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I Have Wanted/needed/hoped to Do This for Years! - Orlando, FL

During my routine annual exam 3 weeks ago, I asked...

During my routine annual exam 3 weeks ago, I asked my dermatologist to do some Botox magic on my neck. He said Botox wouldn't help BUT he gave me the business card of a plastic surgeon he recommended. I would never trust online reviews or the Yellow Pages, but him? Definitely.
I made an appointment the same week, and asked my hubby to help me set a budget limit. He declined, saying he knew it was something that has bothered me for years, and I would know if the price was worth it.
I am having a neck lift done at 8:30 in the morning. I am SO excited. I have frozen peas, flexible straws, a wedge pillow and Arnica on hand, none of which my doctor mentioned, but I have gleaned from reading your reviews! So - thanks to all of you who put pictures, candid evaluations and advice out there for people like me. I intend to do the same in return.
Wish me luck - better yet, say a prayer!
Also, don't think you're getting out of Botox & filler, they do totally different things than a FL! ;o)
I wish you had started the Arnica a week ago! Also, get zinc (promotes healing) , bromelain (swelling ) & turmeric (swelling). Good luck & keep us posted! I'm on day 12, myself.

Surgery day

Everything went well and I am home now. My head is wrapped like a mummy, but I have no pain. My mouth is extremely dry. No nausea. I can see some bruising sticking out under the wrap on my lower neck but nothing (of what I can see) on my face. My lips/mouth area a bit numb and smile is crooked, so hot soup is out. Really, I am not hungry anyway. I took a travel neck pillow with me for the ride home (another online tip) and it was a smart idea. I ended up having drainage bags so will have to go back to the office tomorrow for their removal. I'll find out then why they were needed after all, and whether he did the under-the-chin incision or not.
Hubby took pictures, thinks if am crazy for wanting them. I will have to move them from his camera to my computer to post later - right now I feel more like taking a nap!

Surgery evening

Swelling has gone done a lot now. The pain medication has worn off, and now I can definitely feel where work was done behind my ears (as if someone is pulling my hair very tightly in those areas) but that's about it discomfort-wise. I ate a bowl of soup tonight, and have not felt any stomach upset whatsoever. My throat is sore and there is a raw place on the inside of my bottom lip, so I'm thinking they inserted a tube down my throat once I was out, and removed it before I woke up! I plan to take a pain pill before going to bed, setting another next to the bed in case I wake up during the night.
I have been taking Bromelian and Tumeric for several weeks, and started the Arnica the day before and even the morning of on the way there. It sounds like you are doing super, and totally lucked out finding the trial. Good for you!
Trial??? I was mistaken, the Bromelain is for bruising. I wish my elderly parents would try it.
Not trial, sorry, but your being able to demo for them! I just bought more Arnica thinking this will be a great product for lots of circumstances in my future.

Day One - Post Procedure

Just home from having the drainage tubes removed. That stung a bit! but it is good to have those tubes gone. Ingenious method though - they look like hand grenades and the suction works regardless of gravity. Very little drained, but Dr. said my blood pressure spiked a bit and he wanted to be safe. I will remove the bandages myself in the morning and can shower and wash hair then. I was given a 'face bra' to wear as much as I can from then on. I return to the Dr. on Tuesday to have stitches removed, and again on Friday to get the staples out. Sounds like fun! I feel so much better than I look but still have the mummy wrap so there's nothing new to see today so no pictures.
Thank you so much for starting your story on RealSelf! Have you gotten peeks at your neck without the wrap yet? I'm glad your husband supported you in doing something you've wanted for so long. Take as many naps as you need and please keep us posted. :)
Today was not so good - it hurt quite a bit when the two drain tubes were removed this morning, and my neck is swollen and it bruised rapidly. I think my face is swollen again as well. I now know he made a small slit under my chin, but as soon as he cut away enough of my mummy helmet or remove the tubes, he added more padded and tape to tighten everything up again so I have no idea what I look like under all this. I was able to take a nice nap this afternoon after taking pain meds and having those tubes gone. I get to take it all off in the morning, shower, and wash my hair. I am anxious to get some ice on my face, which has been impossible with the thick padding I have now!
Keep taking your pain meds every 4 hours & Ice, ice, ice!

Day Two, helmet off, ready for a shower

I am anxious to get the helmet off and take a look! Pain is minimal. Actually, it's more of 'discomfort' than 'pain'.
I should have looked at your most recent photo. Your neck and all your incisions, especially under the chin look perfect. I wouldn't worry about the little bit of bruising under the chin. I've had brusing that looked like that after minor office procedures. Everything will relax more in the next few months. But yep, you got a great result for sure.
Thanks for your positive comment on my post Nanna. I'm doing arnica, bromelain, eating fresh pineapple, the doc recommended the arnica. He also wrote in post-op instructions, "casual walking mobilizes lymph fluid and reduces the duration of bruising and swelling," so he advised a lot of walking around and reclining only at night for sleep. Also, continue to sleep with head elevated on two pillows for about 7 days. Right after he took out my tubes and put on the facebra he showed me how to massage under the chin (not directly on top of my incision). The amount of pressure he used was more than I would have thought safe but he said it would help keeping tissue from "sticking" and "going flat." As your doc about that at the next followup. Otherwise, more swelling about two days later is expected, nothing to worry about. I'm guessing your doc put another tight wrap on you because he felt it was indicated so continue to follow what he says then ask about these other things. Hang in there...it always gets a little worse before getting better!
I am also taking turmeric for swelling.

