52 Yr Old Wants a Refreshed, Not Tired, Look! Lower Face/Neck and Eyelids!
For several years, when I’ve looked in the mirror, I’ve said to myself, “Wow, I really miss my chin line!” My sagging face, while just a natural progression of aging I suppose, was starting to bother me because I felt so much younger inside. I started wondering if my tear troughs and marionette lines could be improved with fillers. I never really considered plastic surgery, although I never ruled it out either. In September 2016 I started researching fillers, and found this site. I was fascinated with everyone’s stories and details which have been a great help to me! In October I went to see one plastic surgeon in the Las Vegas area who is also considered a “master filler” for a consultation. Unfortunately, he seemed overbooked and exhausted that day, and was very unenthusiastic about talking to me. He spent about fifteen minutes with me. As soon as I said I was interested in fillers as my first choice and surgery as a second, he seemed very bored with talking to me and told his nurse to give me a quote on fillers for my tear troughs and marionette lines. The quote for the fillers was about $2,500! And from what I’ve read, I could only expect fillers to last about a year. Kind of an expensive hobby and not a real solution at my age. Too bad that doctor didn’t actually listen to me on that consult, but that’s why you have to go to more than one! My next consultation was with Dr. Paul Lanfranchi, also in the Las Vegas area. Dr. Lanfranchi only performs facial plastic surgery and rejuvenation, not dozens of different procedures as so many other PS’s do. I’ll post a doctor review separately, but suffice it to say that I knew this was the surgeon and team who I would go with once I’d made my decisions. Dr. L and his team spent over an hour with me on every consult and yes, there were several. The office is clean and inviting with a lot of attention to every detail. More importantly, the Dr. inspires confidence and trust that he is an expert at what he does, you are in good hands, and he and his entire team sincerely care about you. There are many photos of patients available in the office. I truly believe that Lanfranchi is absolutely one of the best at what he does, and the only reason there aren’t more reviews on here is that most patients choose to remain anonymous. I hope his name and office will soon be reviewed as often or more than the names we see on RS most frequently. And Las Vegas is an easy flight from just about anywhere. After the second consult, I never really looked back. I do not believe I would have ever achieved the results I wanted with fillers. I scheduled upper and lower blepharoplasty and a lower face/neck lift, all to be performed on February 15th. The lift would remove excess fat (yay!) and skin, as well as tighten the platysmas muscle in my neck to give me my chin line back. I’ll post some before photos so you can see what I started with.
On the other side!
So February 15th was my big day! Took Valium and an antibiotic 30 minutes before arrival. Ryan was there early to get me prepped. Ryan is great, very relaxed and confident. He assured me things were going to turn out great. He put on my choice of music, and Dr Lanfranchi came in to get started. The numbing injections stung a bit, but they were done in a minute, and then I felt no pain at all. The doctor and Ryan were talking to me the whole time. I did feel a few odd sensations, like a bit of tugging when he tightened my neck muscle (that felt weird!). AJ came in a few times to give me an oral sedative. There was some cauterizing that stung a bit, but it was very quick and the dr told me each time he was going to do it. I'm guessing I was in surgery about three hours. Now, I did have nausea after surgery, perhaps from the oral sedative. I vomited a few times there, then a few times when I got home. Anti-nausea meds kicked in, and I was fine. I rested after that, took my pain meds and ate and drank a little. Overall I felt pretty good. Very happy I went through with this, and that I did eyelids and the lower face lift at the same time. Pics are of my trip back to the dr 24 hours later. It was heavenly to get that head wrap off! The next one they put on was less tight! Pretty swollen the next day, but very little pain!
Two days out
Head wrap's off! Taking care of sutures. It feels so nice to have that thing off! I am very happy with how my neck looks right now. Eyelids are swollen, but no pain, yay! Here's a list of items I bought before he surgery: wedge pillow (I bought quite a big one but it's been great,) arnica tablets, arnica cream, bacitracin antibiotic ointment, pineapple and blueberries, protein drinks (yum dark chocolate!), lacrilube eye ointment (love this stuff), eye drops gel type, baby shampoo, oxycodone prescription, ambien prescription, gel eyemasks that you put in the freezer for swelling, frozen peas, (ha!) and audiobooks. Please let me know if you have questions about any of these. I had varying results from these items, in terms of how much I think they helped me, but I was glad to be as prepared as possible thanks to the brave real selfers who have posted here before me.
Two days out Chin incision
Here are some pics of the chin incision. I had lipo on my neck and I believe a bit from my jowls. Love my neck!!!
