Taylor’s least favorite body part has always been her arms. Working in the medical spa at La Jolla Cosmetic, Taylor knew there were a lot of ways to approach body contouring, including those arms.
Although she had already lost 30 lbs, plastic surgeon Dr. Swistun motivated her to lose 15 more to ensure successful results. After reaching her goal weight, Taylor moved ahead with surgery. Dr. Swistun sculpted her body with 360 lipo to her upper and lower back, full abdomen up to her bra line, arms, and thighs, followed by Renuvion to tighten everything up.
Although she read about it in her pre-op booklet, Taylor was surprised to actually be that person who cries upon waking up from surgery. But the biggest surprise, even while still early in the recovery process, is that her body is so much smaller she than she expected to be.
She shares her “roller coaster of emotions” as her body changed through the stages of recovery, from waking up in the recovery room through the first weeks with her new body.
- Read more about 360 Lipo
- See 360 Lipo before and after photos
- Meet Taylor’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Luke Swistun
- Hear more episodes about Liposuction
See Taylor’s progress photos
Check back soon for final results, as Taylor is just six weeks out of surgery!
Speaker 1 (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Monique Ramsey (00:14):
Welcome, everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey, and if anybody’s been thinking about having 360 lipo, which is lipo around your body, so 360 degrees, we have a guest today for you. Her name is Taylor, and she actually works in our medical spa, and she had 360 lipo with Dr. Luke Swistun, and also something called renuvion. So, Taylor, welcome.
Hi, thank you for having me.
Monique Ramsey (00:45):
Oh, of course. So tell us the areas that you had done when it’s 360, it’s all the way around, but where were we going?
So, Dr. Swistun, we had a whole plan. He did my back upper and lower, full abdomen, and then up to my bra line. We also did my arms and then day of surgery, I guess, going over my pre-op photos, he kind of looked at my full body frame and added on my inner thigh a bit. A little bit. Upper inner thigh.
Monique Ramsey (01:19):
Okay. And what was the area that bothered you the most?
It’s funny. My biggest concern was my arms. It’s just always been an area of where I struggled to lose weight. In the past, I used to be almost about 215 pounds, and so I got down to about 180 175, and then before my surgery, Dr. Swiston really motivated me to kind of lose a couple more pounds if I could, just to get the best result. And so I finally got down to like 165, 170 fluctuating from those two, and my arms were still, so to me, prominent out of everything. But then when we started to do markings and stuff and pre-op, he’s like, “You carry a lot in your back area,” he was like, “I want to focus on that.” And he was like, “But we’ll definitely take as much from your arms that we can and then go over it with renuvion to kind of tighten everything.”
Monique Ramsey (02:18):
Yeah. And so renuvion is a technology, I guess, that can help heat and shrink the tissue sort of?
Yeah, it helps retract and tighten. I do think from being so overweight at one point in my life and I feel like I gained that weight relatively quickly, so it did stretch my skin. I had pretty laxed skin, especially under my arms and my lower abdomen, and so that’s why he had the idea to add the renuvion on so that I got the best result possible, and so everything stayed pretty firm. I mean, with me being 25 years old.
Monique Ramsey (02:57):
Yeah. Your age helps right away. But like you say, if the skin quality isn’t great, I mean, you can be young and still have where the tissues just aren’t going to bounce back as quickly, so I think that’s really cool that we have a technology that you can sort of add on to help.
Monique Ramsey (03:14):
So looking backwards, was there a moment that pushed you over the edge that where you’re like, “I just want to do this now,” or have you been thinking about it for a long time?
It’s been a year plan. When Dr. Swistun Joined our surgery center, I kind of met with him probably three months or two months into him coming into the surgery center, and we did vectras and kind of showed me a visual plan, which was nice because it made me want to get to that goal. And so now actually having done the procedure, it’s nice because I can see visually and I actually look a lot smaller, and it’s only in week three than what he imagined I would look like.
Monique Ramsey (03:59):
And for people in the audience who don’t know, so vectra is an imaging technology. And does it kind of scan your body in a way?
Yeah. It scans your full 360 body, so when you go into a consult, the surgeon can pull up your initial photo and then they put side by side a photo they can edit while you’re in there looking at the before photo, and kind of an after rough draft photo. And I recorded him like doing the consult with me. So it’s like, anytime I was wanting to not binge eat, but eat bad for a couple days in a row, I would look back on that and be like, okay, no Taylor, this is what you’re going to be doing one day. So don’t get off track.