Day Four

It feels like my head is in a vice even when the 'face bra' is off. My ears feel so funny - like they are plastic fake ones, sewn on to my head! I slept relatively well last night (took pain meds before bed). My face is still puffy and the bruising is still present. The stitched areas seem to be healing nicely and my hair is going to cover most everything quite well. I go in tomorrow morning to have the stitches removed and plan to go to work from there. I have a sit-on-your-hiney-all-day job and my doctor thinks it will help keep my mind off everything else as long as I take it easy!
Hi Nana. Thank you for your detailed review. You look great and it's only four days post op. You were put under for your surgery. Was there an option to stay awake? I'm having a mini face lift which will lift my neck on May 28th. I'm a Nana to 16 with another due next month. I hope I heal as quickly as you. Take care.
I wasn't given an option, but I would not have elected to stay awake anyway. I am quite amazed that I went through this, especially so fast from consult to operation. Looking at how they do the Life Lift procedures always made me squirm. I could never be a nurse! I don't remember a thing, and glad of it. I do hope you go through this easily, too. I believe a lot of it is our attitude (and top notch surgeon of course). Start now taking Bromelian and Tumeric, and have arnica on hand just prior to and immediately after surgery. I read so many helpful tips on this site!
Thank you. I took bromelain, turmeric and arnica for previous surgeries and had very little swelling and bruising so I'm hoping this time it works as well. It's amazing how some women experience pain and others very little. I opted for being awake because my doctor seems to prefer it if possible. It's supposed to be a quicker, safer recovery and also less expensive. To be honest I think I'd rather be knocked out. Thanks for sharing and happy healing.

Day Five - Off to work

I will enjoy not wearing that face bra all day. I finally figured out that a soft cloth between my chin and the strap helps immensely. The strap was forcing the swollen parts of my neck to the sides of the strap, and was quite irritating. I will get the stitches out in about an hour, then on to the office. I feel great, actually, and it's so nice to be wearing real hair and makeup today. :-)
You look gorgeous! Have a great day and let us know how you are feeling after working a day!
I second guessed, until the last consultation, 2 days before my surgery. Please reconsider the "next day lift" or Lifestyle Lift. It only pulls back the skin around the ears. Read reviews here. How much are you paying? I had the skin separated from the muscle on our face, muscles repositioned to where they were 20 years ago & then skin sewn back to the muscle in hundreds of tiny internal stitches. See my review & results. Also. do a search here for the Next day & Lifestyle Lift. I have been told to stay away from any surgery that has a cliche name.
Puffer, I'm paying a little over $8000. My PS said there is muscle tightening and it's really a mini lift but not as evasive as a full lift. He will be doing fat transfers to face and lips as well. My preop is today so I will take lots of questions. Anything you think I should ask in making my desicion.? Thanks so much for the support.

Stitches out, back to work

The doctor is very pleased, called it 'perfect bruising' and 'as expected swelling' and removed the stitches. I return on Friday for the staples to come out - he will be out of the office, so his assistant will be doing it. I've been putting a cotton ball behind my ears so the staples don't press on them with the neck bra in place. I'll be glad to get them out.
Work went well - it was good to be distracted, actually. I must admit that I love my job, it may not be as good an idea for someone who does not.
The doctor wants me to wear the face bra as much as possible, but reading so many reviews by other doctors who don't recommend them at all once the bandages are out, I feel I will be doing well wearing it 15 out of 24 hours and not guilty.
I am meeting four close friends tonight for dinner - a once-a-month routine that would raise more eyebrows to miss than to show up with a discolored neck, so we'll see how that goes! Obviously I feel super, as well as super lucky to be feeling so great.
You Look Amazing, Thank you for your detailed, review.... I go May 28th....
I am excited for you! Praying all goes well next Wednesday, and I am sure it will. So glad you know your doctor so well already!
Puffer, Have you seen the results of posters Lilygirl, Cemlaw and many others here who had a lateral Smasectomy which dissects the skin from the SMAS layer (below which is muscle and facelifts that go that far down are called deep plane which very few PS do these days) and he also adds a neck lift. His combined procedure is called the "Biltmore Lift" so called because of his geo location in the home of Biltomre estates. Sometimes a "hokie" made-up name is not an indication that it is sub-par. Did you have the deep plane lift? If you did then you had the muscles repositioned. If you didn't then you had the SMAS layer lifted and either plicated or imbricated which I think represents about 85% of all facelifts currently performed these days. grace

