SMAS Facelift: StoriesWrite a Review
Complete Face Lift - 50 is the New 30 with Dr Koelliker in San Miguel De Allende
On January 10th of this year I had a complete face...
- 11 Feb 2013
On January 10th of this year I had a complete face lift with Dr Koelliker and spent my after hospital recovery at Spa|Club Casa Marino. I have just hit the one month mark and am over the moon thrilled with my results and my experience.
WHY AND WHY NOW
I am fifty-two years old and prior to my surgery looked it. Professionally I am a sales and marketing consultant and let's face it, in my business you tend to do better when you look fresh, light and happy. This is hard to do when your face is sagging. Personally, there was also a bridging disconnect between how I thought and how I looked as I felt much younger than I appeared.
To age gracefully on my terms I believe I had a choice to make - - throw in the towel and live with the hooded eyes and the sagging jowls or do something about it. I did not take the decision to have a facelift lightly. I did my research, soul searching and I am thrilled with my decision and my outcome to date.
IN SEARCH OF THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH...
Without a doubt, Pat Marino, Founder of Face Lift Mexico and Spa|Club Casa Marino is the provider of the 'Fountain of Youth'. With Pat you have over twenty years of Cosmetic Surgery Consulting experience, and as stated on her website she has and continues to enjoy a 100% safety record since 1994. I found this to be reassuring. I also had two girlfriends book their facelifts with Pat; one about four years ago (I lived in San Miguel at the time and my girlfriend stayed with me for an additional month post-surgery) and another about eight years ago) and I was impressed with their results and experience.
MY JOURNEY TO THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH...
When my girlfriends’ had their facelifts I did not know Facelift Mexico or any persons associated with Facelift Mexico. It wasn’t until a couple years after my second girlfriend’s surgery that I met Dr. Koelliker. The only reason I found him was that my face was starting to show its age and I was in search of a little Botox pick-me-up. I asked around town and was introduced to Melinda Marino (Pat Marino’s daughter) who in turn referred me to Dr. Koelliker. I had a few Botox treatments with him over the next couple of years and found him to be very professional and to offer excellent advice as to what I should and should not do with respect to the Botox treatments. Of course this is when I was first introduced to Spa|Club Casa Marino.
Without a doubt, Spa|Club Casa Marino is truly magnificent! The villa is a gorgeous old world colonial home located within the heart of San Miguel de Allende - - positively magical and the staff friendly, compassionate and experienced. I was grateful for my recovery at Casa Marino - - a definite 4+ star experience!!!
PRE-SURGERY PREPARATION FROM HOME
Thankfully I read and followed the suggested preparation information that was sent to me via email. It is suggested that I have blood work and an EKG done about a month prior to my surgery. So glad that I did because if I had not, the doctor would have refused to do my surgery as my iron levels were too low. This would have cost me the time, flight cost and accommodations only to have to return home with the same old face. While I was at Casa Marino I met a woman that had been sent home six months earlier because of a problem with her EKG. Whatever it was she righted it because her procedure was approved and she too now has a new face. Smoking is another no no. I had just finished a consulting contract in November and wanted to take advantage of the downtime to have my facelift in December. Dr Koelliker refused and said that I must be smoke free for a minimum of two months before he would consider performing the surgery. On his advice and insistence, I quit smoking immediately and two months later I got my surgery.
PRE-SURGERY SPA PACKAGE
I flew in a couple days early (I no longer live in San Miguel de Allende) to take advantage of the spa services of Esencia Yoga Spa Retreat as I wanted to be certain that I was relaxed and that my face was in the best possible condition prior to my surgery. My pre-surgery spa package included: two micro current sessions, one deep tissue massage (to help get me into a relaxed state as although I was confident, I was still nervous and a little tense) and a couple hot yoga classes followed by a dip in the rooftop hot tub (one of my favorite spots in Spa|Club Casa Marino as the views are spectacular). It worked as I felt completely prepared, relaxed and ready for my surgery.
