Facelift / Necklift / Lower Lid Bleph - Denver, CO

I am going to be 66 in August (yikes - where did...

I am going to be 66 in August (yikes - where did the time go?) and I will be going on Monday for a facelift and necklift which the doctor has called a submentoplasty. I am a retired teacher, but being retired was difficult for me, so I went back to work part-time at an elementary school. I've been wanting to do this for six years ... and all the while I've been watching my turkey neck Grow! So after several consultations, I scheduled with a doc in Denver who comes highly recommended (and was wonderful about staying in my budget - the number includes everything including a night's stay in the hospital). Part of my decision making process has been reading posts and responses on this forum, and I'm so grateful for them! I spent yesterday getting prescriptions filled and making preparations for sleeping sitting up. I was excited, feeling productive - I even programmed my iPhone to alert me when I need to take the meds - I figure I'll be pretty out of it for the first couple of days ;) I'm posting 'before' pictures now, and I don't know when I'll be able to post again ... hopefully soon!

Almost ready to go home

I'm glad to be on the road to mending, although today is difficult.

Day 5 update and pictures

It's no surprise that the first few days were difficult. Recovering from anesthesia and the surgical event are difficult. I had another factor that became difficult, and that was that the pain medicines undermined my emotional strength. It happened especially in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep but wanted my husband to since he alone provided for all my physical care during the initial "at home" phase. I paced some, rested some, and tried to calm an inflamed tummy. I also was not prepared to become 'emotional' about seeing the new face in the mirror!

My doctor's patient coordinator called me frequently during these first few days. She was caring and positive and both she and my doctor helped to build my emotional strength!

Yesterday (Day 4) was my first post-op check up, and I am pleased (yes!). We live in the mountains and had to drive to Denver - it was a big day! Today, although I moved slowly, I am feeling well and enjoying that we are getting back to our usual household routines. We decided to board our pup during the first week, and I' glad we did. He came home today, and I'm looking forward to some upcoming opportunities to go for walks with him.

I have bruising under my eyes and on my neck - to be expected I know. I am taking Arnica Montana for that, and Bromelain with Quercetin. I am also feeling swollen, and have tightness in my neck, so I am continuing to ice as well as continuing to wear the compression garment. And I'm looking forward to my next check-up on Tuesday!

A new Monday

Each day I feel a little better; a little stronger, a little more comfortable. It is encouraging. I still have some swelling, and obviously black and blue and green and yellow ;) but I'm wondering if I still have some surgical pen on my skin ??? I'll ask my PS at my follow-up appointment tomorrow ... I posted some pics from after my shower this a.m. The difference from before and after are already amazing. In my first day or two I could not imagine saying this, but I am so happy I had this done!

Thursday - Day 10

Today I am sporting the bandana look so I don't have to put my hair through the rigors of styling ;) I saw Dr. Imola on Tuesday, he removed stitches, and that was an emotional boost - a right of passage in my mind. Yesterday, I began to experience discomfort in my neck from what appeared to be a bit of increased swelling for the first time since surgery (did I sleep wrong? try to push my activity level? idk), so I called Dr. Imola, (also checked in with his office today), and I'm on track for my appointment next week. I'm so appreciative that I can call with questions and concerns! Parts of the bruised areas on my neck and under my left eye are starting to fade. I started using Arnica cream in addition to the oral Arnica Montana in hopes I can encourage the bruising away a little more quickly. I'm posting a couple of pictures to show my neckline, as I'm thinking it's becoming more well defined.

Addendum to Day 10

On Tuesday at my post-op visit, Dr. Imola spoke about some of the benefit of the deep-plane lift technique he uses. If you look at the smoothness of the surface of my skin, you can see what I understood to be one very important benefit - the smooth result. I am so thrilled about that!

One small step into Sephora -

I have been feeling good, 2.5 weeks out. I still have bruising and, having not used make-up for many years, I really didn't know where to start. That was frustrating for me. After my check-up today (I love my check-ups - such a positive experience going to see Dr. Imola and Peggy) I went to Sephora and learned how to apply the makeup I need. Woo-hoo!

