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Lower Face/neck Lift This Friday...- Asheville, NC

I'm very nervous! I'm 54, but I struggled with...

I'm very nervous! I'm 54, but I struggled with infertility and had my kids late, so all of my friends are much younger. In the past 4-5 years I've really aged. I interviewed three doctors. The doctor I chose uses only valium and local meds, which has me the most nervous. He said all of his patients sleep thru the procedure. Hoping I'm one of them. I wanted to avoid general anesthesia because it makes me lose tons of hair, and it's thinning lately anyway. I lost my Mom in December. She was very much against any type of cosmetic surgery, and did not want me to have anything done... (of course that's in the back of my mind as I go into this).

So nervous...

Tomorrow is the big day and I'm SO nervous. I'm worried about the risks - nerve damage, that something won't "work right" afterwards. My 12 year old son is horrified, and has cried about it. My daughter is unhappy, but better about it than my son. It concerns me that some people say they have trouble smiling afterwards. Wondering if I should "leave well enough alone"...

Day three... Washing hair?

I'm still pretty swollen (expecially my cheeks), but really have no bruising. One small bruise on my neck. My face feels terribly tight - like I have bands wrapped around it as others have said. My ears hurt the most. I'm still taking pain pills - one every 5-6 hours. Wondering if others stopped by day 3 or continued? Normally I stop pain meds really early (after my 3 c-sections), but this bothers me more. My ears are pretty swollen - DD said my ear holes are tiny. I haven't used a hand mirror to really inspect things - I just glance full on in the mirror. I know things will change as time goes on, so I don't want to stress about details. My neck looks 100% better since the surgery though, and that was my big issue.

Where do I post questions about recovery details, etc.? Yesterday I put on a bit of mascara (washable) and lipstick. I'm not sure if that's okay yet, but it sure made me feel better. I want to wash my hair, but I'm apprehensive about getting water/shampoo on the incisions. They run along my temples, in front of my ears, and a bit behind my ears. How did you ladies handle hair washing?

Day 5...

Minimal swelling (ate Chinese last night - not the best idea). I have some yellow vague bruising on my neck and cheeks. The hardest thing for me is the icing. I don't like the pressure on my incisions. I wish I'd had my eyes done - this "down time" is hard to do, and now I'll have to do it again in the future. I'm very grateful that things have seemed to go well. Five more days until the stitches are out, I can put makeup on and go out! I'm tempted to go out now, but I don't think it's a good idea with the stitches...

Update - 4 weeks...

My recovery has been suprisingly quick and easy. As soon as the stitches were out (day 10), I was out and about. I love the results! I have a bit of a tiny red "tuck" at my hairline on each temple where the incisions end, but that may be more the red incision color that's visible than anything else. Prior to the surgery I'd quit wearing all necklaces, as I thought that drew attention to my neck. It's fun to wear necklaces again!

The "banding" feeling is pretty much gone, and the tightness has subsided.

I'd recommend the surgery (and my surgeon) to anyone considering this!
Asheville Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Hi Mia: I had surgery with Dr. Harley in August. You can read my review and see my "official befores and afters;" if you click on my user name, it will take you there. I had a wonderful experience (similar results to you--little bruising, some swelling, but quick recovery). I am very pleased. Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I probably could have helped you feel less worried beforehand...Good luck with your continued recovery!
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You hadn't posted in awhile and I was just curious as to how you're doing? Hope your healing is going well and you're happy with results. It has been 5 months ago today that Dr. Harley did my lift and I'm very happy.
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Thanks for the updates!

