My knees have always been a slight bane of my life. My ankles and wrists are slim enough, and the rest of my body is a matter for negotiation between me, my carb craving and Pilates HQ in Islington. But my knees have always seemed unfairly chunky – even when I was at my very slimmest, they were still a little, shall we say, thickset. Like someone cursed with cankles, no amount of dieting will ever change their shape. One old boyfriend once politely described them as ‘complex’ – you will not be surprised to know that this gave me a complex.
But what to do? Thankfully, for those not of a squeamish disposition, there is a solution: Vaser liposuction. This is a minimally invasive fat removal procedure that can be carried out under local anaesthetic and you’re in and out in a lunch break. What could be better?
The Consultation Process
Dr Dennis Wolf saw me in his Harley Street rooms to discuss my knee issues and expectations for the surgery. He was calm and reassuring (this was my first pop at any kind of cosmetic surgery apart from a bit of Botox 15 years ago) although he wasn’t encouraging about how different my knees would be after the procedure, as there wasn’t all that much fat for him to play with – and I do get the feeling he likes to see a difference.
The second time we met it was in his Knightsbridge surgery where he keeps his Vaser (Vibration Amplification of Sound Energy at Resonance) machine.
The science bit: the procedure works by using ultrasound technology to breakdown fat cells, which are then removed from the body through a suction process. A small probe is inserted into the area to be treated, and this probe transmits the ultrasound energy to break up or liquefy the fat. The liquefied fat is then removed through a gentle aspiration process.
What this meant was that I lay on my side while he and two nurses numbed my knees and then punched a hole in the back of the knee, just at the crease. Using a tiny rod, he rummaged around in the subcutaneous fat and then hoovered it out. It took about 3/4 of an hour and didn’t hurt at all, though it felt a little uncomfortable. I mentally switched off and played Words With Friends on my iPhone while they toiled over my legs. At the end of the treatment, I rather gorily insisted on seeing the liquefied fat they’d sucked out, which was all collected in a little plastic bag. ‘There’s only about 100g there,’ said Dr Wolf sadly. ‘I like it when we can get half a kilo out of each knee.’
He provided me with bandages and swabs (water would be leaking from the puncture wounds for a few days), and some rather stylish leggings – a bit kinky, like something from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour – to reduce the swelling that I had to wear day and night for two weeks.
The Recovery Process
I was out of the clinic in about 1 1/2 hours and briefly considered going back to work before seeing sense and hopping on a bus home armed with painkillers. My knees swelled up to slightly alarming proportions and bruised in the most exotic colours over the course of several days.
Dr Wolf saw me once, a week after the procedure, to check the healing process was underway, and once more six weeks later when I proudly unveiled my new knees for his inspection.
Once the swelling had subsided and the tropical sunset colours had faded from my legs, I was able to inspect the results and these were ideal. No one but me would ever notice anything had happened, but I wore shorts with confidence for the first time in many years and my knees garnered their first ever compliments. Subtle enough to be undetectable, significant enough to make a real difference – the holy grail of cosmetic surgery.