Monique Ramsey (04:40):
That’s a great tip for people to be able to have something that you can go back to that helps you refocus and where you have that, you’re no, this is going to be worth it, and I have that light at the end of the tunnel or even while you’re healing to be able to see that projected after it’s like, no, no, no. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Yeah. It’s crazy. The healing process I want to say is, week two and three, at least for me, these past two weeks have been a little rough. During my pre-op Nancy went over, one of the nurses downstairs, went over all of the hand booklet, what to expect, extra little things you should carry at the house, but you get to a point on the book and it talks about emotions. And I kind of laughed about it because I’m not a very emotional person, but now that I’m at week three, I’m definitely feeling that whole post depression, post anxiety surgery thing, where you’re kind of like, okay, should I have done this? Because you’re in garments and it’s not the most comfortable scenario to be in, especially during the summer.
Monique Ramsey (05:50):
I was going to say, especially during the summer when it’s hot, you’ve got like a lot of spandex tightening around your body.
But then Gretchen and I, we’ve been doing weekly photos and I see my body changes and when I take the garments off, I’m like, “Okay. Yeah, the swelling’s definitely gone down.” And I’ve taken on my cell phone just every week to week photos in the same mirror just to see it visually. I’m a very visual person, and that kind of helps with like my little anxiety moments.
Monique Ramsey (06:21):
Yeah. And I think it’s so important and I think it’s good that it’s in the pre-op booklet for patients because a lot of people are like you where they’re thinking, “Oh, I’ll be fine. I’ve made it through worse.” But I think your body physiologically is going through something. I’m not a physician, but you’re talking about, you’ve had meds in terms of the anesthesia. That’s something that your body’s having to go through. You’ve had huge changes in terms of fluid shifting and fat being taken out. And your body’s in a little chaos in there. And I think,
And it’s lifestyle changes too, because you’re kind of restricted. I’m a very active person. So from going to working out five to six days a week and going on a walk after work, to be able to not really do any of that, especially the first two weeks, because you don’t want any fluid collection is kind of like, “Okay, so then what do I do?”
Monique Ramsey (07:19):
Yeah. Yeah. Well then now coming back into work, just doing that, you’re running around all day. You’re on your feet. You’re up and down, and so just that is sort of a workout in a way, you can think of it that way.
Well and too, it’s nice because coming into work, I think is my saving grace right now, because I’m a very social person. So being able to interact with coworkers and patients and stuff kind of is right now my therapeutic way of going through this.
Monique Ramsey (07:51):
Right. And you’re not sitting there just focusing on yourself, you’ve got something else to sort of distract yourself. So then, what’s the last thing you remember as you fell asleep and what’s the first thing you remember as you woke up?
So it’s funny, before I fell asleep, we were in the marking room and Dr. Haas he’s like, do you have any questions or have any requests? I was like, “My only request is that I wake up after” He was like, “Okay.”
Monique Ramsey (08:19):
Not in the middle, not during.
So we go to the room, I get wheeled into the room, and before I fell asleep, they both Dr. Has and Lauren go, what are three things you’ll look forward to, positive things waking up after this? I remember I was like, “I’ll be in a bikini.” He was like, “Okay.” I was like, “I’ll be skinny.” And he was laughing. And then I was like, “I’m going to Cabo,” and then I fell asleep. And the first thing I remember waking up is literally at the feet of my bed is Dr. Swistun to the right of me and Dr. Haas at the end. And they were both like sitting there, just waiting for me to wake up. He was like, “I told you.”
Monique Ramsey (09:11):
Aw, that’s so cute.
And Dr. Swistun and I, if you look on our Instagram, Gretchen, our marketing Instagram person, she uploaded a photo, but Dr. Swistun was taking selfies with me.
Monique Ramsey (09:21):
That was what I remember when I.
Monique Ramsey (09:26):
Oh, that’s so cute. So waking up you’re okay, you’re in the recovery room. Were you feeling okay? Or were things starting to hurt at that point?
What was weird for me not being an emotional person, I just started crying. I started crying when I woke up, seeing them, I think because I felt good that they stayed and waited for me. I really don’t know why I was crying, but I did about 30 minutes after being awake, my arms started to feel tingly, burning almost. And Dr. Swiston was still there and he was like, “That’s the renuvion,” because it is like heating up the muscle tissue. So I felt that, and then everything else, I was pretty wrapped up and drains were in, a little fluid on my pants and stuff, that all felt just numb.
But my arms, I could feel tingly.
Monique Ramsey (10:28):
Oh interesting. So somebody drove you home obviously. And you get home, you get into bed, and what did you do that first 24 hours? Mostly sleep or were you awake watching TV or what does that look like?
