Lower Face & Neck Lift - Cleveland, OH

I'm 48 and for as long as I can remember I have...

I'm 48 and for as long as I can remember I have hated my "fat face." That has only gotten worse with age and weight and, sadly, I have inherited my mom's neck waddle and jowls.

Yes, I could stand to lose weight but even when I was 40lbs lighter, that waddle was there and so were the jowls (just not as pronounced . . . but I was also 40 and not closing in on 50.)

This board has been very helpful in educating me about what to expect. I am nervous but I think that is to be expected.

I have done a lot of research and am fortunate to be near the Cleveland Clinic. My surgeon, Dr. Jason Leedy, who I found on RealSelf, was very informative at our first appointment. I will be going back for my pre-surgery appointment and pre-op testing next week.

Dr. Leedy's fee is around $5,600 and the rest goes to the surgical center as I will be under GA.

I have purchased VitaMedica Plastic Surgery Pre & Post-Op Program 4pc Kit (w/Vitamins, Arnica, Bromelain) and will start taking them two weeks before surgery. For years I have taken mega vitamins but since they contain some minerals and vitamins not ideal for surgery, I'll be replacing them with the VitaMedica. I have had PS before and feel Arnica is a hugely important factor in helping to keep bruising down.

Well . . . my surgery is in just a few hours. It's...

Well . . . my surgery is in just a few hours. It's 12:45am and I have to be at the hospital at 7:00. I'm a bit nervous but excited. When I was washing my face tonight I made sure to notice how I could feel my face and neck. I know it will be months until the nerves regenerate and I have feeling there again. Big breath . . . .

DAY ONE I want to thank everyone who has posted...

DAY ONE

I want to thank everyone who has posted here before about this surgery. Your stories were helpful to my understanding of what to expect. So I am trying to pay it forward for others.

I was at the hospital at 7AM, get registered, taken to a room, given an IV, and then the doctor came in and marked my face. They they took me into surgery at 9AM. They actually didn't start the surgery until 10AM.

I had my surgery at Merrymount Hospital and I have to say the staff made it a wonderful experience. I will definitely go back there and would highly recommend them. They are a Catholic hospital and while I'm not Catholic, I appreciated the God Bless yous that I received from the staff.

The surgery actually lasted five hours - 30 minutes longer than he had anticipated. It was because the "extra" skin of the neck -- it wouldn't drape the way he wanted, so he had to keep working at it until he had the results he wanted.

I have to say Dr. Leedy has wonderful bedside manner. And every single nurse told me that he does beautiful work, that's he's great, that he's a perfectionist, and that if they were having cosmetic surgery he is the one they would go to! That was encouraging because if it wasn't true, they wouldn't just choose to say nothing.

I was in recovery for three hours. They had a hard time getting my blood pressure down. The first thing I remember hear was, "You look like a teenager" and while that may not be true, it was very sweet to hear.

I went to Dr. Leedy's office this morning at 8AM and he removed the drains/tubes. I was dreading that but it didn't hurt at all.

Dr. Leedy is thrilled with my results, in fact, he was beaming from ear to ear with a big grin. I have not actually really seen the results as I have been sleepy and groggy from the all stuff they gave me. Dr. Leedy took a profile photo and showed it to me and WOW, what a difference.

Here are some photos:

DAY TWO I slept through the night without...

DAY TWO

I slept through the night without getting up to take my pain meds and I had no problems with pain getting two bad.

Today I am much tighter, as Dr. Leedy said I would be. The tightness runs from ear to ear and under the chin and this is where most of the swelling is and it's warm, firm and kind of throbbing.

I have taken off the gauze and my hair is all nasty and matted. I feel stronger today so I'm looking forward to taking a shower.

DAY THREE Swelling continues to be the theme of...

DAY THREE

Swelling continues to be the theme of the day which the doc told me to expect. From ear to ear and under my chin it's all swollen, a bit bruised and warm. I have some bruising where a drain tube had been. There is not pain, per se, but around my poor swollen ears there is soreness and a pulling feeling under my chin. Pretty much what I was told to expect although it's much different to experience than to have described to you.

