What Happened to Informed Consent? - Phoenix, AZ

I had the Lifestyle Lift surgery in June 2011. At...

I had the Lifestyle Lift surgery in June 2011. At the same time laser surgery was done around my mouth and chin. A friend recently asked me if, knowing what I know now, I would have gone through with it. Here's what I told her:

I am a very calm person and have had two cataract surgeries, two eyelid surgeries, two eye muscle surgeries, and one lumpectomy in the last three years. All except the eye muscle surgeries were with only local anesthesia, but for most procedures I was anesthetized for about 5 minutes while the numbing was administered for the surgeries done under local anesthesia. Other than very minor post-op pain, I sailed through all of these.

After my Lifestyle Lift surgeries I felt as if they had not been fully honest with me about the pain involved in the numbing process. I'm not afraid of needles, but I wasn't expecting over a dozen shots around my face, chin and ears prior to the lift surgery."Local anesthesia" had never been explained in detail, and I assumed that the pain mentioned on their Consent form would be the normal amount expected post-op for any surgery. As the shots went on and on prior to the lift my anxiety level rose, as each shot has the pain of a puncture plus the sting of the anesthesia itself. If someone had said during my early consultation that I should be aware that about 15 shots would be administered, it would have helped prepare me, and I wouldn't have felt so anxious. And if I'd been informed beforehand, I still would have gone through the surgery. I realize others might not, and I feel as if that is why they didn't tell their patients what "local anesthesia" really means. So I'm telling you: The shots are numerous and painful, but tolerable.

The lift procedure went fine and then they numbed me for the laser surgery. In a criminal court I feel that that numbing procedure would be called "cruel and unusual punishment." It was absolutely excruciating. I think I went into shock immediately, as it felt as if a long hypodermic needle was being threaded through my un-numbed lips from each end of my upper and lower lips. I was screaming and crying, and if the assistant's hand isn't broken from my gripping it in severe pain, it's a miracle. I would bet that none of the Lifestyle Lift physicians has had that sort of numbing done on themselves.It was truly traumatic, and in the swirling vortex of my pain I didn't even think to tell them to stop.It was the worse pain I have ever experienced.

To my surprise the physician, whom I actually liked, called me two days later, and two times since, and admitted that Lifestyle Lift is trying to find a better way to anesthetize patients for laser surgery. My feeling is they have no right in the world to be doing laser surgery until they solve the numbing problem, using themselves as guineau pigs. Whatever happened to the Hypocratic oath they all take, in which the first tenet is: "First, do no harm?"

So no, had I known the amount ot trauma involved in the laser surgery, I would have saved up my money and had it done under the type of twilight anesthesia in which the patient is aware but feels nothing--as with my previous "local anesthesia" surgeries.

I feel I have been deceived by what they omitted to tell me. I wrote to them about it, and said I felt some sort of refund was due because they had failed to give me enough information for me to have provided truly informed consent. They denied my request as if the end justifies the means by which it is achieved.

Please be aware that I am not unhappy with the outcome of the surgeries,nor the facilities, nor the staff, which were fine. The physician said that not all patients experience that severe amount of pain, which may be true. But the potential is there, and unfortunately you don't know your reaction until those needles start threading through your lips.

A friend who had the lift surgery five years ago still looks great, but L.L. wasn't doing laser surgery back then. And she said the pill they gave her prior to surgery made her woozy enough be be mostly unaware of anything. I took the prescribed pill the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, and it had no effect whatsoever. No drowsiness--nothing. And they didn't ask how the pills made me feel--they just went ahead with everything.

I believe the physician was accurately following L.L.'s prescribed protocols for the numbing and surgery.He wasn't careless or uncaring. The numbing protocols themselves are flawed.

So if you decide to do the lift surgery, now at least you're aware of the numerous shots. And I wouldn't do that laser procedure again for any amount of money. The pain is still fresh in my memory.


I just wanted to say I understand what you went through I just had this done 5 weeks ago in AZ but the doctor did a much better job as I received my shots. Will post my experience soon. Thanks for your story.
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The first time I had 15 shots in my face and they pulled my neck muscles to tight on the left side of my face and the cut under my chin where he had stitched was all pucker like a gathered sleeve. The second time I went to his office and he did the twight to fix my chin at the same time he did fraxnel for age spots and broken blood vessels. My face swell up and the stitches popped open under my chin that night so, I called the next day and the only thing that could be done because of the swelling was to do the sterile strips across the chin incision. The incision healed nice but the whole left side of my face drop and I was back to square one on the left side, not to mention the Fraxnel did nothing but dry my skin out for six weeks. I had no results from Fraxel and when I woke up nurses were doing the Fraxel and they had not quit finish.So, I am not sure who proformed the Fraxel. The Third time I went to the LSL Center More shots. Dr. Kim said he was going to redo the whole mini lift but when I got there he decided to do the neck. He only cut around my ears not down the back of my hairline like the first time. He pulled the muscles on the left side so tight when I yawn or eat on that side I have pain and the left side of my face is warm all the time. Also the skin from the jowls ended up between the corner of my mouth and chin line leaving skin folds on the left side and still have puckering under chin incision. He also did my bottom eyelids and on the right side one stitch left a mole looking bum. The fraxel reduced the bump some but, it's still visiable and their is scarring on both eyes. I have had a general surgeon do better stitching than Dr. Kun Kim. Oh the third time his son watched the proceeder which, Doc asked and I didn't mind but after the half ass results I wondered if it was such a good decision. The short of it is I am in pain, depressed and wish I had never trusted anyone with my face. That's the short story. I wish you the best of luck! Discuss this outcome with your surgeon.
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Unfortunately another sad and horrible outcome. These people ought to be wearing orange jumpsuits or stripes or whatever they make prisoners wear.

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My statement explains my ratings, which are a cautious "yes" for the lift procedure, but a adamant NO for the laser. The doctor answered all the questions I knew to ask beforehand. It was the ones I didn't know to ask that made the lift surgery anxiety-producing, and the laser numbing unbearable.

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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