Thursday, 26 April 2012

Surgery day for inner thighs and knees, and a day of recovery

Right, so while these areas seem to be a bit more sensitive on me than outer thighs were, yesterday went really well and I'm now lounging at home looking a bit like a stuffed sausage. I'm glad I prepared the house again with food and drink, toiletries, clothes, binbags, chargers etc, all ready and accessible in locations where I'd be most likely to need them. This makes everything so much easier and less painful, and sets you up for getting the most comfortable rest you can get.

Turning up in Knightsbride an hour early (I'll never be good at estimating travel time in London) I went for a walk around the block to pick a good spot for the car to pick me up from, as last time I had to jump in while he pulled over on the Sloane double reds. For reference, 14 Basil is a good spot, you can cut through the alley by Karen Millen on Brompton and have them waiting there. Anyway, I loitered around some clothes shops for a while reminding myself of how much I loathe shopping, before heading up to do the pre-surgery checks. I signed another consent form, had my blood pressure and weight recorded, then went off to change into the fetching paper garments provided. I was just as excited to get the inner pockets of fat done as I had been about the outer sections, and again I opted out of the Lorazepam preferring to be clear and alert even if it meant I might be more uncomfortable. I'd asked Dr. Gupta if he'd be willing to help take some snaps for me, which he graciously obliged to and so I present to you: the sharpie adorned version of my thighs:

Sharpie markings for where the fat will be reduced.
For about 10 minutes there was a bit of drama as I realized I'd forgotten my compression garment from last time, and I was supposed to be using the same one after this procedure. A little clinic taskforce suddenly sprang into action and in no time another garment had been ordered, much to my relief! If it hadn't been available on short notice, me and my sharpie marks would be going home, fat still included. On the up side, for Dr. Gupta it would have meant he'd have time for lunch, and not have to listen to me harass him about skipping meals for another couple of hours. (Dr. Gupta; workaholics need to eat too!)

But we were all set to go and I got in place on the bed, was covered in warm towels by lovley nurse Claire and maneuvered into position so my right thigh was perfectly placed for Dr Gupta to start work on. First with the small points of local anesthetic, then with a slightly longer needle spreading it through the rest of the tissue. Once numb to any pain, he proceeded to fill me up with the saline solution that would pressurize and loosen the fat cells, a rather funny and rather wet affair as little fountains of water kept springing up out of the adits! The cannula, which has several little openings along the length of it, made a little vibration-like feeling as it moved through the layers, and the occasional tiny stinging sensation popped up here and there. Otherwise, the process of pumping 1 1/2 liters of water into each thigh is not a painful one, just... slightly odd. They felt so full and hard that I wondered how he could possible fit any more in, and they looked absolutely ridiculous with their bulgy swollen areas of pale, yellow skin perfectly framed by the blue marks he'd made earlier. I would have asked for a picture of it but it's probably the sort of thing that would make some people feel a bit woozy! Each thigh took about 30 minutes to fill up and by the end I was a bit like those musclemen whose thighs are so big they can't actually touch their toes together. It made rolling around into position a clumsy effort, but they both made sure I didn't fall on the floor! Hardly the time to worry about lounging elegantly, we chatted on about travels, work, food, excercise and holidays while the second thigh was filled up, and Dr Gupta was ordered off to have a cup of tea and bite to eat while we waited for the tissue to become soft again.

The solution they pump into you is room temperature so while not cold, there is certainly something about the difference to body temperature and stress on the tissue that can make you feel a bit shivery. It's easy to tense up thus making yourself more tired and sore than necessary, so I bundled the towels around me and tried breathing deeply and relaxing all muscles, and before long it was time to start the fat withdrawal. Nurse Claire and I asked some questions about the differences to VaserLipo and the reasons why Dr. Gupta prefers to use his MicroLipo technique, what he looks for and feels for in determining the progress during surgery. He told us about his experiences training with Dr. Klein, the various sized cannulas used in the fat removal, the benefits of MicroLipo for recovery time, and about how he works the cannula through the layers, feeling and looking for where to go and the right moment to stop. It was really lovely to hear the focus and passion Dr. Gupta has for his work, and what it means for him that his patients end up with a result that makes a difference in their lives. Consummate professionals, warm, personable and attentive, I was in great hands both with him and Claire.

Dr. Gupta spent about 30 minutes on each leg passing the cannula back and forth and in and out of the various entry points, and I could watch the outcome pass through the clear hose and drain into the collection canisters. Little suction noises could be heard every now and then but otherwise it was mostly just Claire and I humming along to the radio or the three of us chatting and laughing. I was yawning and fighting the urge to stretch out like a cat, warm and dozy in the little room, only occasionally startled by a feeling of dull pressure if he got a bit close to a muscle. While I could definitely feel more of the action going on this time than last time, I'd still be reluctant to call it painful, more like a really deep massage that sporadically has just that bit too much sensation for it to be relaxing. The fat removed this time wasn't of as 'clear' a quality as last time with more bloodstained fluids coming out now. From a quick glance at my legs I think I'll have a nice difference, but I'm curious about my knees as they still looked a bit podgy, swollen or not. In the end I think we ended up with two canisters of about 600ml fat/300ml fluid from each leg, and Claire and I joked that they looked a bit like lava lamps. I may never be able to look at one the same way ever again!

As I was being wrapped up in layers of absorbent dressings and hoisted into my new garment, I was warned that I might leak a lot more this time since more fluids had been injected. At that point I was actually glad I had an extra bodysuit at home, so I could use one while washing the other without being out of compression. I changed back into my flowy dress that hides all secrets, and even managed to put my own shoes on this time! Armed with a bag of replacement pads and wraps I had a cup of tea while waiting for my car, said goodbye and waddled off, feeling great if a little stiff. It'd been only three hours and the areas were still quite numb, but an hour after I got home it started wearing off quite quickly. I lay down for a bit and took some pain killers, but as soon as I got up to try for the kitchen it was as if my legs were on fire, and I gingerly staggered back to bed to catch my breath. I thought there would be no way I'd make it to the bathroom so I was grateful for the cup I'd placed next to the bed, it meant I could at least manage without walking anywhere. Still, I was pretty much bed bound for the rest of the night, very different from the first procedure but an interesting exercise in breathing through pain.

I slept ok if a little restlessly, and I was thrilled to find this morning that I could actually get up and walk around again! I decided to remove my bodysuit while sitting/lying down so I wouldn't get dizzy, then I slowly stood up so I could change the dressings. They were definitely holding a lot more fluid than last time, but I hadn't leaked through much and only a few stains were on the garment. I had a look in the mirror but couldn't really see as much of an immediate difference as last time, so I wrapped myself up again and pulled on a clean suit opting to take pictures tomorrow instead. Hopefully more fluid will come out overnight and the swelling go down a bit, so I can get a clearer picture of where I'm at. I've felt fine all day and only took a couple of Co-codamols this morning, otherwise I've been up and down stairs doing laundry and some work around the house, not exactly at normal speed but at least not in significant discomfort!

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