I decided to have cosmetic surgery mainly to address sagging, jowls, and the beginning of a neck wattle. My eyes had been hooded for years, and I also had permanent circles under my eyes that no concealer could hide. A friend of mine had had a facelift from Dr. Harris and she looked so natural and recovered so well that I knew I would go with him if I had anything done. At my consultation with Dr. Harris he recommended an endoscopic brow lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, facelift and neck lift. I was a little hesitant to undergo so many procedures at once, especially since my concerns were mainly with the lower face. Ultimately, I trusted Dr. Harris's professional opinion and my results are beyond my already high expectations.
My surgery was on a Tuesday. Starting the Friday before the surgery I took bromelain and arnica (provided by Dr. Harris's nurse) twice a day. The pre-op instructions say to avoid several medications and vitamins that can cause bleeding including vitamin C. I have read that vitamin C actually promotes healing after surgery so I asked Dr. Harris if I could continue with my regular 1,000 mg Vitamin C and he said it would be fine. I actually stopped vitamin C the weekend before surgery because I started getting worried about possible bleeding. I didn't resume vitamin C until a few days after surgery.
A couple of weeks before surgery I ordered a wedge pillow and started practicing falling asleep on my back. I would usually sleep for a few hours on my back, and if I couldn't get back to sleep I slept on my side on the wedge pillow. I think this helped me to sleep better post surgery.
As I don't feel comfortable going public about this surgery I will only post recovery-related close-up pictures of my incisions, bruising and swelling. I hope this review helps others to make their decision, and I am happy to answer questions via this forum.
May 26 – Day 1
I arrived at 7 am for surgery. I changed into surgical gown with ties at back, slippers and a lovely plush robe. The facility is very clean and spa-like with lockers for personal belongings. All staff were very friendly, and available to answer any questions. A nurse gave me some pills before I went into the operating room (including something for nausea). I met with the anesthesiologist and told him I have a lot of trouble with motion sickness and I was afraid of throwing up after surgery. He said he would administer drugs to help with that. I walked into the operating room, got the anaesthetic and woke up in the recovery area. I felt some soreness on my brow and my eyes were quite swollen, but overall fine. I was able to sleep at night. I felt a little nauseous when I first sat up to go to the washroom, but the nurse had me lie back down and take it more slowly. I was fine after that.
May 27-28 – Day 2 & 3
For the first three days post-op I stayed with my husband at a suite hotel because I knew I wouldn't rest properly at home. I followed the post op instructions with respect to icing, daily hair washing, and treating incisions. The thing I found most bothersome were the seeping wounds from the endoscopic brow lift and the smell of blood, but this is normal. In order to prepare for this stage of healing, you want to have lots of shampoo, Q-tips, soft wash-cloths and/or gauze, and Polysporin. The bruising was a yellow colour with purple spots under my eyes. Swelling was very pronounced but my husband didn't think it was very noticeable. I think the swelling is more acutely felt by the patient than seen by other people but it is definitely an uncomfortable sensation at its worst. I drank a lot of water as this is supposed to help with healing and to reduce swelling. I didn't have much of an appetite so was just making myself eat soup and Greek yogourt at this point.
I was feeling a little down being cooped up and not feeling like I could show my face. As much as you may prepare for this surgery when it is actually your face that is distorted from swelling and bruising and you're not sure what the recovery period holds it is a challenge. A friend of mine invited me over for a visit on Day 3 and that really lifted my spirits.
For the first few days I just took pain medication occasionally (Extra strength Tylenol during the day and Demerol at night). The pain was never extreme, just the soreness of bruising. The Demerol helped me to sleep, and I know sleep is important for healing so I took Demerol at 10 pm and whenever I woke up in the night at 2 am or later.
May 29 – Day 4
I went for a follow-up appointment and Dr. Harris said everything was healing fine. Dr. Harris changed the tapes around my eyes. I felt well enough to leave the hotel and continue recovery at home. This was the worst day of swelling for me. Two times during the day I felt the swelling getting worse and then subsiding. I got into bed with my wedge pillow and more pillows on top, and did not support my arms thinking this might help things to drain from my face, and I tried to relax. Maybe it's just coincidence but this seemed to help. After day 4, the swelling got a little better each day.
May 30 - .... - Day 5-8
Around this time my appetite started to come back. I started taking 1000 mg of vitamin C two to three times a day instead of just once a day to promote healing. I also resumed my 1000 IU of vitamin D at this point (I had stopped post surgery because I wasn't eating much and I forgot to take it). In retrospect I should have checked with Dr. Harris before resuming vitamins, but it didn't have any adverse effects for me. I think the Vitamin D might have helped to improve my mood. I resumed driving around Day 7 with no problems.
On June 16, the day I am first posting this review,I am having difficulty posting pictures beyond Day 5, but I will try again later. By the two week mark, I am looking great!
June 3 – Day 9
I went to have some stitches removed today – the ones behind my hair line from the endoscopic brow lift, around the eyes, and in front of the ears. My bruising is mainly yellow/green at the sides of my face and at the sides of my neck, and two purple spots under my eyes just inside the upper cheek bones. I was given the OK to wear make-up to cover the bruising and even the incisions around my eyes which were now a pale pink colour. The incisions in front of my ears are already almost invisible. Dr. Harris gave me a moisturizer I can use to massage any firm areas, and to moisturize the sutures to make them easier to remove next week.
June 5 – Day 11
I had planned to lay low for a full two weeks minimum after my surgery. Due to an emergency situation I had to go out in public, so. I piled on the concealer and make-up and got through it. I didn't get any strange reactions, but I was very tired when I got home. I am surprised at how quickly I am recovering!
June 6 – Day 12
The night before I slept on my side (still elevated on my wedge pillow plus another pillow). Again, maybe it is just coincidence, but the swelling on the side of my face was less in the morning. At this point I have numbness in front of my ears and down to the jaw line and on the sides of my neck under my ears. I also have tightness under my jaw where I assume the neck muscles were tightened. There are two very small purple bruises under my eyes at about cheek bone level. and I still have the yellow/green bruising on the sides of my face which is only visible in direct light, and can easily be covered with make-up.
June 10 – Day 16
I got the rest of my sutures out today – the ones behind the ears and into the scalp. I am attaching pictures of those locations and also of the scars in front of the ears and under my chin, which are very light considering I am only two weeks out. The pictures also show some light bruising around my ears and under my jaw. Dr. Harris pointed out that the return of minor circles under my eyes was actually swelling and said I could do gentle massage to take care of it. I was concerned that massaging under my jaw might pull at the skin and make it looser, but Dr. Harris said the skin on my neck would continue to tighten over the next few months. When I lift my chin up, there is “ropy” texture to my neck – this will also smooth out with massage, and when my head is level my neck looks fine. I am able to do all my usual activities, but I am still avoiding lifting anything heavy or getting overly tired.
June 11 – Day 17
Today I saw a friend who knew about my surgery and hadn't seen me yet. She said I looked great, and that if she didn't know the real reason for my new look, she would have guessed that I had lost weight. I was very tired when I came back from a day of errands, so it's a reminder not to push things too hard yet.