Three Weeks ago today

At this three week mark, I find I have so much more of my energy back. I can be active for the entire morning, starting around 6:30 a.m., and sustain pretty well for walking the dog for a couple of miles, doing household chores, and chipping away at my to-do list for getting ready for 'back to school.' I'm posting pictures - still sporting the bandana look while I'm waiting for the official 'OK' to begin using styling products, etc. I'm also so looking forward to scheduling a visit to the salon for my 'back to school' haircut and style ;) You can see, I still have some bruising, but when I compare today's pictures to the ones posted last week, I can see that the bruising on my neck has almost completely resolved, and the bruising on my cheeks seems to be turning greenish yellow - another good sign of healing. In the day-to-day journeys to the mirror, I don't see the progress, so the pictures seem to be a better way to actually see that I am making steps forward in the physical healing process. Everyone says it, and it's true - PATIENCE ;)

photos mentioned in Three Weeks ago Today post

I am so clumsy ...

I cannot believe I was clumsy enough to bump my face on the car door! It's a small car, it was starting to rain, and standing by the open driver's door, I leaned down to look over to the passenger side window to make sure it was closed and ... clunk. I hit my face on the corner of the door, about 1.5 inches in front of the tragus of my left ear. the bump left a red mark and now, the peculiar thing is that I have swelling under my left eye. I am icing, but I am afraid ... which is to say, actually more afraid than I've been in the past few days. Having done pretty well and having gotten this far in the recovery process (approaching 4 weeks), I am now afraid and feeling severely lacking in my ability to take care of my new face. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

Thank you ...

Thank you all for posting your support for me during my mini-meltdown. I have to tell you that I also was so fortunate to have received a phone call from Peggy at the PS office. She was so supportive as we talked about me reframing my concerns about taking care of my new face and viewing them as opportunities - instead of saying "I have to ..." saying "I get to ..." This really makes sense to me, and because I am not alone in these feelings, I wanted to share her good advice. Hugs to you all!

Ready for work

I am almost at one month. Although I still have bruising, tingling and sometimes pains in the nerves of my face, I feel so much more that I am getting back to being myself. Today I will start tutoring some children I worked with last year, and it's been wonderful to get back to thinking about planning lessons and activities for them. I'm posting some pictures. I'm wearing makeup (and glasses in one), and I think the bruising is covered pretty well, but I know the kids will notice something and ask questions! Please notice my necklace - it's a little silver bead necklace that I bought years ago and haven't worn in years ... but I can wear it now :-) Wishing you all a great day!

A Month and a Day

I am overall so happy with the amazing difference in my appearance, yet I fret, fret, fret about inconsistencies I see and concerns I have. I drive my sweet husband and the people I communicate with about it (who are very few as I don't want to burden my children and my siblings and parents - who would listen - are gone ) crazy. This week I was bonkers about the amount swelling near my left eye and how different it was from the amount of swelling near my right eye - couldn't get it and possible nerve damage because it hurt, out of my mind. Today, not hurting and the swelling has gone down some ... I think there's a life lesson for me here!

Got "the compliment" today

I attended a meeting for school staff in preparation for the coming year. After the meeting one of the attendees said, "Your new hair style looks great." It made me smile and feel good too. I want also to include a cautionary tale here. I was looking on the web for information about LDM, and I found a yoga site that said to do it right you have to move the skin - WRONG!!! I did that and swelled up so-o-o-o much it scared me, a lot. The swelling is s-l-o-w-l-y subsiding. It was so disheartening - felt like I was back at Day 1 with regards to swelling. So, the cautionary message is to be very careful about info you find. Heather's method of LDM worked beautifully go me - I should have stopped my LDM research there!

my swelling saga.

On Monday I swelled from giving myself an overagressive LDM massage and, being that my swelling seems to worsen at night, by 6:30 pm or so I was very swollen and in pain from it. I called Dr. Imola's service and explained to them what was going on. Dr. Imola called me back right away, asked me to text pictures so he could see what was going on. After I sent the pictures, Dr. Imola called me right back with a plan that included getting a prescription ... well, I live in a rural area - 1.5 hours to the nearest open pharmacy after 7 pm! Dr. Imola helped me brainstorm my options, and when I decided I'd go to the local Emergency facility rather than wait to the morning (being a fretter, I envisioned a sleepless, pacing night if I waited), Dr. Imola encouraged me to ask the ER physician to contact him so he could coordinate with him regarding my care. I felt reassured and grateful knowing that Dr. Imola was responsive and involved, even 'after hours' and on into the night. The next day, Peggy followed up with a phone call, and I saw Beryl (aesthetician) on Friday. She evaluated my situation to report to Dr. Imola ( by Friday most of my excessive swelling had resolved), making sure the swelling was within normal limits. She also listened while I spoke of my concerns about my lingering bruising, and suggested some IPL to help it resolve. She reviewed with me my current face care routines for am and pm and suggested some changes, which I will implement slowly to see how my skin tolerates each change. I left her office feeling good about where I am in my healing process and Dr. Imola and his team of care-givers. With regard to the IPL treatment for bruising, does anyone have experience with it? Hugs to you all for your ongoing commemt and support!

