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.

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.

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

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)

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.

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.
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
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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?
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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.
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How are you feeling and looking? Did you like Dr Giampapa string lift? He really told you it would last 20 years?
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I'm at week 8, and still have discoloration under my chin and some puffiness. The neck area looks great. Dr. G says that will go away. I see him next week. I use a battery operated mini massager twice a day. The skin feels tender in areas, probably from the massager. Scars behind my ears are fairly smoothe. I still feel like I have a noose around my neck at times. He did say it would last and I hope he's right. It is a long healing process.
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Alice, how was your next visit? I had a suture suspension done by Dr. Giampapa.
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I saw Dr. Giampapa today, week 9. He said everything is going well. Said that since it was a revision and not a virgin neck, healing takes longer. I'm still massaging twice a day. I still have swelling, but definitely better. He still says that it will look great in 20 years... What was your experience?
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My experience, sorry to tell you I am still living a nightmare. The suture ripped through my muscle behind my ear. I told Dr. Giampapa about it and he said it did not happen. I went to see him and he still said it was not true. My neck basically fell when I felt it rip through. He sent me away after that appointment making me feel I was crazy. I called his office over and over and talked to the nurses. I went in again and had to convince him it did happen. So he said he could do a quick procedure in his office. I left. Called after a few days and set an appointment thinking this would fix it. He told me he wanted to do in hospital. Now I have to pay operating fees. Still I went through with it. They forgot to give me Valium, so went in and felt like I was going to have a heart attack. Very bad experience. He had finally admitted that it could happen and I read after that it happens very often and why the majority of plastic surgeons do not use this procedure. As one told me, it it was a great procedure, every doctor would do it. Well after that surgery I had the same issue, the reattachment did not work. Now, so mentally upset, not being social anymore, staying home depressed, I went back to him, he basically blew me off. One nurse helped me as I cried in his office. She talked to me and helped me address it again with him. Long story short, Dr. G was appeasing me and offered to do whole surgery over. I was scared to death and prayed for guidance on what to do. I ended up getting the surgery redone. I met with Dr. G prior to surgery in a room and he discussed procedure. He said he was going to put a suture he usually uses in a man that is thicker. I said wouldn't you see it because I have thin skin, he said no it is up under your jaw. Something doubted it, but thought he is the expert. I had surgery and woke up in the most pain ever in my life. I felt someone was choking me as my neck was on fire. He came by my bedside and said it went perfect and I would be happy. Post op visit he took off head wrap and I vertical lines and this huge ridge going down one side of my neck, I was horrified. He said it will be fine with time, so would the choking feeling. I left and prayed and cried everyday. I took off two weeks even though he said I would be fine in one. I had to go back to work and was so self conscience and looked like a freak. I hid it and thought about it every minute. Went back to him again and he gave me steroid shot. The ridge stayed there for 6 months. Choking feeling did not go away for totally. First 7 months I had to push my throat in to cough. My lip was paralyzed and couldn't smile right for over a month. When I saw him and tried not to complain, he said well you wanted it tight, so I made it tight. I almost died he said that. I never said I wanted it tight, I wanted it fixed. So fast forwarding..you could see and feel the suture through my skin. For 3 years I lived with it. I hibernated and felt my looks were gone and there was nothing I could do. I went to 9 surgeons for consultations spending over $2k. Every single one does not use this technique and said I should have it taken out. They could not promise I would look better, but I would get relief from the choking feeling and feeling I couldn't put my head back. I wish I could tell the world what I went through so no one has to live a nightmare like me. I really hope you are well, you are hopefully having a better experience than me. Good luck to you!
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You certainly describe a horrific experience with plastic surgery. So far things are going well, although I feel something when I put my chin towards my neck, but it seems to get better. Still have bruising on my neck and under the chin which of course is better. 100% ? Not yet. Profile is not perfect yet and it's 3 months. I go back on June 19th. It is strange that he is always sure everything will end up perfect. Most surgeons are pretty narcissistic and I suppose he needs to believe it will turn out right. However, that said, it is a big improvement over the last job. If I could figure out how to post pictures, I would. Where do you live that you went to him? I'm in New City.
