Finally, I Have a Neck!!! – San Miguel de Allende, MX

I am 53 years old and it's been about 10 years...

I am 53 years old and it's been about 10 years since I've had a neck. No amount of working out on the treadmill, bicycle and weight machines improved the appearance of my flabby gullet. My age never bothered me, crows feet never caused concern but my droopy neck and jowls made me cringe. I always had a delayed reaction when looking at photos of family get-togethers. "Could that woman be me?" So I decided to take action.

Against the input of my husband and a few others, I flew alone into Queretaro, Mexico to meet with Dr. Guillermo Koelliker M.D. on July17, 2013. Arrangements pre-lab work and deposits were made in advance through Pat Marino at faceliftmexico.

Preplanned transportation was provided from airport to hospital to Casa Marino to return flight. I speak Spanish and have visited Mexico many times but was extremely nervous upon meeting Dr. Koelliker. He must have sensed my angst and began to itemize (very kindly) areas that needed attention. I was open to a more aggressive approach but Dr. Koelliker emphasized that he wanted me to leave with a natural, more rested appearance... not an exaggerated expression of artificial means.

No brow lift, slight tweaks on lower and upper blepharoplasty, fat replacement in lips, SMAS repositioning and a whole lot of time fixing my droopy neck. Dr. Koelliker was concerned that I seem to have serious problems with nausea and anesthesia so we opted for extremely light sedation with local numbing.

Even with these precautions, I felt nauseous but it was manageable with extra attention from Dr. Koelliker. He must have checked on me at least 8 times a day to see how I was faring. One night very late, I told the nurse in Spanish not to bother the doctor but I wasn't feeling well. Within 30 minutes, Dr. Koelliker was in my room asking questions.

He is a caring, compassionate doctor that truly is concerned for your well being. I had an opportunity to compare notes with other patients and we found that Dr. Koelliker does not have the same approach for each patient. He looked at each of us, made completely different recommendations based on our needs and listened to our concerns individually.

It has been 4 1/2 weeks since my surgery. I still have some swelling, some bruising and some numbness. Another patient that I've stayed in contact with had more invasive procedures, yet she has no bruising and very little swelling.

Facelift/Necklift $6500
Lips $600
Botox $200
Casa Marino (2 weeks) $2400

Photos of Casa Marino

Does anyone realize I've had a facelift/necklift?

I keep checking to see if anything has fallen but the neck I'm seeing in the mirror is a constant surprise. I'm not exactly complaining but... does anyone realize I've had work done or are they just not talking. In healthy relationships, you are supposed to tell your spouse everything. I know they say confession is good for the soul. Hopefully I won't burn in hell for telling my husband I only had a neck tweak and the bruises were from an allergic reaction (actually I WAS allergic to the Arnica.) Anyway the point of my 6 week update is to tell you that no one has used the "f" word (facelift) since I've returned from Mexico. I'm not sure anyone knows.

My good friend and work-out partner didn't mention anything except she thought I was frisked 3 times at the Dallas airport and 1 time in Mexico because I was blonde. My youngest son just returned from a month in Korea and didn't say a word about my face, neck or nice cheekbones. My oldest son simply said, "Are you OK?"

A friend, I had not seen in years, surprised me at DFW airport at week 2 post surgery and simply said, "You're dressing very chic these days." I finally asked my unusually quiet husband, "Can you even tell a difference in my neck?" Sure, your neck looks nice. (I thought he would be chasing this neck around the house.)

Yes, I said I wasn't trying to look 30 and apparently I don't. Darn it.

Slight bruising on each cheek being treated with Donnell Skin Vitamin K cream. Scars behind ears, at vertical neck/hairline and above ear/hairline are healing slowly but nicely with daily Mederma SPF 30. Initially I swelled like a balloon and bruising was substantial for me. Most has resolved. Still have some numbness at ears and odd feeling at eyelash line; however, this improves every day. Love my lips and neck... they look so normal. Dr. Koelliker said the conservative fat replacement in lip area should last 7 years. I've never been a fan of fat lips but this looks so natural that I may be tempted to return next year to San Miguel for a very slight lip tweak and a few more lymphatic massages from Fabiola. The dollars aren't worrying me, only what do I tell my husband?
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Dr. Guillermo Koelliker. He is a thoughtful, professional and compassionate perfectionist. All the characteristics you want in a skilled surgeon.