Picture update

Swelling has gone down some more and Dermablend is doing its magic! Earrings today for the first time. Six weeks tomorrow and I feel (finally) like I'm getting adjusted to life post FL - and it's great!

4 Months Yesterday

I've noticed that some of my RealSelf friends have posted advice for those considering a FL / NL procedure, and I'm going to add my 2 cents about discussung realistic expectations with your surgeon, listening carefully to what he or she says, and asking questions! Undergoing and recovering from these procedures are major life events, and anesthesia, pain meds, and extended temporary changes in life style and sensation are part of the experience. I think, if I ever really had realistic expectations for my results they drifted off somewhere into the anesthesia and pain med haze (both of which I did not tolerate well). My skin broke out in rashes - I freaked out. Changes in my neck and chin as the swelling subsided freaked me out. I did not take on the responsibility I should have early in the healing process to use the time during visits with my surgeon to ask questions about what had been done and what I should expect, but I did go home and worry and fret. Anyway, at 4 months I am getting back to reality, which is that My PS achieved an amazing result for me, and especially so given what he had to work with - and I quickly lost sight of that reality, too, almost immediately after surgery. My husband tells me I lok great. We visited my sister-in-law a couple of weeks ago and she said I look 20 years younger. Almost all swelling is gone. I still have slight numbness in front of my ears, and tightness in my neck. The tightness is occasionally uncomfortable, but mostly reassuring. So today I am posting a before picture and a picture taken today (no make-up, just lipstick). This juxtaposition helps me stay grateful and grounded ;)

Vibrant Color

Well, RealSelf friends, I had the color put in my hair today , and as promised, here are a couple of pictures! I'm into the holiday spirit now for real, and looking forward to a family reunion next week!

One year later - not where I'd hoped to be

In every difficult experience there is always room for gratitude that it is not worse. I am just past the one year mark post-op, and I am grateful that my face isn't paralyzed. I am grateful for the nice result under my eyes. I am heartbroken that I cannot enjoy the fact that I look younger because I feel so terribly deformed. The deficit under my neck and the accompanying bulges on either side bring me to tears every day, along with the fact that the tightness I feel in my neck and under my chin is at best uncomfortable and regularly excruciating. I cannot take meds for pain, so my lot in life now is simply to deal with it all. The advice for pain provided at my last visit with Dr. Imola last week were to wait to see if the tightness improves in another 6 months and to take ibuprofen for discomfort. He said that if the discomfort hadn't subsided in another 6 months, he would remove the top 4 stitches in my neck, something he had never done before and for which he could make no guarantees with regard to improved tightness or cosmetic result. With regard to the irregularity under my jaw, he offered a revision surgery in 6 months or so to attempt to correct it. That would include flipping the fat pad (the larger of the two lumps) to help fill the deficiency and keep the fat viable, and hopefully would improve the contour of my neck. Has anyone heard of this? A peculiar result of this surgery is that the side of my face that used to be the larger side is now the smaller (and tighter) side, and what used to be the smaller side is larger and lax, with what looks to me like an abnormally huge crease adjacent to my mouth. It may not be true, but I feel at this point in time that my facelift was a surgical experiment gone wrong, and I feel confused and at a loss.
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon

I was very fortunate to have chosen Dr. Mario Imola. He is a skilled surgeon, methodical, and in every way a consummate professional who cares deeply about his work. He is calm and reassurring, however, he is not a "hand-holder." That quality about him was very good for me. His practical approach encouraged me. Everyone heals differently, and for me personally, recovery has not been smooth sailing. This is in no way a reflection on Dr. Imola, and my confidence in the quality of care I'm receiving has only been enhanced due to the difficulties I've encountered.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 19 others found this helpful

Comments (266)

