I have struggled with my weight my entire life. ...
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. After losing 52 pounds, my weight has remained stable for the past year. My upper arms are huge (13.5 inches). Nothing I have done makes any difference, so I decided to look into Smart Lipo because I would never consider brachioplasty.
I had my consultation with a surgeon that I know and trust. Even though I'm 51 years old, he said I had young skin and should do well with lipo. I'm not seeking perfection. I would just like to be able to wear short sleeves without feeling so self-conscious. We agreed that he would do my upper arms, bra patch (back) and the fat under my arms.
While talking, he recommended his "weekend chin and neck lift" to tighten my neck, improve my jowels and get rid of my double chin. When he gave me the price of $8000, I really thought it was a lot based on the prices I've seen on this site, but he is the only surgeon I would trust to do this in my area so I said yes.
Everything will be done with local anesthesia so I'll be awake (yuck). I will have two or three different tablets to take to help me relax, but I'm still anxious about it being painful. My procedures will be done Thursday, July 10th and I will have to return to work the following Monday, so not much "me time". I will continue to post and I'll add pictures because I know how helpful the information on this site has been to me.
I've started taking VitaMedica Recovery supplements. I have Arnica and Bromelain ready to begin taking 3 days prior to my procedure. I've slowly stopped taking my Prozac and I won't take any additional vitamins or supplements until after my procedures. The doctor will provide 2 garments for my arms and back and a strap for my neck and chin. I have purchased compression sleeves for my stage 2 garment.
I'm still reading every review I can find. I sure hope that I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't experience a a lot of pain during the procedures.
Any comments about your specific experiences while getting lipo with local anesthesia will be greatly appreciated. Only 2 weeks until the big day.
Before pictures added...
Here are some before pictures. As I said before, I'm not seeking perfection but just want to look the best I can.
Picked up meds from the pharmacy.
These are the meds that were called in for me: Lorazepam, Hydrocodon, Keflex and Clonidine. If anyone has experience with this combination of medications, please tell me about your experiences. Is there anything that I can get over-the-counter for nausea? 12 days until the big day...so excited!
Feeling anxious...and excited.
I think my biggest concern about my upcoming procedure is how quickly I can return to work. I know that I need to give my body time to heal, but I have only requested 2 days off work. My procedure will be on Thursday morning and I'm supposed to return to work the following Monday. My doctor says that I'll be fine to return to work the following Monday. I have often put work ahead of healing and have paid the price with extended recovery times. After much thought today, I've decided that I will take the time I need. Hopefully I can return to work as scheduled, but if not...that's okay too. The world won't end if I have to take a few extra days off :)
Getting closer and closer...
I've started taking my Arnica per my doctor's instructions. I've been off my Prozac for 7 days now and not feeling any different. The only other prescription meds that I take are Synthroid and Hydrochlorothyazide. I plan to go to CVS today to get Benedryl, Dramamine, Neosporin, Pads and Bandaids. I already have all my meds for surgery, Bromelain, Arnica Gel, Post surgery vitamins, and extra streight Tylenol. Is there anything that I'm forgetting?
I'm beginning to second guess the "weekend chin and neck lift". If I have bad results on my arms, I'll just have to keep wearing sleeves...like I've always done. If the results are bad on my neck and chin, there's no way to cover it. I think part of my apprehension comes from the fact that I hadn't even considered doing my neck and chin when I went in for my consultation. Hopefully, I've made the right decision and everything will turn out well.
More before pictures...
I wanted to add some additional before pictures.
Tomorrow is my big day!
I'm scheduled for 8:30 tomorrow morning and I'm ready. I do have a couple of questions that I forgot to ask. I wear contacts. Is it okay to keep them in or should I wear my glasses? Also, I was instructed to eat a substantial breakfast to prevent nausea from the medications. I always thought that you shouldn't eat prior to surgery in order to prevent nausea (maybe that's just for general anesthesia).
Does anyone have any pre-surgery food suggestions?
It's finally here...
10 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
Getting ready to eat some breakfast and head out. Looking forward to a great day!
I made it through...
10 Jul 2014
Day of treatment
I arrived at the center at 8:30 this morning. Everyone was very friendy. I was given all my meds and sent back to the lobby. At 9 am I was taken back to change and get my BP taken. Everything was fine and the procedure began.
