For years I've been dissatisfied with my lack of...
Its been 3 days after my cheek implant surgery and thought I would journal my experience, particularly because I found patient reviews scarce and from the reviews I received, appears to be mixed conclusion if the procedure is worthwhile. I also had under chin smart-Lipo, sidalaze, Day 1-2 I don't recall much, slept most the first 48 hours. Pain meds were Vicodin and a muscle relaxer. Pain was high, 8 out of 10 and very uncomfortable. My first pst-op visit day 3, my cheeks are beyond swollen, 3x what I expected and I'm hating life. At this point, all I can think is what a giant mistake this was and Hoping the future will leave me more optimistic.
Day 5 - Swelling has not reduced. Resembling Elephant Man (woman)
Steps taken directly after surgery:
1) I took 5 tabs of Arnica 3 x day, starting 2 days before surgery and have continued this regiment starting 1 day after surgery. Will continue for 10 days. So far, I have very little to no bruising, which Dr. says is very rare and he was very pleased by this. So much that he seemed unaffected by my overly-swollen head and face, optimistic about the lack of bruising. No clue if Arnica or a very good diet were contributing factors. I also stay extremely hydrated, although this often makes me feel even more swollen.
2) I stopped taking all vitamins recommended to reduce thinning blood and bleeding, such as Fish Oils, Aspirin, alch, etc.
3) I sleep almost completely sitting up. This makes me super stiff and hard to sleep, thankfully the Dr. prescribes anti-Anxiety meds. Slowing coming off of those by day 4.
4) I wear a sling around my head, helps to support the extra water weight, essentially my skin hanging and jiggling around my face. If you can't tell already, I despise my swollen face and haven't left the house other than the 1st post-op since the surgery. The tighter the wrap, the better I feel and start to forget about the additional 5lbs of water on my cheeks.
5) No food or drink after mid-night the day before the surgery. Unfortunately I didn't get a meal in until 10pm evening after the surgery, sleeping all day, had a protein shake but only after double-dosage of the Vicodin (prescribed pain maitn).
6) Day 0-2: Icing often using mini-snack baggies of frozen peas. I placed one mini bag on each side of my head wrap, holding in place. Despite my rigorous icing efforts, the swelling didn't budge and only appeared to increased every day. Following my 1st post-op visit on Day 3, Dr. said don't bother after day 3, won't do any good. So can't say how impactful my icing was. At times it hurt to do so, others it provided relief.
7) Day 1-3 food is a challenge. As a total health fanatic, this is one of my stressful areas. Don't want to gain or lose too much weight during weeks of recovery. The first 4 days are pretty much all liquids and yogurt. By day 4-5 started eating some veggies and soup, but even with the pain meds, chewing is NOT FUN and seems to temp increase swelling.
8) Thought ahead and fully stocked my fridge: Plenty of mouthwash (depending on how they place the implants, you might not be brushing your teeth for a few days so Listerine is a godsend). Low-carb protein powder (you will need plenty for 3-4 shakes a day!), low-cal yogurt or greek, oats softened in water or soft rice, sliced deli meat, jell-o or any other soft healthy foods. You will have ALOT of downtime, so now is NOT the time to eat poorly or gain weight. Think ahead and stock the fridge with plenty of healthy, chewable options!
For all you health-nuts, bottom of this post is my recipe for a high-fiber/protein, low cal shake that helps get you through 2-3 hours while your body adapts to almost a complete liquid and soft food diet.
9) Support, support, support! My sister drove me to and from the surgery center. She has also been a godsend with making additional stops to the grocery store. I told everyone I had jaw alignment surgery, dealing with other dental issues recently, was a reasonable excuse. But you will not be prepared for how debilitating this surgery is and you will NOT be leaving the sanctity of your home for at least 10 days. Count on someone to run errands and help you while you're completely worthless. :)
Note that I have the benefit of working remote, so I went back to work on Day 4, under the guise that I had jaw surgery and won't be "overly accessible" for up to 2 weeks.
Here's my recommendation on a healthy liquid meal: Low-carb banana protein powder blended with Kale (little taste, high in vit), 2 sweet cucumbers, 1/4 cup blueberries, stevia and cinnamon to taste. Mix all with 2 cups ice and 1/2 cup water makes a terrific fiber full shake (30g protein, 140 calories or less).
Day 3 & 4 Post-Op Photos
1 week post-opp
I flew in based off a strong recommendation and left town few days after the operation. The staff was pleasant and the office manager overly-optimistic, and friendly. It was obvious the office manager makes commission from every procedure, but nonetheless I found her comforting and accommodating. As for Dr. Mackenzie, he's extremely reputable and knowledgeable and met the recommendation. But would say he comes across slightly "unaffected" and a litttttle desensitized, likely from years of working in plastics. What sold me was his conservative approach, ultimately was what helped me pull the trigger.