elochka27 on Realself
a year ago
06/18/2019, 01:23 AM
I had calf resection surgery and RF surgery on May 31,2019 at Avant Plastic Surgery Center in Los Angeles, CA. Honestly, so far this has been the best decision in my life. Today is almost 3 weeks after the surgery and I have already see beautiful results. My results: calves before surgery - 42 cm or 17.5" left calf and 18" right calf; calves after surgery and RF procedure - 2 weeks results 15" each calf (35 cm); I am close to 14" now and hope to be 13" in 6 months. This is 7 cm reduction or 3" inch for now.
Dr. Liu is the most sweetest, kindest and knowledgeable doctor I have met. Robert, his coordinator, is probably the best in the World. I am so please with this process from the beginning to the end. If any of you (with huge calves) are thinking of doing calf resection vs other non surgical procedures, please do not waste you money. Do the surgery and save your time and money. You can pay thousands of dollars for countless botox injections every 6 months that finally will stop working. You will not see dramatic results. Surgery is the only way to achieve 7 cm or more reduction of big muscles. You will be amazed with the results. I love Dr. Liu and what he does. His skills are so impressive. I am so impressed with the office staff and patient coordinator Robert. They are the most professional and thoughtful people I have met.
For those of you who interested in my post surgery experience, I will write complete 2 weeks review here below, so you know what to expect. I will also upload picture at the end of the month and in September, when I go for my 3 months post operation follow up appointment.
I have always had big calves. But last two years I have noticed the size of my calves has increase significantly. I am very athletic person and do fair amount of jogging, swimming, yoga, weights. My athletic looking legs have never bothered me until recently. Additionally, I started travel overseas for work. Often and long flights, work load and stress, physical stress of workouts and simply aging - all these factors contributed to water retention, bad circulation, constant cramping, and muscle growth in my calves. Here I was, 37 years old, 140 lb, 5.4" woman with a 18" calves (each). My calves added 2 inches in the last year and, honestly, they were still growing... I could not fit in my wide leg jeans anymore, shorts looked ugly, dresses and skirts were not an option unless they cover my legs entirely. I was so depressed and hated the way I looked. But mostly I hate the way my legs felt. The situation was not getting any better. So, I started researching different procedures and possible options. I was so disgusted with the look of my legs that I knew I had to do something drastically or I would continue to suffer physically and mentally.
I have heard about calf resection procedure and that it was popular in South Korea. I started my research and found only one detailed review on Seoul Calf reduction procedure with Dr. Park written by the lady from USA that went to Korea to do the surgery. Reading her story convinced me more that surgery will be the best option for me.
Next website I found was Avant Center in LA. After reading about procedures they offer, I called and made my consultation appointment. One month later I was on the plain from Nashville to LA to see Dr. Liu.
Consultation: it was very fast, took about 20-30 minutes. I met Dr. Liu and we talked about possible options to achieve the most dramatic results. I agreed on surgery and RF procedure. RF will burn all active nerves and will stop muscle contractions that promotes muscle growth, which will eventually lead to muscular atrophy and reduction in calf size. However, results from RF are only 1 - 1.5" reduction max. Calf resection surgery will take care of the existing overgrown muscles in my calves. This procedure will give the best results and reduction up to 7-10 cm or 3-4".
Immediately i said yes to both. I want to have smaller calves now, not in a year, now! Additionally, RF will prevent muscle from growing back. During Calf surgery, Dr. Liu promised to remove about 60-70% of calf muscle. As far as side effects - he said I will have none. But full recovery will take up to 6 months. So, If I patient enough I will be back to normal walking and normal activities in 4-6 month. I am going to tell you exactly how fast you can recover. I think 4-6 months is the worst case. I am 3 weeks post surgery now and could not be any better!
Cost: total cost for 2 procedures was 20K. Not cheap, but I made my mind. Best things in life are expensive!
Insurance covered zero cost. Robert (patient coordinator), had tried to file a claim and it was denied, as i suspected. However, you can apply for FMLA and this should be approved as you will be learning to walk again. My FMLA was approved for 4 weeks - more than enough!
Accommodation: for out of town patents Avant offers after care facility. But I went with simple Air bnb option for two weeks in LA. Cost about 2,500$ total. Robert helped me with after surgery nurse. I paid $560 for 16 hours (8 hours after surgery, 6 hours next day, and 2 hours on day 4 to help me to get to my first doctor check up appointment).
Day 1 - Surgery
My surgery was scheduled for 9 am and started at 11 am. It lasted 5 hours with 1 hour for after surgery recovery time. My nurse picked me up at 5 pm. You can't eat or drink before surgery. So, be prepared to fast for 18 hours :). Additionally, you will more than likely to loose your appetite after the surgery for a few days. But you have to eat! That is the rule if you want fast recovery. Here is what i did:
I arrived one day before to surgery. Checked in into Airbnb and made friends with my neighbors. This is a must! If you need anything, they will be your call for help.
