Waste of Money and Horrible Experience - Clearwater, FL

I have been meaning to write this review for a...

I have been meaning to write this review for a long time. I was seeking facial rejuvenation due to increasing prominence of nasolabial folds and was starting to shop around for a mini facelift. I met Dr. Drehsen at a promotional (self promotional) event. He said a face lift was not necessary (I was 45 at the time) and suggested that I get fat transfer to the cheeks to lift up the skin. Not knowing that this may not "take" (they assured me the results were permanent) and happy to try something that didn't involve scars and surgery, I booked my procedure just before a holiday week-end. On the morning of the procedure, not familiar with their building, I accidentally parked in back and came in through their operating room area. That was weird. As a result, no one ever did the usual pre-procedure photos. I again thought, this is strange. (I've had other cosmetic procedures.) Whilst I waited, I was upsold to spend another $500 on my lips. (I had already pre-paid $3000 for the facial fat transfer) but not before significant other upselling - ie surgery to my lips - had been made. Thankfully I went the cheaper (and it turns out "not permanent") route. I was given local anesthesia and my face and lips were "overfilled" with fat taken from my knees. This was not pleasant and at times downright painful. The doctor had absolutely no bedside manner whatsoever. No care, gentleness, nothing. I felt like a piece of meat instead of a patient. When it was all said and done, I drove home looking like The Elephant Man. I was supposed to return to work 4 days later however, there was no way this was possible after the "overfilling" which had been done as not all the transplanted fat was expected to survive. My lips looked like a ducks bill. Crazy. I was extremely swollen or "overfilled" for a few weeks and looked absolutely bizarre and by the time 3 months post rolled around, not a single, transplanted fat cell remained. I wish they had been candid that it might not be effective instead of assuring me that this was "permanent". I would not have gambled my $3500 had I known. When I expressed my disappointment about spending so much money - not to mention the downtime - for no gain, I was told that sometimes a fat transfer is not effective the first time around (I was hearing THIS for the first time) and if I wanted to undergo the procedure again, they would discount it for me. There is no way on God's green earth that I would ever trust this crook again.
Tampa Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Drehsen was cold and calculating. His staff are nice but it is clear that first priority is the sale.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
3 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (8)

Losing all of the fat is very unusual although not unheard of. I make patients aware that once in a great while a patient has poor "take". As I have gained more experience over the years, fewer patients have this problem. In general about 50% — 70% of the fat lives and remains long term. Unfortunately we don't know exactly how long "long term" is. We think it may be years but there are no studies that prove this. Fat grafting is still a great procedure which gives results in most patients that we could have never gotten in the past. Since you can add volume in many different areas it can be the most effective procedure we have for adding volume. I do let patients know the swelling can be intense for the first 3-4 days. I think it works best in conjunction with a lifting procedure but I also perform it alone when patients have mostly loss of volume I would consider Voluma or Sculptra to add volume since fat grafting did not work well. In addition, I believe most plastic surgeons would have offered to revise your surgery for a much reduced fee or no fee. I want patients first and foremost to be happy with their results. That way you send other patients by word-of-mouth. We always say a happy patient sends 3 more. An unhappy patient keeps 10 away.
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Sorry you didn't get your desired results are you having a revision
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It wasn't even offered. The only thing he mentioned upon hearing my disappointment was for me to spend MORE money and re-do the fat injections as it doesn't always "stay" the first time around. Well, that was the first time that anyone, including the doctor himself, had said that. Before that, all they kept saying was that it was permanent. At the end of the day, I wish they could have been candid with me about this procedure not being fool proof and what might work for one person, doesn't necessarily work for another so that I could have made a more informed decision on whether to gamble the $3500. I am right now trying to find a doctor with whom to have a mini face lift but it will definitely not be this money hungry doctor.
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I had a consult with his office a few years ago and went through a similar experience with the coldness and upselling; I'm not surprise to hear they did not warn you about this but I am confused as to whether it is 50% of the people will not retain any of the fat or is it 50% of the fat can be expected to be reabsorbed. Are you saying that after spending $3500, there is no change whatsoever? That is terrible to hear! I've "heard" that it needs to be "spinned" so that it will take better but I believe it's still in the early stages of research. I once got talked into spending $800 for silicon injection to my lips by another Clearwater doctor: Karl Swanson....there was no visible change although a few years later, in one picture there seems to be a minor noticable difference so maybe it caused some collegen to form? Now I realize I'm lucky to not have had a bad outcome from the silicon alone. There is a minor mark on my lips as well.
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Thank you for your support. There was someone in the room who did something with my fat as I recall her commenting that she could tell that I did not eat fatty or fried food from the appearance of my fat but I am not sure what she was doing with it. None of the transplanted fat remained, not a cell. A few months later when I revisited the facelift topic with another doctor, he expressed surprise that I had done this so recently as he could see that no fat remained. (I had brought pictures of younger self at his request so that he could compare with how I was when I presented at his office.)
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Kitten44...This is really terrible that you spent all that money for no result whatsoever and sounds like he didn't even warn you that some of it...in your case ALL OF IT REABSORBED. pLEASE PLEASE DO YOU HAVE BEFORE AND AFTER PICUTURE AS if this is really true, I don't see any reason to even try this if it is so iffy...If you had kept 50% that would have been something but to have it all gone in a matter of months and no recourse????? Criminal!
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I am sorry that this happened to you. But thanks for warning others.
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Thank you for your kind words.
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