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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I had the benefit of losing a great deal of weight right before having my work done, so people who see me think I look great because of the weight loss, but in fact after the weight loss my face looked horrible. But that's okay I will let them think it's all in the magic of losing weight...if only it was that easy. It takes a full 6 months to really see the benefits inside and out. It took that long for me to get all the feeling back in my face and neck. I'm not sure how many years the surgery has taken off my face but I know I don't feel like I am turning 60 next month!
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Glad you mentioned the numbness issue. It's been 4 months and I still have some residual numbness right in front of ears. Seems odd that my face is still changing/healing after all this time. BTW - you look amazing in your photos.
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Yes you do look about 30! People who know you may not be able to judge objectively.
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You are very sweet to say 30, but if I'm really honest with myself, I'm a youthful 50 at best. It's 4 months post surgery and I'm happy with the subtle improvements. I still have crows feet and a few lines. Overall I would like to encourage anyone considering a facelift to spend some time deciding on goals. If your objective is to drop 20-25 years, then an interim healing period (obvious to outsiders) is probably inevitable. If your objective is to improve sagging/aging features, then it is possible to accomplish this and maintain privacy. Thanks again for your comments. I truly appreciate all the support and experiences shared by everyone.
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Are your incisions (at the front of your ear) on the inside (edge) of your ear like mine? And although I'm just a few days into this (5 days), I noticed that the lower incisions in the back of my neck run a vertical curve right along my hairline behind my ear. I can feel them more than I can see them. Up near my temples, he didn't shave any hair and I can feel the sutures but still can't see them well. I'll post some more pictures of the incisions when my review on the procedure posts. I was really concerned about scars (still am) so I am interested in your treatment and progress with them. I will consider the Vitamin K later if you think it helps. Right now, it doesn't seem that the incisions are very prominent and I wondered if the placement might be different. All of the work I've seen from Dr. Koelliker looks beautiful; I'm sure you both look amazing. Although the fat transfer can be good, I don't like the bruising and recovery with it (plus they say you only retain about 30% at best). I continue to use small amounts of filler (Juvi) to keep the corners of my mouth tipped up and add a little fullness...works great. I posted pictures with my review but blocked my eyes. I've been documenting this process since day one. This site helped me a great deal with many questions I had before having this procedure.
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Hi lvb2013, Grandmother always said there were a 100 different ways to get from here to there and it seems facelift techniques follow same rules. Actually what she really said was there were a 100 ways to skin a rabbit; however, that bit of wisdom may be inappropriate given the context of our discussion. Suffice it to say, I think my suture lines may be very similar to yours. If you are only 5 days post surgery and healing so amazingly well, you probably won't need vitamin K or Arnica cream. Regarding fat replacement, my lips had thinned considerably after hormonal changes. Dr. Koelliker said fat replacement can last up to 7 years and you are right... if it takes. At post 7 weeks, I've probably retained about 70% of fat in lips. But, I'm not opposed to a "re-plumping session" again with Dr. K simply because I was so very happy with the results. If you are achieving good results with Dysport, Juvederm, Radiesse or Restylane fillers, then I would stay the course. In my case, I do not smoke but had the lips of a 7 pack-a-day user. Think of me as the ultimate recycler. Dr. K took an abundance of all that droopy stuff hanging from my neck and stuffed it into my lips and cheeks. Now if I could only figure out a way to repurpose my butt and thighs. Good luck and keep us posted on your recovery. Thanks.
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Hysterical. you can see my full post under facelift stories with pictures and black eyes. I didn't have my eyes done...so, who needs to see them anyway? I actually know I'm going to be happy with the outcome of this surgery...I know my face so well...it speaks to me of all the errors and of all the good choices I have made over the years. This one is no different. I have friends that live in San Miguel and I really wanted to go there. I had a great feeling about the whole thing but couldn't coordinate the timing. As it was, Dr. Verret turned out to be a perfect choice for me. Ha! The last thing I need in my face is FAT. I already have the fullest face imaginable...always have. But more Lips? you bet!