Three days out
Some swelling and bruising but feeling good. Getting lots of rest. I've been taking arnica tablets since February 10th but not sure if they helped with bruising or not. The arnica cream made my neck very itchy and red, so I stopped using it after several days. Seemed like an allergic reaction. Wearing the nylon head garment 8 hours per day. I look a bit like an alien, but I think that's just swelling.
Four Days post op
Four days out, bruising getting better. Continuing to apply bacitracin to stitches and lacrilube to eye stitches. Doc said not to apply ice after the third day. Right front of ear a little crusty, but OK. Very little discomfort. A bit of trouble sleeping since the weight of my head pulls a bit on hairline sutures when I lie on the wedge pillow. Otherwise, feeling great!
Five days out
Not a lot of change. Still swelling in front of ears, giving me that alien look. Eyes are still swollen, but no discomfort.
Days six to eight
Stitches in front of ears and under chin came out on the 21st, six days post op. Feels good to get them out. Continuing bacitracin on suture areas for two more days. Bruising fading quickly, feel great!
Nine and ten days post op
Still some swelling and bruising, but getting better.
Eleven and twelve days post op
Bruising still there and improving. Each side of my face, neck and eyes are healing differently. Eyes still look a bit like Sylvester Stallone due to swelling.
Two weeks post op
Hairline and behind ear stitches out at two weeks. Behind ear stitches a bit moist, will continue with a prescription antibiotic ointment for a few more days. Getting these stitches out was a piece of cake compared to the lower eyelids! Doc says chin incision may be healing very slowly. Back on oral antibiotics for five days and the new antibiotic ointment on chin for two weeks. I would recommend to those of you who have a chin incision to protect it with a bandage or gauze when you wear your head compression garment. I wasn't told to do this, and I believe that contributed to the chin scar irritation.
18 to 21 days post op
So still watching swelling in front of ears go down a bit. Area in front of upper right ear is still red, but better than before. I am quite discouraged by what appears to be the dropping of my neck right behind my chin. I really hope that this is just swelling, or that the head garment may remedy it, but I probably shouldn't get my hopes up. According to the PS, my windpipe is "forward leaning" naturally, so I cannot get a more angled chin line, however it looked so much nicer and tighter right after surgery. The chin scar is looking much better, although I'm not liking the thick looking scar. Well, I'm thinking this is one of many steps along this journey where I'll have to be patient. Next appointment with doc is in six days.
Three weeks, more photos
A few more photos. My blepharoplasty scars have been quite red lately. (I have a separate review for the eyelid surgery). I think this may be from being outside a bit too much, but not sure. Still a bit bummed about my neck and chin scar, but hoping they'll resolve over time.
The fashionable head compression garment!
Just wanted to show that I'm being good, wearing the head wrap and still using Steri-strips on my eyes! I've modified the wrap by cutting off the back Velcro. It never fit around the back of my big head anyway. I hope this keeps my neck tight! Note that I have a bandage on my chin incision when I wear the head garment.
Three weeks before and after
So, I just couldn't help myself, so I put together a before and a three weeks after photo. I've still got a LOT of healing to do, but seeing these photos side by side sure makes me appreciate this journey!
Here are some photos of the incision pics. Area in front of ears still lumpy from muscle tightening, but really not visible.
Four weeks post op
Looking and feeling good at four weeks. Scars are healing well, despite some redness that should resolve. The skin in front of my ears still feels kind of "orange peel like" and is still somewhat swollen under the skin. Incision in front of upper right ear needed a bit more TLC. I think it got a bit irritated from ointment and my hair. My chin scar is much better and doc assured me that it will fade. Will wear the compression garment for a few more weeks. Hopefully that helps my neck stay tighter longer.
Before and after 4weeks
Here are a few before and after for the lower face/ neck lift. I had my eyes done also (separate review)
It's not all sunshine and rainbows!
I'm six weeks post op now and wanted to share that I'm experiencing some softening of my results. I know this is to be expected, but I can't help but be a smidge disappointed. These photos are in unflattering fluorescent light, however you can see marionette lines and a slight drop in my neck. I think this is the trade off between "natural " results and a "pulled" fake look. The journey continues! Keeping it real for my RS community friends!
Six weeks update
Six weeks post op today. I finally got my hair cut and colored yesterday, thank goodness! The hair color, btw, even though it is very low ammonia content, stung the scars a little bit, even though we tried to avoid getting color goo on them. I am still healing, of course, but nothing anyone else would notice. The chin scar is very much improved, just like the doc said. All of my scars are still a bit red. My hair has almost covered the hairline scars, which is good since those scars are still quite red. Still some light bruising in front of my ears. Next appointment with Doc L in two weeks.
