It has now been three months and although “final results” are really seen at six months, I think I know what I am getting. Basically, I LOVE it. I can honestly say that for the first time in fifty years, I am comfortable in my own body and like myself as I am. Crazy. Not that anyone should ever have to go through surgery to get to this place; and acknowledging that I have also been doing other personal introspective work; it feels really nice to be at ease as I sit at my desk in jeans. (NO muffin top!!)
So, how did the recovery go, inquiring minds want to know? Here it is:
Post Op Day 1:
I had not planned to see clients the day after my SmartLipo procedure with Dr. Tom but somehow there were eight people on my schedule and I didn’t want to cancel any of them. In fact, I felt totally fine. I was wearing my garments and able to easily cruise around the office without discomfort. The only time I was really aware of being sore was when I went to sit down or stand up from sitting. Basically, that was when I was using postural muscles that made me aware that something radical had in fact happened. I would say that max-discomfort was when I got in or out of my car. I had a full day at the office doing other paperwork and meetings between the eight folks on my schedule. I can’t remember if I even told them that I had had a procedure the day before.
Post Op Day 2:
On Friday, July 13th, I flew down to LA at 05:30 in the AM to take my mom to her doctor appointments at UCLA. I did NOT tell her that I had had a procedure two days before. (Mothers, as we know, can sometimes be judgmental and I just wasn’t ready to tell her -- although I have since copped to it.) Dr. Tom called to check in on me and was amused to hear that I was in LA. He made some reasonable comment about my being a nut and admonished me to take it easy to heal (and not screw up his work!). While in LA and at my mom’s, I took a couple of pics of my newly shaped belly – complete with band-aids and a little tiny bit of bruising. The lady-bits were the most noticeably swollen part of me by day two but I’m cropping that out of the images!!
Healing in General
Although it was much longer than Dr. Tom required, I wore my compression garments 24/7 for four weeks and then continued to wear them during the day for an additional two weeks. If you think about it, the procedure involves removing the fat that is between the skin and the fascia overlying the muscle and so what you want is for the disrupted skin to stick back down onto the remaining fat layer and fascia. Thus, it is important not to jiggle the tissue which causes shear stress on the healing areas. As a result, even though I was able to exercise with my trainer Adrianna Simondi, after the second week, I did not go running, mountain biking or horseback riding for six weeks. When I first went back to Pilates at Tone (shout out to the amazing Amanda!), I could feel tightness and tenderness, particularly on my sides and flanks. Nonetheless, stretching felt great and doing ab work was a new experience because the chub was not there to bunch up and taunt me anymore!
It is to be expected that after a liposuction procedure there is an extended period of swelling, firmness, lumps and peculiar sensations. I have had all of that but have not been concerned as I know that it is normal. Moreover, the longer that there is lumpiness, the more tightening it usually predicts.
I went in to see Dr. Tom for my post-op follow up on August 8th (a little later than he would have liked but I am a challenging patient to get on the schedule), I still had some lumpiness but he and I agreed that my results are fantastic. Here are the pics:
With Respect to Scars
If you zoom in on my after pics, you can see that there are small scars that are slightly darker than my other skin and in some places, slightly indented. I expect that all of these will improve with time and rubbing. I am not using anything special on them as although Mederma works better than nothing; it doesn’t work better than anything. Rubbing a scar as it heals is effective at minimizing it and so I am trying to remember to do so but honestly am not worried enough to be vigilant. For the indented parts of the scars, subcision and a little filler will help if they are really bothersome. To prevent hyper or hypopigmentation, I WILL be careful to use TONS of sunscreen when I go out in the sun in a bikini.
Next Steps: A Little Kybella
When a doctor does liposuction, no matter how careful and attentive they are, there may be some tiny irregularities and mini pockets of fat left. My belly is not an exception to this. After another few months, it is my intention to go after the very slight amount of fat that is greater on one side of my belly button than the other using some Kybella. Kybella is a medicine that dissolves fat cells and reduces fat in small areas. Why, you might ask, not just do a bunch of Kybella injections instead of doing lipo in the first place? Two main reasons: 1) Kybella works great for very small amounts of fat in a discrete area (like under the chin) but is too expensive to use for larger amounts. 2) As part of the process by which your body deals with the fat dissolved by Kybella, there is a TREMENDOUS (use Trump voice-over here LOL) amount of swelling. When people get it done for their necks, I tell them that they are going to look like a bullfrog for a week!
I will be posting my final after pictures, after I do the Kybella and will be pointing out where the Kybella is injected so anyone who has that tiny bit of bothersome fat can see how it goes. Until then, thanks for reading about my journey.