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Guajira, thank you so much for your reply and words of encouragement. I forgot to mention that I am happy with the facelift, my cheeks are higher and the slight sagging and jowls that were making my face heavy are gone, it has now a more youthful shape. I didn't have much loose skin under my chin and the little it was, he pulled it to the sides of my neck, I think. I will try to follow your advice and be patient with my scars. I am massaging Mederma three times a week and hope to see an improvement with time. I don't understand why he didn't shave any hair like in your case, but what's done is done, I just hope the scars will become fairly invisible with time, flatten out and whiten. I like the fat in my lips too, it's gone down a bit, too bad. I think I will eventually need fillers as I have been using them before and it really helps with volume and a more youthful look. I will not post any photos on the site but will be happy to email them to you privately if you send me a private message.
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You look great. and you do look younger. I had a facelift with dr. K almost four weeks ago and didn't tell anyone, except one close girlfriend who lives far. No one, none of my close friends commented on a difference in my looks which I found at first a little disappointing but people are too polite usually, even close friends, to comment on your appearance, also I didn't look too bad for my age before. I still have slight yellow bruising and of course numbness at the incisions line in my cheeks. The only thing I am a bit disappointed are the two vertical incisions lines on my neck near my hairline. They are a bit ropey and red and visible (at least one) when I put my hair up. I hope they will soften and whiten with time. I wish they were more hidden in my hairline. Are you just using Mederma on your scars? How long it takes for the scabs to fall, they're driving me nuts.
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kittyworld, Thanks so much. I really do feel better without so much neck and am hoping my turtleneck sweaters will fit this winter. Now you know I'm no expert and was probably one of the worst "bruisers/healers?" in the history of plastic surgery. Having awful bruising on cheeks and neck and even ears, I purchased and began to lightly massage Donnell Skin Vitamin K cream over redness and bruises (it contains higher vitamin K content than typical over the counter creams.) First, I would apply Mederma SPF30, allow to soak into skin, then apply Vitamin K cream to deep bruising at cheeks, on scars and redness along tragus line at ear. Everyone recovers at different rate but I, too, had red ropey suture lines at neck. At 7 weeks, they have flattened out. I can still feel a slightly raised area; however, apparently my hair was shaved and is now growing past scar line at neck. I do not have scars on cheeks but do still have a few specks of redness remaining. One ear is still a little red at tragus line. The last bit of scabbing behind ears resolved last week. I have one perfectly healed thin red vertical line above my left sideburn area. Left upper area was shaved a little more directly above ear but once hair grows in surrounding area, I think it will be fine. I have been wearing my hair loosely up w/ fat clip since week 2 and don't think any work is noticeable. It was about week 4 when the vertical scars at my neck began driving me crazy. That's when I really began to note healing improvements. Redness and swelling began to dissipate and nerves began to reattach. Give yourself time to heal and you might want to try a strong Vitamin K cream (for capillaries) along with Mederma w/ SPF. I really do appreciate your support and will try to post pics at 8 weeks of scars and my new neck.
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You look fantastic! I was very close to going to Dr. Koelliker for my face and neck but the time frame was too far out for me. I had my face/neck done last week in Dallas and I am thrilled so far with my recovery. You said that nobody is "talking" about how you look and I thought to comment on what my Dr. told me about my face. He said that it would make a huge difference to me but not so much to other people. He said that other people were not focused on what I saw in the mirror and they wouldn't see much of a difference after. I have to say, already I am THRILLED at my neck and jawline and I have swelling and some bruising. I know it's going to look amazing when I heal. I am lucky; I chose a really good surgeon here and I can tell that he did great work. I just want to tell you that I think the difference in your pictures is pretty great. You really look stunning...no matter what they DON'T SAY! I
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Hey lvb2013, Thank you for saying all those nice things. I'm originally from Dallas and considered having surgery there, then recovery w/ friend or family. Mexico turned out to be the best choice for me w/ 2 weeks in spa ... mainly due to my conflicted conscience concerning "do I tell them or no?" I'm really happy everything turned out so well for you w/ surgery in Big D. Thanks again for all the lovely compliments.
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I have a question,,I am only 26? days post op. I still have some swelling and tightness. Just wondering if when the tightness and swelling goes away does the skin sag again?
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Honestly, I'm not the best person to ask. I'm a slow healer and still have some swelling and bruising after 6 1/2 weeks. Dr. Koelliker said SMAS lift and fat replacement could last for 7-10 years, depending on your procedure, health, DNA , etc. For me, my jaw line and neck still look good as swelling resolves. My lips were more "poofy" right after surgery. Regretfully, they are a little less plump now. Blame that on me though. I told Dr. Koelliker, "no poofy fake lips please." You should talk to your doctor w/ follow-up visit for a much more informed response. Wish I could be more help.