Not only is Dr Koelliker a talented surgeon, he is also an artist. I am exactly one month post-surgery and I believe I look better today than I did when I was thirty.
I was pleased with the hospital and even more so with the staff. It seemed to me that their number one goal was to keep me happy and comfortable - - and they did a great job of it. For those of us that do not speak Spanish the English|Spanish barrier can be a little intimidating until you discover Fabby, she is your Casa Marino personal care assistant and is bilingual. I can stumble through a little bit of Spanish in an emergency but that’s it and often I am misunderstood so while in the hospital my requests were in English and the hospital staff (if not bilingual) would find a way to communicate with me. They would either locate an onsite staff member that spoke English or would call Fabby to translate for us. It worked beautifully.
I spent a couple of days in the hospital post-surgery. I cannot imagine doing it any other way as I did not move for those two days, nor did I want to. Just out of surgery I fully expected to be violently sick as I have a HORRIBLE time with general anesthesia (it makes me extremely ill and it is difficult to wake me from a general however this was not the case at all (I do not recall what was used to put me out but could ask if you want to know); all I recall is that I was extremely comfortable as I had an IV drip with just the right amount and type of pain meds plus a full team, from doctors, nurses and even the kitchen chef (he took special orders) taking care of my every need. Not to mention that Dr. Koelliker came to visit me as regularly as four to five times a day. My experience could not have been better.
MY 4+ STAR SPA|CLUB RECOVERY
Absolutely perfect! Upon leaving the hospital I went directly to Spa|Club Casa Marino. I was at peace knowing that my recovery was being monitored by an experienced staff. I had little to do but visit with the other recovering guests (made a couple lovely new friends along the way). During my recovery Dr Koelliker stopped by Club Casa Marino a couple of times to check in on my progress (yes, he makes house calls) and to remove my stitches.
Donning my hat, scarf and sun glasses I snuck out a couple of times to wonder around San Miguel. I felt like a movie star in the middle of a magical movie set! The history, the culture and the people - - all so wonderful. San Miguel de Allende should be a must see on everyone's bucket list.
POST SURGERY SPA PACKAGE
My post-surgery spa package included: a full body lymphatic massage (95% of which is face-up with the remaining 5% face down but elevated), a neck and shoulder massage (sitting upright), a manicure and pedicure. In short, I was treated and felt like a princess.
FACE LIFT PROCEDURE AND COST - - $6,500
temporal forehead lift
upper and lower eye lids
cheeks and mid face using SMAS procedure
LIP PLUMPING - - $600
fat injected into my upper and lower lips
taken from my belly
10 day required Hospital/Recovery 4 STAR package - $1800
includes internet, a hearty breakfast and lunch
yoga and spa treatments are fee for service tailored to your needs and desires
I've been a little camera shy and living in my big floppy hat and huge sunglasses so do not have any photos worthy of showing off my surgery but will be back to post a couple more shots. In particular, I will ask Spa|Club Casa Marino for copies of the down and dirty before shots (really do not want to post those but realize none of this will mean anything to you if you cannot see the before) and after shots - - so they will be posted. In the meantime I do have a couple pics that I have snapped along the way with my BB that I'll load up with this post. Also, given that I am now at the one month mark I believe that it is time for me to take a real life glamour shot for you. Now that is a photo I look forward to posting!
WORTH EVERY PENNY! After a couple years of looking...
- 17 Feb 2013
Not wanting to post these however if I am sharing...
- 17 Feb 2013
Posting a photo of my ear area taken at around the...
- 17 Feb 2013
FOLLOW-UP At around the one month mark one of...
- 20 Feb 2013
At around the one month mark one of my eyes started to show a little bit of swelling. When my eye started to show signs of swelling (minor) I started to panic a little, wondering ..... who should I call? What should I do? What should I take? Would Dr. Koelliker remember me? Take the time to consult with me? Not knowing what to do I sent an email to Pat (the owner of Facelift Mexico) and my surgeon Dr. Koelliker. Within hours I heard from both of them which was quite reassuring. I think the RATE YOUR DOCTOR section below requires another section called follow-up...