Like everyone who has this surgery, I really can't wait for the swelling to run its course so I can start to enjoy the results. I am taking my Arnica and Bromelain supplements and hoping they aid healing.

DAY FOUR I'm just starting to see some of the...

DAY FOUR

I'm just starting to see some of the swelling go down right around my jowls and by my temples, otherwise, I'm pretty much the same. When I woke up this morning I took a pain pill and that made me sick to my stomach and eventually I took a pill for that. I am trying to wean myself off the pain pills and as the swelling starts to subside it's easier for sure.

It's hard to imagine that I will be able to drive myself to my doctor's appointment on Monday to have my stitches taken out. I'm not able to turn my next . . . I have asked my hubby to come home from work to take me since it's scheduled for around lunch time.

DAY FIVE I have seen a lot of the swelling go...

DAY FIVE
I have seen a lot of the swelling go down yesterday and today. I am not nearly as tight around my ears, even though I still have quite a bit of swelling at my jaws/temples right in front of my ears and under my chin. My bruising is mostly yellow with some purple on the right side of my neck where the drainage tube was.

I have a lot more movement in my neck, and can now turn it maybe 45 degrees each way. Hopefully that will mean I can resume driving soon. I have only taken a half pain pill today. Tomorrow I get my stitches out - hoping to have all of them removed. The stitches behind my left ear in my hairline seem thicker than the one on the right.

Curiously, my husband really hasn't said much about my surgery or results. He's been a great nurse but I think he's ready for me to be able to do a little more for myself. I really have pretty much been in bed, sleeping, resting or on my computer.

DAY SIX Today I look like the Bride of...

DAY SIX
Today I look like the Bride of Frankenstein and feel like Jay Leno looks! The swelling continues to go down and with that my jaw/chin feel very heavy. Dr. Leedy really prepared me for what to expect but of course, the reality is still often a bit of a shock.

I saw Dr. Leedy today and he removed quite a few of my stitches. I took the last half of my pain pill to prepare for the discomfort of stitch removal. That was a good move but probably not needed as the removal only hurt here and there.

Dr. Leedy is very pleased with how I look and says I'm right where I should be. I will take his word on that.

I did not drive to the appointment - just not enough range of motion to feel like I would be safe on the road. If I HAD to drive, I could, but I'm thankful I don't need to.

I got a scar cream at the doctor's office that I'm supposed to start using. It's bioCorneum Advanced Scar Supervision. Dr. Leedy did mention that if I want to start doing a bit of massage under my chin I could do that (but it's optional).

I'll see him again in a week. He'll remove more stitches at that time. Posting two pics from today.

DAY SEVEN - ONE WEEK OUT OF SURGERY So today is...

DAY SEVEN - ONE WEEK OUT OF SURGERY

So today is definitely my worst day so far. I don't have any more pain pills (I just decided to take Tylenol if needed) and my head hurts, there's pressure on my ears and the swelling around my jaw is bugging me something awful. It's just so heavy. I feel like I have heavy clay packed all around my jaw/chin. The pressure behind my ears is really bothersome. I just took two Tylenol and am hoping it kicks in soon.

Not in a good place today and kind of having a pity party for myself. That's crazy since I'm the one who decided to do this expensive procedure. I know it will be worth it but today is not a good day.

I ended up calling my doc after hours. I just...

I ended up calling my doc after hours. I just could not take it any more. I'm feeling so claustrophobic with the weight of the swollen jaw and the pulling on my ears. My doctor said this would happen but knowing about it has not helped me cope with it.

He called in an Rx for an anti-inflammatory and an anti-anxiety pills to help me deal with the claustrophobic feeling I'm having. I can go in tomorrow and he will give me a written Rx for the percocet - he could not call that in and I cannot take vicodin because I have a bed reaction to it.

He was very calming and told me I'm at the point of recovery that is very frustrating - you feel like you should be getting back to life but you cant. I have a sense that I'm feeling that way.