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Hi, you look good but I wondered if the surgeon had to put the scars in front of the ears like that? I thougth they could be more hidden somehow? They will fade and your hair covers them luckily (apart from when curious children notice!). Best Wishes with your recovery.
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As I read all the comments (while I consider having a face lift), it seems many are somewhat surprised that after six weeks or two months - fill in your own time frame - they're still experiencing numbness. In 2007, I had many "reconstructive" surgeries including for my face: mandible reshaping, brow reduced, rhinoplasty, lip shortened and lifted, etc. Every one of the four surgeons I used for six different surgeries gave me the same accurate information. Healing takes a full year to judge the results and you will not be able to make a final determination until then. While I am not suggesting that certain "problems" can not be determined and should be addressed sooner, all swelling and the final reshaping will continue. Nerve cells are the slowest of all cells when it comes to repairing themselves and thus regeneration takes even longer. Progress was slow and steady but even three years after surgery, a few small areas of my face were still numb - tip of nose and chin. However, I can happily report that eventually, all resolved. I guess my attitude evolved to feeling that a little long term numbness was a small price to pay even if my final appearance is only 90% of what I dreamed it would be. [Note: Permanent numbness is a real risk.] Bottom line: The problems we wish to address didn't occur overnight and a realistic expectation and patience can help alleviate a lot of the stress we experience. Once you've made the decision to "go for it", have faith. I hope this helps a little.
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I honestly think you look really good. Hopefully you and your surgeon can work something out so you can get the results YOU want. I had a scar revision yesterday due to a raised pink scar on my face after facelift. I had no idea it would be so complicated. Worried about complications from the in-office surgery, and it hurt!
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O okay. I hope things improve for you as time goes by. I wish ny surgeon had pulled back my lift a bit more...Im happy but a little tighter would have been better for me. Best wishes Laa007
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Sadly, Laa007, I did have lipo under the chin at the same time :-( Hope you're still doing well!!!
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Barbydoll you do look much better and it will take up to a year for things to really settle down. I'm thinking your surgeon should have done lipo under your chin and the facelift all at the same time. SMAS and under chin lipo together is very common. Prickly face is normal it means the facial nerves are growing and connecting again,this will get less over time. The latest photo of the crease between your face and neck has happened because your are slightly looking down causing the crease. I'm sure all will settle by the end of the year. Regards La007
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Sorry you're feeling a little let down (no pun intended). I do think your neck looks better than it did pre-op, but only you can decide if the improvement you see now is enough to have made it all worthwhile (time/money/pain). At three weeks, I'm getting plenty sick of feeling like a pig with its head caught in a stile, but I guess I'll just have to be patient. I actually wouldn't mind if it loosened up some. If the doc had just taken up the skin that was loose down there and not yanked the muscles up so much, I'd have been fine with it. Then again, after my face and brow had been lifted, maybe I would have noticed/hated it more. Best of luck at your visit on the 14th!
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Yep, I'm a hearing ya. I'm only 3 months post op and every day I am less and less excited about my face lift. Things are starting to sag now that the swelling has gone down. My neck I'm the most unhappy with. Didn't get the neckline I was hoping for. Wish I still looked like the last pics I posted, but NO such luck. I not even going to consider doing anything else. This was too much and too long to heal. My neck still hurts to touch and I'm still numb around the front of my ears and areas of my neck.
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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.
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Well written! I can relate to everything you've said.
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considering a necklift too. I've had consults with 2 plastic surgeons in Pittsburgh. Anyone from the 'burg' recommend a good PS?
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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?
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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.
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Has anyone noticed or had a slight drop of their SMAS 3 months after the procedure and after swelling has gone down? Thanks La007
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Can you explain what you mean? I don't understand your question. And what is an SMAS
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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.
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Guess we learn something new everyday. I thought a facelift was just a facelift. What makes it different. Love learning all this stuff. Also any idea how much weight you can either loose or gain before it affects the facelift. Thanks
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