A Brit in Athens. Neck, Mid Facelift & Upper Blepharoplasty. Also fat transfer to the temples- Athens, Greece

Finally it's my turn! I have been wanting to do...

Finally it's my turn!
I have been wanting to do something about my neck since my mid forties.
It was my 55th birthday last Tuesday, & this is my birthday present from my very sweet husband.
I originally met with my PS back last November. I met a couple of others first, but wasn't too impressed.
We are moving back to London next year, & as Greece does the most plastic surgery in the world...well, it's second to South Korea.....it seemed a good idea to do it here.
Dr Athanasiou has specialised in reconstruction in neck and face defects & worked in Beverly Hills & London, he has two clinics here in Athens.
My journey is actually being videoed.....we started filming last week (ha!)....a mock up of me going into the clinic..meeting the surgeon...short interview as to why I want the surgery.....the surgery will be filmed & also following my recovery. I was happy to do this for them. It makes me feel a little safer, like an extra insurance that he will do a good job. The video is for professional use only.
Well, I have been so excited about it....but now I am beginning to feel scared...not that anything would stop me from doing it...but just want it to be at least 10 days ahead...so I had the worst over and done with.
I remember the terrible thirst I get when waking from an anesthetic.....I know I will be very nauseous.....& I am definitely NOT looking forward to sleeping on my back propped up.
I am so happy that I found this forum....it is only from here that I have learnt what really to expect during the recovery....I have taken on board so many tips.
I have to be at the hospital at 6am on Tuesday.....(my kids are taking me, my husband is working in London & won't be here until the following Tuesday) On arrival the hospital will do blood tests, urinalysis, chest X ray, ECG etc....& then surgery about 2 hours later..so around 8.30am. should be around 4 hours ( in Greece they never give you exact times...it's always 'around'...or 'approximately').
I will stay in the hospital for one night.......oh gosh...my stomach just turned over!...excitement or fear?!
....the PS said some patients stay in for 2...I hope I won't.
I am prepared as in spotless house, done all the laundry...cooked & froze tasteless saltless soups...I have packed my hospital bag & told my clients ( I have a small business looking after dogs/pets/houses while people are away) that I am away from 8th until after Easter (which didn't please some of them) .
I cut out wine, caffeine, milk, salt.....so dull.
I might write more tomorrow...if not, then when I come home......ooooo tummy went over again!
I will post a couple of nasty neck pictures later...I look forward to posting the lovey new 'after' photos.

Day one to three

I arrived at the hospital at 6am on Tuesday, had all blood work & Xrays done & was down in the operating theatre by 8.20am. The nurses & staff were all very friendly & made me feel comfortable. My anaesthetist was so sweet and calming. Dr Athanaseou drew over my face & neck I went to the table ....had the anaesthesia & woke up in my room 6 hours later. I had no pain...& still haven't, the only thing that was uncomfortable were my eyes. I couldn't open them & they were extremely sensitive to light. That passed after the first day....although last night was the opposite & I couldn't close them properly. Trying to sleep with eyes still open...
But thelids are still swollen & with the stitches so I know will be fine. Yesterday I felt weak & nauseous...today much better. The doctor was really happy with his work & although I don"t look like me at the momment I can see he did well. I will post photos as soon as I get onto the PC.
I dudn't have bandages but I do have drains...which I hope will be taken out tomorrow.
I am so happy to be on 'the other side!'