Two months post op
13 Apr 2017
2 months post
It's hard to believe two months have gone by since the big surgery date! How your body heals itself is an absolutely amazing thing! Still happy I got this done. Btw, I had a lower face lift, neck lift with platysma muscle tightening and repositioning, and lipo on my neck and jowls. The platysma muscle was tightened, folded over on itself (which flattens back out) and reattached near the front of my ears. Excess skin was removed from in front of and behind my ears, then skin was reattached. The platysma muscle was also tightened on the sides of my neck, folded over on itself, repositioned and reattached at the sides of my neck. I had fat removed from the front of my neck and my jowls. I suppose I should have given all this detail at the beginning. There appears to be a lot of confusion as to what the different definitions of a "lift" really mean, so there are the details of my procedures without a gimmicky name. My results have softened a bit, but to expect otherwise is unrealistic. Also, since I have a forward leaning windpipe, the results look like "me"! My hairline scars are healing nicely. Behind my ears gets a bit red and itchy sometimes. My hair has grown a few inches over the scars now, so I have a little "fringe" at those incision locations. My chin scar has healed well, although raised up a bit. Will ask my doc about that. Overall, a great thing to do for yourself, working with an experienced surgeon who you trust. Please let me know if I can answer any questions about my experiences. Best wishes to the RS community!
10 May 2017
3 months post
I'll post more scar pix later, but I wanted to get a few photos up in honor of the three months post op date! Still loving my results. Scars in front of ears almost invisible. Scars behind ears still red. Only a tiny bit of numbness in front of ears.
Here are some pics of how the scars are progressing. Hairline scars behind the ears are still a bit red and raised. My hair covers them somewhat, so I'm sure things will continue to improve. They get itchy if I sweat, and as you may know, it's hot here in LV! If I'm wearing my hair up I put a little dermablend on them to tone it down. My hair covers the hairline scars somewhat, but they're still red. Chin scar is raised, but not red or that noticeable. Other scars are almost invisible now. I've ordered biocorneum, so I'll see if that helps with continued healing. I have a follow up appointment with Dr Lanfranchi tomorrow.
Before vs 3.5 months post op
Lower face and neck lift with neck lipo.(please see other review for upper and lower blepharoplasties)
Five months post op
30 Jun 2017
4 months post
At five months I am still very pleased with my results. I can feel a bit of pulling on the muscle on my neck, just below my ears. I believe this is where the platysma muscle was folded on itself and reattached. I think this continued healing is a good thing as it should continue to tighten for a few more months. I have a tiny bit of numbness and lumpiness in front of my ears. Hairline scars are still a bit red, but mostly hidden by my hair or a dab of dermablend. Chin scar has healed nicely, only a little raised at this point in time.
Five Months with Makeup!
Now that I have eyelids and a neckline, I tried out all the makeup I'd given up on pre-op. These are for you, my friend ransrvr!
Pre-op v 5 mos
Pre-op v 5 mos photo, second photo with makeup.
Six Months Post Op
25 Aug 2017
6 months post
At six months post op, numbness and swelling are almost completely gone. I can feel a little tightness on the sides of my neck, and my back hairline scars. Scars in front of ears are almost invisible. My back hairline scars are continuing to lighten, and are less red as time passes. These same scars are a bit raised, but have gone down a lot since surgery. I tried a scar cream, which did not hasten or improve healing (see other review on the scar cream). My chin scar is still raised, but not red, so it's hardly noticeable. I have noticed that my face seems to be softening into some of its pre-op patterns, including the reappearance of a less deep version of my marionette lines and naso-labial creases. My rosacea actually completely cleared up after surgery, and has only recently reappeared on my chin. Not a big deal, I just thought it was interesting. So... at six months I am still pleased with my results. I think I look like a refreshed version of myself. No makeup in any of the photos.
Embarrassing Before Pic!
I debated whether I should post this, but what the heck! I found a photo from eight months before surgery. What's amazing, is how heavy I look in the before. And I only weighed five pounds more than on the right. I remember people telling me I'd lose that double chin if I would lose weight. NOT. The lack of definition in my neck is hereditary. Thanks to the lower face and neck lift with lipo, I look like I lost a bunch of weight. My neck would have never improved without these procedures. I am very grateful I was able to have these surgeries, (I had eyelid surgery as well,) and I hope my review gives hope to others.
Found old quote for Fillers!
21 Sep 2017
7 months post
Just a quick btw, I ran across the quote for fillers that I got on my first consultation with a different surgeon. It was $3,200 for filling tear troughs and marionette lines. Glad I didn't bother with fillers, and went ahead with plastic surgery, that should last much, much longer! Talk to you soon my RS friends!