My sister came over and she was very helpful and understanding. My hubby, not so much. He's been a great nurse for a week but I think he's at his limits.

DAY EIGHT I don't think there is enough...

DAY EIGHT

I don't think there is enough discussion on Real Self or out there on the internet about the recovery process for a lower face/neck lift.

If you have had other cosmetic surgery procedures before, like I have, you have a sense that you know what to expect. . . but you don't. This recovery is SO unlike when I had my breast implants, upper arm lipo, and upper eyelids done. Those we're all super simple compared to this.

My doctor was excellent of informing me of what to expect. He told me I might feel tight, it might feel like I was being choked, there would be pressure on my ears, etc. However, knowing about it did not prepare me. I don't feel as much choked as I feel kind of claustrophobic. The entire jaw line and chin is swollen and hard and that wraps around your ears so there's this pressure around them and against your temples.

And it's like this for many weeks - yes, it is always keeping better, the hardened areas get softer in spots, but it certainly is a difficult thing to endure.

I am thankful there are a couple of others here on the board who I can reach out to - they understand and are experiencing the same thing and somehow knowing you are not along, you are not the only one makes it easier.

Today I saw my doctor again, he gave me a Rx for Percocet - I'm to use it as needed for pain in addition to the anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety pills he gave me yesterday. The cocktail do seem to be helping.

I just think this aspect of surgery needs to be talked about so people have their eyes wide open going into this. Really, the first week was the easiest - I was sleeping most of the time and on the drugs. If I were to advise someone thinking about having this surgery, I would say you need to be armed with the drugs to help you in phase II (week 1-3) of recovery. Do not feel you are week or should be able to handle it.

DAY NINE I'm still here, slogging through...

DAY NINE

I'm still here, slogging through recovery, feeling at times as if I am in a pit of despair. I decided to have this surgery done in the winter because I wanted to be able to wear turtle necks to cover up the bruising. Now that I have actually had the surgery, I know I was wrong to have it in the winter.

The swelling makes me feel claustrophobic in a sense and it has already been a long winter here. I have cabin fever, I'm just longing for sunny days and warm temperatures so that I can escape this feeling of claustrophobia. But . . . I am stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. And that makes this all the more difficult to endure.

For those of you who are thinking about this surgery, TIMING is an important aspect for recovering. While none of us knows what we will experience when we have this surgery, if you are at all someone who gets cabin fever or gets depressed during the winter, I would urge you NOT to do this surgery during the winter months. Your recovery could make you feel a bit like Jack Nicholson in Red Rum . . . The Shining.

Oh how I wish I could escape to someone warm and sunny so that I could at least be outside.

DAY 10 Ten days already - and it feels like it....

DAY 10

Ten days already - and it feels like it. Time is not flying by, that's for sure, but today was a better day. I have not been weepy and crying - yeah! I have done a load of laundry - yeah!

I have not had much of an appetite since the surgery, yesterday I think I had a total of five pieces of toast w/jelly. Today I had some scrambled eggs. I've lost 10 pounds and that's something to celebrate!!

My swelling/pain/pressure is most prominent around my ears and especially where the bottom of my ear lobe connects to my neck. Man, that area and the sides of my ears are all swollen and pretty hard. The right side of my neck seems less swollen than the left but under the chin is still swollen really bad and make the scabby incision quite prominent.

Right now with the swelling, the only difference I can see in is that the creases by my mouth are not there. My fat chin waddle is still there all swollen and hard but my doc says it will look beautiful once the swelling is down. Fingers crossed. I will post new pics next week when I'm two weeks post surgery.

DAY 11 Today was a very good day. No pain pills...

DAY 11

Today was a very good day. No pain pills needed! The swelling around my jaw and chin is really going down. I am noticing the choking/claustrophobia feeling less and less. I still don't have great range of motion in turning my head but I do feel like I'm improving every day. ;o)

TWO WEEKS POST OP Well, I've finally made it...