Photos

11th/12th April. Day 3/4

Yesterday evening I had the drains removed....ah! what a relief.
My PS was very pleased with his work & said I had minimum swelling & not much bruising....although I can see I am now turning yellow, & look like I come from the Planet Sal9.
I am not looking in the mirror too much, funny because I imagined before that I wouldn't be able to stay away from the mirror.
Feeling a little down today...but I do realise ( thanks to having read so many reviews here)...that anything I feel is normal....& also it IS still only the 4th day after surgery.
One side of my face is more swollen than the other........ my eyes get me down, still not closing properly....I know I must be patient...... finding it SO boring sitting around, even though I have my iPad & great books to read...oh & my back aches from sleeping(or rather 'trying') to sleep propped up .....sorry everyone . End of moan!
Yes, we are all brave to go through this..& YES, it will/is worth it!
On Monday evening I will see PS again, just to check all ok, he said to me last night anything I worry about that I can call him over the weekend. On Wednesday, stitches out...yipppeeeeee!
My husband arrives from London on Tuesday....I am so looking forward to having him around.
He still hasn't seen me yet!, we have just communicated via phone & email...will he recognise me!
I will put pictures on now of yesterday & this morning.....will be SO nice to be able to do my hair properly.

New pictures

One week milestone.

I should be feeling better...I am feeling worse. Not physically, I haven't had a minute of pain since my procedure. The swelling on my eyes has gone down. My face is still swollen but was never too bad....& bruising, yes, but just pale greenish yellow do not too bad...I am olive skinned anyway..so it almost blends in!
But I feel down. I don't like my eyes, I can't smile properly on one side...my neck has swelled & looks like maybe I have an illness.
I saw my PS last night. He told me he wasn't worried about my eyes...or smile, that everything would be absolutely perfect...that I was swollen, lop sided but everything fine.
He did feel the swelling on my neck & said as it was quite hard for me to have 15 minutes laser...to soften the swelling. It did help. I am aeeing him tomorrow eve to take out the stitches & possibly more laser, we will see.
I know still early days...but I was expecting to see a fresher new me blossoming....I can't see it!....I do see I look younger.....I want to go outside...the weather is perfect. I want to clean the bathroom properly!
I want to not think about what I am eating...will this make me swell more.
My husband arrived from London today..... He didn't say the right words. A friend came yesterday & she said....oh wow! ...you are going to look amazing...I am so jealous' etc...what I need to hear.
Husband hugged me, studied my face....looking very concerned & said he couldn't wait to see the PS with me tomorrow. I know he means well...& how should he know exactly what I want to hear.....I am laughing now.....poor chap!....& now I have just knocked my ear! Aaaaaghhh!
I want it to be a weeks time!

New pictures

Day 9

Yesterday I brokedown...usual, smile not straight ( it IS improving) eyes still wonky ( they ARE improving) ....but my neck is swelling more on one side. I was told to massage, my husband has been..
I went to see PS last night to take stitches out...on the swollen side he massaged my neck upwards towards my left ear where he was taking stitches out....a lot of fluid came out ( sorry, it sounds revolting)... about two thirds the swelling came out. I stitches again. Then back to ultrasound massage for 20 mins as the swelling under my chin is quite hard. PS did say that he wasn't too happy with the scar under my chin & he might do a revision under local anesthetic later...we'll see..... I actually wasn't worried about that scar.
Anyway back onto antibiotics. The swelling is still there & as I am so obsessed ( spelling? )can't tell if if worse/ better/ the same. Does feel like I have a tight scarf on..
Easter is massive here in Greece...biggest celebration of the year, everything closes down from today...including the clinic until next Weds, when my next appointment is.
I know everything will be ok.....I just wish it was now!
I will post pictures of dodgy neck!

Neck pictures

Day 8 & 9

Days 10/11

From yesterday morning I felt SOOOOOO much better!.
My eyes still aren't 'right', but definitely slowly improving....still lop sided smile...but is coming back.
The swelling in my neck IS getting smaller, but is still there.
I can't say I look great, ....I am pale & without being able to smile properly makes me look sad.....BUT I keep ( as we all do here) telling myself , patience! PATIENCE!.
For me days, 8 & 9 were the worst, (we really do all recover at different speeds) emotionally more than physically...I lost my patience, became a little scared....I really did become a big baby.
I am continuing with antibiotics until Weds when I see the sugeon again.
I STILL have staples in my head which will be out on Weds ..& a couple of the dissolvable stitches in my eyelids are taking forever.
The scar where the stitches were in front of my ears is healing well.
I had new stitches behind my left ear where the fluid yuk was drained last Wednesday.
The swelling under my chin is still quite hard...did anyone else have that?
I have now set my goal for Mid May.
I feel postive & know slowly slowly everything will be great!
I am very pleased I found this site....really helped me with my fear, everyone so sweet & encouraging.
What a shame there isn't a Realself Wine Bar (would love a large glass of vino!) we could all nip into to say hello, thank you & hug for the genuine sisterly caring dished out here.
Have a very Happy Easter everyone!

