Facelift Advice From Eleven Days Out - Washington, DC

I am a 57-year-old, 112 lbs/5'5" in good health...

I am a 57-year-old, 112 lbs/5'5" in good health and I run (before the surgery) 2 miles most mornings and do a small bit of weight work each night. So I thought the facelift recovery would be fairly smooth, as was my Blepharoplasty two years ago. Specifically, my recent procedure was: Platysmaplasty with Submental Lipectomy and an S-lift.

In retrospect I learned some things I'd like to share.
First, you absolutely should sleep on your back with your head above your heart at least for two weeks. I was so glad I had a zero-gravity recliner with electric tilting, which cost close to $3K but I have always craved one. If you don't want that expense, you can get the bed wedges at the healthy back store. A friend did not follow this advice and her ears still hurt a year out. Second, I recommend having a nurse for the first night at least. You need to keep the face constantly cooled with ice packs and/or cold compresses so that's a lot to ask of an already freaked-out husband. Your assistant must be prepared for contingencies, like when I started vomiting from the pain meds that I didn't know I have an allergy to, or when the icemaker got jammed in the middle of the night. Third, and this I only just learned two days ago. Swelling is a constant problem and the steroid pack didn't seem to help me much. Ice packs worked while they were on but you can't keep that up steadily for days on end. Suddenly two days ago I read that the body has to absorb the fluid. It seems counterintuitive but once I started drinking lots of water, like a cup or so every 40 mins, I started improving more rapidly. Maybe it would have happened anyway but I credit the water.
Finally, if you don't like to touch dead-fish skin (I could not bear it), get yourself a spray moisturizer that really atomizes the cream so you don't have to spread it with your hand. Keep the skin moisturized.



A friend who had this surgery with the

Day 13 update

Skin still dead-fish, gradually (sooo slowly) getting more feeling in face and chin. Started back running this morning, at a slightly reduced pace, but could have run full out. Just didn't feel like it. I'm going to try a super-gentle electric face brush to clean and moisturize the dead-fish skin. I just can't bring myself to touch it even though the doctor recommended massaging it. Unfortunately I am coming down with a cold (that's why I started running early, hoping to head off the cold.)

Sad

Well, it's the two-week point and I'm really depressed. I had attributed the puffiness behind the chin incision to swelling, but now that puffiness is descending into a double chin, with a tight garrot where the chin line meets the neck. It feels awful too, because the chin line skin rubs against the neck skin when I look down. I will go see the doctor but I imagine he'll propose some minor fix but the fact is the surgery traded one problem for another, and turned my family life upside down.

14-day mark

Note the photo from yesterday afternoon.

Photo showing my new double chin

17 days out. Considering next steps.

Thank you all for your comments, they have been very helpful. I am in conversation with the surgeon. The specific problem I have is that there is a choke-point around my neck.

He did describe what he did: while it feels as though there is a cord around my neck, in fact it is a single stitch in the midline connecting the two sides of the platysma, and sutures tying the platysma to ligaments behind my ears on each side. He states that he placed only self-absorbing sutures, but scar tissue will take the place of the suture. There is not likely to be any loosening except that any residual swelling is making it more noticeable to me. However there is little to no swelling today and the chokehold is impossible to ignore, especially when I swallow.

I'm requesting the surgeon's operation report, and I am going to request a second opinion from another doctor. I don't know if this can even be fixed, so that is what I will be trying to find out.
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon

Really excellent.

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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
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