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60 Years Old and Happily Lost a Decade - Northern Virginia

I had a lower bleph, SMAS facelift and neck lift...

I had a lower bleph, SMAS facelift and neck lift on April 9, 2014. Always looked younger than my age, but around age 55, no one was surprised I was in my later 50s. Five years later, I looked every day of of my 60 years and probably more. Still, I was not really going to worry about any cosmetic surgery. I was happily retired and busy with things I enjoyed. BUT, my husband started in on wanting a facelift and hair transplant (We had talked about doing it over the years). I'm thinking about the pocket book....he never has, and really didn't want to spend the money. Finally, last fall, he said he was going to go ahead with it, and if I didn't want to get my face done, fine, but he was going to do it. OK...the idea grew on me (how can I pass up a gift like that!!...:-) and I actually ended up going before he did.

At this writing, I am almost exactly one month past my surgery. I think I look 10 years younger. My husband says I in no way look 60 anymore, but he is being rather conservative with his opinion until all my swelling and wonkiness settles down. Even with the swelling, I think I'm looking pretty good.

I want to submit my story because I found RealSelf invaluable in knowing what to expect and what everyone else has experienced. I'm not too worried about my lumps and ridges, scars, zingers and residual swelling as it all seems to be expected..now and in some months to come. The only thing that has freaked me out to some extent are some of the lower blepharoplasty stories and a LOT of the rather scary doctor responses. This has not left me feeling very confident at all. I am glad to get rid of my huge eyebags, but a little concerned that my eyes are rounder and I have a tiny bit of scleral show. My PS says it will improve and I am doing massaging and eye squeezes.

Anyway, I will submit this for now and try to go back and document my experience. Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories. It is soooooo helpful.

Having trouble at the moment uploading my after pics. Will do so as soon as I can.

Day of Surgery - Wednesday April 9

I didn't get much sleep the night before, but it wasn't because I was over anxious. Don't know what was the matter with me, but I was never very concerned over my upcoming surgery. Ignorance, I guess....:-) Anyway, early morning, I went to the surgical center, had great anesthesiologist, and off to la la land I went. The nurses were great, too, and reassured me that it would be over before I knew it. I woke up to a bit of nausea. It wasn't bad, but I wanted to tell them before it got any worse. They gave me a Phenergan suppository and then propped me up in a recovery chair. My most overwhelming sensation, after the nausea, was that I felt like I had a very tight noose around my neck. I was so sure they had done the dressing too tight but my doctor came in and assured me it was all the work they had done to my neck. She was right, but it sure felt like someone had gotten overzealous with the bandaging. And, of course, I was hideously parched. They let my husband come in and sit with me until they felt the nausea was improved and he could drive me home. Oh...the other thing, I had one heck of a headache. It was so bad that I called the doc when I got home, because I knew I could not take any Excedrin Migraine, which always knocks my headaches out very quickly. I was also afraid to take any of the Vicodin as that might make me nauseous again. She said headaches often happen to big coffee drinkers (yep, that's me)...it has to do with caffeine withdrawal. She advised me to drink coffee and take Tylenol. It worked. I laid back in my LaZy Boy recliner and don't remember much about the rest of the day. It was so good to get rid o the headache and nausea. I knew I could handle the rest of it from there on out. I didn't even risk taking any of the Vicodin until the next day. Oh, and my husband was great seeing to it that I had the cool gauze patches on my eyes and waiting on me.

6 Days Post Op

On my sixth day post op, went in to have my lower lid stitches out. Love how smooth my jowls, cheeks and neckline were, but some of that was thanks to the swelling. Still, I could tell I looked so much better than before, even with bruises. And yes, getting the stitches out was not the most painful thing I had ever been through, but it smarted quite a bit.

The days in between my surgery and to this point are a bit of a blur, but my only complaints were my dressing. Even though I had the large dressing removed 2 days after my surgery, and the less cumbersome one put on at that time, I nearly went stark raving mad over the itching around my neck and chin from the gauze and my left ear being pinned back against my head was absolutely unbearable. Nothing else really bothered me. It was such a relief on the sixth day to just get into the chin strap. The doc told me to cut a slit for my poor beleaguered left ear (I never could stand to have it pinned against my head....ear muffs would kill me after about an hour after wearing them) I was quite good. Just sore, swollen and numb in front of my ears and oddly, very numb and sore all the way up my temples to the very top of my head. I didn't have a brow lift, so I wasn't sure why that was so. More on that later.

Day 11 Post Op

Most of the bruising is gone. The ones around my mouth accentuate my marionette lines, which I knew I would still have. I meant to mention I have Juvederm in my marionette lines. Most of the bruising is in my neck and was turning yellow at this point. I look pretty rough as I was not given permission to shower or wash my hair!! I endured it OK, but I think it would have driven most people nuts! Have to wear my chin strap all the time and still take it very, very easy. My doc is pretty conservative and she plays it safe. I'm following her orders to a T, except for staying away from my cat. Kitty has been glued to me since I moved into the recliner.

Incision Pics

My ears are healing very well, I think. I will post a photo of behind my ear tomorrow. Under chin looks like a horror show. Not so unusual at this point, is it? :-( I don't have much tightness now in my neck from ear to ear, but its very tight running up through the middle of my neck. Even that is beginning to loosen up, but I woke up a few days ago and couldn't really lift my chin up enough to even look ahead. I stretched it very gently and it is much better today.

More Incision Pics

Couldn't upload these in the above update. Will try again.

