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Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos

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Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« on: December 04, 2009, 06:21:39 PM »
Hi everyone,

I've been visiting these forums for about the past four to five months, but this is my first-ever post. This website has been such a massive help to me - without it, I wouldn't be in the position I am today - so I felt at the very least I had a duty to tell my story and hopefully help other people in the same way. Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but when I was thinking about what to do, the more detail I had, the better.....

My story…

Up until surgery eight days ago with Dr. Karidis, I had lived with gynecomastia since my mid-teens. For much of that period, I was a couple of stone overweight, and had always attributed my moobs to that. After becoming so fed up with rock bottom self-esteem, I resolved to get fit and healthy, and over the course of 10 months of healthy eating and going to the gym and hammering the treadmill, I dropped three-and-a-half stone and was a good healthy weight.

Physically I'd never felt better, but mentally it was all a massive anti-climax. The moobs were still there, pretty much unchanged, and if anything they stood out even more now that my stomach was flat and I was more stream-lined. I'm sure the doctors etc would say my efforts were all worthwhile for health reasons, and they're right, but a large part of it also felt pretty pointless. I guess really we all lose weight to look good and improve our self-esteem, and for me that just didn't apply. Still no t-shirts and no nice clothes for me!

I'd heard about gynecomastia in the past but hadn't really looked into it due to the weight issue, but after going on holiday and seeing plenty of bigger guys than me walking around with fairly flat chests, I thought it was time to look into things. And that was when I visited this board for the first time.

I had some savings and had no qualms about spending some of them. I knew it would make a real difference to me in terms of self-esteem, but obviously undergoing surgery is a massive step. Through these boards I realised I wasn't alone, and that there was a solution.

Having trawled through all of the posts on here, the unanimous rave reviews about Dr. Karidis pointed me in his direction, but first of all I wanted to visit my GP, just to tick a box as much as anything else. I had my suspicions that he would be unresponsive, and that proved to be correct, as I was told there wasn't breast tissue there, it was just fat left over that couldn't be shifted, and he'd never even been asked about it before.

Initial Consultation…

A part of me felt relief at that. I had been expecting it and it give me the green light to go and see the expert. Appointment booked, I travelled down to London towards the end of September to see Dr. Karidis. It felt like an important step, but he immediately put me at ease. To be honest, he reminded me a bit of an airline pilot, his demeanour and approach inspired real confidence and assurance.

The consultation didn't really take too long, but then there wasn't too much to say really. He said there was gland there as well as fat, assured me he could get it flat and explained what it would involve. Overall it probably took about 15 minutes, after which I then spoke to his very friendly staff, who discussed possible dates, fees etc.

I went away to think about it for a couple of days, although I was 99.9% certain of going ahead. In fact, the only doubt was in relation to the anaesthetic. I'd never had a general anaesthetic before and the idea had me pretty freaked out, but after ringing up and talking through my fears with his staff, I went ahead and paid my £1,000 deposit.

Blood test…

The next step was to arrange my blood test, and at this point I think I got really lucky, as I didn't have to pay a penny! I just rang up my local GP and explained to the receptionist that I needed blood tests done for private surgery. She booked me a telephone consultation with another GP in the practice, and he was very accommodating, saying he'd mark down what I needed doing and to book in for the blood test. The test results arrived back a couple of days later and I sent them off. One of the levels was borderline high, which concerned me, but Dr. Karidis' practice nurse Chantelle rang me to reassure me that the surgery could still go ahead.

Two weeks before…

With the rest of my fees paid, part to Dr. Karidis and part to the hospital, I was all set. In the couple of weeks building up to it, the nerves really did start to peak! During that time, I basically tried to be as healthy as possible, eating well but not dieting and going the gym but not over-doing it, on the principle that I wanted to be healthy for the surgery but losing weight probably wasn't wise. I'd recommend going to the gym to relieve the nerves apart from anything else. And of course, you've got to avoid certain vitamins etc for two weeks, as well avoiding alcohol for the final week. The pack you get is very detailed with all of this information.

The day before….

The only people that knew about it were my mum and dad, who have been very supportive throughout it all, although neither of them really thought I needed it to be done. They travelled down with me to London on the night before, we stayed in a nearby hotel and I was all ready for the big day, and the last thing I ate was at about 9pm. I also trimmed my chest hair, which has made things a lot easier.

The big day…

From the moment I arrived at the hospital to the minute I left, the staff were all absolutely fantastic, I can't speak highly enough of them. Chantelle had called the day before to confirm I was to arrive at 8.30am and was third on the list, so would go down at 10am. I arrived at about 8.20am, and the admissions person came and showed me to my ensuite room, where I completed some paperwork.