DR. FOLLOW-UP RATING * * * * * 5 star / 2 thumbs up
ANESTHESIA USED FOR MY PROCEDURE: It is...
- 23 Feb 2013
It is called IV sedation along with local injection of lidocaine, (they do NOT administer general anesthesia); a general is not needed and is much more dangerous. A general is usually administered in conjunction with a tube down the throat, inducing a state of coma. )
Dr. Koelliker's M.D. Anesthesiologist, is a part of the team and is attending throughout the procedure.
The anesthesia is a very important part of the whole process and is in fact one of the reasons I chose Dr. Koelliker and his team. I have an extremely difficult time with generals, so much so that the doctors have an extremely difficult bringing me back and then once they do I am extremely sick for next next couple of days - - it's horrible and definitely life threatening (at least for me). Dr Koelliker is a caring man and talented surgeon that has surrounded himself with like professionals.
FAQ's I have had a number of the same...
- 27 Feb 2013
I have had a number of the same questions reoccurring so thought it would be helpful if I posted a group of them here:
How was your experience at the hospital Guadalupano? Was it clean and comfortable?
I was very happy with Hospital Guadalupano. Granted it is an older hospital
than the Mac (the hospital they used to use) however the Guadalupano is
going through a major renovation so it is definitely positioning
itself to compete head on with the Mac. What I liked best about
Hospital Guadalupano is that Dr. Koelliker spends most of his time
in this hospital making him extremely accessible throughout your stay.
During my three days there I saw him up to five times per day. As for the
rooms, I found them to be clean and actually quite lovely as the room
renovations have been completed. The furnishings were new, modern,
comfortable and there is plenty of room for a companion in the event that you
decide to bring a recovery buddy.
Did you have an anesthesiologist during your surgery?
Yes. The anesthesiologist administered an IV sedation along with local
injection of lidocaine, (they did NOT administer general anesthesia). He
administers enough to keep you under and no more so he has to be there to
ensure that you are kept in that state.
How many persons were in the surgery room besides Dr. Koelliker?
Three doctors including Dr. Koelliker and four nurses.
More specifically, I had Dr. Koelliker, my lead plastic surgeon, a second
plastic surgeon assisting him and an anesthesiologist (all board certified)
plus four nurses assisting them. Each of the doctors did stop by
after surgery to check on my progress. They all had such a pleasant
Were you able to get sleep the first few nights (sitting up)?
Yes, as a matter of fact that is what I did most after the surgery. They had
me on an iv drip which contained pain medication so I was
more than comfortable and had no trouble sleeping.
How many nights did you have to sleep sitting up?
I believe that they like to see you sleeping sitting up for about a week
however I choose to stay on my back and propped up (not in a full sitting up
position) for about a month. I choose this as my ears were a little sensitive
to pressure and did not want to put any pressure on my suture areas.
Does Dr. Koelliker give you sleeping medication to take for the next few weeks after surgery?
Yes, I was given a sleeping aid, however I believe that he does not prescribe
them to everyone so I made a point of asking for them.
How long before bruises subsided?
At five weeks I had a tiny bit of bruising under my right eye. My girlfriend
laughed at me when I pointed this out to her - she said that she couldn't see
anything, but I know that I still had a little bit of discoloration. Now just past
the six week mark I am bruise free.
How many days before you are allowed to apply make-up?
Myself, I stayed away from make-up as much as I could using only the
cover-up stick when necessary. When I did put make-up on (my first time
was at about two weeks) I avoided eye shadow and eye-liner as it was too
close to the suture lines for my comfort opting for a more natural look.
To even out my lids I allowed my foundation brush to lightly even them out
(I did this as I feel that my foundation is far more sanitary
than my eye shadows). The result was a fresh, natural look. As for when
applied my first full application of make-up - - I believe my first full application
was at the three week mark. If you visit my blog pictures you will see my
pictures from day 21.
