The day had finally come. After a somewhat sleepless night, my boyfriend and I woke up at 7. I ate a light breakfast and dressed in dark, loose clothing as they had suggested. We made sure to take before pictures:
**Please note that this blog post may include descriptions/photos that are graphic in nature**
We arrived at Dr. Shu’s at 8:30 and were brought back immediately to set up in the recovery room. They had me change into a robe and some totally classy paper underwear. They doled out a mix of pills and made me drink a glass of water before whisking me into their “studio” for my photo shoot. They did photos of my breasts and all of the lipo sites. They did some pictures with a tank top for the news station.
Channel 5 hadn’t made it there yet which left me sitting there anxiously. When they arrived I was relieved that the reporter and camera person were both women. We did a short interview which I think went well. She seemed very excited about the story and even said it was something she would think about doing.
Shortly after, Dr. Shu came in and began marking my body with a purple Sharpie. I think I made some comment about how at least it Vikings purple. By the time he was done I was so dizzy I felt like I would pass out. They had me lay down, blaming my dizziness on the pill mixture they had given me. Then it was time.
Liposuction and Injection of Stem Cell Enriched Fat Into My Breasts
They filmed me walking into the surgery room and then the door shut. The moment had arrived. At least by this point the drugs had kicked in and I felt pretty relaxed – or at least resigned to my fate! I disrobed and removed the paper underwear and they slathered me with a cold, red, paste to sterilize parts of my body. I laid down on the surgery table and they inserted a catheter since the procedure was supposed to last 4-6 hours.
They administered an IV and draped a surgical sheet in front of me completely blocking my view. An oxygen nose tube was put on me as well. Things get kind of get fuzzy after that.
Before I know it they were lipo-ing my belly. It was a strange sensation and the machinery buzzed quite loudly. I could feel it against my ribs which was strangely uncomfortable, but not painful. They took that fat and used that for the stem cell machine. I could hear them talk about how disappointed they were with the amount harvested from that area. From there he moved onto my hips and the love handle area. These areas were a little more sensitive and hurt a bit more. It was a sharp, pinching pain that would intensify the longer they stayed in one area. The team was very kind whenever I was in pain and would pause for a moment or up the dose of pain meds or numbing solution.
I honestly had no concept of time for the whole procedure. Before I knew it they were done with the liposuction and I was allowed to rest. I was kind of drifting in and out of consciousness, not completely dozing off so it seemed I could still hear everything but also somewhat of a dreamlike state. Then came the time for the fat injections into the breasts. At first it wasn’t so bad as they were numbing the area and then began the shaping process – one person per breast injecting fat. Then came sharp, excruciating pain. As if someone had stuck a hot poker right down my nipple. Being completely honest I would rank it an 8-9 on the pain scale. They had to give me a couple doses of medicine to get me through it and even then it wasn’t painless. Out of everything I’d went through this seemed to take the longest.
Time to Heal
When it was all done they had injected 480 cc into each breast and took fat from 10 zones. The Dr. did a few sutures on a few of the lipo sites and some of the injection sites on my breasts. They removed the sheet and the room emptied except for two attendants who helped me into compression garments and placed surgical gauze pads over all of the leaking, gaping holes in my body. My breasts looked humongous. Gigantic frankenboobs. They were hard and unmoving as they were swollen. They helped me into the recovery room where they gave me a can of Sprite and some crackers. My boyfriend looked worried. He said I had been in there for 5 hours. Dr Shu came in a short time later and declared the surgery a success. He was pleased with the amount of fat he was able to harvest from my hips and thighs (me too!) and jokingly said he hoped for 100% survival of the fat in my breasts. Realistically I think we’re looking at about 70-90%.
Once I finished the pop and crackers and got dressed I was allowed to leave. The car ride home wasn’t painful, but halfway there I started feeling extremely nauseous. I put the seat all the way back until we got home. I took off my clothes and laid down on an old towel and old blanket. We turned on a movie and I fell asleep. When I woke up, one of the pads had leaked through onto the blanket.
My super, wonderful, loving boyfriend changed the pads and monitored which pills needed to be taken when. The pain was bearable, the nausea was not. I’m guessing that this was mostly caused by the large amounts of pain medicine I was administered. I started off drinking water and Sierra Mist and tried moving to saltine crackers but later regretted it. I threw up twice that night and was completely miserable. I was forced to sleep on my back, which is not my position of choice so I woke up constantly. Around 5 a.m. I was finally able to get some sleep.
My Post-Op Instructions
- Wear compression suit and compression socks 24 hrs/day for 2 weeks and 12 hrs/day for 4 weeks after
- Do not let pants sit over the treated area for 3 months or wear a belt
- Sit up straight, do not slouch. Slouching can create a fold in abdomen and can lead to poor results
- Avoid strenuous activities, lifting more than 10 lbs and aerobic exercise for 2 to 3 weeks
- Avoid tanning until bruising has faded
- Warm baths with self-massage are helpful
- Therapeutic massage is very helpful in speeding up the healing process – can be done 2 weeks after surgery as often and as hard as tolerated
Read the next chapter in my stem cell fat transfer breast augmentation: Week One After Surgery