Mexico Adventure - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I have been seeing the ads for FaceLiftMexico in...

I have been seeing the ads for FaceLiftMexico in one of my favorite magazines, International Living, for many, many years and always stored that information in the back of my mind. I am already a great fan of Mexico and feel safe everywhere I go, because I don't frequent border towns and Acapulco! San Miguel de Allende is my favorite city in Mexico....very sophisticated and beautiful. The medical facilities and services there are top-notch, as there is quite a large and sophisticated expat community in San Miguel. I had investigated plastic surgeons in my area of the United States and was almost fearful of their extreme approaches in terms of drastic results and protecting themselves from liability.....not to mention extremely high prices. 

I am a single woman, going on 62, and decided that I didn't want to have my surgery in such a non-nurturing environment....being sent home the day of surgery to make do for myself. I remembered Pat Marino, her hand-picked surgeon and her Spa retreat for the aftercare. I did my due diligence, looking for 3rd party reviews of Dr. Koelliker and felt comfortable that I would be in good hands before AND after. I particularly liked that the method of anesthesia used by Dr. Koelliker is much safer and not as hard on your body as the general anesthesia used in the US. With Pat Marino as a guide, my initial apprehension has been assuaged and I feel like I can call her at any time to have all of my questions answered. FaceLiftMexico promises to take care of you from the moment you step off the plane, handles all of the transportation details and then tends to your every need in a spa-like atmosphere at Casa Marino for six days after your THREE day hospital stay under the care of your doctor. I have begun to look at my potentially stressful experience of a facelift as more of the "vacation" they advertise. Now, I am under no illusions this will be a walk in the park, but at least I feel I am choosing to make it easier on myself. Dr. Koelliker is also known for his conservative approach and has been described as a true "artist." Sounds good to me!


I wish you all the very best for your facelift. Judging by all the reviews on Dr Keolliker I'm sure it will be great. I am in a similar position to you, ie, in my 60's on my own etc and am seriously considering going to Mexico for a facelift. I live in New Zealand so it is quite a journey. I look forward to reading about your progress and experience.
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I'm sure you will have great results. I just had my facelift on April 29 in Celaya, a 45 minute drive from San Miguel. I'm not ready to write a review yet, since I'm only 3 days post-op, but so far everything has been better than I ever expected.
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Your big day is a week away! When are you heading to Mexico?

I would like to know how the anesthesia Dr. K. uses is better for your body than U.S. anesthesia. Do you have additional details on this?

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I have been out of town and out of touch until...

I have been out of town and out of touch until today. Thanks for all of the responses. I did try to answer a couple of questions by cellphone, but I don't think they posted. Am not the world's most computer literate person. Someone asked about the anesthesia. All I know is that it is an IV sedation with local injection. There is much less trauma and you are awake immediately after. There is no tube down your throat, which has it's own potential complications. You do not feel, hear or remember anything. I have been telling a few women what I am about to do and many of them said they have done it as well....astounding to find out. In making my decision to have a facelift, I have wrestled with the thought that I want to be loved for who I am....want a partner in my life who doesn't mind wrinkles and appreciates the companionship of someone his age, etc. etc. But I have faced the fact that we live in a society that values beauty (who doesn't love beauty?!) and we are all attracted to attractive people. I can weed out the ones who aren't beautiful on the inside as well, very quickly. I still look pretty good and am comfortable with my looks, for my age, but want to do the surgery while I am younger/healthier. I want to look good when I am 75-80. My mother had one facelift in her life and at 89, you can still see physical beauty instead of a mass of wrinkles. Why not have inner and outer beauty both, if we can?!! So I have worked out my most of my inner hesitations and am going forward without a lot of fear of the physical process as well. I know how to detox from the drugs and heal scars and meridians that are disturbed, so that helps. It helps so much talking with others.


I think the emotional part of the decision and then the healing process can be underestimated. Sounds like you are prepared! Have had other things done but it was nothing like the decision to do face work.
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It IS a long way to travel, but we do what we have to do, don't we?! We are brave women! Will look forward to hearing about your process as well....
Do you have a date yet for your facelift? I have found out the flying time to LA from here is 13 hours and then another 7.5 to Cancun so I am having a hard time deciding.

It's done! It was a pleasure...really (!) from...

