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Dr. Alejandro Lev, a True Artist - San Jose, Costa Rica

The results of my surgery with Dr. Alejandro Lev...

The results of my surgery with Dr. Alejandro Lev are amazing. You can see from the pictures that my appearance was incredibly improved.

The whole facelift procedure no matter where or with whom it is done is a difficult one and should not be considered lightly. The healing process takes 3 to 6 months, and in some cases can take up to a year. But my experience was greatly enhanced by the expertise and professionalism of Dr. Lev, his staff and the kind people at the Che Tica Ranch (the recovery clinic).

It took me until my 61st birthday to decide, "Yes, I want a facelift." I could no longer recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror. And since we were living in Costa Rica, a place where people come from all over the world for cosmetic surgery, I thought, "This is the time and the place."

Dr. Lev came highly recommended to me from another expat living in Costa Rica. I started communications with Didi, the liaison for Dr. Lev. She was great! She is professional, but very personable, and has a great sense of humor.

I made an appointment to meet with Dr. Lev. I liked him right away. He's a lovely person. He examined my face and we looked at before and after pictures. He said he would like to do my neck, jowls, eyes and a brow lift.

I was mostly concerned with my “turkey neck” and jowls so I left there confused about what I wanted to do. After about a week I called Dr. Lev and talked to him about my “confusion”. He encouraged me to come back to his office so he could answer all my questions and so that I could make an informed decision. On my return visit he was patient and kind; he wanted me to be comfortable with my choices.

I decided to have the full facelift.

Dr. Lev recommended a brow-lift procedure that involved two incisions over my eyebrows. He said that it was much less invasive than the coronal brow lift that involves an incision above the hairline. For my eyes there would be an incision in both my upper and lower lids. It was my choice to have the coronal brow lift. I didn’t want any more incisions on my face than I was already having.

My surgery was February 18, 2014.

I had the surgery at the Santa Lucia Clinic in the congested city of San Jose. The clinic itself is in an older building but if the building itself didn't appear new and modern, what was in it did. It seemed to have all the equipment and efficiency of what I might see in the States. The anesthesiologist and the nurses were very efficient and kind. Dr. Lev came in to see me and answer my questions and ease my mind over any last minute concerns.

The in the morning about 24 hours after surgery Dr. Lev came in to check on me. He again answered my questions and reviewed the important aspects of my recovery: what to do and what not to do.

I was then ready to go to the recovery clinic, Che Tica. It's a bit of a drive, maybe 1/2 hour, but all transportation is included in the stay.

I had met with another surgeon near San Jose before I met with Dr. Lev and he said that I would go home the day after my surgery. In hindsight, this would have been a huge mistake. Dr. Lev recommends at least a week in a recovery clinic and my one-week stay in the clinic was the smartest thing I could have done. It was invaluable! The staff, especially Francis, my nurse, was so tolerant of me. Lorena, the owner, who had had surgery two weeks prior and who looked great, was also wonderful.

I don't know at what point it was that I started having serious doubts about what I had done. Or what I had had done to me. From the start I don't remember being in any real pain, just uncomfortable in a major way. My face was bruised and swollen. I remember calling Lorena and asking her to come to my room to give me a pep talk. I remember trying not to cry. She came right away and I pretty much just asked her if I was going to be okay in the end. I just needed to hear it from someone who had been through it. She assured me I would be and I just needed to see her beautiful face to know that was true.

One thing that Lorena told me is that she has been in the business for 17 years: caring for and seeing the results of plastic-surgery patients. She knows many plastic surgeons and some offered her free facial surgery. But when it came time for her to have the surgery, she picked Dr. Lev out of them all. "He's an artist," she said.

It was around this time that I was taken to Dr. Lev's office to have some of my stitches taken out: my eyes and in front of my ears. I still had more stitches and little plastic staples that would come about 10 days post-op. I was still not looking myself then. My face was too round and flat, my chin was too big, and my earlobes looked weird. I just kept telling myself to be patient. I had the best surgeon around so just trust him, for God's sake! That was my mantra.

Three months after surgery the big questions are: Am I happy with it? Would I do it again? Would I recommend it to anyone?

Yes, I am completely happy with the results. I'm amazed at the change.

Would I do it again? Three months post-op I can say even knowing everything I went through, that, yes, I would do it again. I am that happy with the results. And without a doubt, Dr. Lev would be my surgeon.