Also

My ears are itching like crazy...the rim of my face gets sort of little shooting sensations...everything all reconnecting.
I will post a pic from yesterday..I have never taken so many pictures of myself...ever!

New pictures

Yesterday

Day 12

Still can't smile properly on right side, right eye still not blinking exactly as left..eyes still uneven (I am writing the same thing eveyday!)
Still got staples behind ears....how will PS manage get them out on Wednesday???
BUT I will post a 'before' ( about a day before surgery), & then a recent ( about an hour ago) & I prefer what I see.
Next mission is new haircut & colour I think!
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Comments (79)

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Sal9, Good to hear the nerve is repairing itself and you're getting continued improvement. Can't imagine how scary the whole ordeal has been. Has your original PS continued to advise and manage your post op rehab from a distance or did you seek out another local practitioner to help guide you thru this? Again, so pleased to hear you are on the mend. grace
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Hi ..... Wondered how you were doing so good to read your updates below. Pleased to know you're doing well and sorry to hear about the issues. You're so right about 'turning a corner' at around 8 weeks. And I thought it would all be over once the bruising went and the stitches came out!! Huh! I'm 10 weeks post surgery now.....still some swelling, still numb around the ears. Yay to cheek bones coming back -:)
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Sal, hope all is well with you. How is the swelling? It's 6 weeks for me, and I still have swelling on the left side of neck and face area. Chin scar area is improving; there's less sensitivity. People know there's something different about me but they can't figure out what it is...loss of weight, new hairstyle, new makeup, extremely rested. Of course, I agree with whatever they say. No one has said "facelift". Have a great day. You're not the only one with the swelling issues..it helps knowing we are not isolated cases. Lilygirl14
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Hi Lilygirl!...I just wrote below, I also had nerve damage..which thankfully is getting better...yes at exactley 9 weeks I still feel a small amount of sweeing under my chin, & numbness at the front of my left ear...but I think once you get to week 8 you have really turned the corner....I had forgotten that I have cheek bones, they are now re appearing. I found it a very rough ride, but now I am so glad I did it. I saw your recent pictures...you look wonderful happy & beautiful!
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How are things going? Was just thinking about you and wondering, so I thought I'd check. We don't have long at all now (a bit over a month) before our trip.
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Ah Deenerbug, really nice to hear from you...funnily enough I was thinking about you too recently...that it must be close to your trip. I am fine....& finally, finally getting there. It is now exactely 9 weeks & I can say that when I look in the mirror I am pleased
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....I had written a whole load more & it dissappeared!. I had nerve damage on the right side of my face...at first it didn't seem so bad...but as the swelling susided...the right side dropped..not too badly..but enough to upsetting for me. My PS tried to reassure me it would be fine...but it would around 6 months...so from week 3 to 7 I withdrew...didn't want to see anybody, hated looking at myself....BUT I had some physiotherapy...including electric shock
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Something wrong here...I keep writing & only half appears... I put icons on & I think must mess everything up...anyway...I became so down....but from week 7 things started improving, I had lost half my smile, but thankfully it is now ALMOST back...not quite right...a little mor time & it will be. I am now looking at my new neck & face...I always hated my profile & now looks better than it probably ever did. I will update my profile soon & show off new pictures of new me...I am busy with doggies at the moment. I have 2 Labradors & handsome crazy Skipper, a young Golden Retriever....he says hello to your boy! Have a wonderful time...good job you are not going now...I saw the forecast is rain, rain, rain for the next two weeks...will be lovely & green for you! Have fun...Best Wishes, Sally.
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Well, I re read what I wrote, & of course as disjointed as usual!
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No problem with readi your message. Many times mine gets screwed up! Can't wait to see your new photos! Lilygirl