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You look fantastic but if you wanted everyone to notice you would have had to look a lot worse in the beginning. Your neck would have bothered me but your jowls aren't very large. So,,,although you do look very youthful..could pass for in your thirties, it wasn't drastic and people probably do notice you look better but cannot pinpoint what it is.
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Thanks. You are very sweet. My saggy neck really screamed for drastic measures.
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You hit the nail on the head. I can see a noticeable difference between my pre and post surgery but it seems that nobody notices. I am left wondering if I am seeing what I want to see or if people just do not pay much attention to women after a certain age.
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Yep, I've had a real problem with invisibility and my family only notices what's cooking on the stove. But on my 2 wk post surgery trip, TSA had their hands all over me. They actually checked my belly button for weapons. My advice. If you want anyone to really notice the new you, wear a scarf and make a plane connection through DFW airport.
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Dr K was at Casa Marino yesterday doing follow-ups and I saw Elizabeth. Of course she looked amazing an was asking about you as she did not get to see you before you left. 10, 9 , 8, 7, .... more days until I am officially a Yoga Teacher!
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You are looking great! I too, had an amazing experience with Dr. K in Mexico. I don't understand why these posts cannot be put on the regular review page, but I am glad I found yours. Thanks for sharing.
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Thank you for sharing your experience - lots of swelling and bruising but your looking great. Looking forward to seeing how it all progress. How have you coped with the scarring?
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Thank you. I'm using Mederma cream on pinpoint scar under chin and suture lines surrounding my ears. Also, Mederma is applied where a minimal amount of hair was removed on each side of vertical hairline to suture and tighten neck. Lastly, Mederma is applied to small vertical suture lines located above sideburns within hairline. Dr. Koelliker gave me a choice of sutures visible at hairline or within hairline. I chose the latter. All neck, chin and eye bruises have healed. Two remaining bruises, one high on each cheek were being treated with Arnica gel but I'm very allergic to Sunflowers so have switched to Donnell Skin Vit K cream. I have been wearing my hair up constantly and no one, not even my husband, can see any scarring at ears, chin, neck or sideburns. The only place I wear cover stick now is on my high cheek area to cover remaining bruising. Please keep in mind I bruise easily and always swell up like a balloon. I am also still taking Dolo-Neurobion (vitamin combo) prescribed by Dr. Koelliker to help reduce swelling. Hope this info helps and thanks for asking.
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Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I have followed posts about Dr Koelliker with great interest. He seems amazing. If only travel insurance would cover me I would be there in a heartbeat, I am from Australia and fear to travel so far from home without insurance would be foolish. My only concern for facelift surgery is the scaring, I'm really pleased for you that your is so amazing. I'm planning on surgery early next year but I will pay at least double your total package price. Thanks again and hope all the bruising is gone soon!!
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Having the same concerns about emergencies, I purchased an additional insurance policy through Allianz Global Assistance for my trip to Mexico and a separate additional policy for my son traveling to Seoul, South Korea. One was purchased through American Airlines at time of payment, the second was arranged directly through Allianz website. I would imagine there are other companies offering similar services ; however, you are smart to be cautious as Australia is very far away. Good luck to you.
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Hi Guajira, Love your honest posts. Particularly interested in your thoughts about how it has changed your looks but also how others haven't noticed much. I am in the process of booking with Dr k for early march for a full facelift and fat transfer to cheeks and lips. Also looking at a lip lift. I live in a very close knit village in England where I have many friends and acquaintances. I have been open to everyone about what I intend to have done and the reasons for doing so. I worry that only I will notice the difference and people will wonder what I've spent my money on. I think people think that a facelift will either make you look 100% beautiful or very, very different. I do have a worry that it might not make much of a difference. I had my breasts enlarged last year and feel I could have gone larger. The surgeon I felt was far too conservative and looking at breast augmentation forums, most posts post op are to do with not being happy with the chosen size[ going too small] Do you have any advice when it comes to to the consultation with Dr K. Would you also be able to post some recent photos of you. thanks once again for all your posts they have been a real help
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