Day Nine

The bruising is fading, but I still have swelling/puffiness. I had the staples out yesterday and can't get over how 'weird' my poor little ears feel. Not pain, exactly, but a tightness (which is what I wanted, right?!) in my neck and behind my ears.
I think my doctor did a fantastic job with the stitching and hiding the evidence! I am sure I will continue to improve as the swelling subsides, and especially that the 'lump' under my chin and jowls go away as well. I am very pleased with the smoothness of my neck area. I have started using Bio oil (supposed to help healing, smooth skin tone unevenness, etc.) which also helps the stiffness a bit.
Your chin and neck look great! &=) Since you mentioned seeing your friends soon after your procedure I was wondering if you could share with me their response to you having a "beauty surgery". I'm considering a forehead lift. And I am back and forth on whether I should tell my friends or just hide out for a few weeks. I feel like some of them will think I am vain and frivolous. I live a small town in the Bible-Belt and we're all supposed to be "good Christian women", you know, "unconcerned with the things of this world."
None of my dearest and closest has said a THING to me about it! I just had coffee with one yesterday, and was fully prepared to tell it all IF she asked, but she did not. I honestly believe that I am/was the only one who noticed my saggy neck! I didn't have anything done to my face, and in am still a bit puffy, so I don't know that I look much 'different' let alone 'better' to anyone but me ( and my hubby). In fact, when I told my hairdresser (had to - I couldn't have her raking the comb through stitches or staples) she couldn't tell any difference - until I showed her my before profile picture and my 'new' neck. She was shocked and acknowledged the difference was huge! My brother didn't say anything, and he sure wouldn't hesitate if he'd thought I had work done, trust me! My surgeon did an outstanding job hiding stitched areas. I plan to tell anyone who asks me about it, because I think those of us self-conscious about our necks will notice others, and I waited years for a doctor recommendation from someone I knew and trusted. Beth Moore has (to my eyes) obviously had work done, as has Joyce Meyers and Kay Arthur! I feel God gave surgeons their skills - we shouldn't feel guilty using them! Keep me posted on your decisions and progress? Good luck!!

Three weeks later

I still have some swelling, and my neck and ears are still numb. I don't think anyone would suspect that I've had surgery unless they knew what they were looking for though. I am still using peroxide and Neosporin daily behind my ears, and Bio Oil on my neck three times a day. I have to be very careful using my curling iron - my ears don't feel the heat!
You look lovely and so natural. I hope my face settles down before I have to face too many people. I don't want some to know but these LIPS!!! Congrats and I'm glad you are feeling well!
I've probably borrowed around $10,000 in the past 5 years from Care Credit, never paid a dime of interest! Just finished paying it off (early), to borrow more for my FL.

One month post op

My ears are still numb, but I am starting to get some feeling back in both ears and my neck. I am feeling pretty down though (so rare for me) because while my neck looks so very much better, I still have a 'lump' under my chin, and no also visible improvement at all in my jowls/jawline whatsoever. Did my doctor not think it was necessary? or did I not make my desire or hopes clear enough? Am I still swollen enough after just one month that more tightening may still happen? I would be sick to think that after all that $$ and all of this discomfort, that he and I were not on the same page as far as expectations go, because I certainly could not afford to do this again. Ever. My biggest issue has always been the excess skin on my neck, which he took care of quite well! Maybe my facial structure wouldn't allow him to address both at once. And he promised I wouldn't link like Joan Rivers - but none of my friends, my brother, or my hairdresser can see one bit of difference! I am reading things now that make me think doctors can hear 'neck lift' and think it does NOT include jowls. So sad today. And scared that it was my own fault for not being much more specific. Is this a common or typical feeing after something so radical I wonder?
Neck looks fabulous - I agree sounds like you paid for a neck lift
Will you posts some new pictures? I think you can get "tweaked" in about six months with what they call a "mini-lift" that will address the jowels. There are videos online with surgeons explaining the different kinds of lifts...full facelift (the Joan River's look), lower facelift, necklift and some surgeons have come up with their own names like my surgeon has something called the "RT Mini Lift" which addresses the lower region and jawline. I believe that's what he gave me eventhough I called mine a "necklift," only because he had to excise fillers under my chin. I was a little confused as to what to call it in my review so I called it necklift/facelift revision. My jowels were addressed in my first lower facelift 14 years ago and after that experience I said never again, until the area under my chin started getting botched worse and seven years later I did it again. But that surgeon didn't excise the bulky implant under the chin and the lateral tightening didn't last so I had to do it one more time, the right way. It really put me behind paying off my house mortgage but I made choices based on what I valued the most. Since my neck is on view in my job---I stand while people sit and look up at me---I decided to put money into my neck. So right now eventhough you say you will never do it again, you should probably never say never!
A full facelift does NOT have to make you look like Joan Rivers! She's had dozens.
Orlando Plastic Surgeon

Surgery in the morning!

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