Would I recommend anyone doing it? That I can't answer. It's too personal of a choice. All I can say is if you do decide a facelift is for you then go into it well informed with realistic expectations and Dr. Lev and his excellent staff will take good care of you.

Dr. Alejandro Lev

Dr. Lev was fantastic! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone. (See more comments in "my review" section.)

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (29)

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I am 10 days out from my surgery with Dr Lev and am thrilled with the results. He is truly an artist at what he does!
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You look absolutely wonderful!! Thank you for sharing your experience so honestly. I am on day 24 of my recovery and it is quite a process. I too went through that terrible "what the hell have i done to myself" phase and am coming through. Cannot wait to get to 3 months. All the best!
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Beautiful, you must be so happy:)
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Thank you. Yes, five months out and I am still very happy with the results and so glad I had it done. Thanks for the comment.
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How was the drive from Cima to Che Tica? I want lots of drugs in case it is at all bumpy! I would prefer not to remember any of that drive... Ha ha :)
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I went from Santa Lucia Clinic to Che Tica. I don't remember the drive being too bumpy, just a little long. Don't worry it will all be a blur after a while. :)
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There is another recovery place closer to CIMA. Ask DiDi, it's Mariposa. So far everyone seems to like it and it's close in.
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Wow...you look amazing...I am having a TT BR and Arm Lift with him in November. I will definitely use him for all future things like a facelift. :) Thanks for sharing :)
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That's fantastic. You're in good hands with Dr. Lev. You're going to look awesome!
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We were there at the same time only my experience was much different from yours. I had my surgery on Feb 12th by Dr Lev and think he is one of the best surgeons as well as one of the kindest human beings around. I unfortunately had unexpected complications that he had never experienced in a face patient, was ambulanced to CIMA hospital, in ICU with pulmonary embolisms, tachycardia. While you were recovering at Che Tica, I was trying to get my money back from them as I needed to stay close to the hospital and down elevation from them. ( I eventually did get my refund thanks to DiDi and Dr Lev). I stayed at Barcello San Jose Palacio for an additional three weeks after getting out of the hospital. The staff there was exceptionally great, I had a wonderful room overlooking the garden on the second floor and room service nearly the entire time. My recovery was slow but steady with Dr Lev visiting me nearly everyday. I felt that I was in excellent care and could have had nurses come to my hotel from the hospital for $30 for 2 hrs if I needed. I managed to recover on my own, taking baby steps of washing my own hair which was a huge accomplishment at the time. I meditated 2x day, did light stretching and was lucky in that first week to have the winter Olympics to distract and motivate me. There was one particular ski jump shot I took on my iPad and sent to friends that made me realize that the athletes made plenty of errors, had injuries that they recovered from and were now at the top of their game and I too could recover. Face surgery is not for the faint of heart nor those who do not have some inner strength to get you through those first days or more as in my case. Would I do it again...NEVER. I would not risk my life for a younger looking face. Now that I do have some of my youthful appearance back, it is a plus and I am grateful for the skill and friendship of Dr Lev.
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I am so sorry for your bad experience. I bet it was terrifying for you and the last thing you expected. I'm glad you got through it. You must be a strong person. Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, it is a surgery not to be taken lightly.
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Mahalo ( Thank you ). Yes, it was very scary at times and I am so grateful to Dr Lev for his exceptional care for me. He and Dr Silesky,(Intensive Critical care MD) saved my life. I really do not believe I would have had these complications if I had my surgery at CIMA instead of the St Lucia clinic. It's worth the extra money to have a higher standard of care there, in my opinion. I'm so happy for you as you look wonderful!
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You look great. Glad for you.
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Thanks! I feel great, too!
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You Look Awesome Congrats.....
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Thank you. I'm so happy with the results.
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Your jawline and your whole face look great! Nice results. Thank you so much for sharing on RealSelf!
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Thank you. Yes, the surgery gave new definition to my face, but I still look like "me". I just can't tell you how happy I am with the results. When I catch my reflection I no longer cringe. I no longer feel that people see me as "an old lady". It's great!
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Wonderful results!! Thank you for sharing your positive experience with us! Best regards.
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Thank you, leeway. I like to share my experience with anyone who is considering or has had the procedure, and hope it is helpful. Best.
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Your before and after photos are great and Dr. Lev surely did an amazing job!
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Thanks, Debbie. He surely did!
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Oh my!! How great you look! Thanks for such a detailed review! VERY helpful!!!
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