I am currently 11 days post op. This is a...
I am currently 11 days post op. This is a procedure I had considered having for many years but I wanted to feel confident in my choice of doctor and also to wait until the last vestiges of filler had disappeared in my lips. My main objective was to reduce the distance between my nose and upper lip which has always been long - around 20mm. I wasn't so concerned with tooth show or volume but I suspect that once the swelling goes down I will see an increase in both.
The procedure itself is over with very quickly but the recovery and especially the swelling is more challenging than I had expected despite reading about the experiences of many others. My swelling in the first week was quite extreme in comparison to what I've seen on this and other sites. There was very little change from day to day and I had trouble eating, drinking, talking and sleeping. I certainly wasn't in pain but I would describe it as uncomfortable and slightly horrifying for anyone you happen to bump into! Today is probably the first day I haven't felt as though I have comedy lips… I will post more images shortly.
First week post op
The distance of my upper lip was decreased by about a third as you can see in the markings made immediately before surgery. I was hopeful to get rid of the horizontal crease above my lip (as can be seen in the BEFORE photo above) and fortunately this was exactly the base line point of Dr Haworth's measurements.
Week one: Aside from my lips, I experienced swelling in my cheeks and nose. My nose was - and to a lesser extent still is - swollen to the point of pushing the tip upwards. However, there is no elongation or distortion of the nostrils or columella. The incision became rather inflamed and fiery as can be seen on day 5. As per instruction, I applied antibiotic cream after cleaning the area with simple soap and water. Stitches came out on day 6 and topical skin adhesive was applied.
To clarify the BEFORE pictures, I have filler in the image where I'm smiling with teeth show and also in the image with lipstick. The third image is with no upper lip filler.
Second week post op
During the second week the reduction in swelling was more noticeable but it is certainly a slow process! My upper lip area and nose still feel tight and stiff but this is improving. As recommended by Dr Haworth I have started doing mouth exercises (pouting, wide smile, pouting etc) which feels as if it helps stretch the scar tissue so it doesn't form so tightly. My nose is probably more swollen than my lips at this point.
The scar is still quite pink and raised but that is to be expected. I tried covering it with make up yesterday but found that quite difficult because of the unevenness. It very much looked like I was covering something up if that makes sense (although at night and from a distance of a couple of metres and from front on, it looks fine!). It's still difficult to eat closing my mouth completely and I am not able to annunciate 'p' and 'b' without sounding like I have a slight speech impediment...
Third week post op
Swelling in the third week is still reducing but it feels as if there is still a long way to go. One side is slightly more swollen than the other. My lips are looking more normal but as you can see from the photos the area above my lip and the tip of my nose are still quite swollen. It is most obvious in the morning upon waking and then less puffy as the day goes on.
The tip of my nose and my nostrils are very firm to touch and when I smile widely the sensation is still one of extreme tightness. I have been massaging and moving my lips/mouth around a bit but it is difficult to know whether this is a help or hinderance in the healing process. I don't want to stretch everything too much but at the same time I'm hoping it will help with the stiffness. As yet, when I talk the area doesn't really move - looks a little like when people have botox in the upper lip area. It definitely still looks a bit 'unnatural' when I'm talking/eating/laughing but I think overall it is on the way to looking good.
One month post op
Swelling continues to diminish but still have rather a lot of redness around the base of the nose. I am applying bioCorneum SPF30 twice a day to the scar area and, following further instruction from Dr Haworth last week, massaging deeply into the scar. This should help soften up the area. I will see how healing continues for the next couple of weeks before investigating any further treatment to reduce residual swelling and redness. I think it's all starting to look much more natural now and the cupid's bow has become a really nice shape. (My bottom lip is a bit uneven due to a childhood accident but will look to even this up with filler once the lip lift has fully healed.)
Upper lip area continues to loosen up but still feels tight if I try to smile widely or pout. One side has healed more quickly than the other and there is a small bump (not noticeable in the pictures) where one of the external stitches was. It's a little redder here too so keeping an eye on things in case of infection. The area of the stitch in question didn't heal up as tight as the rest of the incision but I'm hoping it will yet settle some more. May go in for a follow-up in the next couple of weeks if I get the opportunity to get back to L.A. Not being able to call in for an assessment of the healing is certainly one of the more difficult aspects of having this procedure done away from home. Scar and redness covered by a little make-up in the photos.
11 Dec 2013
2 months post
Going for a follow-up appointment at the end of the week. Looking forward to getting some feed back from the surgeon re the healing of the procedure. I feel it's starting to look much more natural now with things settling into place and the tightening dissipating. There is still swelling but the philtrum is looking more defined which is great as I was very flat in this area.
One of the things I liked about Dr Haworth's approach was his attention to detail with
his suggestion to define the philtrum further and to lessen some previous scarring I had on the edge of my nostrils. These scars were tiny (they could only be seen on very close inspection) but he performed micro-dermibration on them after the lip lift and now they have disappeared completely. This isn't something he had to do, nor did I ask him to do this, but I think it says a lot about his quest for overall perfection in his work.
Any feedback on how things are looking is greatly appreciated.
21 Dec 2013
2 months post
Since my last post I have been back to LA for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Haworth. He said that although I was within the average time frame for healing, I was about two weeks behind what might be expected in terms of swelling and firmness at the base of the nose. After his nurse numbed the area, Dr Haworth injected cortisone to reduce inflammation. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt! The injections felt like they were going directly into tough scar tissue but within 24 hours the softening of the area was quite remarkable. I would say the firmness under my nose and residual swelling was reduced by two thirds within 2-3 days. I am super happy with the way it is looking now. Following the cortisone shots I had fraxel laser treatment along the incision area. This took a matter of minutes. Although things are looking a little more pink again (see pictures), hopefully all will settle down within a week or so. The skin has gone slightly flaky so I guess that's a good sign that it's renewing.
3 months - Scarring
12 Feb 2014
4 months post
I've tried to show the scarring at 3 months in the above pictures. No make-up and close up but apologies the definition isn't always great. Hope you can still get an idea of how things are looking at this time. Have stretched out the area in a couple of the pictures in order to show the scars. They are barely noticeable. However, my skin is still a little red and the area directly under my nostrils is not as 'defined' as before, if that makes sense. I hope things will continue to heal and improve as time goes on.