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I think you look wonderful. I, too, am having a tough time with my neck. 3 weeks now and more swollen than ever. Yes, swelling under the chin that looks fluidy, but is really solid. Side neck muscles are huge and tight. So, you are not alone. I thank you for your posts. You and I will both be "there" someday soon. Keep the faith.
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Me too -- just the same with swelling under the chin and around the neck exactly as you describe! I take heart from others further along the path than we are that it does eventually subside, tighten up, and look lovely!
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Ah Cynthiaald...thank you!...my neck is so much better, but sometimes feels alive with swelling....it moves around my neck, feels weird!. My eye & smile are still a problem...I have nerve damage. My PS has referred me to a specialist & am now having daily laser sessions with him, which only started today. BUT,...YES! we will get 'there'....as you say...keep the faith!
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Greetings Sal, I'm having my surgery on April 28. I enjoyed your post and the information you've shared. It helps so many people. You look great and will keep getting better. I've been to Athens. I love the people, food, scenery, and fantastic wine. I'm truly wanting to get the surgery over with. Thank you for your help.
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Thank you lilygirl14, you must be 2 days out....I hope you are feeling ok. I felt the same as you, just wanted to get it over with...& now you are on the 'other side' too. Yes! ...& yes, Athens is perfect at the moment, not too hot....loads of sping flowers out...really pretty!
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Greetings Sal, hope you're doing well. I am on day 4 now. Here's hoping all goes well for me. I would like to venture out tomorrow. It is beautiful in the North Carolina mountains this time of year. My neck, especially on the right side, is swollen. You look great!
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Lovely and natural. Grace is right, most people never study another's persons face to the extent we do ourselves so wouldn't pick up that you are different. Give your eye time to heal and get its strength back. Check with Dr about colour. I had to wait 6 wks!! And tell your hairdresser as around the ears is sooo sensitive and it can feel a bit like torture. A glass of wine, that sounds nice.
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You already look so much younger! Whoaa!
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Very nice! You're looking softer, younger, and happier!
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It just occurred to me that you had a mid face rather than a traditional approach facelift and I went back in your review to see what technique was used to access the midface. It's a combination of the front-of-ear incisions and also incisions in the mouth or through an endoscope? ( You didn't have any lower lid work so I know the access to the mid face couldn't have been thru that access.) And have they been filming you at home and at each of your office visits? And YES you look very good esp between the pre and post. But I bet most casual acquaintances won't be able to pinpoint the difference.grace
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Hello Grace60, yes I had neck & mid face. The stitches were in front of my ears, & also staples & stitches behind the ears. I didn't have lower eye lids done....I had lower & upper done six years ago, but I felt upper needed more help. No videoing at home, just pre, during surgery & so far on only one of my visits two days after surgery. My husband also said that I am at the stage now where people wouldn't notice, but I do feel quite self conscious with not being able to smile properly & my eyes being a little odd.....I want to wait a few more days. Even though recovery not going exactly to plan, I wouldn't go back to looking like my 'before' pictures for anything!
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You look wonderful!!!! When I first saw your face, it was a bit like looking at mine:) We resemble each other. My lift is in 6 weeks, and cannot wait. I am having a brow lift as well. Happy recovery!
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Hi MlMomBA, you are the second person here who said I look I look like them. Maybe we are long lost sisters! I felt the same as you, I booked my lift back in November & couldn't wait to get on with it. I look forward to following your journey!
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Thanks. Talk to you soon. M
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You look wonderful! Neck looks great.
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