One of the nurses then came in, took all of my details and a thorough medical history, which basically correlated with what I'd already told Dr. Karidis. I was then given my operating gown, a dressing gown, surgical socks to aid blood flow, and surgical slippers. I was able to stay in my own underwear. After getting changed, I was weighed, and had my blood pressure and pulse taken.

The man himself then came in. Again he was really friendly, very positive, cheerful and in control. You basically get the impression that this is the master at work, it may be a big deal to you but to him it's all in a day's work, and that supreme confidence really comes across and relaxes you. He took a couple of photos and then marked my chest up with where he was going to do the work.

After that, it was a short wait before it was time to go down. After all of the nerves and the build-up, I was quite calm really. The nurse came in to take me down to theatre. You walk to a separate lift for theatre only, you get out (it's quite cold down there!) and then you're taken to the anaesthetists' room. As I said before, the idea of the anaesthetic was one of my major concerns, but again there was absolutely nothing to worry about. The anaesthetist's assistant came out, put the pads on to measure my heart and blood pressure, and made some other preparations. Heated warmers were put on my legs to aid circulation. The anaesthetist then came in and I asked a couple of questions and he reassured me, talking me through the entire thing.

After one initial injection, he then gave me the anaesthetic, saying I'd feel sleepy. Within five seconds of lying there, I felt a slight tingling sensation in my temples and the next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery.

I wouldn't say it felt immediate, but it felt like I'd literally been asleep for a couple of minutes. A nurse was saying my name, checking I was ok and comfortable, I looked down to my left and saw I was wearing the black compression vest and knew it was over!

After being kept in recovery for a bit, with my blood pressure being constantly monitored, I was then wheeled up to my room and moved across onto my bed, being propped up. To be honest, coming around from the anaesthetic was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I felt a little tired, but that was literally it, apart from a very dry throat.

I must have been in theatre about 30-45 minutes, because at this point it was just after 11am. It was then time to lie back and relax, watch tv and enjoy some lunch. I basically drank water like a fish to help quench my thirst, but there was no pain at all (literally 0 on a scale of 0-10). The vest was a little uncomfortable, but that was about it.

My blood pressure was monitored constantly throughout the next four hours. Chantelle came in at about 2pm to go through things with me and hand over my other vest. She said Dr. Karidis was very happy with how it had gone and thought I'd get an excellent result, he took out 600ml of fat and 9g of gland from each side.

The nurse then came in with my medication - two more antibiotics, anti-inflammatories for the next three days and painkillers should I need them, as well as medication to relieve constipation, which is a known side-effect of all the meds! She also gave me plenty of dressings, plasters etc.

At 3pm it was time to go. You're not in pain but you do move really slowly and you definitely need someone with you. You just need to move around really carefully. Anyway it was back to the hotel, watching a bit of telly and getting some rest. Lying upright wasn't as bad as I expected it to be (you just need to have your head higher than your heart apparently, so it's not like sitting bolt upright), and I did get some sleep. There was absolutely no discharge either, the incisions are absolutely tiny and fade very quickly.


The following morning it was time to get the train home. The pain was still absolutely minimal. I'd taken a couple of painkillers more as a security to help me sleep than anything else, and the train journey home was absolutely fine. I even took a call from Chantelle to check how I was doing.

Into the evening then and it was time to take the vest off for the first time. My first reaction was wow! I was just so happy with the results, even at that stage. It was just so flat. One problem was that I suffered orthostatic hypotension in a big way, which you did get warned about! Basically the first and second time you take the vest off, you can get very light-headed and dizzy, and it took me a good 20 minutes of lying and sitting down to get back to normal.

After a very gentle shower, I changed the plasters and the vest went back on. It's only at this point that you truly realise how tight it is! Over the next few days it definitely gets easier. Never did I feel any pain, the main hindrance is lack of movement, you've got to take things easy and not stretch, but you do recover quickly.

I got a nice surprise on the Sunday evening when Karidis himself called to check how I was getting on. I thought calling at 8.30pm on a Sunday night was a nice touch, shows he really cares about his patients.

The main issues I've had have been the plasters - the under-arm plasters are a pain, and my skin hasn't reacted too well to them, a couple of places where they were stuck down are very itchy, and for the first couple of days I felt very bloated and it took 3-4 days for my digestive system to get back to normal.