I FaceTimed so many, no, I actually did, but.
Monique Ramsey (10:47):
Because you’re a social person.
Yeah. But the first hour I definitely ate something, so I could take my medication. That’s one thing that they advised me to do. So I had some chicken noodle soup. I think I ate the broth just because I didn’t feel like eating solids and then crackers. I was a little nauseous the first couple of hours and then I slept, pretty much slept throughout the night. And then my friend that was taking care of me, she would wake me up to take a Gabapentin or any medication that I needed to throughout the night, and then I just went back to sleep.
Monique Ramsey (11:22):
Yeah. That’s usually the best thing to kind of get through that first 24 hours is if you can sleep, if you can get comfortable and sleep, it’s the best thing to do.
Yeah. One thing that I would recommend though for people is after surgery or when you get home, I wasn’t expecting to drain as much fluid as I did. So we lined the pathways to the bathroom and stuff with trash bags and then towel on top.
Monique Ramsey (11:47):
Oh goodness. Okay. Just in case.
Yeah. The same as the bed too though. Because I even texted Dr. Swistun probably at like 2:00 AM or 1:00 AM. I’m like, “Is this normal?” He did. He was like, “No, that’s totally normal.” But it was something that I never had visually seen in pictures or anything, so it kind of freaked me out a bit.
Monique Ramsey (12:09):
Yeah. I think that’s really because they have to, when they’re doing the lipo, they infuse the tissues and that fat, they do the tumescent technique, which is that you’re infusing those tissues with the local anesthetic and saline. So they’re putting in a bunch of water, for lack of a better word, and then your body’s going to kind of expel that out of whatever little hole you have from the puncture areas where they did the lipo. So, and obviously in the drains and so the drains, was it a belt sort of?
Yeah. I had one, two in the front, below my abdomen and then one in the back, lower back between kind of your butt, and that one was probably the most uncomfortable of the three.
Monique Ramsey (12:56):
Sort of in the way, is it?
Yeah, just because you’re laying and then going to the bathroom and stuff, you have to rearrange it, but I’m kind of glad that I had them in just to.
Monique Ramsey (13:05):
Yeah. Oh, you’d be so uncomfortable. I think if you didn’t, and you’re then how do you get the fluid out of there? So it’s good to get it out and you’ll feel better.
Yeah. And I think I’m a very visual person, so when I see things happening, on the scale, numbers or… So when I would see the fluid fill up in the drain, I’m like, “Okay, it’s draining, it’s coming out”
Monique Ramsey (13:27):
It’s doing what it’s supposed to do, yeah.
Yeah. Post surgery though, I actually didn’t take any of the narcotics or Xanax or anything.
Monique Ramsey (13:35):
Wow, that’s really good.
Yeah. It wasn’t bad. I stayed on ibuprofen and Tylenol around the clock every six hours and then Gabapentin just to help a little. And that one really helped me sleep, but everything else, I tried to stay away from the narcotics because I didn’t want to be more constipated.
Monique Ramsey (13:57):
Oh, true. That makes sense. So, you had that immediate 24 hour post-op period or 48 hours. When did you kind of start to feel back to normal? Whatever normal is.
So I came back to work a week later. I wouldn’t say I felt completely normal. I was a little sore getting up and down and out of breath walking a bit. I would say day 10 after that weekend, laying in bed the rest of the day, then Sunday, I was like, “Okay, I’m ready to walk around and stuff.”
Monique Ramsey (14:31):
Yeah. Now in terms of the after, so can you describe what scars you have?
I have 10 little incisions. I have two in the front, in your mons pubis area, and then I have four in my arms, so, but I have one in my elbow, one in my armpit on each side, and then I have two in my back and then two in the front. And they’re pretty much almost gone. We get a little scar gel from SkinMedica in our little post care bag, and I’ve been applying that once they closed, day and night, and they’re pretty much closed up.
Monique Ramsey (15:12):
That’s awesome. So would you ever go back or do you feel like the little scars are like totally worth it?
Oh yeah. Yeah. Going over the whole experience of pain wise, everything like that. If I could feel the way I do and then didn’t have to work the garment and stuff as long, I would do this every, not every week, but no, I would do this over and over again.
Monique Ramsey (15:38):
Did anything surprise you after surgery? Something that you just weren’t expecting at all?
Yeah. I would say being as emotional. The whole emotional start, and then also to the first couple days of how much fluid does come out. But yeah, I guess I didn’t expect to be the person that would be crying or something. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Monique Ramsey (16:06):
It’s actually interesting that you say that. So over my many, many years on the planet, I had several surgeries, mostly with La Jolla Cosmetic, but I remember too specifically where I woke up crying and they said, why are you crying? I’m like, “I don’t know.” You just don’t know. But so it must be that the medicines do something to you. I don’t know, but I had the same exact things happen.
