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Facelift/Necklift - Tulsa, OK

I had facelift procedure due to having a droopy...

I had facelift procedure due to having a droopy fold of skin and fat under my chin. After 2 months of expected extreme discomfort, I became a little anxious during the 3rd month that I still had to turn my shoulders to look to my side.

Informing my surgeon of my problems - numbness in right ear, extreme tightness in my neck and under my ears, resulted in repeated cancelled post-op appointments from his office. During the one visit I had with him since I was convinced I had a real problem and needed answers, he was impatient, annoyed and denied he could have damaged my great auricular nerve. He did suggest physical therapy, which I now consider to be the kindest words he ever said to me.

The word "risk" never came up in our conversations public or private prior to surgery and he knows in his heart this is true. I now see the lack of disclosure only gave me more confidence in him at the time. I realize I should have investigated further on my own beforehand, as it was very easy to find great auricular nerve damage is most common. I do hope I can find out why it is still so tight - my acupuncturist has mentioned the proprioceptors in the nerves needing to be reset and we are trying to do that. I am ready to accept that my anatomy has its own contribution to the problem but this is not really a livable condition. I remind myself at least I didn't get my arm bit off by a shark, but I still want free movement and a mind not preoccupied with discomfort.

My better looks are not worth this. I also have pixie-ear and some loose skin on my chin. I have spent perhaps two to three thousand more dollars on weekly treatments, gas, and missed work. This has caused severe problems with my work situation. I would like to be of service in a way that informs women of problems like this before they have surgery and also avenues of help if they find themselves in a condition like mine. Thank you for reading.

Update: my apologies to the young athlete who did...

Update: my apologies to the young athlete who did lose her arm to a shark - I use her story to give myself perspective. And to all those who have been disfigured or worse as a result of surgery - my deepest apologies.

The extent of tightening my surgeon performed on my connective tissue has damaged me and left me in unending torture for a year now. My experience defies accurate description, although I describe it like someone is pinching my ears off, constantly. Also cold and wind cinch me up like a marionette doll. My right arm also hurt badly immediately after surgery and when I asked my doctor why, he said "I have no idea". Sometimes in the night now I wake up with an arm that is so dead it is too scary to touch, as it feels like it is not attached to my body.

My perseverance is wearing thin, my mind weak from being gripped with discomfort. And although my results were originally fairly good, I have noticed lines on my forehead forming due to a face that is constantly grimacing. I receive myo-fascial release treatments and apply moist heat as often as I can for temporary relief. A friend recommended I see a neurologist, as did the experts on this website. I have an upcoming appointment with one.

I have also had to admit to myself the cost of missed work has been much higher than mentioned earlier.

Hire a board-certified plastic surgeon and prize highly one with staff that have remained with him/her for years. Medical professionals who care stay with medical doctors who care properly for their patients.
Robert E Mitchell M.D. - Aesthetic Surgery of Tulsa

A bedside manner to me means that the doctor would use his knowledge and expertise to help his patient in time of need. This doctor effectively removed himself from my care once it was clear to me I had been damaged. Before surgery I did not have enough questions although he was more willing to answer questions beforehand. My surgeon has never phoned or e-mailed me - staff will but they cannot explain anything, they will only say what the surgeon told them to say. Staff are courteous but not knowledgeable enough to be the only ones a patient can speak to who has a real problem. I have never been irate, threatening, or used any bad language although I admit on one occasion I became emotionally upset due to a cancelled appointment which I was invited to - for an injection "to release tension". At no other point in my life could it be said to be more true this doctor "added insult to injury". Many months later I called to ask if there is anything more Dr. Mitchell could think of that may help. Staff called back later to inform me: 'No, there's nothing else he can think of that may help'. At that time I was also told there is no reason to return to the office.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
2 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
1 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (4)