In general, though, things have been a lot more comfortable than I expected. The vest is a pain, but you do get used to it. I've been taking arnica and eating plenty of pineapple, and eight days on I've got I'd say 90% of the movement in my arms back and am feeling perfectly normal. I even went back to work with no problems on day six.

As you can see from the pics, there is a tiny bit of swelling. The bruising was quite bad, but is fading quickly. I know there is a long way to go before the end results, but even if I had no change from today, it would be worth every penny. I tried on a fairly tight t-shirt yesterday and that confirmed it for me!

Given my lack of activity, I've put a little bit of weight on and obviously Christmas is on the horizon, but once we get to New Year I can't wait to get back to the gym and get fit again. Just feeling normal is a massive Christmas present!

In general then, I really can't speak highly enough of everyone, from the man himself who is quite simply the master of his craft, to the nurses who were attentive and absolutely wonderful. If you're reading this and wondering whether to take the plunge, I have two words - DO IT! I was in your position a couple of months ago, had plenty of misgivings and fears, but went for it and have absolutely no regrets. You only live once, and if you're going to get something like this done, you should go to the best.

Now though, I'm just looking forward to the coming weeks and months, getting the vest off and going through the recovery. I owe this board a lot, and I'd like to thank everyone for their contributions, it makes a real difference to not only posters but also countless others who may never post.

I know this post has been extremely long and waffly, but I make no apologies for that. I think when you're in this position you want as much information and reassurance as possible, so hopefully I've done a little to help!

Linkback: https://www.gynecomastia.org/smf/index.php?topic=19551.0

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2009, 07:36:19 PM »
hey mate, congrats on the op. reading your story is almost like reading my own....if you read my post, you will know i had issues with general anaesthetic too! great pics too. did the anaesthetic doctor guy speak to you just before the op in your room? he gave me a visit which really helps but i told the nurses about it and maybe they sent him up to put me at ease!

get well soon!

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2009, 07:21:13 AM »
Nice story there mate good insight for getting the surgery

for people with surgery comming up Payment/Blood tests are the only things youve got to worry about yourself. Get them sorted in plenty of time ;)

Great results mate! put some pics up when your healed up :)
Surgery With Alex Karidis - 16/05/09 - Completed!

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 02:00:02 PM »
Thanks a lot for going into so much detail, booking the op with him for February so is great to read posts like that, really takes away some of the anxiety.

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 03:05:33 PM »
good results mate! thanks for the info to on ur experience.

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2009, 01:50:41 PM »
Hi guys,

Cheers for your comments! Up to day 12 post-op now and healing nicely, I've got a bit of swelling on one side but nothing too bad really, still more or less completely flat! Took my plasters off a few days ago, and the bruising and incisions are starting to fade now - in fact, I can barely see the under-the-arm incisions, which is frankly amazing!

Still a little bit restricted in terms of arm movement in that I can't put them too high above my head, but apart from that absolutely no problems moving. The itching I had has completely gone and I'm pretty much used to the vest now! It will still be nice to take it off during the day from Thursday though!

ineedhelp - I think initially I was expecting the anaesthetist to come up to my room, but he didn't in the end. I did manage to ask a couple of questions in his room though, and by that point I wasn't feeling too bad really, so it was all fine! I definitely think if others are worried about the anaesthetic, though, it would be worth mentioning it, as I'd have definitely liked to have spoken to the anaesthetist before going down!

I'll try and post some more pics in the next few days....

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2009, 02:35:43 PM »
Yeah post more pics if you can, looks like you're headed for a great result!

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 03:36:35 PM »

Great results mate. Remember to start with the bio oil soon.



Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story inc photos (3-week photo now uploaded)
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2009, 03:50:25 PM »
Hi everyone,

As you can see from the new photo, I'm progressing quite nicely. I'm three weeks post-op now, and while there's still a bit of swelling, almost all of the bruising has gone now. I've started on the massaging with the bio-oil, and you can really feel some of the scar tissue that is also affecting the appearance a little bit, but overall I'm still delighted with the result! I know there's a long way to go until the final result, but so far, so good!

Just one more week to go now with wearing the vest at night, my last night with it on will be Christmas Eve, so that'll be a nice Christmas present, although to be honest I'm pretty much used to it now and it's not really a problem.

I also had a nice surprise in the post the other day when I received a Christmas card from Karidis and his team, which I thought was a nice touch!

