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Facelift, Upper and Lower Eyelid, Necklift -- I'm So Glad I Did This! - San Miguel de Allende, MX

I'm 65, healthy and relatively fit, but after...

I'm 65, healthy and relatively fit, but after seeing some photos taken at family get-togethers this winter, I realized that I looked older and tired than I felt.
I live near the beach in Mexico, and I swim and boogie board and take long morning walks almost every day. I wanted to look the way I feel. I don't want to look years younger, I just don't want to have these jowls and this double chin/turkey neck.

Around the same time that I was thinking these sad thoughts, I heard about two friends who had recently gotten facelifts and who, according to mutual friends, looked fabulous -- younger and happier, but not over-processed (what I think of as the Joan Rivers look) .

The town where I live has only one plastic surgeon, and he has what I guess could be called an "unpredictable" record. One of my friends went to him for her surgery, but from stories I had heard over the years I just didn't feel the same confidence in him that she has. The other friend went to Mexico City for her surgery, and her surgeon has a very good record, but I have never spent much time in Mexico City and I wanted to recuperate in familiar surroundings.

After some online research I chose Dr. Carlos Barrera, whose clinic is located in Celaya, Guanajuato. Many of his patients come from San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful colonial town close to Celaya. Since I had spent time in San Miguel over the years I felt like I would be having my operation and recuperation in familiar surroundings.

My surgery was performed on April 30. I checked into the clinic in Celaya the day before the procedure so that they could do a pre-op checkup and I could have a face-to-face consultation with the doctor.

My surgery lasted approximately 4 hours. Dr. Barrera does not use general anesthesia, he uses a local anesthetic in addition to IV sedation, which I think is also called twilight anesthesia. It worked perfectly, I didn't feel a thing and when I woke up from surgery 5 hours later. I felt great, no nausea, no pain.

I spent three nights altogether in the hospital in Celaya -- the night before my surgery and two nights after. By the third morning I was bored and ready to leave. My drains and bandages had been removed the day after my surgery, and on the last morning I removed the light gauze wrapping that had replaced the bandages, took a shower, packed my bag and went back to San Miguel.

I can't say enough good things about the very professional staff at the clinic, they were kind and cheerful and always eager to help. On the last morning Dr. Barrera spent time with me discussing what I needed to do for the next 5 days, before he comes to San Miguel to remove my stitches -- pretty much I just need to get lots of rest, stay out of the sun, and avoid caffeine and alcohol.

So far, I feel very very happy about my surgery and I think I made a good choice in doctors. I've had little pain -- the occasional extra strength tylenol has been enough to take care of the slight discomfort and tightness. My face is swollen, and it's numb on the sides of my cheeks, but I was told to expect this. And I feel like there is a strap under my chin, but I'm not using a chin strap.

My eyes have bothered me the most, but today, the 4th day post-op, I can tell they are much better and my eyesight is back to normal. I have been putting eyedrops in my eyes every few hours, but I'd probably be doing that anyway since I suffer from dry eyes when I'm in a dry climate.

I have photos, but apparently I didn't bring the cable with me so I can't upload them right now. I'm going to see if I can get a cable today, if so I will upload photos.

I will get my stitches out tomorrow -- exactly one...

I will get my stitches out tomorrow -- exactly one week after my surgery. Today was my best day yet, I went for a long walk (2 hours) and sat in the Jardin (central plaza) and basically had a "normal" day. I feel some tingling and the occasionally little stab of pain, but I've been assured that this is nerve regeneration and is therefore a good thing.

Stitches came out this afternoon. The doctor says...

Stitches came out this afternoon. The doctor says I am healing very well, and everything looks good. I'm to follow the same routine for the next month -- keep wounds clean and don't put anything on them.Best of all, I can drink coffee and alcohol! I've really missed my morning coffee. I forgot to ask him about taking my multi-vitamins and aspirin and fish oil -- I had to quit those 2 weeks before surgery. I'll see him again Friday and will ask then.

I'm adding a photo taken today, I am now 14 days...

I'm adding a photo taken today, I am now 14 days post-op. It's blurry because I cropped it from a larger picture taken with friends here. You can see the small bruises under my eyes, but no double chin!

eyes

Several people have asked about my eyes. I have been so happy about my neck and also just about how I feel in general that I've sort of ignored my eyes -- the bruising and swelling around the eyes has been going down every day but I hadn't really seen any improvement from "before." Then this morning I was putting on suscreen for my morning walk and looking in the mirror and I thought "wow" my eyes look good! Maybe tomorrow I'll try to get some photos that show my eyes. I still tire easiy and need a nap every day, but in every other way I'm feeling very good, 17 days post-op.

