a flight out to Seattle and go see Dr. Reichel.
Want to hear the weirdest thing? I would catch a glimpse of my reflection as I walked by a window or a mirror and I was having trouble with self recognition. I would look and then go ‘Wait! That’s me!’ followed by laughing at myself for not recognizing that it was me in the first place.
Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! I used to refuse to let people take pictures of me, now I hop in front of the camera every chance I get and there is always a big smile. I receive a lot of compliments on the new look (most people think it was due to the weight loss unless I have told them) and I could not be happier with the results. The scars are pretty much non-existent now and if you did not know the ‘before’ me, you would have no clue. Dr. Reichel commented that I now had a ‘pixie’ chin and I have heard the same thing from other people. I love it! Dr. Reichel is like an artist. She is making the world beautiful one person at a time.