TotalFX = Painful!

This is my second day after having Total FX...

This is my second day after having Total FX performed yesterday. It was excruciating! I always thought I had a high tolerance for pain, but I'm one of the ones that didn't tolerate this procedure well.

I am under the care of a wonderful and highly respected plastic surgeon and I was given percocets and a valium beforehand as well as the topical anesthetic and a numbing block. Even with all that I cried and whimpered through the whole thing! Some possible reasons for this... I was hormonal so extra sensitive to pain (day before my cycle) and I take an SSRI, which I know from past experience with my dentist can lessen the effect of novocain so it's possible that might have happened here. Just some things to be aware of if you are considering this procedure.

As far as the results, it's too soon to tell but I have total confidence that it'll be worth it, though I highly doubt I'll ever do it again so I'll compensate by taking superlative care of my skin to maintain. I look like hell this morning, but whatever! It's part of the process.

Yesterday was uncomfortable and I felt like I had a bad sunburn. I applied the saline gauzes every hour followed by Biafine, which is thinner and not as occlusive as aquaphor so therefore better for oily skin like mine that's prone to the occasional breakout.

I'm going in for a follow-up this morning to get my protocol for the next few days. I'll write again in a few days when I have something new to report.


Update:  Here's an overview of my...

Update:  Here's an overview of my healing process the past few days since having Total FX last Thursday.  I am now on Day 6.

Day 2-3:   Very red and crusty.   I soaked with saline gauze 3-4 times a day and washed with Cetaphil followed by Biafine.   For meds, I took Sinnutech (anti-infammatory) 3X a day and Zovirax (anti-viral) morning and evenings. I also had percocets for pain and discomfort.  The swelling was really bad these first few days, but the pain wasn't too terrible.  The percs helped with the discomfort.  I also take a multi-vitamins with Vitamin C to promote faster healing. 

Day 4:  Still very red but the peeling began and my skin slowly shed the the crusty brown layer throught out the day.  It was itchy, but taking a benadryl definitely helped. Still takign the Sinnutech and Zovirak and washing with the Cetaphil 3X a day.  Instead of the Biafine, I was switched to a high SPF moisturizer during the day and an emollient antioxidant cream at night.  Still swollen in the morning, but it quickly subsided throughout the day.

 Day 5:  Still peeling, but I had a follow-up appt. and it turns out I wasn't being aggressive enough when I was washing my face.  After a good soaking and an enzyme cleaner, almost all of it came off.  No swelling today, but my face looked raw and red and I'm still uncomfortable leaving the house.  (The bruise around my eye doesn't help.)  Major cabin fever.  I'm hoping by tomorrow I can at least cover with make-up and go outside. 

Day 6:   Some of the redness has gone down and my face has been breaking out around my mouth, but I was told that was normal.  I have this patch of red dots on my nose and I can't tell if it's dead skin that will flake off or if it's a wound that will heal and resolve itself.  It's annoying to say the least.   Still washing with Cetaphil and following with the SPF 36 during the day and the antioxidant cream at night.  Today is my last day on the Zovirax.  

I have a third follow-up on Day 8 and by then I should be able to give an objective opinion on the results.  The healing is taking longer than it should for a laser treatment (I would expect this from surgery) so I'm glad I don't have any place I need to be, but it is still frustrating.  My eyes and skin look refreshed, though and my new skin looks fresh and glowing. 

I am now on Day 6 since getting Total FX last Thursday.   Almost all the crustiness has peeled off leaving fresh pink skin.  There's some residual blotchy redness in certain areas that I hope will fade in the next few days.  I also have patches of red dots on my nose, which is annoying to say the least.  I can't tell whether it's dead skin that just needs to come off or if it will just heal and resolve on its own.  I also have had some breakouts around my mouth, which I was told was  normal. 

June 21st, 2009 - it's now been five weeks...

June 21st, 2009 - it's now been five weeks since my treatment and while I'm noticing some results in terms of texture, I can't say it was worth the cost and aggravation.  The redness has yet to fade completely and my face is definitely darker right now than my neck.  I was on vacation for a week and used an SPF 60 sunblock to protect because I am that paranoid about hyperpigmentation.  What really bothered me though is that I had to use foundation just to cover up the dark areas and even out my skintone.  When I got home I immediately invested $90 in Obagi's Blender with hydroquinone so I can bleach out the discoloration as I'm not totally convinced it will fade on its own.  If anything, the summer months just threaten to make things worse.  After shelling out $3K, I'm not too pleased to have to spend another $100 on a bleaching cream.  What's the point of the laser treatment? 