I went shopping for healthy organic foods. Cooked a jar of chicken veggie soup, bakes salmon, shrimps, and green salads. I bought berries, bananas (to make sure i have potassium) and apples. And, plenty of water and tea.
Because you have no appetite and retail a lot of liquid after the surgery, best food is soup!!! eat it for 3 days, and then slowly start to eat solid food.
Waking up after surgery I felt a little cold but not too terrible. Pain level about 10! The nurse gave me pain killer. I also got muscle relaxer, oxy pain killer, and antibiotic. Its important to take antibiotic for prescribed time to avoid any complication or infection. As far as pain pills, I had plenty. But I decided to take one pill every 4 hrs instead of 2 as prescribed. If I felt pain, than i would take another pill. Muscle relaxer I took pretty much every day for 5-6 days 3 times a day. But it made me very sleepy. So be aware of this. Yes, you will be sleepy for 3-4 days. And good!!! All I wanted is to sleep my pain off. I had one problem - after 5 hours surgery my body was so swollen! My calves were the size of my thighs. But I new it was all liquid and medication and water. So, I was peeing it out for next 4 days :). And that was the biggest challenge - walking to the bathroom.
My nurse got me home after the surgery. My neighbors helped him to carry my to my little cute place I rented in West Hollywood. The nurse left about midnight. Right after surgery I tried to walk. Wow, that was painful. But mentally I needed to know I can walk. Nurse left the bucket next to my bed so I don't have to walk. That really helped because I woke up 3 times at least.
After surgery care: legs wrapped in bandages tight, and elevated. Days 3 and after I was wearing compression tights and also wrapping my legs. Elevated legs is a must for best results and swelling / pain reduction. 2 weeks of elevation is minimum. Now week 3, I still elevate my legs every night and during a day.
Walking: maybe its just me, but I was walking same day after surgery with help of the nurse. Day 1 and after I made a lot of effort to walk even it was painful. I think you have to for fast recovery. First 2 days after surgery my walking was only to the bathroom and back. I slept most of the time. Day 3 was better. I actually made an effort to walk a little more every day. I did not try to put pressure on my hill yet. It hurt my calves. Walking was primarily on my toes, then on the bowls of my feet. Every day I would walk a little more pacing across my room. Day 3 was my first check up appointment. I called a nurse to help me because my walking was not secure yet. Walking improved on week 2, and every day thereafter. I would walk around the block, to the store, or to get food. Little by little, 0.2 miles, then 0.4 miles, then 0.5 miles. You have to make an effort to walk! This will help!
One mistake on my side is that I did not bring wedge shoes. They would help so much.
Dr. was very impressed with my results as far as how soon I started to walk. If you want fast recovery - walk! elevate!, and STRETCH YOUR CALVES. I did hand to toes, downward dog and flex relax / wall stretches. In general, gentle calf stretches is where you start your therapy :).
Scars: I had 2 incisions on each side of each calf. Dr. Liu developed his own technique which is much better than the one practiced still in Korea.
In Korea, the incision is made on the top of the calf right where the knee bends. Then the middle of the calf muscle is pulled from the calf. This is very barbaric way that not guarantee both calves symmetry.
By doing two incisions, Dr. Liu can take right and left calf muscles if necessary and achive the best symmetrical results.
Pros: no aspiration needed!
Cons: little scars that you would need to take care of.
However, Dr. Liu is the best and his surgical skills are superb. 3 weeks after I have scars, but I know for sure they will be minimal in 4-6 months.The quality of Dr. Liu stitches is 10 out of 10.
There are also so many methods to reduce scaring tissue like laser and microneedeling. So, I have no worries bout my scars at all.
Week 1: Day 1 - Day 6 after surgery I was learning to walk, elevated my legs, stretching, and taking medications. This is the most difficult week. But you will get over it! just 6 days!
Week 2: Day 7 - 14 after surgery I was working on longer walks and more stretches. I even start little work outs on day 7 :) like abs, bootie... I thought that I can feel much more normal if I make an effort to be a little more active. It worked!! I flew home on day 10. 4 hours flights was not too bad at all.
Week 3: this is my week 3. Results are AMAZING. I wearing 4 inch hills to walk and it made a huge difference. I started working out but very low impact. Lots of stretches, squats, abs, heaps, and walking / elliptical.
Every day swelling is less and less. Walking is better and better.
Visual results: My legs and calves are so beautiful. Its so much smaller. My legs are actually slim and pretty. I also lost a few pounds after surgery (mostly muscle though) and my legs look so good in skirts and shorts. Especially in hills :). My pants fit, my boots fit, I look amazing in my skinny jeans now. Wow, wow, wow....
I will post pictures by the end of week 4. I also should have before and after pictures at the Avant.
So, yes, this was the best decision of my life. I cant wait to see my final results in 6 months.