19 days post op

eyes and ears

I'm posting photos of my ears and eyes today. My eyelids look SO much better now. I can't see any evidence of my facelift in front of my ears -- still have scabs behind my ears but they are starting to fall off. I am still slightly "lop-sided" -- when I look at my eyes open one eyelid looks more swollen, and my smile is still slightly lopsided. But it's early days yet and every day I feel and look more like myself, only better.

one month update

I'm still a little swollen but I see improvement almost every day. I've been back home 2 days and I've already had one person ask who my surgeon is so she can pass the info on to a friend who lives in San Miguel -- she said at first she thought I had lost weight but then I told her about the FL and she realizes that my improved neck and jawline make me look younger and thinner. It is still uncomfortable sleeping -- my ears feel hard when I press on them so laying on my side is taking some getting used to. But any discomfort I'm having is definitely worth the results.

Recliner substitute

I don't have a recliner, and for the first 4 weeks after my facelift I was either staying in a B&B or at friends' houses. When I got home the swelling was still noticeable on the sides of my face and I think maybe that was because I tend to sleep flat on my stomach. So I've moved into my hammock for sleeping and I notice a definite improvement in swelling.

photos

ok, I'm still not ready for prime time -- I see some asymmetry which is getting better every day, but still there. And my cheeks and neck are still a bit swollen. but I did take some photos this morning. I hope they're clear, maybe it's my camera? And I'm also adding my before photos, the ones taken at the hospital. yikes, they're scary!

new photos

party tonight

Just a brief update, at a party tonight the two women across from me couldn't stop staring at me. They both kept repeating "you look fabulous. " One of them hadn't seen me for a few months and didn't know about the FL. The other had seen me a week post-op, so she had seen me swollen and bruised. Everyone at the party said I looked amazing and several asked about the doctor and the hospital... so I am feeling really good right now! Also it rained and we haven't had any rain since October, so that added to the good mood at the party lol.
Dr. Carlos Barrera