My chin and neck were done first. The initial numbing injections stung a little but wasn't too bad. The numbing fluid was next and was uncomfortable but okay. Everything else was fine and I felt no pain. Next came the arms. The numbing fluid going in was a little painful but went quikly. Everything else was fine until he got to the underarms, front fat patch and back bra areas. This is where the real pain began but I knwe we were almost done, so I gritted my teeth and hung on for dear life. The entire procedure took four and a half hours, but it only felt like 2 hours.
They cleaned me up and got me into my compression garments and sent me home. I've been sleepy most of the afternon but the pain has been managable. Thanks for all of the well wishes.
Day 1 Post-Op Pictures
I had a good night last night and I've already had my shower this morning. All of the drainage has stopped. I have some bruising and swelling, but I feel good...very little soreness. I'm only taking Tylenol now and it seems to be working fine.
My arms look pretty rough in the pictures but I know that they are going to be great.
I am so thankful for all of you and I wish you all the best.
Amount of fat removed.
Dr. O'Dell told me that he removed 2500 cc (2.5 liters) from my arms and bra fat areas. I'd like to know how this compares to what others have had removed. It sounds like a lot and he said he was very pleased that he was able to remove that much.
The swelling has arrived...
Tonight, I am swelling like crazy. My face looks like a chipmunk and my breasts are huge. I got a little dizzy when the swelling started but I'm okay now. I'm glad I had read all the "swell hell' stories on Realself or I would have thought something was going terribly wrong.
Almost back to normal today.
Other than the swelling and a little soreness, I'm pretty much back to normal today. I got up and took my shower with no problems and started doing laundry. I have no problems bending or lifting. I have the most bruising under my arms which is the area that hurt the most during the procedure. I will be returning to work on Monday so I'm hopeful that the bruising on my neck will be better by then. I'm honestly amazed that I am doing as well as I am. I guess a positive attitude and realistic expectations really do make a difference. Thanks for all the support and encouragement.
My arms keep getting bigger.
Prior to surgery, my arms measured 13.5 inches. Now they are 15.5 inches. Hey! We're going in the wrong direction here.
Day 3 post op.
I'm feeling good. I looked at my arms after my shower this morning and they are looking better. My chin and neck are a little lumpy and swollen but I know that's just part of the healing process. Tomorrow, I will attempt to cover some of the bruising with makeup, but I don't know how successful I'll be. I won't take pictures again until a week has passed. I don't want to get discouraged with minimal improvements. I go back for my follow-up appointment on Thursday and my doctor is going to show me how to use the massager that was provided to me in my gift bag.
Overall, this has been a good experience. I didn't expect instant results so I'm fine with what I'm seeing so far. I think it is important that anyone thinking of having smart lipo understands that change can come slowly and not everyone gets the same results.
Day 4 Post op...Back to Work
I'm going back to work today. I definitely have to begin the process of getting ready early so I can try to cover some of the bruises on my neck. I was very restless last night and didn't sleep very well. Hopefully, I'll feel good today and get back into the swing of things quickly. The itching has started. Maybe that'she what made me restless last night???
Chin and neck photos
Since I had to put makeup on this morning, I decided to share some pictures. Still a lot of swelling and bruising.
Something I didn't think about...
I never really thought about how tender and sensitive the areas under the arms are. If you are doing lipo on your arms only, then I think the recovery will be much easier and less painful. Today, I noticed that I couldn't hold my arms against my body in a normal way because of the bruising and swelling under my arms. During my surgery, these were the areas that were almost unbearable. I remember the nurse saying to the doctor "do you have to do that area?"..."it is so painful for her". He replied that he had to in order to get a good result. Thankfully, that was the last area that he worked on.
When I got home from work, the bruising under my arms was BAD! I applied some Arnica Gel and left my CG off for an hour. I felt much better afterwards. I'm going to just take this one day at a time and enjoy every little improvement.
Feeling like a human being again.