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Since I had the surgery at 1P Friday, I washed my hair Friday morning. Since then I've showered daily, but didn't wash my hair until today. I called and was told I could blow dry it as usual, but I just dryed it here and there. I always have ointment in my hair, since the incisions follow the hair line. There's a lot of dried blood behind my ears - really yucky. I've tried using cotton and hydrogen peroxide in an attempt to get it off, but it's really stuck and I don't want to open things up. I've just realized when I use ice packs that I'm removing the ointment. I reapplied the ointment after I iced it the last time. The only thing that really hurts are my ears and behind my ears. It hurts when I use the ice packs. My mouth looks a bit stretched out - I hope that's swelling. The area of puckered skin is up by my temple. I also think it's a bit weird around my ear lobes. Time will tell. I get the stitches out next Monday. Do people go out with the stitches, or wait until they are removed? I thought I'd be really bruised... I have only one bruise the size of a thumbprint on my neck.
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I'm sure that the mascara and lipstick is fine. I did the same thing, a couple of days post-surgery. You'll have the tightness for a while, at least I know that I did and that's normal. Did Dr. H give you the discharge info? I was allowed to wash my hair a couple of days after the surgery. Dr. H recommended using baby shampoo and to wash hair very gently and to be very careful around the stitches area. Also, when drying your hair, just pat the stitches are very gently. It sounds like he did your incisions identically to mine. I know that I felt SO much better after showering and shampooing. Another thing you may notice (I know that I did, anyway) the swelling may move around and my cheeks held the swelling longer than anything else. I had my surgery on 2/11 and I'm still numb in front of my ears, but it's slowly getting better. Please be sure and follow the directions that he gave you regarding cleaning the incision areas. My husband cleaned the areas behind my ears and I was able to do the rest myself. Keep me posted.
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One other thing, I kept a daily journal after my surgery (written) and I can now look back and read how things were going during each stage of my recovery. I called and/or e-mailed Dr. Harley several times during my recovery with different questions and he was always prompt about responding. Are you taking the Arnica? And, again, feel free to call me anytime - I've been where you are now.
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Hi. So glad you are doing okay. Yes, your ears get really big and swollen. Keep icing so the the swelling does not put undue pressure on the incisions. Your doctor should have given you instruction on when you can wash your hair, some people can do so straight away. I had to wait 8 days.
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Take the pain pills for as long as you need them. There are no hero's here :) I took all of them and requested more, so 5 days, maybe? And I have been told that I have a high pain tolerance.
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My surgery went fine. I was awake thru the procedure, but groggy. It took about 2.5 hours. As the surgery concluded I was trying to talk, but with so much Novocain I couldn't make my mouth work, which was frustrating. It was hours before enough novocain wore off to pucker, but I can pucker, so I guess no nerve damage! I walked out immediately afterwards - no extended sedation. The following day (yesterday morning), we returned to have the dressing and drain removed. I'm bandage free. We drove back home yesterday morning (had to get the dog out of the kennel by 11:30A). I'm swollen and sore, but it's not unbearable. It feels like I have tight bands under my chin/and running up the sides of my face. Incisions are much bigger than I imagined, and they feel numb. They run along the hair at my temples, in front of each ear, and behind my ear a little bit. It's my ears that hurt (and behind them). I have puckered skin in one location - but I read that sometimes doctors have to "revise" scars later. I"m hoping I don't have "pixie ears". They look weird to me. I asked the doc if I had them and he said "I don't think so". I have to sleep sitting up for a few weeks. I don't sleep well anyway (I'm always up every 30-60 minutes), but now I'm up every 5-10 minutes. I asked if I could have sleeping pills (although I've never taken one in my life), but he said no, that I could become addicted. I read that some people use them after this surgery to sleep upright. The doc said to take Benadryl or Melatonin (Melatonin does nothing for me, Benadryl helps me fall asleep, but I'm awake an hour later). I can't bend over for two weeks, which is really heard to remember. DH was given printed instructions for things to do after the surgery. It seems he didn't read them until last night. I was supposed to be icing the incision sights every 3 hours, but I didn't do that until last night when he finally read the paperwork. I'm pretty swollen now - like a chipmunk. So far, I only have a bit of bruising on my neck, and they aren't too bad. He used marker on my face and neck...not sure how to get that off without hurting myself. All is good - I'm happy so far. My neck looks wrinkle-free, but part of that is the swelling, I'm sure! Every time I doze and wake, I can't believe I've done this to myself!
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I was given pain pills and took them before I went to bed. I think they relaxed me more.
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I'm so glad that the surgery is over and it sounds as if it went well. I felt the tightness, especially on the side of my face, for several weeks. I also had the "chipmunk" cheeks. I think I'd mentioned it before, but the worst pain I had was in one of my ears. My right ear hurt for several weeks. I had the puckered skin, especially behind my ears. Once the stitches were out and the incision healed, I began to massage the are and using Mederma. The puckering is much better. I still have the scar that extends below my left ear, which Dr. H injected with steriods and said that I might have to get an additional injection later if the scar doesn't go away. It is improving and easily covered with make-up. Please keep me posted and feel free to call or write me anytime. Was Kelly your nurse?
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I've had you on my mind (and in my prayers) today. Please let us know how you're doing when you feel up to posting.
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Mianative, the best of luck today!!!
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I almost cancelled at the last minute. We all have the same anxieties, I think. As long as you feel that you have done the best you can as far as research, the rest is out of your hands--until the surgery is over. Then you can control a lot by following your doctors orders to the letter and contacting him if something does not "feel" right. Trust your intuition. I will be honest and tell you that you will most likely be swollen and bandaged and dopey, so if you can keep your kids from seeing you until sunday, they will feel better. If not, just assure them that you are just tired and that the bandages (if you are like me, you will look like a q-tip) are not because of blood, they are just thick to protect you from banging your head. I had no trouble with nerve damage, which accounts for the smiling problem. As long as you can pucker afterwards you will be fine. If there is a problem, it will resolve in time.
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I had the same thoughts re: "leaving well enough alone" and also had the fear and trepidation, but I am SO happy that I had it done. You're in good hands with Dr. Harley. Feel free to call me if you have any questions (I sent you my #). I'll be home anytime today after 1:00. You'll be fine and be sure and keep us posted.
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I am sorry about your mom. But you are not her so be confident in your decision. I felt a little guilty and oddly surprised myself by having this done. I am so glad that I did. Have your supplies ready (this place is a wealth of information) and we will all be here for you. Good luck
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I am sorry about your mom. But you are not her so be confident in your decision. I felt a little guilty and oddly surprised myself by having this done. I am so glad that I did. Have your supplies ready (this place is a wealth of information) and we will all be here for you. Good luck
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Good luck on Friday
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Just a few more days! I'm so glad you started your story on RealSelf. We're here to help you with support and information!