Thanks Sharon. Yes this has been suggested as a last resort approach by one of your experts here, and I intuited this approximately one month after surgery myself. I have no medical training either, but I have been living in my body for 50 years and at that time felt it may even save my great auricular nerve.
But my surgeon seemed to think I was only impatient and it was early on that I saw the other two plastic surgeon's who seemed to also think I needed to give it more time. One even mentioned that I am not a good candidate emotionally for revision surgery - which I feel is an accurate statement to this day.
I would need to find the very best who is willing to put my mind at ease with his or her own record of taking care of patients in need - not just making them pretty. That is going to take time and research - and a renewed willingness to trust. And a renewed willingness to trust I feel is part of my healing process and necessary to life itself.
I will meet again with my neurologist next week and speak with him of this course of action, along with the possibility that my surgeon may have electro-cauterized my nerves, connective tissue, and muscles when he was just trying to stop bleeding and if that may be true then is there anything that may heal that sort of injury.
Thanks again for thinking of me and making suggestions - something will work as even bad times do not last forever.
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Hi Janice, Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have been through so much, my heart goes out to you. I'm so glad that at least the neurologist and the pain specialist have been helpful and willing to listen so far. It sounds like that is the start of the right path for you -- getting someone to believe in your pain and symptoms. So hopefully they will be able to help or send you to someone who can.

I'm certainly not a doctor, but if it your neck is still feeling tight is there a way they can cut the underlying tissues to "release" the tension somewhat?

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Hi Janice, thanks for sharing your review with us. I'm so sorry to hear about the problems you've had after surgery. Have you been able to get a second opinion or advice from a different doctor?

