The Brain Surgery Experience
Plastic Fantastic Surgery
In my initial consultation with the plastic surgeon he recommended using my own body fat to fill the dent since my body would not reject it. It would be an out patient procedure done under local anesthesia. Since only about one third of the fat “takes” and the rest is absorbed by the body I was told that it would probably take three, maybe two procedures. For the same reason in each individual procedure extra fat is injected, overcompensating since not all of it will stay put.
I also asked about my scar. Since it is still pretty visible, to me at least, I wondered if a revision could improve it. The plastic surgeon was very impressed with how well the scar had healed. He didn’t think a revision could improve it. Kudos to my brain surgeons for their skill and care used in putting me back together.
I met with a nurse after the meeting with the surgeon to discuss the finer points of this procedure, things like price. It ain’t cheap, but I have my modeling career to consider. Just kidding. I’m not a millionaire, but I have a little change and decided to give it a shot. The way I looked at it was that I would end up spending less time and money on my skull and scalp than most folks spend on their hair over a lifetime. Much much less.
We set it up for late September, approximately eight months after my brain surgery. It was done in their posh office. There were two nurses and the surgeon. They put me in a gown and some footies then got me on the table in the operating room. This doctor had discussed my situation with my brain surgeon and that made me feel a lot better. These people were very nice and I got to hear some funny stories and jokes while everything was taking place.
One of the nurses mentioned that during the last blizzard when there was a power outage in the medical building they had to do some procedures by flashlight. Apparently patients kept showing up despite the conditions. “You know these cosmetic surgeries are medical emergencies.” Good one.
As I lay on my side the doctor began by giving me shots of anesthesia to the dent area of my head and my handle of love on the same side. He told me that the whole thing would be over pretty quickly. This brother didn’t know who he was dealing with. Even though I’d been off the bike a lot in the last year due to surgeries, in the last few months I’d been training hard to get back in shape. So, there wasn’t much handle in my love-handle.
The doctor began extracting the fat from my back. It didn’t hurt, but I could feel a lot of vigorous pushing and pulling. I could hear the slurping, but couldn’t see what was going on. It seemed like it was taking a while. Then he said “next time I’m gonna have you eat a cheeseburger before you get here.” The doctor also asked me if I wanted to see the fat once he had it collected. He said “your brain surgeon mentioned that you have movies of that surgery. If you can watch that I thought maybe you’d want to see the fat.” Ha! “Sure, lemme see it” I said.
He showed me the fat and blood, in a syringe I think. The collection of fat was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It was roughly the size of a grape. Then he explained that first the fat would be put into a centrifuge to separate the fluids from the fat. That only took a couple minutes. Then he did it again with some saline solution added to clean it up some more.
Finally, it was time to relocate my fat. The surgeon went to work on my noggin. It felt like he was using considerable force to get the fat injected. He was pressing hard on my head, but this didn’t hurt much. To finish he put in a single stitch, and covered it with just a band-aid. For my back they didn’t even use a stitch. They just put on a band-aid with a gauze pad taped over it.
I can’t remember precisely how long it took, but it was certainly less than an hour. I asked the doctor if I could exercise the same day. “I wouldn’t” was his reply. I felt pretty good and even ran some errands on my way home. By the afternoon though, I began to feel a little worse for wear and ended up napping a good bit.
The dent now looked like a goose egg. As promised the surgeon overcompensated with the fat, but I had complete confidence in the doctor and that this bump would soon flatten out. I was right. By the third day it was basically perfect. By that I mean that it was where I hoped it would end up. Unfortunately, this wasn’t where it would remain. I wasn’t surprised, but maybe a little disappointed.
My back began to bruise over the first few days. As you might expect, my back hurt worse and longer than my head, but altogether the whole process wasn’t too bad.
Most of the fat did in fact dissipate over time and two months later I was back to do it all over again, as planned. The second fat injection went as smoothly as the first. Three weeks later I went back for a follow-up. The thing is, my follow-up appointment was in the morning, and in the morning the dent is always less noticeable. I’m not sure why, but as I mentioned before it takes a long time for fluid to move around head and in the morning it seems slightly swollen compared to the evening. By the afternoon the dent is always more crisp around the edges, more noticeable. So, the doc saw me when it looked as good as possible, and told me that we were done unless it settled a lot more.
Two months since that injection and I can’t say I’m thrilled with how it turned out. Maybe it looks better, but it is hard for me to tell the difference. Whatever.