Smart Lipo: Was worth it
I’m going to start by saying that the doctor I went to was a friend of mine, a fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, a member of MENSA, and has received many awards. He’s also a member here at RealSelf.
I’m in the entertainment industry and my body is very important to me. My talent agent basically said that unless I lost some of my weight she wasn’t going to be able to book me much. Plus my wedding is coming up and after having my weight yo-yo between a 20 BMI to a 24BMI for the last year, I just wanted the fat gone. However scars are a big no-no for me and I would have NEVER let anyone even touch my body if I didn’t totally trust them. My doctor actually has had SmartLipo MPX done on him, so I was able to see some of his progression/swelling etc, which eased many of my concerns.
DAY # 1
The day of the procedure I arrived at the office at 7:30am, with a friend who was also having the SmartLipo procedure done on the upper/lower abs. My friend is a lot heavier than I am (I was averaging a 23/24 BMI the past 2 months), and the doctor said that the procedure would be questionable for her. We discussed it a lot and basically what it came down to was that she would probably need a tummy tuck either way because of her age and weight, but the SmartLipo was less expensive than what a good traditional Liposuction doctor would cost her, and the procedure would not be as invasive. The doctor did remind both of us though that we must have realistic expectations about this, which I think we both do.
My friend went in for the procedure first (her procedure would take longer) after receiving some pills to relax her. It took awhile before the doctor would take her in. I think she was nervous and her blood pressure was high. The staff waited for the pills to really kick in and get her relaxed to drop her blood pressure before starting the SmartLipo. He basically told us that unless the blood pressure went down he wouldn’t do the surgery… and I would rather hear a doctor say that than doing something he/she knows is questionable! The doctor spent about 3 hours on my friend. The nurse came out and said she was doing great and had been snoring through almost the entire procedure.
The doctor came out before my procedure and talked to me a little bit more about the procedure and drainage. I knew he planned to go through my belly button, which was the main factor in convincing me to do this since the scars wouldn’t be visible. He mentioned that he was going to put two small drainage holes on me, above the pubic bone. I freaked out about that… knowing they would scar. I was just about ready to back out, but he said he could laser out the color different in about a year and in the mean time I could cover them with make-up. I said agreed to this, but I think he knew that I still wasn’t thrilled about it… keep reading for what he did for me!
After the assistant cleaned up the room from my friend’s procedure they took me in. I had already received the relaxing pills while they were working on my friend. First they took me to do the before photos, and then to the room where the SmartLipo was done. I’m terrified of needles, but the doctor inserted the first one in my belly and I didn’t even feel it! I was talking to the doctor and the assistant during most of the first part of the procedure, but because I was lying down I couldn’t really see what was going on. I don’t know exactly what the sequence of events was, but I think they first made the incisions in my belly button, then pumped my tummy area up with the tumescent anesthesia (saline and Lidocaine). The doctor then inserted what felt like small corrugated tubing, I imagine it must look like one of those semi-thick plastic flexible straws your drink from! It felt like the tubes were going out like the staves of a hand fan. I could feel the doctor moving the laser through tubing, which felt REALLY odd because of the corrugated feeling of the tubes, but it didn’t hurt. He did me a favor though and worked on a bit more than we planned, going into the front sides of my flanks to give my abdomen some more curve. It wasn’t really the full flanks, but enough to give me some really nice shape for the wedding dress… so I was thrilled! I fell asleep after awhile, and probably slept for a good hour of the procedure. When I woke up the doctor was actually sucking out the fat and some of the fluids. Again, what was an odd sensation to have my insides basically vacuumed (it felt like a dentist vacuuming out saliva), but it didn’t hurt. I asked the doctor to move the "fat canister" up so I could see what exactly he was sucking out of me, which I expected to be a lot of white chunky fat, but to my surprise it was a lot of red/pink liquids and little "chunks" here and there that weren’t much bigger than those little rocks found at the children’s playgrounds. The "fat canister" was filled with a lot of red fluid at the bottom and topped with a frothy pink that looked more "fatty". The doctor laughed when I said I wanted a photo of it, and the assistant quickly disposed of it, but last night I came across someone else who had posted a photo, so if you search you will find it. The doctor left after the procedure and the assistant helped me down from the table.
Once off the table the assistant had me stand over a pad, expecting that I would leak the saline/Lidocaine mixed with blood… but much to both of our surprises I didn’t! Upon closer inspection the doctor never put the drainage holes in me above my pubic bone, because he knew I was really concerned about the scarring from the holes. The doctor came out during my procedure and talked to my fiancé about it, which was our designated driver, and told my fiancé that he could continue the procedure without putting in the drainage holes, but I would be swelled for longer. Lucky for me they came to the conclusion to let me just swell for a bit longer. I’d rather be swelled longer than have scars! When I asked the doctor about this he said my body will just have to break down the saline/Lidocaine that was left over, and pass it through my body naturally. I literally didn’t have more than probably a teaspoon of “stuff” leak out of my belly button after the procedure. I did look really swollen though and very "bottom heavy" in the lower belly, but the assistant helped me into the garment right away, so I didn’t look at it much more after that.