Monique Ramsey (16:32):
So this is so great you’re doing this podcast because people can then learn and like, “Oh this is normal. And this could happen to me.” And the more you kind of are armed with the potentials of what could happen, then when they do happen, if they happen, you’re like, “Okay, that’s all right. That’s normal or a normal reaction.” So.
Yeah. And Gretchen and I, we’ve been week by week of my healing recovery process, we’ve been doing videos and then how to put garments on with foam and she took photos of my day after post-op to see, okay, because after surgery, you’re very swollen with all the fluid. So you take your garments off, you’re not comfortable. You don’t really feel the best. And then you look at yourself and you’re like, “Wow, I look the same or bigger.” That’s actually something that I was meaning to say too. That is where you’re kind of defeated. You’re like, “Why did I do this?” And I was like telling Dr. Swistun, he’s a wonderful surgeon, he’ll answer any question. But I was like, “I feel so, are my arm’s going to go down?” He’s like, “Taylor, it’s been a week. Yes, you still have so much fluid. You’re bruised. You’re swollen.” He was like, and then fast forward to three weeks, I’m like, oh I can feel it, everything is getting smaller. In your garments, I started an extra large and then I went to a large, now I’m in a medium.
Monique Ramsey (17:54):
Oh wow. And you’re right at about three weeks?
Three weeks yesterday.
Monique Ramsey (17:59):
And he’s I was like, “I can see myself like getting smaller.” He’s like, “Oh Taylor, that’s not anything.” He was like, “In six weeks to three months then tell me.”
Monique Ramsey (18:10):
So would you recommend that people get even if you do it at home, you don’t have to come into the center every time, but if you had somebody who could take your picture or set up a camera, put it on a timer and take your picture every week, maybe in the same positions, you think was that sort of helpful to you mentally to see?
Yeah. The reason why Dr. Swistun and Gretchen had the plan to take my week by week recovery is to show patients when they do go in like, “Okay, this is normal. This is week three.” So yeah, I think, yeah, I would recommend people take their own photos because it’s nice to see.
Monique Ramsey (18:47):
Yeah. So, what would you tell somebody who’s thinking about having any kind of plastic surgery, now that you’ve been through it, what would your advice be?
I would say listen to the surgeon, what their recommendation is. I’m very grateful that Dr. Swistun was honest and told me like, “Sure you could do this surgery tomorrow, but if you lose a couple more or get into a healthy lifestyle, after surgery, it’ll be easier to maintain that healthy lifestyle and you’ll get a better result.” And I would just advise trust with what they say, especially with the healing process, coming from someone that isn’t very patient with things like that, because when you don’t rest, I think you even told me this too, when you’re on your feet too fast, you get really tired really quickly. You kind of burned yourself out.
Monique told me, Dr. Swistun, the nurses, and it was after my week coming back to work, I was exhausted.
Monique Ramsey (19:54):
Yeah. It’s a lot. And that’s what I remember. I went to a wedding nine days maybe after having circumferential lipo around my thighs and my stomach. And we went to a wedding and I was fine. We drove up to LA or Long Beach and do that, do the whole thing. And then sort of part way through the reception, I was like, I hit a wall. And I was fine the whole time, and then I felt really bad, and I felt really bad the whole way home. And all of a sudden I was like, I have to eat something, and we stop at a Cocos to find some soup. I was like, “No, I can’t wait any longer. We’re stopping in Mission Viejo.”
Monique Ramsey (20:36):
But it was weird. It was sort of like when you hit that wall of either hunger or being tired, or it kind of comes out of nowhere and it catches you by surprise. And so Taylor, when I saw her back to work and I’m like, “Okay, just remember you’re going through a lot just by being here, take it easy. Don’t go crazy.” So I think that’s good to be kind and gentle to yourself as you’re getting back into life.
Monique Ramsey (21:02):
How would you describe Dr. Swistun as a surgeon? Just that relationship between him and his patients.
He’s very honest. He’s a very genuine person. And he told me too, on my abdomen, my lower abdomen, I had a little pooch there and he was like, “I want to be realistic with you. I’m going to go and lipo as much, but after surgery, you had so much fat to the tissue. I didn’t want to even mess with that with you being 25. I didn’t want to cause any deformities in the skin, so if, whenever you are healing, you notice a little bit of that fat, we could always do something later, go back in later, but I would rather go back than take too much.”