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 04:28:12 PM »
Yeah anesthesia is a big deterrent for me as well. I've actually had general anesthesia twice before, but once was very light because I was just getting my wisdom teeth removed. The other time I had a tumor removed from my neck, which is pretty major surgery. I jolted awake from anesthesia right after leaving the operating room but I couldn't really move and I couldn't really think, but I could think well enough to know that I couldn't think or move. This freaked me out and I immediately tried to move but my limbs were too heavy, and I tried to speak but all I could do was mumble. This freaked me out even more and I started to moan and roll back and forth on the gurney. Eventually I was fine but I'll never forget that feeling of waking up right after surgery... I really don't like it. My surgery's tomorrow so hopefully I have a better experience this time...

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2009, 09:32:14 AM »

For a 3 week post op, your recovery is phenomenal.

I see that your chest is completely flat now. I was curious to know if at this stage of the recovery process do you notice any bumps/dimples/craters when you flex your pectorals.

I had my surgery around the same time as well.

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2010, 08:48:58 AM »
Hi Decimal,

Thanks for posting! I'm 4 weeks post-op now and still making progress, I've got a fairly stubborn bit of swelling around my right nipple which you can't really see on the photo, it's fairly minor but definitely noticeable compared with my left side, but I guess it's all part of the healing process.

The swelling is actually quite hard. I'm massaging with bio-oil pretty much every day and yes I've definitely got some fairly hard bumps and ridges, which I think must be the scar tissue. I'm not really too concerned, I'm thrilled with my progress even though I know that you need to wait 3-6 months before you see the genuine result, and sometimes even longer than that. I think you've just got to let the natural healing process run its course! How is your recovery going?

Trycer6 - hope your surgery went ok and you didn't have any problems with the anasthetic?

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2010, 02:10:34 AM »
Hi  ;)

great results!!

How much did the operation with karidis cost you ?

Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2010, 02:25:11 AM »
Hi GK,
Thanks for your reply. i m glad that you are so happy with your surgery. I wish I could say the same for myself :(. Right now I m rather depressed with the state of my right chest. There is this huge dent tht keeps getting more and more prominent day by day. A thick crease/wrinkle has formed which is getting deeper and deeper. I feel like it makes my chest look mutilated, far from what I wanted.

The irony is that I kinda liked my chest at times, even with  gyno, especially after doing heavy chest work. It felt full and natural, in a completely non-weird way. Right now my chest feels too bony and frail, and has these erratic depressions either under the nipple of around it.

I fear it might be a case of over-agressive liposuction. My surgeon himself confirmed that he was aiming for removal of 80% of the fat cells; I don't know if that is too much. (Speaking of which, you are quite happy with your results. If it is not too much too ask, would it be possible  for you to ask your surgeon, whenever you talk to him next, that if he were to cite a percentage on the amount of fat he removes by liposuction on an average, how much would the number be?)

I m so depressed at the moment. It is like I voluntarily butchered myself. Worst case is that if the surgeon did take out too much fat, there is no way to redress it. Most of the top docs on this forum feel that fat transfer is hardly satisfactory and looks even worse on moving your muscles.

I made a post for the same at http://www.gynecomastia.org/smf/index.php?topic=19788.msg135969#new. Have a look.


Re: Fantastic Karidis! My story - 8 days post-op inc photos
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2010, 07:43:11 AM »
Hi Decimal,

I'm really sorry to hear that, and of course I'll ask my surgeon about the percentage of fat he removes on average when I speak to him next.

I had a look at your photos and I understand entirely what you mean about the dent in that I would also be concerned, although at the same time I think we are our own worst critic and the healing process is different for different people.

I haven't got any expert knowledge about this, so I can only go on what my surgeon told me, and also through reading the literature I was sent by him, but the dent could possibly be caused by scar tissue around it maybe? Scar tissue kicks in around 3 weeks post-op and can linger for quite a few months. Although it's the body's natural process of healing itself, it can be quite dramatic, and in the early days post-op there will be some swelling too.

Another thing you may want to speak to your surgeon about is the gland removal. I know every surgeon is different, but I believe Karidis deliberately doesn't take out all of the gland because it can cause your nipple to 'cave in', for want of a better phrase, if there isn't a tiny amount left over. If a huge amount of gland has been removed, it may just take the skin time to smooth itself out.

Another thing that I hope will reassure is that I was warned pre-op that depression in the weeks and months after the op is very common. I think the healing process can be very frustrating as it can be a slow waiting game, but the body does get there eventually!

Anyway, please keep me updated with how you're getting on, and I really hope everything starts to get better for you mate!

Hi tnnt - I paid £4160 in total, £1000 deposit, then £1677 to settle the total, plus £1483 to the hospital. The initial consultation is £75, which Karidis donates St John's Hospice.

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