A Lot Harder Than You Would Think -Toledo, OH

I've had lots of work done in my life...nose,...

I've had lots of work done in my life...nose, eyes, breasts (twice)...but this face lift (SMAS) and neck lift at age 58 (Feb. 20th, 2013) has been the hardest yet. My family didn't want me to do it, but I was influenced by those pesky Lifestyle Lift commercials. I went to a trusted plastic surgeon, but the recovery time has been so long. At 4 weeks out, I am still so swollen that I don't feel like I look like a normal person. The tightness and numbness around the outer edges of my face and ears is simply weird. I feel like I'm wearing a child's party hat with that tight elastic under my chin. When I wash my face, I feel like I'm washing hard plastic. At 3 weeks out, I was telling all my friends NOT to do this. I'm not sure how I'll feel once the swelling subsides and feeling returns to my face.


It's not unusual for a full recovery to take a year (that's been my case), but I would never tell someone NOT to do this. Recovery is not difficult but it is also not like not having surgery at all. Feeling numb (like when you said you washed your face and it felt like hard plastic), feeling tight, experiencing swollen cheeks and rivets, dents all of these things are par for ANY kind of surgery and is all part of the healing process. Unless one is feeling a lot of pain (vs. slight discomfort) one shouldn't complain. If these are the kind of things that really bother someone yes, they should reconsider elective surgery, even with all the benefits that come along with it. Sleeping upright was actually my biggest complaint! Luckily I only had to do that for a handful amount of days. :)
  • Reply
This reminds me of LaMaze childbirth classes. The instructor told me that I would feel "discomfort." I had no experience talking to anyone else about childbirth...so, when I felt my first strong contractions (natural childbirth) I asked the nurse if I was dying. It was so much more than discomfort. It was excruciating!!! You're right, there was no pain involved in my face lift recovery (thanks in part to pain meds for the first week). Some people are just wimpier than others. The older I get, the wimpier I am becoming!

Thank you SO much for sharing your story and photos. I can definitely see the difference in how you look, but the recovery sounds really difficult. I hope the numbness and swelling goes away soon so you can just enjoy your results.

  • Reply

Ok, I admit it. It is pretty cool to look at my...

Ok, I admit it. It is pretty cool to look at my before and afters! I'm 5 weeks out and my face doesn't feel normal yet, but I must admit that I like the look much better than "before." I didn't like the process, but I will like the end results. Just a note to anyone considering doing this. It is a big deal, and allow lots of recovery time.


Hi BarbyDoll....Just saw your updated photos.....You Look Great!!!!! I can definitely see a difference. You should be really happy.....I have a scar from 2 previous throat surgeries that I don't think will ever look much better, but I may check into a scar revision (if that's even an option) for that once I'm finally healed from this surgery. Hey, maybe my medical insurance will pay for it, who knows....It seems like it shows up more now since I've have my FL. Oh well, time will tell for me. Glad you are seeing improvement, hope you are feeling well.
  • Reply
My friend also ate alot of pineapple and took arnica when she had her eyes done, also reports no bruising. The only bruising I had was a little yellowish, and disappeared quickly. You can also take bromelain.
  • Reply
I hope everyone is taking Arnica Montana and eating pineapple! I had very little bruising, went back to work after 6 days. I was swollen, but really minimal bruising!
  • Reply

At 7 weeks, I still have a slight ridge along my...

At 7 weeks, I still have a slight ridge along my left jaw...still a faint tint of green there too...so, guess it's still in the process of healing. At 6 weeks, I went out to dinner with a 10 year old (the kind who says things like, "Ewww...you have hair in your nose!"). She was staring at me and said, "Oh my gosh, there's a red line at your ear...did you cut your ear off???" She proceeded to move THE hair away from my ears and said, "Oh, oh, oh...what did you do?" My sweet husband saved the day by saying, "She had some fat removed. She had fat in the wrong places." LOL


Has anyone noticed or had a slight drop of their SMAS 3 months after the procedure and after swelling has gone down? Thanks La007
  • Reply
Can you explain what you mean? I don't understand your question. And what is an SMAS
Yes sure...SMAS is a type of facelift. After 3 months my facelift had slightly decended/relaxed. Im still happy with the results I wanted to know if this is normal.

At 8 weeks, I'm still numb around my ears and...