It's done! It was a pleasure...really (!) from the beginning. FaceLiftMexico with Pat and Melinda Merino has a process that takes it all out of your hands. They provide the best possible experience and there is no stress or drama on your end. I have been chauffeured around in a private car by a sophisticated and lovely father/son team. They didn't just take me to the hospital in Celaya and drop me off, but they checked me in and made sure I was comfortable in my room. Dr. Koelliker came in right away and gave me as much time as I needed to consult with him in person. I had already been assessed from the United States by sending in required testing, yet they did it all over again, quickly, though, to be certain my body was in good shape to handle surgery. I felt very safe and comfortable.....not too many jitters. Someone was always visiting me to be certain I was doing well as I was waiting. I wasn't even nervous on surgery morning. I was wheeled into surgery facing a room of about 15 people involved in the process. The anesthesia wasn't as deep as I had thought it would be, because I could hear myself snoring and would ever so often realize I was being worked on. It was all so vague and over with quickly, though. I was so grateful to have had the lighter anesthesia, and even though I was nauseous afterwards, it wasn't nearly the event from which to recuperate had I had the tube down my throat and the general anesthetic. I was told that most people don't get the nausea, but I am not used to any kinds of pharmaceuticals at all and am very sensitive. All in all, I am feeling so much safer and cared for in Mexico. They do things because they are better for the patient, not out of fear of being sued or just because it is formal protocol. Dr. Koelliker didn't go too heavy on the drugs...he used only a mild form of painkiller because it is safer. Afterwards, he visited me 4 times a day in my room making sure I was okay. Our healthcare and hospital system in the United States has become rote and impersonal and not patient oriented. I have been so grateful that I am here. I would assume that from now on if I need any major medical work done, I will research this area again. I am now at Casa Marino, in a beautiful home, a luxurious bed, a beautiful garden with a fountain & birds and a massage therapist in the next room! I have a week of peaceful vacation ahead of me....being served wonderful food, an extensive selection of great movies on my in room flat screen tv, a gorgeous city to explore and very nice, supportive people all around me. I am told that my bruises and swelling are not too bad and I seem to be healing quickly already with no pain, only some major tightness which is par for the course. I am not making light of the vision in the mirror or being vaguely uncomfortable sleeping only on my back, but I was prepared ahead of time to know this would be the case. If I were in the United States they would have kicked me out of surgery just hours later and I would be alone in my house, wondering about my face, and everything else under the sun. There is something very wrong with that. All of this for about one third less the price I was quoted at home. So GREAT. The actual healing will tell the tale on the satisfaction with the outcome. More later...


I am so happy for you and wish you all the best! I too, am going to Dr Koelliker on June 11 for a facelift and breast lift. Going by myself, so very nervous! What was the hospital you were in and how far was it to Casa Merino?
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good luck to you Hippiegirl, I am on my way to San Miguel Allende myself. Why haven't you been told how far it is from hospital in Celaya to Casa Marino? the hospital should now be the same as it was for the last few persons. I know the MAC hospital was listed in February and it was on Pat Marino's website for Dr. K. I found out that the hospital had changed but was not listed on the website. It should be about 1 1/2 hours from Celaya on the outskirts of San Miguel Allende. I have the address of the Casa if you need it. I had to research to find this five star spa casa house in the suburbs.
Congratulations! You are going to love Dr. Koellilker, he inspires a lot of confidence and visits you 3 and 4 times a day while in the hospital. There are many nurses and aides coming and going as well. You will not feel alone, AT ALL, when you get to Casa Marino. I felt like they were really there for me and anything you need to talk about is addressed. They are not using the MAC hospital right now. I understand there is a lot of construction going on and it is also not convenient for Dr. Koelliker to see you multiple times a day, as his home hospital is the "other" one....can't remember the name, but Casa Marino can give you that info. They are renovating the older hospital where Dr. Koelliker works and where I had my surgery, which should make it an even better experience. While it would have been nice to have a more attractive room, etc., the important point, of his being there for you at a moments notice, is worth being in the older hospital. Maybe they will use that hospital all of the time....I didn't really get the story. It was a perfectly fine room and facility and I had total confidence in the hospital and the support staff. It is around an hour drive from the hospital to Casa Marino with a great driver, so you will enjoy the drive, the conversation and a little history lesson, if you wish. Remember that a lot of us go alone and actually having company could have been annoying, haha, as the alone time was a wonderful gift for healing and there was no pressure to engage....could really rest and relax. You will do great and I can't wait to hear how you do!