TWO WEEKS POST OP

Well, I've finally made it thru week two! This was the worst week, especially days 8 & 9. But every day thereafter has gotten better. Swelling has really gone down.

There are two areas where I can SEE the change and right now that's at the jowls (they are gone) and the folds on either side of my mouth (much less pronounced).

Now I'm just waiting for the third and most important area to improve: MY WADDLE! This area under my chin is the place where the swelling is still the most noticeable. There's a big, hard, swollen lump under this area and, quite honestly, my current profile is not much different from my before. I have read that by six weeks this hard lump should be about gone .. . that is a month away and seems like forever!

Every morning I wake up I still feel the "ring around the neck" that anyone who has had this procedure is familiar with - but it's becoming less and less noticeable.

DAY 16 Post Op Today I had another visit to the...

DAY 16 Post Op

Today I had another visit to the doctor's office. He took out a couple more stitches - the ones right in my ear, which was very sensitive, ouch!

Dr. Leedy is very happy with how everything looks - ears, incisions, swelling, etc. That makes me happy since he's been there, done that and I have not.

I did tell him that as the swelling subsides I am noticing a bit of the folds around my mouth and the jowl area kind of coming back. I mean, not much, but the swelling had a nice effect and now it's wearing off a bit. He said the procedure I had does take care of the jowls and chin and to some extent the folds on either side of the mouth. He said I look so much better than I did when I first came to see him . . . so in the end he thinks I'll be happy. Taking his word on it!

Today the right side of my neck is smooth but the left side has the ridge/lump which is noticeable. Dr. L says it will be gone, eventually, just part of the healing process. Sadly for me, patience is not my virtue, so this process is helping that along, lol! I have read that by six weeks most of the lumps and bumps do mostly disappear but 3/6 months are the benchmarks. So, I'm looking forward to June 12/Sept 12!

It really is amazing what a difference a week makes.Our bodies are wonderfully made and the healing process is such a miracle. I'm grateful that the really tough time of recovery only lasted a few days for me. So if you are contemplating this surgery or in the early phases of recovery, know that every day does bring you closer to feeling normal and does bring improvements on a daily basis during these first weeks.

The ring around the neck is getting less noticeable but now I do notice how I HATE to have any piece of clothing like a scarf touching the sides of my neck or along the jowl/chin area. The "diminished sensitivity" makes it feel so weird/awful that I try to avoid it! I have not yet started to feel the "electric shock therapy" that others talk about. I'm sure it's just a matter of time but I'll happily put that off as long as possible.

P.S. I went out driving by myself for the first...

P.S. I went out driving by myself for the first time yesterday. This surgery leaves you with a limited range of motion during these early stages of recovery. I have about a 45 degree range on either side. I just went about two miles down the street to the bank/grocery store/post office.

Then today I went out to the doctor's office and to a few appointments that took me onto the freeway. I felt pretty safe but I had to make sure nothing was touching my neck when I was driving since it feels SO weird! I will be happy as the range of motion improves.

THREE WEEKS POST OP The past week was good. I had...

THREE WEEKS POST OP
The past week was good. I had to take a half of a percocet today because the "feeling" under the chin and around the jaw line was bugging me. I am going out now and pretty much not worrying about my scars or chin except if I'm meeting with clients who might scrutinize me a bit more.

In terms of swell, yes, it's still there, but it's down. In front of my ears and down an inch or so is very hard and swollen but it's not noticeable to most people. The jaw is still swollen, you can't see any kind of jaw line per se, but it's better.

Most of the swelling and hardness is under the chin. The "ridge" on the left of the chin is definitely getting better. My neck is tight but I do have a better range of motion, maybe a 60 degree angle on both sides.

The scars around my ears are awesome, barely detectable. The incisions behind my ears are more noticeable. I wonder if I will be able to wear my hair up this summer when I'm out and around others. Those seem much thicker and noticeable.

I really don't like having anything around my neck/jaw because it feels so weird. I can't describe in words what it feels like, but I know it's normal. I am going out with friends tonight, both of whom know I have had this surgery, so I'm excited to see what they think. It will be the first time they've seen me.