Was it difficult to wash your hair every day after surgery?
Washing my hair was a pleasure. In fact I enjoyed my daily baths (I
preferred baths to showers during my recovery as I could soak, relax
and take the time gently massage my swollen areas.
Did I eat after surgery?
Yes I did, however I did not have much of an appetite so I was a little fussy
and only wanted comfort food which for me is breakfast. Pedro, the
longtime chef at the hospital heard that I was not interested in eating and
this concerned him as he wanted to be sure that I ate so he came to my
room and asked me what he could make for me (through a translator).
He even offered to go to the public market (fruit and veggies) to pick up
whatever I would like. He was so sweet . I asked for pineapple with my
standing three times a day meal of breakfast. Soon after our visit my
first breakfast with pineapple was served. It was exactly what I wanted
and Pedro made sure that I got pineapple with each of my meals.
Could I talk after surgery?
Yes, however the first couple days you are quite swollen, mildly sedated and
not all that interested in chit chat. However, by day three (maybe four) you
are over the moon happy and likely to be a chatter box!
Did you feel self-conscious on your trip back to the U.S.?
Not the least bit. If anyone took a second look at me I decided that they
were probably looking at me in envy. Given that I was very slow to take my
sunglasses, scarf or hat off (and acting a little self-conscious) I figured that
a few people had guessed that I was taking a little "medical" vacation.
At no time did anyone make me feel uncomfortable.
How was the stay at the Casa?
In three words: Delightful, pleasant and reassuring. I could not imagine
being an outpatient at some clinic or for that matter having to take care of
myself for the first ten days post-surgery. Getting a facelift is a serious
procedure and now knowing what I know I would insist on spending my first
couple days after the surgery in the hospital, followed by a recovery centre
like Spa|Club Casa Marino for the following week, plus. Not having done
anything like this before I had no idea what to expect but even as naive
as I was, I quickly fully understood the importance of a recovery centre
and fully appreciated all the amenities, services, the professionalism
compassion and experience that the Spa|Club Casa Marino staff
demonstrated. They took care of my every need while I was free to relax,
take advantage of the spa services and to simply pamper myself. In short,
I LOVED my stay at Spa|Club Casa Marino!
Hope you find my experience helpful.
Added a couple pictures from 7 weeks and 9 weeks
- 23 Mar 2013
NECK LIFT PROCEDURE As part of my complete...
- 3 Apr 2013
As part of my complete facelift my muscles were tightened including in the neck area which I remember being called the corset tie - - (I do not have much of a memory for the medical terms))
I believe Georga Peach correctly named it as the corset platysmaplasty which helps to prevent falling neck lifts, recurrence of neck muscle bands, pixie ears, and thickened scars behind the ear. I was told that the procedure would leave a small scar and decided to go ahead with it as I felt that it's benefits outweighed the cons's (my opinion). I am so glad that I did it as my neck looks amazing. The doctor basically (through a small incision goes in and corset ties your muscles back into place) - - a lot of work. After the surgery the incision is quite traumatized. I am now at about the 10 week mark and the swelling is down about 95% and it has already faded (with the help of mederma). Thrilled that I did it! For me, I breathe a sigh of relief every time I look in the mirror - - I definitely did the right thing as now when I look in the mirror I see me :)
I had an interesting experience - - sad in a way. ...
- 10 Apr 2013
Video from One Month Follow-up Visit
- 17 May 2013
- 25 May 2013
A "Copy and Paste" is Required....
- 25 May 2013
I am trying to learn how to upload the video directly to RealSelf, and when I do will post it directly. In the meantime if you are interested in viewing it you can simply copy and paste the video link (posted May 25th - directly above this post) to your web address locator (top of the page) and click enter. You will be taken to youtube to view it.
Back in San Miguel for a Tune Up.....
- 29 May 2013
My Doctor: Guillermo Koelliker, MD
Two of my girlfriends had booked their face lifts with Face Lift Mexico and recommended them to me.
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