Home from San Miguel

If you have been reading my posts, you know I get excited and a little carried away, writing such long descriptions! Will try to keep this short:) Most of the bruising is gone and I am left with swelling and scars to work on. It has been 10 days, and I wasn't self conscious at all on the trip home, as I looked pretty normal. There is a lot of tightness in my neck and face, which is par for the course .I had some fluid buildup in my neck and Dr. Koelliker came by Casa Marino and drained it when he removed the stitches. Again, I am not taking much of the inflammatory medication as it really bothers my stomach. I would advise to take it as suggested. Still hard to tell what I will look like when the swelling goes down, but so far so good. I am a little intimidated and nervous about the suture lines (scars!) around my ear and the back of my head. I hadn't researched the placement in depth. But I am sure all will be fine and I plan on nurturing those religiously with the scar creams. Again, I can't say enough about Casa Marino....I really enjoyed my stay there and felt completely attended to and comforted by their knowledge and attention. Every question or concern was addressed and I felt like I had so much experienced support. Never did I feel alone, yet I had plenty of privacy, as they know we are there to rest and recuperate. Was impressed with their drivers, as well. There is a lot of driving involved and you are in a very pleasant new car with wonderful, intelligent and compassionate company, so there is no discomfort going back and forth. The drive from Casa Marino, back to the airport is gorgeous. Be sure to ask questions about the history of San Miguel/Mexico....all very interesting. This has been such a great experience, I will have to think of something else to correct, so I can do it all over again:!


I think I will do the whole story from start to finish with my surgery with dr. Koelliker. I have learned so much from this site. It is so informative and the befores and afters are so, so helpful. My surgery date is June 12. I will be leaving on June 10. Extremely nervous and excited at the same time!
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I will look forward to following your story! It helps us not feel so alone in this process. Are you staying at Casa Marino as well? If so, it will add so much comfort to the experience. My advice? Don't even be nervous... because there is no pain....the surgery feels over with so quickly and you don't know it is happening. I know it is a daunting thought, but just put it in a little compartment and go with it! Dr. Koelliker inspires so much confidence and is such a gentle soul. The stay at Casa Marino is so supportive and comfortable and you don't ever have to think about any of the logistics. Piece of cake! You just have to commit the time for yourself to heal.
How is your recovery going? I am a little freaked out by my scars and, as I am sure they will diminish in time, I want to think that they can go away relatively completely if I take care to put the healing creams on religiously. Do you still have swelling, bruising, etc.?

Face life before and after

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Face Lift Before and After


You look great and it sounds like you had a very positive experience in San Miguel. I was struck by your comment that you would have to think of something else to be worked on so you could go back. I am having the very same experience, lol! I enjoyed the time in San Miguel and my experience with Dr. Barrera was so positive, before I left I asked him about a tummy tuck, which is not something I had ever considered seriously until I met a doctor that I trust this much.
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haha, that is too funny! it is an interesting dynamic....that we would go through surgery and enjoy the process so much. I have nothing but fond feelings about the entire process.....a little strange?!:)
What is everyone doing for scar treatment?

18 Days Later


Looking good!
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Fabulous and Gorgeous! You must be so pleased!
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Thanks for posting that last picture. You look totally amazing! Now I am completely confident with Doctor K!
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The second set of photos next to my before shot, are from the day I was leaving Casa Marino, 10 days later, not 15.....
Not sure how to change it.....I am not that savvy on posting or I would have had more of a photo chronology going for you. Have had intermittent help from someone in my office to do most of this.


From all accounts, Dr. Koelliker seems to be the best in that area...So pleased that I chose him. Hope you are looking forward to it....put all of those fears aside! It really wasn't scary at all.


Still trying to figure out how to change that notice from "Not Sure" to "Worth It" so thought I would mention that it WAS and IS WORTH IT! Am especially pleased that I stayed at Casa Marino for the pampering, convenience, the ease of logistics and emotional support, rather that just a bed and breakfast, or the like......that was WORTH IT!!!!!!!!


You look beautiful. Wow is all I can say, my god you look young enough to be your own daughter :-)
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You look fantastic!
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You look positively radiant! congratulations!!!! Dr Koelliker truly is an artist. Really happy with the work that he did on me. I also found Casa Marino to be a special part of the experience. Also planning on going back.... maybe see you there! Happy for you!
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August 22, 2013


You look stunning - even before the procedure!!
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You look great, we both had our face/neck lifts around the same time...
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Hey Hippiegirl, How are you doing??
Mexico Plastic Surgeon

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