I saw a friend last week who knows about the surgery and he said he could tell my face was thinner. . .. so that's something ;o)

I feel like the worst of the recovery process is over . . . not that the recovery is over, far from it. I know it will be a good five weeks until I'm approaching the "feeling normal" level, but I know I'm going in the right direction.

I will post progress pictures.

Week 5 Post Op BEWARE OF WINE! So over the...

Week 5 Post Op

BEWARE OF WINE! So over the weekend we went to a winery and after one glass of red wine, my neck felt like it was mega swollen and it was very warm. It lasted about 48 hours . . . so just beware if you're going to drink alcohol.

I am progressing as I should, according to my doctor. That's great news but as we all know, it's a much longer recovery than the 2-3 weeks we read about that surgeons on this website state as the recovery time.

My lumps and bumps continue to melt away. The "under the chin" area is the slowest part to recover, according to my doctor. The area by my ears is still hard like a rock. The right side of my neck/chin is smoother than the left side which still has a big lump. I don't have any kind of jaw line, per se, but Dr. Leedy says at three months I will be thrilled - that's when he takes the after photos. He said right now with the residual lumps and bumps you can't see the final results but they will be beautiful.

My jowls are diminished which is great.

I did talk to Dr. Leedy about "recovery" time and explained that when we read on these boards from doctors that the recovery is 2-3 weeks, in our minds that means we will LOOK & FEEL normal - however, we are all seeing that is not the case. He said when doctor's put 2-3 weeks they mean that's when we can get back to our lives. . . so a bit of a disconnect.

No one seems to notice my surgery, so I guess that's good. Certainly, looking in the makeup mirror every day I see the changes. Goodbye waddle and jowls.

At five weeks, I'm still looking forward to seeing the final results but I feel that every day is progress.

SIX WEEKS POST OP It's hard to believe I'm...

SIX WEEKS POST OP

It's hard to believe I'm already at six weeks post op. Every morning I wake up and the first thing I notice is the ring around the neck. Now, it's not nearly as bad as it was at one week post op, but it is still there. The swelling is still around my ears - it's all hard underneath the skin from the ears to where the jaw is hinged.

The area all under my chin is still swollen and there are lumps underneath but is is much better than a few weeks ago.

I saw my doctor a couple of days ago and he is pleased with my progress. His smile beams ear to ear, so I know it's all good.

It is frustrating that the healing is so slow but this is what it is really like to recover from this surgery. It is not 2-3 weeks as doctors say on this forum when answering how long is recovery. What they mean by 2-3 weeks is that you will be looking and feeling good enough to continue living your life. It does NOT mean you will be looking and feeling normal. At six weeks I'm still not feeling normal.

I have BIG, long scars behind my ears (see photo) and my doctor said it will most likely be a year before they are fully healed. In the mean time, unless I get Dermablend concealer, I cannot wear my hair up in public. Kind of a bummer since I have long, heavy hair that I wear up in warm weather.

My face is still fat . . . I don't have the jowls, but this surgery did not solve that. I am going to have to lose weight in order for my face to slim down.

Right now, with the under chin swelling, I have these "dimples" on either side of my chin which I'm not so crazy about. I am hoping that when the swelling and lumps and bumps are gone, these will be too.

POST OP 7 WEEKS When I first had this surgery I...

POST OP 7 WEEKS

When I first had this surgery I couldn't wait to be at 6/7 weeks because I thought I would feel normal.

Well here I am and while I'm much closer to feeling normal, I still don't look or feel normal. I'm not complaining - our bodies are wonderfully made and the healing that has taken place during the past seven weeks is amazing. . . It just requires patience.

I saw my hair dresser yesterday for the first time since my surgery. I had highlights done two days prior to my surgery. I told her since she would be seeing my scars.

She was amazed at the results. Basically my double chin is gone. Even though that area is still swollen and lumpy, she thought it was a huge change. That was great to hear.