When I came out of the procedure I was walking around with no problems. My friend however had the drainage holes put in and was leaking a ton and not moving well. Her pads and clothes were soaked, and she got sick and threw-up from the Vicodin the doctor gave us. I’m big on eating breakfast though and the doctor told us ahead of time to make sure we had a high protein breakfast which I did, but she really didn’t. I think her problem with the Vicodin making her sick was mostly from not eating a good breakfast that morning.
We left the office around 4pm, after the doctor gave us lots of pads, "adult diapers", arnica gel, and arnica tablets, Vicodin, as well as telling us to drink pineapple juice for the bromelain, which helps reduce swelling. We headed to my friend’s house where my fiancé was going to "baby-sit" us both. My friend was in major pain, but I was doing really well so my fiancé and I got her comfortable in bed and then headed out to run some errands and pick up dinner. I think at that point I probably still had a lot of the Lidocaine in my system which was keeping the pain away.
I had a salad with boiled eggs, and Tofurkey slices for dinner. My friend had BBQ and some fried foods including okra and other "sides".
Towards the end of the first night I was swelling really bad and felt like I was literally going to "pop" out of my garment. I felt like Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, like I needed to be "juiced". I tried showering and pressing on my belly to see if I could get any of the liquid out to relieve the swelling, which I couldn’t. I was in a bit of pain just from the swelling of the garment and called the doctor after the shower to see if maybe I needed those drainage holes put in… but hoped not! I mentioned that my friend was still draining and I hadn’t drained at all. He told me not to worry about it because our procedures were very different since he used so much saline/Lidocaine on her and less on me, as well as putting the drainage holes on her. He told me to take the Vicodin, which I did and it put me to sleep.
DAY # 2
I woke up the next day and felt MUCH better. The swelling had gone down a lot. I still felt like my body had a weird shape to it, but I knew the swelling wasn’t totally gone. getting up to move around was practically impossible. I felt like I’d done 2,000 sit-ups in a single day! Every time I moved it hurt because I usually use my ab muscles and never realized exactly how much I used them. I had Seinfeld on t.v. and had to change the station because every time I laughed it hurt. Coughing was nearly impossible as well and I had to drink water to just pass stuff down my throat. It was almost impossible to stand up, and took me a good 30-40 seconds to straighten up, once I was standing. However, I did get up and walk around. I had cucumbers to start with for breakfast because I wasn’t sure if I could stomach anything. I quickly followed the cucumbers up with 2 boiled eggs and a chocolate whey protein shake. I started taking the Arnica pills and drinking the pineapple juice the second evening. For dinner I had two more boiled eggs, Tofurkey slices and a salad with cucumbers.
My friend opted to remain off of the Vicodin and has been taking Tylenol instead. However, she was also in bed all day.
DAY # 3
Getting out of bed today was MUCH easier than yesterday. This morning I took the Vicodin, antibiotic, and arnica pills. I had two boiled eggs, a chocolate whey protein shake, and pineapple juice for breakfast.
I can stand straight up with no problem. I can even cough! It hurts a little, but not too much. The swelling is down a lot more than yesterday. Primarily my main issue it that my skin feels very taut in my abdomen area. I took off the padding and tape, since I’m not leaking, which makes it feel a lot better! I have a few minor bruises; I’m planning to start using the arnica gel tonight. I feel like one of my bruises might actually just be at the top of the garment where I swelled up around it. I think I look a lot worse than I actually am because even after showering and scrubbing I can’t get all of the lines off from where he used the markers on me… and the blue marker does look like bruised lines even though they aren’t.
I actually don’t look lumpy at all! I’m still a little heavy on the bottom, but it’s nothing bad and not really noticeable unless I look from the side in the mirror. As I said earlier, I was REALLY bottom heavy directly following the procedure. I’ve been either sitting up or standing for the days following the procedure so I suspect that the small pooch is actually just saline/Lidocaine sitting in that region that will dissolve on it’s own.
My friend is also out of bed and moving around… even after only taking Tylenol.
I’m heading home today and we think she can manage around on her own now.
I’ll try to get my original photo from the doctor’s office and post it with follow up photos as I progress.
Much thanks to my doctor and all of his staff – I love it!
This review is the subjective opinion of a Patient and not of this website!
Original review from realself.com