Day 21 Post Op Photo

Day 30 Post Op

I'm pretty lumpy in the lower side of my face and pretty much puffed up from under my ears all the way across my neck and up through my jowls (or at least I HOPE its swelling and not just me!). Hoping like a lot of you it will go away before too long and I'll like what I see underneath.
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Comments (43)

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Thank you for your very helpful description and pictures. I am researching similar procedures for the near future. You are looking better and better, keep us posted, it's wonderful to see how everything settles :)
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You look amazing! Who was your doctor? I really like the placement of the incisions. Your review was extremely helpful. I plan on having the same procedures done in Dec...I'm currently searching for a doctor.
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Ladies, thank you for sharing your experiences. I will be undergoing the same procedures in a few weeks and your comments are preparing me for my ordeal...Hope it is worth it!!!
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Love your account, and all the pictures, when I had my lower/face neck lift last year, I did not know about this site so I didn't take any progress pics. It only gets better. I only wish I had done the brow lift, I still need to go back for that. The neck will heal up in no time, I know I was a little freaked out by the neck and the ears, but today no signs anything was done...Feeling great at 60, too!!!
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Thanks for your account so encouraging - got to remind myself next week to be patient - hmm not normally good at that :-)
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Tell me about it....I am almost 3 weeks out from my LBL and feeling pretty normal now, but last week I was ready to crawl right out of my skin, I was so impatient with all that resting stuff, we have to do in order to heal, I was tired of the incisions just the whole thing, I was pretty much done...but what other choice did I have but to relax and let my body heal, and now I am feeling great, but still plan on taking things slow....Hang in there, you will be feeling like your New Self in no time!!!
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You look great! Keep us posted. Lilygirl
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You are marvelous and brave. That was a lot of trauma. It looks like it's paying off. Well done. You look great and I'm sure it will get better.
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You look beautiful and with a nice happy spirit to go with it. I am going in for mine on May 23!!... exciting and scary. ````California````
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Thanks so much, Netalia! Best of luck and let us know how you are doing.
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One other quick note about that swelling... Because I continued to have a horizontal ropey band line across my neck under my jaw , I have tried leaving the lower part of my face bra loose with no pressure on my neck. My jawline and cheeks are fully supported with the part of the band that goes over my head. My neck has had much less swelling and that that horizontal has just about faded or melted away. In thinking back about how swollen and very sore my neck would be each morning and how that band continued to enlarge, I feel that I may have been wrapping that area too tightly and compression was not a good idea for me. This morning the band appears to be completely gone and the area of the gland that runs down my neck from my ear, is very much less swollen. Cheeks are puffy and I still have that area around my mouth but maybe I've also had that
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Sorry, this note is not too quick and I hit send too soon... To finish my sentence the puffiness is still around my lower face but the neck band is gone. I'll take pictures this morning and get them up on my profile very very soon. I think I'm beginning to be happier!
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Hm, I am going to pay special attention tonight not to fasten my chin strap too tight!
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I was referring to my chin - in lower comment.
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from what I can see you are healing very nicely. I know we all wake up everyday and look and see if swelling still there - did I improve overnight? Yes, lumps bumps and ridges -- will go away -- but give it another couple months. Even at three months a posted a side shot of my face and you can still see swelling --- but it is soft not hard. Four months getting better -- so don't over do yourself as you will tire easily --- but again looking good for 30 days out.
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Hello Chatnoir, You are looking very good for one month! I do not see much swelling or bruising in your photos. Our chins are very much alike...I am looking forward to less swelling and more smooth skin in that area. Good advice I have heard from so many others on this website is to be very patient and continue to take it easy even though you are usually released to gradually work back into normal activities at 4 weeks...don't overdo! I keep thinking I can do more and each evening, I experience swelling :-( Thank you for your great review.
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Hi Leeway. Thanks so much for sharing with me. I actually have a lot of swelling in my neck and around my jaw line. It actually hurts. I wear the chin strap thingie almost all day around the house because it feels better than going without most of the time. I haven't really been too worried about it, thanks to what so many people have related here on RealSelf, but it is getting tiresome. I too feel I won't really know how good the result is until the swelling is gone. I'm going to attach a few pictures shortly that will show I have this whole puffy, ridgy, lumpy thing going on at my chin line, but from all I've read, it should settle down in time. Yes! We look just alike under the chin! I have a huge tendency for swelling as I know from when I had a bunionectomy. I know that's different because you can't stay off your foot forever, but my foot would not stop blowing up. It would swell to the point where I thought it was going to explode if I stood on it for just 10 minutes. I would wash dishes at the sink, two months later, with my bad foot up on the counter and my good foot on the floor. I got quite limber....:-) So, this may be the case with my stupid neck as well. Anyway, you are not alone. I'm confused by the response from Dr. Bray to your question about your neck. Whaaaa? The other doctors were like, give it time, and I'm going with them.
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Chatnoir, the idea of you washing dishes with one foot on the counter is too funny. Yoga dish washing! I guess some of us just have more aptitude for swelling than others...
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Hi A to Z. Been following your review since pretty much the beginning. We are only a few days apart with our surgeries. I think you are looking wonderful! I'm so NOT surprised that I have enduring swelling. At least I don't have to stand on my face like I had to with my foot. I love the way my foot turned out, but the recovery was so lengthy I never got the other one done!!! I look a little freaky in sandals, but I'd rather improve my face right now...:-)
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Looking good! It looks like you had nice skin to begin with, and with the new and improved contours, you look 20 years younger!
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Thanks so much Sawatdee. I loved reading about your about your Thailand experience. It sounds like you made the absolute best choice and your results are fabulous! I don't think I'm too worried about my eyes, but time will tell. In the meantime, I do my little eye stretches and squeezes.
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Thank you for sharing -- sounds like things are going well! Like you I have pets I adore and was so glad when the scabs were gone and I could stop being obsessive about washing my hands!
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Looking good, great jaw line.
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You were pretty before and more so right now. Congratulations!
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Thanks so much, MIMomBA. Congratulations to you, too. What a gorgeous figure!
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