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Thanks Kirsty for asking.
To date I have seen, including my surgeon: 3 plastic surgeons, 1 ENT, 2 LMT's (massage therapists), 2 Acupuncturists, 1 Physical Therapist, 1 Neurologist, 1 Pain Specialist and 1 Psychologist.
If you read my whole review you will note that I called my surgeon's office (mid-November, which at that time was 6 months since I'd been allowed to meet with him) and he said (through staff) there was nothing more he could think of that may help. I guess I called because something in me did not want to think that he really does not care - when he had already made it quite clear he does not care. Any doubt I had that he does not care was certainly removed on that day.
I knew neurologists deal with nerves so I called one toward the end of November and found they require a referral. So I called my surgeon's office to get that referral and was surprised to find the neurologist's paperwork in the mail a few days later.
It was six weeks until the appointment (the surgeon makes the appointment) so I admit that when all these experts on your site recommended I see a neurologist (from my second question, not the review) I actually already had an appointment with one and I still wanted your experts opinions.
The neurologist (and most everyone else actually) has no good explanation for the tightness - it must be as one of your experts said "dysesthesia". One acupuncturist was explaining how when we curl weights with our arm the muscle burns and uses more fibers and when you add more weights it burns more and a light-bulb went off in my head and I said 'these muscles (affected by connective tissue manipulation during facelift) are behaving exactly as if holding my head upright, or turning my head is like lifting huge weights'.
Anyway the neurologist put me on gabapentin and said it would only help the hypersensitivity I have but I will have at least a minor good report for him when I see him next week - that although slight - it has helped in a way that is not just temporary - it helps throughout the day - I cannot say it is looser or more relaxed but somehow softer and a little more tolerable. Having said that, I was in a grocery store yesterday where it was rather cold and the air was definitely circulating and I got so miserable I thought I may faint from the tightness like pinching my ears off. I have to keep my environment as warm as I can stand it and the wind off of me.
The Neurologist referred me to a Pain Specialist who decided to try an injection of numbing medicine and a steroid. I cannot say it helped much yet. However, as fate would have it - the Pain Specialist's office just happened to be one floor above my plastic surgeon's office. (Tulsa's population is almost 400,000 and metro area nearing 1 million - it's pretty big). So I put my big girl britches on and walked downstairs to let my surgeon's staff know they are still in my thoughts. (I can truly tell you this discomfort has my mind occupied up to 95% of my day - it is very serious and debilitating). I had left a phone message earlier in the week asking them to ask my surgeon to ask his mentors what was happening with me and they had not returned my phone call. Anyway, my guess was that my surgeon would not be available. They 'called' the surgeon and he said he would see me in one month if I gathered all my records from the doctors I have seen about this complication and get them to him so he has time to review them before he sees me.
Sooo :) - on my day off I am not only keeping appointments that at least provide some temporary relief, but also collecting doctors notes that I have found astoundingly and repeatedly omit my complaint about bi-lateral tightness. Like if they cannot explain it then the problem is not worth noting? And their notes say I am 'pleasant' but make no mention I am an emotional wreck? Who will take my complaint seriously when they can discover no problem in my records other than 'patient states numbness in right ear after facelift'?
That is, all except the neurologist and the pain specialist - they mentioned the tightness in their notes even though they don't really know what to do about it. The neurologist even mentioned I was 'tearful in the office'. Amen. And my relationship with both of these doctors is also new - I feel at least the neurologist is willing to research and wants me to be well. Both the neurologist and the pain specialist at least have diagnosed great auricular nerve injury and in my opinion my surgeon needs to see that diagnosis on paper - even though I have no indication that it would cause even a second thought about it once the paper is off his desk.
Really though, I would have been able to accommodate a numb ear by now if that is all it was. My numb ear, pixie ears, and slightly imbalanced look under my chin are not my MAIN problem. My problem is this tightness which is making it so that I am only barely handling my work load and my boss has been great at understanding this. But I am at the breaking point and had 'crisis intervention' typed in my yellow pages app on my phone when I realized I should just ask work to send me home. They did. For one week. That was last week and returning to work was extremely difficult.
I have seen a psychologist as well who quickly said 'oh yeah' this is PTSD. (post-traumatic stress disorder). I have another appointment with this psychologist next week and will ask him if he will sign paperwork for medical leave. I will not be paid for this but I am at the end of my rope. If I can't work I can't pay my bills but if I continue to work I am going to snap. I have been all this entire year just trying to find a treatment that will work so that I may utilize that treatment during medical leave and get well.
I will also try to make it through work this month and ask my surgeon to put me on medical leave when I see him. (4 out of the last 6 appointments have been cancelled by his office - the last two visits were at 2 months and 4 months post-op respectively).
One thing I should tell you that I have learned is that part of my problem as a patient is this state of Oklahoma. First know that all through this whole thing my #1 concern is I want to be well again and move on with my happy life. Secondarily, of course I feel I have been treated shockingly unfairly. But I have a life and although I get angry I can truly say that I have no 'mind' for bitterness - which I feel is anger on steroids - or anger in a mind that just cannot let go. In fact what I have discovered about myself (through this event) is that my mind turns to laughter (the best medicine) in order to dissolve anger that is trying to hold on. I also live by the knowing that 'as we sow, so shall we reap' and I know my surgeon did not intend to harm me so why would I consider harming him? As you can see it took almost a year to make peace with myself enough to tell the truth about him on this site. I have felt that at least sociologically I have some obligation.
So - all that said - of course my friends and family have seen this incredibly terrible suffering I have endured and knowing that I did not care to look up any legal advice - they started looking into it for me and they did not have to look far. A friend has informed me that in Oklahoma all the doctors pay into the same malpractice fund and so when any one of them gets sued then all their rates go higher. Sooooo - it is in their best interest to protect this doctor in order to protect themselves. Sounds to me like protocol that makes room for shady documentation and absence of proper care in the case of money-driven doctors.
But I believe in the good of humanity and knew I would find a caring doctor eventually and I may have found that in my neurologist (I have only seen him once though, and I do not trust as easily as I once did). A good doctor will know that sociologically he has an obligation as well. And if that obligation is to document how a certain doctor is not providing his patients with proper care and then inform the state medical board what is happening then doctors who are bad enough will be discovered. Perhaps I am the only person this doctor has ever damaged and then dumped. I may never know but it would seem to me that Oklahoma has left it to all the 'good' doctors who share in their insurance fund to make it an 'inside job' to bring justice to bad doctors.
That's just my evaluation - I hope I am correct for the simple fact that in this state pursuit of any legal action on my part would most likely end after a free consultation with the statement something like 'but you look great'.
I want to be well again.
Where do we turn when the doctors cannot or simply will not make us well? Where do we turn when we are barely holding on mentally, emotionally, and physically? People who have money turn to attorneys, people who don't keep on looking for a competent, caring doctor.
If the neurologist and his prescription cannot help then I know now I may have to find a good doctor outside of Oklahoma. A long answer to a short question - but your site is also full of doctors who are in other states.
Wish me luck and thank you so much for reading all this. Writing about my experience is good therapy for my mind.
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