MixTo Treatment Great, but Unplanned Disaster Happened
I am 54, have taken excellent care of my skin...
- 29 May 2010
I am 54, have taken excellent care of my skin since I was in my mid-20s - but even so, I had developed fine crinkly lines, more noticeable wrinkles, and even puckery skin in the areas around my mouth, under my eyes, the eyelids, and tops of cheeks. My PS had been telling me about MixTo for almost a year, so after doing as much research as I could on this, I got the treatment done on May 14, 2010. From what I'd read, MixTo is excellent on acne scars and age-related skin rejuvenation, and it was the latter that prompted me to have MixTo over Fraxel or even chemical peels.
About an hour before the treatment, my face was slathered in a topical lidocaine gel; that was followed by 3 pills prior to the procedure: one for pain, one for nausea, and a Valium. I also got several nerve block injections around my mouth and eyes to reduce the discomfort further. So I was woodenly numb by the time the procedure began.
My surgeon was awesome at communicating every single step of the way - from the waiting room to the treatment area, throughout the entire treatment and in recovery - what was going to happen and how that would "feel". That really reduced the anxiety and fear factor a HUGE amount.
Overall, on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is unbearable pain, I'd say 80% of this treatment was 1-2; 15% was about a 3-4; the last 5% was definitely HOT, but the sensation lasted 2-3 seconds at most. After the treatment, I was slathered in more topical lidocaine and cool, moist gauzes were placed all over my face and neck to get through about 30-45 min that I was told may be uncomfortably warm - but it was not! I didn't feel a thing at that point. I was driven back to my hotel to begin the recovery, and now I can tell you: THIS is the part where you're going to need to be strong, positive and confident in the results. The swelling doesn't set in till about 24 hours post. Plus, the skin begins to crust over almost immediately - more so in the areas that are treated a bit more aggressively. For me, that's the eyes and mouth. It's tender, but you can actually manage to gently scrape off the Aquaphor and reapply it yourself without a grimace. I have also tried icing the area, but any material will stick like glue on that sensitive face - OUCH when you try to lift it off. Even so, the icing really helped my eyes, and I will continue doing it.
Pain meds? One Extra Strength Tylenol per day (if even) is what I've had. It's not painful, it's MESSY. Aquaphor is on your hands, towels, clothes, hair, anything you get near. If you're a neatnik like me, it'll bug you blind for about a day; then you simply accept it! Since I'm recovering away from home, I packed camisoles to wear under button-up shirts; also a headband to keep the hair off my face; I packed an inflatable, horseshoe-shaped travel pillow that I place under my head at night - with the legs pointing at the headboard, not wrapped around my neck.
Unfortunately, while the MixTo treatment seemed to go well, I had a very severe reaction to the anti-viral drug Valtrex, which is given to prevent an outbreak of Herpes Type I cold sores. After taking the drug for 4 days, I got nauseous, had uncontrollable diarrhea, a rash, hallucinations, and several other side effects. I stopped taking Valtrex, but my immune system was compromised, and I ended up with a staph infection on my treated skin as well as a fever of 103. It was a long and scary week of recovery from that, and the illness derailed my MixTo recovery by at least a week. I am back on track now and making progress to a very fine outcome. I think it's important to evaluate the recovery from these procedures. If there is any unplanned-for occurrence, you need a Plan B to get through it.
Despite my experience with Valtrex, I would not hesitate for a minute to recommend my surgeon who performed the MixTo. I am confident that I'll have an excellent outcome.
While he is extremely good at communicating the process every step of the way and has a very good aesthetic eye, he does not appear to have a "crisis management" plan in place. Sometimes untoward things DO happen, and a patient may need to be admitted to a hospital OR sent to a GP doc asap. I feel that is essential for any plastic surgeon: know what you'll do in case of a crisis.