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 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
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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You look really lovely, Anli. Thanks for sharing some more before & after photos. I now understand what the other poster meant when she asked you if Dr. Barrera raises your sideburns by 10 mm. The hairline in front of your ears has indeed been raised when you compare your before and after profile shots. Your sideburns were low enough originally that raising them doesn't look obvious or unattractive to me, so I don't think this matters very much in your case. My sideburns are higher than yours (were) and my hair is very fine, so raising them by 10 mm would be quite noticeable and odd looking. I have long hair and love to wear it up in ponytails in the summer and have been more concerned about scar incisions being visible around my ears. Looks as if I will be adding 'raised sideburns' to the list since this is something I was not aware of before and do not want to experience if it will change my hairline in an unattractive way. Something else to consider is the extended scalpel-shaped upper blepharoplasty technique that Dr. B uses. The decision to extend the incision beyond the eye is generally made when there is excess upper eyelid skin and lateral drooping. I don't know what the average length is of an incision of this type but Dr. B's extended eye scars appear to be longer than I would expect. If you didn't have any crows feet (thanks to Botox) there would be nowhere for the longer scars to hide if they don't completely fade and disappear in time. Just goes to show how some techniques can work well for some people and not so much for others. Thanks again for sharing - I appreciate it.
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I'm learning a lot too, I have never paid attention to my sideburns, ha! But after that comment I did some research and found out that it's a very common occurance with midface lifts. who knew. I do think my eye scars will disappear with time, and fortunately I don't mind having crows feet, and have no interest in botox or any high maintenance stuff, it just doesn't fit my lifestyle. Mostly I just wanted to get rid of jowls and neck, and that's what I did! Glad the photos helped you with your decision.
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The other thing I learned at the party...we were celebrating the 75th birthday of a woman who has always looked much younger than her age -- beautiful skin, gorgeous eyes, very few wrinkles. She has always claimed her looks are due to good genes and staying out of the sun. Last night with all the talk about my FL she owned up to having had a "little" work done over the years, ha! None of us think any less of her for it, in fact we were all impressed with how she had gotten away with it because it looks so "natural."
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How are your scars looking? You had asked about scar remedies and I found a good one by Reviva, called Scar Gel, and I really like it. You can get it at a health food store.
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The health food store products just don't have the chemicals and preservatives that are actually absorbed into your body through your skin.....which I personally don't want.
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Anli... you look just fantastic and so natural! I had to laugh at your comment about the 75 year old woman owning up to her own FL work. I was having my glasses adjusted Friday after work and the owner ( a former high school classmate and same age) was lifting my hair up on one side to adjust when i said, "I've had a bit of surgery"...so the cat was out of the bag...lol... he said ' No wonder you look so good!" Turns out he was thinking of having upper and lower blephs done so I recommended my PS! I'm looking at this as maybe sharing our experiences in the world as good deeds! lol Like you I'm not sure that Botox or a filler for my mouth is going to fit my lifestyle or pocketbook, but I'm going to try it once and see. I doubt I'm going to keep it up. I am , after all, looking to retire once day! :)
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wow! you look wonderful!!! isn't this fun?! my experience is the same....people look at you and just keep exclaiming how great you look. Almost everyone I come in contact with mentions it and it isn't obvious at all that it is a facelift (according to those in the know) We are brave and happy women!
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Thanks tropicalgirl, I never think about being brave, but you are right. The woman sitting next to me at the party said several times that she would love to do something similar, but she is afraid. She is actually much prettier than me, but she has the dreaded turkey neck.
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you look great!! I'll be curious to hear what people say after your party tonight! :)
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You look so good Anli1974 . I notice on all of our photos we tend to smile more with the after pics :). That's why we o it, I suppose, to feel good about ourselves. You must be so happy !
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yeah, I complained to my dr that the after photos tend to show people smiling, now I know why...we are happy!
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Thanks financegirl. I'm going to a party tonight, and there will be a few people there who haven't seen me since my FL. It should be interesting to hear there reactions. I'm living alone right now so I don't have anyone to take pictures, but I plan to give it a go on my own.
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Anli1974, I just posted that like you I am so happy I've done this. I would love to see more pics too... but the most important thing is that you are thrilled with your results. I'm so happy this worked out for you!
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Yeah, you're right. I have "before" photos from Dr. Barrera that I haven't posted, I just need to get some clearer "after" photos. Dr. Barrera wants me to send him photos at 3 months, so I was thinking of waiting till then to take them. Apparently that's when you really know how you're going to look, but I feel like I look great already. My neck and eyes especially. I'll get someone to take photos this weekend.
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Anli some of your photos are really blurry and it's hard to tell..can you post some more before and after pics? Huggzz xx
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Hello! I'm thinking of going to Dr. Barrera. I have a few questions for you. I am concerned about having long scars above my eyes. How are your "scars"? Do you think they will heal well? Also, I am concerned about he raised sideburns. I understand that Dr. Barrera's facellifts raise the sideburns 10 mm. How do you feel about this? And last, was it rather easy to communicate with the doctor, given that English is not his first language? Thanks so much. You're looking good!
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Hi citroen, I think my eyelids are healing nicely. They feel great, and of course it's hard to see them myself, because there's no noticeable scar when they're open. Maybe I'll take a photo so I can have another look at them, lol. I don't know anything about sideburns. Mine look the same to me. I think I would notice if they were noticeably different. You should ask Dawn about it. Dr. Barrera's English is fluent, we had no problems talking in English. I speak enough Spanish to get around Mexico on my own but his English is definitely better than my Spanish.
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Dear Anli, I think you are healing well and look great. I am not just saying that. You have progressed in short order and have given me faith in my choice of having Dr. Barrera do my surgery. I met him while in San Miguel last week and Dawn his office manager was also there. I met people who live in San Miguel who have heard of him and are also considering a facelift with him as well. They were interested in hearing my opinion about my in depth consultation with him and the correspondences that we had personally by email two months prior. I sent him photos of my face and both sides of face. He wrote back with a detailed sketch of what he would plan to do and how he would do it. Of course when we met in person he came up with some other ideas. He makes the final decision when you check into the hospital the day before surgery as you know first hand. I just thought others would like to know. There are many great surgeons out there and you picked a good one. Kudos on your courage to do this and not looking back. Best Christine
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I hope you are continuing to heal well, anli1974. Is the numbness improving at all? You are still very early in the healing stages so it will likely be several more months before your face feels normal again. Do you have any discomfort sleeping on your ears? How are your eyes feeling now? Looking forward to an update. :)
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Fantastic! You look so happy and your smile is beautiful. I have been considering the eyelid lift and the neck lift but not sure if there is a way to get everything taken care of at one time. You have given me the answer! I feel comfortable knowing it can be done and with relatively little difficulty. Thank you for your postings and updates. I'm sure it is not all roses so please share anything I should be aware of that might be discomforting. Thanks again, keep smiling....you look wonderful.
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It is uncomfortable, and definitely scary. I had lots of anxiety and thought about backing out several times. I liked the idea that Dr. Barrera is very conservative in approach, since I didn't want to look like a different person. I still feel tightness under my chin, and swelling on my cheeks and neck, and I have bruises on my cheeks and neck but since I have a suntan they don't show up that much. And my face (and smile) feel lopsided, but my friends say they can't see any lopsidedness, so it must not be too bad. The doctor says that my face will even out over the next few months, and I've trusted him so far so I have no reason not to believe what he says.
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You look great , good going.
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Thanks Christine, I really appreciate your support!
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What procedures did you have ? You mentioned that you stayed in a B&B for recovery. Were you alone or did you have help? How did you find the B&B? How did you find Dr. Carlos Barrera?
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Hi Bunnyman, I can't remember how I first found Dr. Barrera, I think I was searching for a PS in Mexico and had narrowed it down to Puerto Vallarta or San Miguel. I think one of the testimonies from Dr. Barrera mentioned the B&B where I stayed. I was alone for the first week, then for the second week 3 girlfriends showed up (we have an annual get together in San MIguel so they would have showed up even if I hadn't had the facelift). By the 4th day I didn't really mind walking around town, to get food or eat, but I did get tired really easily.
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