Sort by

You Look wonderful, and So Much younger.... BRAVO
  • Reply
From your pictures above I think you look much more youthful in your after photos. I definitely cannot see the problems you are seeing. I sure hope you feel better emotionally very soon. Any change is often difficult.
  • Reply
Lisa, if you look at the area under my chin from one month, four months, and this week you will see the gradual but evident deficiency becoming more evident. I agree with you about change ... it's tough.
  • Reply
I guess it is difficult to see since the new photo is front view. I do not mean to devalue your feelings as I know the healing/changing process is very challenging but if it helps only....if I saw you on the street I definietely would think you look great according to the last photo you posted. I hope your friends and family are giving you good support as you work through this and hopefully there is a fix to the fullness issue if you will continue to be troubled by a thiner jaw line. Hang in there!
  • Reply
As I was going through your story I thought you were doing well, the after pictures gave me some hope as my neck is also one of my big issues. I'm so sorry you are not where you want to be a year later. I was hoping to do my facelift over Christmas Break, work a month get my house ready to move. I think I'm not being realistic now.... You do look wonderful in your pictures, but I understand the feelings that it's just not right. ((((HUGS))))
  • Reply
Hi,R2015. The thing I love about this forum is that I can post how I feel. This community is a wonderful place to air out feelings and have them validated. In my experience, the surgeon and his staff provide what they can, but do not have time or training to adequately address the emotional components of the complications of my recovery. Anyway, everyone heals differently, and you may have no complications at all (knock wood). Just in case, tho, I'd advise giving yourself a flexible, pressure-free environment post-op so you can do what you are able but do not have to ;)
  • Reply
Dear Bski, I just read and realize you are not well. Very sorry to hear that. There are several doctors on this website, please ask them the questions about your case ( I agree with Klatus opinion). There is a section on this website for questions and surgeons answer, it is free. They can help you think what other choices you have instead of waiting six months with pain. You have to use all the resources available to you. I will pray for you.
  • Reply
Thank you for your support and your prayers, Anoni2.
  • Reply
I love your story, my best to you. You look great and your hair is lovely.
  • Reply
Bski, sorry to hear that you are still experiencing pain and the outcome is less than you desired. I am sure a revision would be able to fix your areas of concern. Please seek another opinion, or two. Information is a powerful tool. You don't owe your PS any loyalty. It's hard to go through the roller coaster of post facelift once let alone twice. I know this because I have just had a revision. Which by the way is a lot easier this time around. Am I happy? I do have a jawline and smoothish neck. It's still too early to say. Looking at your 4 month photos you look fantastic. Your photo now still looks much younger than before. Good luck with sorting out the pain in your neck. :)
  • Reply
When did you have your revision, Kitaus? How are you doing now? What is it about the revision process that makes it easier?
  • Reply
Bski, I had my revision on 16th June this year in Thailand. My neck and jawline was saggy very shortly after 1st surgery (see my pics under profile). As swelling decreased I became looser. At 1 yr I went back and dr was unclear as to cause but did say my skin had little elasticity but muscle underneath had sagged as well. To me it felt easier because I knew what to expect, a lot of the deep work though not all, had been done previously so there was less trauma to the face. By end of week two I could side sleep elevated without too much hassle. Still feels swollen in front of ears and pulls under my ears . My incisions are longer, reach up to temple and into hairline at nape of neck, scar tissue is flat and almost invisible. I am glad that I went back, so far my neck and jawline is so much better and no jowels hooray. I did mention seeking another opinion for yourself as pain can be very debilitating, another dr may have the answer. Goodluck Bski :)
  • Reply
Thank you!
  • Reply
Bski. Wish you were feeling better; the "look" is very nice but as you say it's hard to enjoy the good visual result with physical problems overhanging. I do hope you can get clarification about exactly what is causing the neck "pads" and probably a consult with another PS can help sort this out so you know if what's being proposed in the revision makes sense. Have you ruled out swollen salivary glands? The idea of 2 pads of fat seems unusual. You remember Renaissancelady46 who went thru surgery at the same time you did. Her PS just did a face and neck lift (listed in neck lift section) that might interest you; Lilygirl14 said that she had a great deal of fat removed in her neck during the neck lifting procedure. Your PS used a gold standard neck lifting technique. I'm sure your situation can be improved so that you are not in pain....you just need to exactly identify the problem. Any chance you could set up a Private Message option so that anyone with suggestions to help can do so "off forum". You look great, Bski, so I really hope you find the peace you deserve....grace60