I don't go back to my doctor until my three-month mark and that's when he will take my afters pics. I am going to have him take some with my iPhone camera too.

Every morning I wake up I continue to feel the ring around the neck we all grow do use to. Can I tell you something? I am SO looking forward to the day when I can post that I no longer feel that ring around the neck first thing when I wake up. THAT is when I will feel normal.

Until then, life is good and each day brings me one step closer to feeling fully healed.

9 Weeks POST-OP I continue to heal and improve...

9 Weeks POST-OP

I continue to heal and improve each week. It's slower than I would like but that is the nature of the surgery. The area around my ears is is pretty hard and the area under my chin is lumpy and bumpy. I can still feel the ring-around-the-neck feeling but it is getting better. My waddle/double chin/turkey neck is largely gone but I still have a bit of puckering on either side of the incision on my chin so it looks like I have dimples there. Looking forward to those being GONE.

11 WEEKS POST OP

Time is marching on and each week is bringing more healing. However, I'm still no where near "healed" or recovered in terms of feeling "normal." Every morning I wake up the first thing I feel is the ring around the neck - except now that feeling is just at the base of my ears and right under my neck.

My turkey neck is gone and so are my jowels - so I'm 100% looking better from that stand point. I am posting a before/after comparison in my photos and I know it is not a dramatic comparison, per se, however, in person, this surgery has really made a huge difference in the way I look and the shape of my face.

My neck is now tight and smooth - the double chin and turkey neck are G-O-N-E.

What I am not happy with right now are the puckers on either side of my chin where the incision was made. I see my surgeon in a couple of weeks and will ask him about them if they are still there. I believe they are there because that is the area where I still have the most swelling. Once the swelling subsides, my hope is that they will disappear. Patience . . . . it is very hard waiting for things to shake out with time but that's all I can do.

Chin Puckers

I have posted a photo of the chin puckers on either side of the incision under my chin. While the area right around the incision is not swollen, the area that goes from my chin to neck is still swollen. I'm hoping the puckers go away when the swelling does.

First Facial Since Surgery

So I went to have a facial yesterday. Next week I will be 3 months post op - so it seemed safe to do since most of the swelling and lumps and bumps are minimal. I had to tell the facialist that I had had the surgery and she was shocked - she said I seemed kind of young to have had that procedure. I told her I'm almost 50 - which she did not believe - so I guess the surgery did its job!

She did some pressure point massage on my face which she said will help facilitate healing, swelling and drainage. She said I am more swollen still on the right side than the left. I love how smooth my neck feels after the facial (even though underneath I can feel some swelling and lumps and bumps). I go back for my "after" pictures on the 13th. I'm looking forward to seeing the before/after comparison.

I continue to feel "the noose" that's figuratively around my neck. I wonder how long it will be until that feeling goes away?

3 Month Dr. Visit

So I went this week for my three month visit and after photos. Overall, Dr. Leedy was happy with my progress. I am a little less happy and Dr. Leedy was more than will to listen (and agree) with the small things that are bothering me.

1) the scar in my "side burn" area in front of my right ear is not healing well. It is bumpy and every few weeks it gets a scar. I usually see blood on my pillow.

2) the "puckers" on either side of my chin incision. I am not thrilled with these and they do not seem to be getting better as time goes by.

3) the scars that go down my neck into the hairline are major. Worse than I have seen here online.

Dr. Leedy is a great listener and looked at each of my concerns. We decided that in September, I will come back (at six months) and he is going to do some in-office procedures to take care of these with some "scar revision". He said at that time he may also do a little liposuction under my chin (which I would be thrilled with).

He is not quite sure why the scars on the left side of my face are better than the ones on the right. And he poked around and didn't see any reason why the scar in my side burn is bleeding.

He said the puckers (and the long scars in my neck) are due to the sheet amount of skin that had to be removed. He did not want to make the chin scar any longer so he tried to gather the skin as best he could.

So I'm actually kinda excited about seeing him again in September. I'm a little nervous since it will be in office procedures, but it's all good.
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon

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