A Patient’s Liposuction Story
Recently, one of our patients made the decision to have the liposuction procedure here at our office. She has chronicled her journey, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with her and learning more about why she made the decision, what reservations she may have had, and what life is like 3 weeks post-op.
Q: Why did you want liposuction?
A: “I’ve always had fat in unwelcome places…”
“I should preface my entire story by saying that I’m not overweight, I’ve never been overweight, but I have always had fat in very unwelcome places. A common misconception is that liposuction is for weight loss—it isn’t! It’s more for when you’re at your ideal weight, but you need to sculpt out the shape you want to be.
My trouble area has always been the “love handle” region. To add insult to injury, I have really high hip bones, so I’ve always felt like next to my long skinny legs and my long slender arms, my stomach had always looked like a tire.
When I heard that my trusted providers of Cherokee Women’s Health were going to start offering this procedure, I was very excited. Dr. Michael Litrel had been my physician for years. I had seen him for both my annual exams and during my pregnancy, so I knew him to be very particular about who he surrounds himself with and the employees he hires. I felt comfortable putting my full trust in him regarding my body sculpting goals.”
Q: Were you scared about going through the procedure? What were your reservations?
A: “Having my stomach visible for someone to see…”
“Truth be told, the pre-op appointment was, for me, slightly embarrassing. I planned for this though. I haven’t worn a bikini since the birth of my son, who is now two years old. Even before pregnancy, I was never fully confident wearing one, so having my stomach visible for someone to see, judge, and doodle on had me a little uneasy.
All of that aside, Dr. Litrel and his medical assistant Kami put me to ease quickly, even though to me, it looked like he was looking at my stomach as though he was solving the world’s most difficult puzzle. I watched him as he drew out a map and game plan on my stomach as though he could see clearly what my issues were and exactly how to solve them.
During the same appointment, Dr. Litrel explained everything that would happen step by step during the procedure and what to expect for recovery. He also carefully laid out that, due to some of the more difficult to reach pockets of fat that I have on my body, I will likely need a follow-up procedure in about 12 weeks. When you have a physician that is completely honest like that, there’s truly nothing like it. I wasn’t expecting perfection from this procedure, more just improvement. I was even more impressed that Dr. Litrel seemed confident that after a second procedure, we could create the silhouette and curves that I both desired and deserved.”
Q: Can you describe the procedure for us? What was it like?
A: “I always get asked, ‘Did it hurt?'”
“Since my procedure, the most common question that I get asked by family and friends is, “Did it hurt?”
There are plenty of liposuction resources online, and I believe that many resources can be overwhelming for people to think about in terms of pain and how the procedure is done. For me, the step was to inject a numbing solution into my stomach so that I wouldn’t feel any pain. The doctors waited about thirty minutes for the solution to fully kick in, and while I felt a little pressure, I didn’t feel pain. I was awake for the procedure, but the medicine that was moving through my IV made me loopy, and I was in and out for most of it. One moment that I do recall quite vividly, is having an itch on my nose and not being able to scratch it. I also remember trying to see what was going on throughout the procedure, and each time, the staff in the room would say, “close your eyes and go back to sleep”, in perfect unison.
After my nap, the next thing I knew, the nurses were assisting me in getting my new accessories for the first time. These girdles are necessary for me to wear during my recovery for the next few weeks, and they were explaining the steps of taking them on and off. One full body girdle sits just under my breasts down to just above my knee. It has a convenient hole in the bottom to make bathroom breaks easier. The other girdle is a binder similar to the one you receive after getting a C-section.”
Q: What was it like immediately after the procedure?
A: “I was told I kept giggling…”
“From the procedure room, the staff escorted me into a separate room to help me “wake up” from the anesthesia. I was able to have my first few sips of water (something I’d been looking forward to since 7:00am!), and shortly after, my fiancé and son came back to check on me and then take me home.
Dr. Litrel came in to talk to me while I was waiting for my anesthesia to wear off, but I was told I kept giggling at him and then falling asleep, so he updated my fiancé on my after care and medication. The waiting for recovery felt like less than 10 minutes, but I was told it was closer to 45 minutes to an hour. The light anesthesia administered during the procedure makes the procedure an outpatient procedure, however, I was having a little bit of difficulty staying awake in the recovery room.
Knowing that I am very sensitive to medication and anesthesia, I was given Phenergan in my IV during the procedure to settle my stomach (and also knock me out for the rest of the day so I could get some sleep afterwards).
On the way home, we stopped at the pharmacy and picked up my antibiotics and extra nausea medications, and I was homeward bound!”
Q: How was the recovery process?
A: “I never got the pain I was expecting…”
“I slept the rest of the afternoon after the procedure and didn’t wake up from my Phenergan-induced nap until around midnight. I was amazed at how little pain I was in. Most of my discomfort was caused by the girdle and being unsure about moving around in it successfully. Standing up and sitting down in the girdle for the first few days gave he third trimester pregnancy flashbacks! 😊 I assumed that maybe the numbing solution hadn’t completely worn off yet, so I kept my guard up waiting for the pain to hit. I took extra strength Tylenol every six hours or so for the next 48 hours, not necessarily because I needed them for pain management, but more as a “just-in-case.”
I can thankfully say that I never got the pain I was expecting to feel afterward. I was sore, but unless my toddler crawled around on me, I never really hurt.
“By Sunday morning, my tiny incisions were done draining and had pretty much healed. I had minimal bruising, something I’m very thankful for. I didn’t have many post-op restrictions, so by the end of the weekend I was feeling well enough to clean my house.”
Q: How do you feel 1 week later?
A: “I had a little soreness the first week…”
“I spent the first week with a little soreness. I was slightly uncomfortable, but mostly annoyed with the full body girdle. The opening at the bottom that I first found so funny suddenly was more frustrating than funny. Trying to find clothes that fit over the girdle was a little difficult, as it’s hard to hide a knee-length girdle under pants. (And I had the weirdest panty lines all the time!)”
Q: What about the 2nd and 3rd weeks?
A: “Although still swollen, my stomach was visibly smoother.”
“By the second and third week, I had all but forgotten I’d even had the procedure done. Dr. Litrel approved for me to remove the body girdle but recommended that I continue wearing the other girdle for a while. By the end of the second week, I was starting to notice subtle changes in my stomach. Although still swollen, my stomach was visibly smoother. Dr. Litrel assured me that the swelling would go down but reminded me that the full results of the liposuction take up to twelve weeks.
Currently, I’m in my third week post-op and it feels like my procedure was performed months before. I am so excited to watch my body continue to change, and I am already feeling more confident thanks to Dr. Litrel and his amazing surgical team.”
Find Out if Liposuction is Right For You
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment to learn more about liposuction, call us today at 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.