  • Reply
Grace, you are right - my PS did strive to achieve a 'gold standard' for my result, and I hope with all my heart for both of us that it will someday be possible. I think if anyone could make the fat pad 'flip' possible it would be Dr. Imola. You actually commented on the great transition from under my eyes to my cheeks - do you remember? He did a 'flip' there, too, and it turned out great! I think the PM function is linked to my account. No worries there. Thank you for your good info and good wishes! B
  • Reply
Bski, I'm SO sorry to hear this! I haven't been on the site much lately and the last I heard you were so thrilled and looking great. What a letdown! Having said that, though, I do want to tell you that from your pix at least, you still look darned good. But if you're not happy with the results, or if things are getting progressively worse, then for sure you need to have your ps make it right! I've gotten a couple of emails lately about other folks on here who've had problems and was just telling my husband this morning how very very lucky I feel. Even as happy as I am with my outcome, there's always that fear that something could still go wrong. Please, please don't just give in without a fight. You've been through too much to meekly accept a bad outcome. Stay strong. I hope this will be nothing more than a bump in the road. Hugs!
  • Reply
Hi, Westy! Thank you for your words of strength and encouragement. I need to be clear that my PS has ALWAYS said he will make it right. I think, as grace60 said, the pain I'm experiencing is clouding my perception of the outcome and my ability to be able to make a decision. Have you ever read a piece by Emily Perl Kingsley called "Welcome to Holland?" It's about having a child with autism and of course, this is not that. But the emotion and confusion she describes ring true for me right now. In a way, I hope the pain WILL subside, that I CAN face the prospect of a revision surgery, and that the destination I envisioned IS possible. I'm not there now, and perhaps that's why my PS said to wait 6 months. I am so grateful to hear from you, tho, and to know I have your support! it means the world to me
  • Reply
Just read what I wrote ... 'In a way' must have been the beginning of a different thought, because the phrase that began that sentence should have been 'In every way!' Thanks for listening ...
  • Reply
Hey Bski, I haven't been on the site lately either, but heard of your plight from grace60. You do look wonderful, but I do see the area of concern now that you mention it, and wish you all the best in getting it resolved to your satisfaction. Hopefully, it is just some swelling that will resolve or otherwise, you PS will make it right. You do look great though, if I walked by you on the street, I would be thinking you look darn good. Hang in there!
  • Reply
Thanks, RL. It's comments like yours that give me courage to go out in public.
  • Reply
Sorry for the last comment - I was having a little pity party for myself. I do go out in public, but at times I feel so self-conscious. For example: have you ever been at a restaurant and the server squats down by the table to be nearer to eye level to talk with you (although in that position his eyes are actually somewhat below yours)? I did that all the time when I was teaching so as not to be bending over the children, but rather talking to them eye to eye (i hope I'm describing it right). I absolutely cringe when that happens in a restaurant because I know what the server is seeing!
  • Reply
Yes my dear, it is very understandable. We have all experinced self consciousness at one time or another. I am so glad you are going out in public. Glad the server took the time to squat, that was a lovely gesture. But the server as soon as he walked away from you his mind was focusing on his job or a million other thoughts running his head. Just remember that you are going to be ok, you have to go through this stage in your life even if dont want to, you might as well cross it with positive thinking and cross it with all of us, we are holding your hand. if you ever want another self pity party invite us, we want you to be more than fine. You have so many new friends every day on this website, I hope you realize why. : )
  • Reply
Thank you, Anoni2. You have a wonderful way with words, and you're right about keeping a positive attitude. I try to keep that in mind every day. I am so grateful to be in the RealSelf space with friends who understand! Hugggggggggs
  • Reply
Very sorry to hear of the disappointing results. Unfortunately plastic surgery is not an exact science. It does sound like your areas of concern can be revised. It may be a good idea to get second opinions. Thank you for sharing your experiences . It helps to normalize others not so perfect results. Over the years , I have had a few cosmetic procedures and admit that I have never been 100% happy. Does this even exist in plastic surgery ? Try and stay positive:)
  • Reply
You raised such good questions and made solid sense about both the science of plastic surgery and the human psyche, Bunnyman. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
  • Reply