I would advise anybody seeking this treatment to do so in the winter months or a time when they won't be spending much time outdoors.   I only did it in May because my doctor was offering a special promotion.  As I said, I do notice my skin has a smoother, tighter texture and my pores do look noticeably smaller, but for $3200 one should expect dramatic and immediate results.  Just to put it in context, I spent $5k on eyelid surgery six years ago and it was worth every penny.   I still love my doctor and my review is more a comment on the limitations of the technology than his technique.  I just think there are too many variables to be able to predict a satisfying result and one shouldn't have to set their expectations low when spending thousands of dollars. 

Boston Plastic Surgeon

Very knowledgeable and thorough and caring. Has a great reputation in the Boston area.

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
Was this review helpful? 7 others found this helpful

Comments (8)

I am 8 days into a deep total fx treatment. Had major swelling too for few days...6th day felt worse (like feeling was coming back) with intense burning and 'heavy preasure',pins and needle pokes,extreem tightness and the same prickly sensation that comes more when drink cold water or get the chills...My skin looks good though, with not too much redness but the inside feels horrible and it's the inside that counts! I am praying this is just the nerves mending and not some lasting,horrible way my body is reacting to this trauma! HELP! I need some peace of mind! How did it all turn out for you and what tips or advice can you give!!Thank you so much for responding!!!!
  • Reply
May 6, This is my 5th day and I had an awful experience when I had the Totalfx. I did not respond very well to the Lydocanie. I felt the pain horribly during the proceedure. Getting the shots before to numb was horrible also. I was shaking so bad that she had to stop after about every 4 shots. When the laser started I knew I was in for a lot of pain. They said I was in the 2% who felt this type of pain. You mentioned a hormone elevation could have perhaps blocked the pain med. I'm wondering. I started taking a natural progestrone about 2 weeks ago. I'm going to consult my Doctor about this. I am using the Obagi Gentle cleanser, then a product called Revale, the I cover my face with Aquafer. The scabs have come off, but I am a bright pink, like the worst sun burn ever. I too, am concerned with pigmentation. I'm not in pain, but I feel a prickly sensation on and off during the day. If I splash cool water on the face it helps. I am being careful, but the redness has me really concerned. The face is still quite swollen and even my eyes are swollen. Any tips will be appreciated. I am keeping a daily diary and taking pictures. Ann
  • Reply

Hi sprinkles - It's now been almost 5 months and I have to say I am a *qualified"* pleased. Qualified in the sense that while there are definite improvements in my tone and texture and tightening under my eyes, I'm not sure it was worth $3,000. I think I may have been able to get the same result with a lesser treatment or maybe just having it done around my eyes. But the after picture at the office definitely showed results in the eye area and my skin looked brighter. I'm going back in November for a final follow-up and I guess by then my tale will be told! For me, it was really, really painful. I know the doctor felt terrible and the only variable I can think of is that I was on 20mg of Celexa and I have heard that anti-depressants can neutralize the effects of dental blockers. My dentist used to take 45 minutes to numb me with novocaine when he had to do a crown so I'm assuming that there was a similar principle at work here. It was extremely uncomfortable and for that reason alone I would not do it again. But I can't say enough about Dr. A and his staff. They are fabulous to work with and very professional. And I'm still loving my radiesse injections. If I have any complaint at all, it is with the pain and the overall expense - my provider was excellent. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
would like to know how you are presently doing as i am scheduled for treatment with same provider soon. thanks for sharing and have patience. i had laser treatment over ten years ago (technology from what i understand has vastly improved) however my point is the face improves more with TIME. so was it really that painful? i was put out when i had done many years ago but not looking forward to this time. any further comments would be helpful. thanks
  • Reply
hi there - you know i think kittencat his it right on the head regarding the remark about SSDI pills i do think that it minimized the effect of the novacaine because i felt everything. i was even trying to meditate but when he gave me a test run i knew i was in for it. the pain was the worst. however, i take paxil and i now believe that may have been my problem. dr. A felt bad and he did seem to be surprised at the level of pain i was in. i knew what to expect post-op (as I said that part is what i believe is not for the faint of heart), however, now that i am past it all, i believe the results are great and worth every penny. go for it. but if you have problem with numbing, then get put out because it is something else. but dr. A is the best out there. As i said i am only on my third day, a lot of the swelling almost gone, dead skin mostly all off and am out of the woods and healing great. my problem was acne scars so i went for it. if i was doing this just for tightening i am not sure i personally would go through this, however everyone's reason is subjective. i am very very happy with my decision. sprinkles
  • Reply
Thank you for the review! I'd never heard that about SSRIs before - really interesting. Please keep us posted on your progress. Good luck, --Sharon
  • Reply
Thanks Sharon! I'll write again in a few days. I could be wrong about the SSRI's - maybe I'm just a complete wimp! - but I was given a list of medicines, herbs, etc. to abstain from and though Celexa wasn't on it, I think maybe it should be. I'm not sure what settings he used, but he did lower it for the under eye area to keep me from jumping out the window.
  • Reply
I will send updates. I am interested if anyone else had a problem with SSRI's and the countereffects of novacaine.
  • Reply