And that was nice because it was like, you care about my best interest and the long term of my body and what my figure’s going to look like.
Monique Ramsey (22:00):
What would you say that you would tell someone who’s deciding on, let’s say they’re interviewing five plastic surgeons or three plastic surgeons. What would you say that they should look for as they interview a plastic surgeon?
That’s a tough one. I think a surgeon looking out for your best interest and being honest and realistic with meeting your needs. And too, I think a surgeon that isn’t pushy and like, “You need to book this next week. You need to do this.” He was very much so, like I said, it was a year before I even did this, that he was like, “You can do this tomorrow if you want, but I would recommend you take a couple months or however long or whenever you’re ready, and work on your healthy lifestyle.”
Monique Ramsey (22:58):
No, but that’s so true. That’s so true to give yourself the best result and the result that you can maintain. That’s really important. So I’m hoping that we’ll be able to show in our show notes, kind of your progression photos and we’ll have some links to the videos that Gretchen’s working on, because I know she’s kind of putting some different things together to kind of document the journey so to speak. And then I, like you say, you’re here every day, so any of the people in the audience who have questions, Taylor’s here, so she can answer it from a very informed point of view because she’s just going through the whole thing.
Yeah. I’m more than willing to show patients my journey.
Monique Ramsey (23:44):
How long do you wear a garment?
He said six weeks. So people that are wanting to do legs, arms, full 360 around your whole body, if I could choose, I’d probably do it in the winter.
Monique Ramsey (24:00):
Oh, just because it’s less hot.
It’s less hot, and I’m in garment from ankles to wrist. So it’s not the most comfortable during the summer, and you want to be out in a bathing suit.
Fourth of July was this last weekend and I’m walking around at the restaurants and going out in literally a sweater and jeans.
Monique Ramsey (24:24):
Oh my gosh. And did you ever do any lymphatic drainage massage?
No, I was going to.
Monique Ramsey (24:32):
Right. I remember we were talking about that. You were talking about going.
Yeah. But then my brother came up from Dallas. So I had company, but I had.
Monique Ramsey (24:40):
You were busy being social.
Yeah. Entertaining. So, no, I never did, but I wanted to go see the lady. I don’t remember.
Monique Ramsey (24:50):
Kathleen. Yes, Kathleen.
Monique Ramsey (24:52):
Listen. I think that is something that if people have time and I think I remember seeing a video that she made where it’s a good idea to, let’s say you’re going to book your surgery six weeks from now. Book those appointments also because sometimes by the time you think you need it, they’re already booked up and you can’t have it. So almost planning ahead as, okay, I’m having this surgery on the 20th and on the 24th, I’m going to, whatever your doctor says. When you can have it, then go have that. Because I remember doing that way back in the day, and I felt a lot better after. It’s weird, because it’s not like a massage, massage. It’s very light touch, but it helps flush those fluids out of you and get things moving, and it’s a weird sensation afterwards because you’re like, “Wow, I feel a lot better,” but you can’t really pinpoint what happened to make you feel that way. But it’s really helping your lymphatic system get rid of all the yak. And it does help kind of your state of mind and your body and you feel better, so.
That’s something too, Dr. Swistun does recommend. He does say massage the area.
Monique Ramsey (26:04):
And you can even do it on yourself. You can kind of do some areas yourself and work towards those little, you know, where the lymph glands are. And anyway, so check the show notes for links, and photos, and videos, and we’ll have all of Taylor’s before and after pictures. And you say you can check out her transformation and thank you for telling your story, Taylor, that was really nice of you to come on.
Monique Ramsey (26:26):
I’ve been trying to get her on the podcast for two weeks, to be honest. But she’s a busy gal, so, but this is good. Three weeks kind of looking back, it gives you some perspective. If we did it too early, you might not have the same perspective sort of looking back to say, “Okay, this is what got me through the first week or the first 10 days,” so.
Yeah, I was talking to Dr. Swistun and stuff, the emotion things he’s like, “Now after, when you start like having to wear your garment less and stuff like that, that’s when you start rising.” I was like, “Okay.”
Monique Ramsey (26:57):
Taylor rising like the Phoenix.
Yeah. So excited.
Monique Ramsey (27:03):
Okay. Well thanks again. And I’ll let you get back to your day and we will see you again next time, Taylor.
Perfect. Thank you, Monique.
Speaker 1 (27:18):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code PODCAST to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I-5 San Diego freeway in the Ximed building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital Campus. To learn more, go to ljcsc.com or follow the team on Instagram at LJCSC. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.