5 days post op and I'm feeling much better. I still have major bruising and swelling but I just feel more comfortable. I've been very restless at night and haven't been sleeping well, but hopefully tonight will be better. I can't see a lot of improvement with my chin yet but my arms are definitely looking better. The majority of my heavy bruising is under my armpits and that area still feels very sore and just weird. I still have bruising under my chin that looks like I've been playing in the dirt when my makeup wears off :)
Tomorrow, I have my first post op appointment with my doctor. I'm anxious to see how he thinks I'm doing. Unlike most people, I love my compression garments...very strange, I know :) I'll take some Week 1 pictures tomorrow night and post.
To anyone who thinks smart lipo is "the easy way"...I have to disagree. The procedure was painful, the initial recovery period is filled with lumps, bumps, bruises, and swelling. Knowing that it will take up to 6 months to see complete results is no party either. I think we are all very brave and very strong women. Cheers to us!!!
Comparison Pictures of Arms
Here are some pictures comparing my arms immediately after the surgery and today (7 days post op). I tried to do side by side but I couldn't upload.
A Lazy Saturday
I'm feeling good. I still have lots of swelling and bruising. The bruising under my chin is getting lighter but it's still there. My doctor gave me a hand held massager and I've started using it on my chin and neck. In looking at my pictures, there was a bigger difference in my jawline right after surgery than now. Everything is still really tender so I hope there will still be improvement.
My arms are feeling better. I can stretch and do arm circles with no pain. They are very tender and I hate the way they feel when I remove my CG. What a difference a week makes in the recovery process. The armpit area is the most sensitive and still has the most bruising. I'm still taking my recovery vitamins and I'm getting plenty of rest this weekend. Hopefully, more positive changes are coming.
Recovery is still going well.
I've had a lot of swelling this weekend. I still have some bruising and tenderness but overall, I'm doing really good. I spent the weekend with my grandchildren and the extra activity increased my swelling, but it was definitely worth it.
I'm no longer wearing my chin garment but I wear my sleeves all the time. I started with 2 XL sleeves, went to XL and now I need some new size Large. The compression garments are getting expensive but that's okay. I'm looking forward to the time when the tenderness goes away and swelling is definitely a pain but I don't feel that it has been too bad.
Since pictures are the only way that I can accept that there truly are improvements, I'll take some this week and post. I hope everyone has a healing week.
So much swelling!
I expected that most of the swelling would be gone by now, but I was so wrong. My forearms look like they belong to Popeye. Everything seems to be swelling, including my breasts. I slept without my compression garment last night, but that didn't help anything. I still have a lot of soreness in my arms and I can't extend them to reach for things. Is this normal?
Swelling and Weight Gain
I have gained 12 pounds in the past 2 days. Twelve Pounds! It has to be fluid, but where is it coming from? I'm drinking water and watching my sodium, but I am so swollen. My doctor said it was normal and will get better, but I'm not sure about a 12 pound gain in two days being normal. I feel like a walking Michelin man. I keep telling myself..."Be patient", "This too shall pass". Thanks for letting me vent :)
Even though my doctor said I should wear my CG for 2 months 24/7, then 2 additional months for 12 hours each day, I removed it yesterday morning. My swelling went down significantly as did my weight. I definitely want the best results possible, but I don't think that amount of swelling was normal or a good thing. I'll still wear my CG for a few hours each day, but not 24/7. I know I should do as directed by my doctor, but I also have to pay attention to my body. Please let me know if you think I'm doing the wrong thing. I will try to get some pictures to post this weekend.
Updated before and after pics.
These are pictures from my doctor.
Lower expectations can be a blessing.
I look at so many pictures posted by you beautiful ladies and I think you all look great before surgery and your results after surgery are truly amazing. When I started this journey, I had arms that had always been unattractive. Arms that were very large with lots of hanging fat underneath. In my entire adult life, I've never worn anything sleeveless and on the few occasions that I wore short sleeves, I was very self-conscious. Going into this, my expectations were pretty low. I was not seeking perfection, just the opportunity to wear short sleeves. I truly believe that I am lucky because of my lower expectations. I don't look for lumps, bumps, discoloration or uneven results. I just see improvement and I am truly ecstatic about my results so far. I saw my doctor this week and he said that he will probably want to do some touch ups after 6 months in order to remove a little more fat and create some more tightening, but he is very pleased with my results so far.
For everyone who is reading this and thinking of having Smart Lipo in the future. ..do it!