At 8 weeks, I'm still numb around my ears and still swollen under my chin. Certain positions really hurt my face when I lie on my stomach (which I do when I want to really sleep comfortably). But now, I'm seeing gradual improvement weekly. In the first few weeks, I would see daily improvement. It seems to slow down as I get further away from the surgery date. (I made this comment further down on this thread...sorry about the repeat)


Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. I'm going to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein tomorrow. I can't believe how inexpensive yours was, that's great!!! If you had it to do all over again would you still choose Dr. Rubinstein?
  • Reply
My sister is planning a facelift with Dr. Rubinstein soon. I'll do a tummy tuck with him next year as I want to wait a little bit for my body to rest after a surgery. Dr. Rubinstein is also Chief Surgeon of a big hospital. He is extremely qualified and very caring. Let me know what you think after you meet him.
OhGirl, my scars along my hairline are flat but still pink-red. The ones behind my ears are plump (bumpy). I'm really liking brushing on mineral powder make-up for coverage. By the end of the day, it does settle into the scars though (my skin is pretty oily)...so, I just wash off with washcloth. I had a fatty lipoma removed at the same time as my facelift...that scar is just under my throat area. That scar is completely flat and nearly invisible on the right half of the incision...and then, bumpy and thick on the left half of the incision. It's almost unpredictable how these scars will turn out. I think it's more about our body's healing than about the surgeon's skill.

Week 12, new sensations!!! Now, instead of simply...

Week 12, new sensations!!! Now, instead of simply numb along the sides of my face, I'm getting those prickly sensations that people talk about. My face (on the edges) feels prickly when I touch it...to wash it or when I am lying with my head on a pillow (lying on my tummy). When I wake up after sleeping on my tummy, my face scars and scars behind my ears hurt. I guess this is because I have more feeling in those areas now that the numbness is subsiding.


Glad to find this thread -- should have found you guys two months ago, at the end of March, when Dr. Naficy did my SMAS/deep plane lift (with upper bleph, C02 under the eyes, and quite a bit of fat transfer). Man, was that first month hell! Yeah, it's sloooowww going. I'm no stranger to surgery, including three previous neck and head surgeries (for medical reasons), gall bladder removal, and a c-section -- but it's sure good to know that I'm not the only one finding this recovery to be extra hard slogging compared to the others. The bruising was all gone in one month. At two months, all the exterior sutures have healed up pretty nicely: you really can't see anything at all. But the internal stitches -- which are most of them, with this procedure -- are still swollen and inflamed. And things aren't improving nearly as fast as they were a month ago, when I could see major changes week over week. It's been like this for a while, and is going to be like this for a while longer. The internal stitches getting prickly and itchy, which is a good sign that they're dissolving and the nerves are beginning the long process of regeneration. But I did hope that I wouldn't still have so many lumps and bumps by now. Also: depending on how swollen I am, the chin seems painfully tight on some days, and on others it hangs so slack that I can hardly tell I've had anything done (which is, y'no, depressing, given all I've gone through). I'm already suspecting that there's going to be some Ultherapy, Titan, or other skin-tightening in my future, to make my droopy skin fit more firmly onto my new musculature. I do look better, but I don't look GREAT. It's like something out of a Greek myth. The good news is: the gods will let us turn the clock back ten years. The bad news is: they will exact a very stiff recovery price for the privilege. Sounds like a lot of us here are bravely paying it. I keep telling myself: Dr. N makes no final judgments on the outcome until six months have passed, so I'm not going to, either.
  • Reply
Well written! I can relate to everything you've said.
considering a necklift too. I've had consults with 2 plastic surgeons in Pittsburgh. Anyone from the 'burg' recommend a good PS?
  • Reply

5 months post op

I'm afraid a revision is in my future if I can stand it...my chin has been most resistant to change. I don't look forward to the pain and the hiding away again. I have an appt. with my doctor on Aug. 14th. I'll see what he has to say.


Well I am with you, I will never do this again either. Had lower face, mid and browlift done on the 17th and you are right it is a big deal. I can't chew anything, my mouth only opens a bit, I lost 13 lbs My left ear has a pleat behind it and in the front has some weird shape too it, my friend says the drainage tubing was wrapped around my ear underneath the skin. I shall see.... I wish you best of luck with the rest of the recovery....I am sure we all be happy with the results.
  • Reply
There is a big difference before and after but you mentioned you "still have a chin" .... did you gain any weight AFTER the surgery??? Any weight issues that you are concerned about that might impact the surgery from your POV?
  • Reply
Had my neck lift revision with Dr. Giampapa and Dr. Fiorillo assisting. Done under local anesthetic, it wasn't too uncomfortable and I liked listening to what was going on. He kept saying how great it was looking and felt I was going to be 100% satisfied. I hope so. First postoperative appointment is in 2 days. Willkeepyou dated.
  • Reply
Toledo Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Zavell has done other work on me, and has always been wonderful to work with. He is considered the best plastic surgeon in our area. He doesn't try to sell you on extra procedures, and is willing to listen.

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
Was this review helpful? 13 others found this helpful