Here's a list of supplies that might help you prepare for recovery.

Please keep us posted as you progress through this journey! Will you be posting photos so we can see your transformation?

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Dr. Harley did my lift in February and, like you, I was very nervous. He's right - you'll sleep through most of the procedure. Be sure and take the Arnica pills, as they really help with bruising and healing. I am so pleased with my results - Dr. Harley did a wonderful job. Please let me know if you have any questions and I wish you the best of luck.
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Thanks for responding. When you woke during the procedure, were you anxious? I'm very anxious about health issues in general, so this worries me. I woke in the midst of a colonoscopy in PAIN and keep thinking of that. Also, I let a dermatologist allow her med student to cut something off of me and it wasn't numb. I about went thru the roof. (I recevied no bill for that procedure :) Those things are in the back of my mind... How long before you were out in public? I'm surgery #3 on Friday...I hope he's not fatigued from the first two. He said he does between 8-12 facelifts weekly. I'm thinking he must be good with that huge volume!
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I didn't actually wake up during the procedure, I was awake, but extremely groggy when I was first taken into the surgical suite. I can remember them putting the cap on my hair and Dr. Harley and Kelly talking and, then he was numbing my face, and that was it. I was out until it was over and my husband was there to pick me up. I had my surgery on a Monday and I was worried and actually told Dr. Harley that "I hope you didn't have a wild weekend and that you are alert this morning", lol, lol!! I was his first surgery that morning. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel suite, where I enjoyed a quiet day, watching tv, dozing, and sipping milk shakes. I did have some pain, especially in my right ear for several days afterward, which I found is quite normal. The pain was easily controlled with the pain meds. I did become nauseous that first evening and actually called Dr. Harley (he'd already called earlier to check on me). I had one episode of vomiting, but that was stopped by taking only one of the anti-nausea pills that Dr. Harley has prescribed for you. I wore a scarf around my face when I went to his office the next morning, but then went to breakfast with my husband. I was swollen (chipmunk cheeks), but no one seemed to notice. I stayed home that first week, but could have gone out sooner. I was conscious of the cheek swelling, but I think it was more noticeable to me than to anyone else. I had very little bruising, which was a huge surprise as I can bruise by just bumping into something. Like I said I am a huge fan of Arnica. I did feel "wiped out" for the first few days and would have to lie down in the afternoons for a couple of hours. I think you'll be so happy. I don't know what your main issues are, but mine were the jowling. That was what I'd always seen when I looked in the mirror. I was 53 when I had the surgery, I'm 54 now, so we're the same age. It just seems so good to be able to look in the mirror and see a tight neck and no jowls. I still have a raised, slightly noticeable scar at one ear, but Dr. Harley injected it with a steroid and it's going down and is easily covered with make-up. Please let me know if you have any more questions and you can call me if you like, I'd be glad to talk to you and answer any questions personally. I don't know how far you live from Asheville, but I chose Dr. Harley out of other doctors that are closer to me (I'm about 3+ hours from Asheville) and I've been well pleased. If you want to talk, let me know and I'll give you my number or if you have any more questions, please let me know. Best of luck
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