Cheek Implant W/ Smart Lipo Under Chin

For years I've been dissatisfied with my lack of...

For years I've been dissatisfied with my lack of cheekbone structure, one that both my mom and sister were blessed with. I also have an abnormal amount of fat around my cheeks and chin, so no matter how lean I get, my face persists with a baby-like" feature. I sought my doctor to visit options to correct this. We decided on mild cheek implants and smart Lipo below chin area.

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.

Before photos to compare

Front shot and side shot. Will continue to add photos as time goes by.

Day 5 - Swelling has not reduced. Resembling Elephant Man (woman)

My sister and I joke because I resemble any actor you see wearing a fat suit, like you know what they normally look like, but appear over-bloated and with an extra-fold of skin all around the face and under the chin. So far, I'm kicking myself every day for doing this to myself. As an overly-active athletic person, it's clear I have another 10-14 days before I can even consider med-impact activities, so this certainly stacks the deck, add another fat "con" to the "pros/cons" list.

Steps taken directly after surgery:

Most of the steps below were provided in my pre-surgery packet, but I've included several steps that I took in addition:

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.

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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

Note the overly bulging cheeks and swelling, at least 2-3lbs of water on my face. The left side appears far more swollen than the right, which I find odd. Ugh. Also very minor bruising under left eye.

1 week post-opp

After Day 7 from surgery, I'm finally seeing some reduction in my swelling. Now that the fluid is coming down, I my skin is starting to show yellow spots (bruising that was hiding behind the swelling). But today I felt some comfortable enough to venture outside, run an errand. My neighbor ran into me, did a double-take and thought I was my sister (little heavier). The result so far is not desirable, but I'm hoping will continue to improve and I'm told week 2 will look much better.
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon

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.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 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
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (7)

Would love to hear how your healing is progressing now that several months have passed. Has all the swelling subsided? Hope you are doing well.
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I'm two weeks post op. Had cheek and chin implants. I'm super swollen. Had mine done on 9/10/13. Wondering about your update. I've been taking pictures everyday since day 1. I'm going to string them together and possibly post them after 1 year. I think it will be cool. Not a lot of pictures out there of healing and swelling and all that. Anyway. Been following ya. Hope you dare to post again. :) Take care.
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Hi Fitness25, Thank you for posting a picture of the initial swelling. This is very helpful as we tend to only see before and after photos and nothing in between. A couple of questions: 1. have you experienced any changes in your ability to make facial expressions? 2. How was the swelling after week 2? I am considering going to dr. Yaremchuk for cheek implants so I would love to know how your experience has been since you're last post in August.
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Please keep us updated. I am considerig cheek implants too. What made you decide on implants versus fillers?
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Thank you for your story. Check implants can be tough with respect to recovery. I look forward to an update. I'd wager you'll be happier in a week or so. There will be residual swelling for up to a month or more but it's tough to notice. Having the Slimlipo under the chin and neck at the same time tends to slow the resolution of swelling in the face. Thank you again Chase Lay, MD
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Hi, JK. Just curious whether you've got any non-smiling before pics with your face relaxed enough to see your facial structure to compare to your healing after shots. I've always coveted cheekbones, too, so I'm hugely interested in your review, story, and progress. Just a couple questions: are you being sure to keep your head elevated, force fluids, and using ice for the swelling? All those things should help somewhat with your discomfort. And thank you for journaling your experience!
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Awe, sorry to hear you are feeling not so great right now. :( Hopefully with each day the swelling gets better. I've always wished I had better cheekbones...and the definition under my chin is fading fast as the years go by, so I'll be following your review closely and very interested to hear what changes you see!

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