Hello Fellow Lippy Ladies and Loved Ones!
I am officially on the the mend from my first lymph-sparing tumescent liposuction procedure with Dr. David Amron and his staff at Spalding Drive Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, CA on Sept. 11, 2014. I am currently on Day 6 post-op and feeling pretty good. I can move around a lot, and back to work intermittently, getting up and down stairs, doing laundry, and such! I am wearing my garments, walking, getting MLD massage (manual lymph drainage), and drinking lots of water to help relieve the swelling. I am still quite swollen and bruised, but that is to be expected in the week or two immediately following surgery.
I wanted to share a few bits of my experience and a few photos for those interested in the lipedema liposuction procedure. It is far too soon for me to give any formal reviews or to know for certain that I’ve had an ideal outcome, but I can confidently say all signs are pointing to –> YES! This is going to be life-changing for me! I know everyone is anxiously awaiting before and after pictures, but less than a week after surgery, and with still one more surgery to go, it is simply not wise or fair to judge the final results, which can take a full year to show. So, I will share bits of my recovery and the surgery experience so you can have some idea of what to expect.
One to Two weeks before surgery: I had my pre-op appointment with Dr. Amron to receive prescriptions for my antibiotics and pain killers. I remitted the final payment for surgery, and got a chance to ask any last minute questions about recovery. At this time you must cease all NSAIDS, anti-inflammatory meds, fish oils, supplements, drinking or smoking, and blood thinning medicines.
Night Before surgery: I began taking my antibiotic (Duricef) and started using an antiseptic skin cleanser. The common brand name for this cleanser is Hibiclens, but I got the CVS store brand and saved a few bucks. Make sure you have plenty of food, drinking water, puppy pads, masking or bandage tape, band-aids, bacitracin ointment, plastic shower liners for your bed or floor, and put garbage bags and puppy pads down in your car.
Day of surgery: I continued my antibiotics, began fasting from all food and water, and finished preparing my car and sleeping areas. You will leak some blood tinged tumescent fluid for 24-48 hours after surgery. I did a quick interview with American Health Journal (I’m not sure when it will air, but I will let you know!), then the nurses began preparing me for surgery with vitals, paperwork, and a nice little Valium pill to calm my nerves. Dr Amron then took photos of my surgical areas (calves, ankles, arms) and did his markings. I then proceeded to the operating room where the nurses used a antiseptic cleanser to again prepare my skin. Dr Amron arrived shortly after and began infusing tumescent fluid into my calves. This part was quite painful. It felt like bee stings going down my leg, but was over in a matter of minutes. Then Dr. Amron began his handiwork with a power assisted micro-cannula, while my view was shielded with a surgical sheet. I’m grateful I couldn’t see him working, it may have freaked me out more. I was able to turn to give him better angles, and it felt like a high powered massage more than anything else. There were some quite painful moments, but few and between shifting positions and it was mainly the incision sites. I did get quite a bit of anxiety for which Dr. Amron had the nurse provide me a mild sedative in my IV tap. I then was calm enough for Dr. Amron to continue removing the diseased fat. I had three incisions at each knee, three at each ankle, one at each elbow, and one at each armpit. These healed quickly and are hardly noticeable!
Dr. Amron instructed the nurses to milk my wounds post surgery very well because I do have Lymphedema. The nurse took special care with this while my hubby waited anxiously and patiently outside for me to finish. They covered my wounds with maxi pad bandages, and hoisted me into my garments. The whole procedure was no walk in the park, and I did cry because I was overwhelmed, and also because I was happy to finally have it done after years of wishing for help and in anticipation. Dr. Amron returned to check on me after speaking with my husband, and he took photos of the 4.5 LITERS of fat aspirate he removed! I exclaimed, “Dr. Amron, you are a rockstar!” as he left for the evening. I finished up with the nurse who graciously gave me apple juice, a snack, and tylenol for the ride home. I could have walked out to the car, but the nurses were kind enough to locate a wheelchair so I could be wheeled out as my blood pressure was quite high.
I learned a trick for leaving the surgical facility and getting out of the car upon arriving home, or for the first night! Lesson learned from stepping out of the car and leaking all over the driveway! *TIP* Have your caregiver put a puppy pad under each foot when you step out of the car because by the time you get home it will be ready to leak more! I fashioned a quick “puppy pad shoe” when I realized I would leak all the way going into the house. I did this by placing the puppy pad under my foot and my foot into the center of the pad. While my husband held the corners of the pad up around my ankles, we wrapped bandage tape all the way around my ankle to secure it. This way, If I leaked while walking, It went right into the pad! Ladies and gentlemen, “Puppy Pad Shoes!”
That night, I went fast asleep with the help of the good Hydrocodon Dr. Amron prescribed me, and I missed his sweet phone call just to check on me. It was so nice to wake up to a call from Dr. Amron just checking on his patients. He wanted to see me the next day just be sure I was okay.
Day One: I made it through a painful night, and was quite sore, but I couldn’t believe how mobile I was! I could walk around, I stopped leaking, and my husband helped me shower and get into garments. He took me to my appointment where I had to get in and out of garments again, but I managed. I knew I had to get a 1-2 mile walk in the stimulate my body’s vascular system and minimize swelling. So, my husband took me to the mall! As a fashionable Lip lady, I much preferred to pass the time this way by looking at clothes. However, I could have enjoyed a slow stroll around the neighborhood park. Slowly but surely, I walked and walked! I was quite tired by day’s end as my body was busy healing itself!
Day 2 and 3: I put on my own garments today! By day two I didn’t even really need much help, although my cousin Ann came to help me and made a good breakfast. I had my very first MLD therapist, Julia, who has her own mobile massage business come to my home to massage me. Te best money I spent, and this was so therapeutic. Her website is www.massagebyjulia.com and she makes house calls if you aren’t too far (for a small additional fee), or you can come to her home in Reseda. Julia also works out of the Roy O. and Patricia Disney Cancer Center in Burbank on Thursdays.
Day 4: I felt pretty good less the swelling and soreness, and my husband came to visit me. We went to a different mall for me to get my walk in and I really enjoyed having all his help. Be sure to have someone around to help you, at least for the first day or two.
Day 5: I am moving along! I went into work for a couple hours and my co-workers were amazed to see me moving around! I then went to see my physical therapist/certified lymphedema therapist, Val Hunter at Therapeutic Associates at Providence Health Center in Burbank. She is a highly skilled lymphedema therapist, and took some measurements to have a baseline for my swelling, then gave me an extended MLD massage. I will see her twice a week for several weeks (Dr. Herbst recommendation). I had been receiving CDT (complete decongestive therapy) from her for two months prior to surgery to get my lymphedema under control prior to surgery. Really, she is amazing!
I hope you will consider my experience encouragement that you too can get through this! I did have to tap into some personal loans and a 401K to get it done since fighting with insurance is an ongoing battle. It is several thousand dollars to get liposuction, and how much it will cost is different for each person (see Dr. Amron for a quote). However, I am willing to do whatever it takes to find relief from the pain and progression of Lipedema and secondary Lymphedema. I will do anything to prevent further vascular and joint damage, insurance or not. I am pleased with my experience with Dr. David Amron, and I am very confident that I will have a great final result!
Be sure to follow my blog for more updates, and future before and after photos! I will be scheduling my thigh surgery, likely for later this year. Keep up with your conservative treatments ladies, and fighting the good fight of FAT! If you think surgery might be for you, discuss with your doctor and if you can, get an appointment to see Dr. Herbst for a diagnosis or letter of medical necessity. Dr. Amron gives free consultations, so if you are interested, give them a call!
Blessings to you all! More to come soon, stay tuned!