Facelift, Neck Lift, Endoscopic Brow Lift, Upper and Lower Blepharoplasty, 53 Years Old - Burlington, ON

Pre-op I decided to have cosmetic surgery mainly...

Pre-op

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.

Additional pictures ...

Here are more pictures that I couldn't post before...

More pictures including day 16 after sutures removed behind ears

At day 16, the day sutures were removed behind my ears, the scars in front of the ears are not very visible even without make-up and I am completely comfortable going out with make-up.

Day 26

I noticed that the contours of my face and my hair hide my scars well unless someone is looking straight into the side of my face and I have my hair back. I took these pictures with my hair pulled right back to show the extent of healing at 26 days. Dr. Harris says it takes a year for scars to fully heal. I have started using aloe vera for my twice daily face and neck massage as the aloe vera has more "slip" to it than the moisturizer which my skin quickly absorbs. The pictures in front of my ears show the remaining bruising. The bruises under my eyes are now a few shades darker than my normal skin colour. Earlier on I was using a colour corrector to neutralize the bruise colour before applying foundation and powder. I am now using only my foundation and powder. The picture behind my right ear also shows a small area of hair loss. From my reading on this site I've learned it can take a few months for hair to re-grow when the follicles have been "shocked" from surgery. I'll try to post every couple of weeks going forward, and I'm happy to answer questions.

Scars healing well

I am about two months post op (surgery May 26, posting on July 30). At this point I have numbness in front of and behind my ears, and an occasional pulling sensation under my jaw. I feel swelling in front of my ears if I over exert myself, but it is a sensation I feel and not something anyone can see. I still have very slightly darker areas under my eyes where I had the worst bruising, but some days I don't even wear make-up on it. The colour is similar to the under-eye circles that I used to have under my eyes and it is slowly fading each day. I found a very good concealer pencil at the Body Shoppe which is easily applied over the light bruising and scars. I find the consistency to be perfect for a smooth application. If you try the pencil be sure to buy the sharpener as well as the pencil since the pencil is fatter than many other make-up pencils.

I asked Dr. Harris about scar creams, and he said the thing that helps scars to heal is regular massage using a bland moisturizer like Aveeno. He said that as long as the skin turns white when you press on the scar massage will help the healing. This is a detail I haven't read elsewhere so I wanted to mention it here. I have been massaging in the morning before I put on make-up and in the evening after I remove make-up. I am just past the 6 to 8 week points when scarring is normally at its worst, and I think I am healing quite well. My scars were a brighter pink a couple of weeks ago and they have since faded. The scar under my chin is almost invisible already. Today I went to a hair stylist who is not my usual person. Eventually I'll have to explain about the scars to my usual stylist but I didn't feel ready to do that yet. The stylist who did my hair was a young woman and she only asked, "Is this a scar?" about the one behind my right ear which is the most visible. I just said, "Yes" and didn't elaborate and she didn't comment about the front of my ears or the left side which has healed better than the right so far.

When I massage my face I feel tender areas, and sometimes there is a little dimple or hard spot that I work on. These are the only indications that my face is still healing. I am back to all my regular activities, and I am very happy with my results.

Three month update

At three months post op I have numb areas around all ear incisions and along my jaw line. My scars are slowly improving. Please excuse the noticeable chin hairs on the chin close-up - I guess I won't be hiding this surgery from my esthetician! I did want to show how this scar is practically invisible at this point.

Overall, the left side of my face is healing faster than my right side (this is only noticeable to me). I still have a slightly darker area under my right eye, which is the end of the post-op bruising. The area under the left eye has healed completely. The scars around my left ear are healing faster than the ones on my right side. I have also had bits of sutures popping through the skin on my right side only (so far). In the picture behind my right ear you can see a prominent one. These dissolve over time as I massage with a moisturizer.

In the last couple of weeks I also got some botox for emerging forehead lines. I needed much less botox than I used to get prior to surgery, and I did not have any around my eyes. As my healing is pretty uneventful, I'll aim to post again in three months.

6 month update

I am a little over 6 months post-op. The pictures show the state of my scars. I can't really see the scars any more under my chin and behind my ears. The scar in front of my left ear shows a fine line if you look at it directly, but my hair covers it and unless someone were looking for this particular kind of scar I don't think it would be noticeable. From any angle other than the one in the picture it is not noticeable.

I recently saw my family doctor who was very complimentary about how natural I looked and the state of my healing . My doctor said that a person she knew had had a facelift with a well-known Toronto surgeon and the outcome was not good. My doctor wouldn't tell me the name of the surgeon, but she said that she would never allow her patients to go to that surgeon. It's a cautionary tale about the need to do research and not assume that a well-known name will deliver good results.

I still sometimes feel a tightness under my jaw, which is to be expected as healing is ongoing. I am considering getting some filler for volume, but I will proceed carefully since I really like my results and I only want to do enough to maintain my results and not look puffy. I'll post an update in about 6 months.

Additional pictures to reply to a comment

I am posting pictures of my lower face to reply to a request in a comment a couple of posts ago. I did not have strong marionette lines pre-op; my main concern was with sagging around the jowls and neck. I am very happy with my neck and jaw line now.

Final post - 15 months post op

Final post - 15 month post op

I am at the point where my scars have healed. I tried to get close ups at an angle that shows the scars most clearly so people can see the "worst case" - no make-up, and direct light with the picture taken at the angle that shows the scars. They are not very noticeable, and you do need to be looking at them in direct light to see them at all. The left ear scar has a bit of a fold so cannot be entirely concealed with make-up. I have noticed that the placement of the scars is where people tend to form wrinkles with age anyway, so only a person who really knows what they are looking for would detect the scars. I don't even use concealer on them as my hair is often over my ears anyway.

I also posted the before pictures next to the after pictures (with light make-up) of the jaw line and jowls, which were my biggest issue. In terms of continuing maintenance I get botox in the forehead and crow's feet areas, and I have had dermal filler (Radiesse) in the cheeks and naso-labial folds. I was happy with my result before the filler, but I understand the filler stimulates collagen growth so I'll get that done regularly to prolong the results of the surgery.
Burlington Plastic Surgeon

I did research on various doctors in the Toronto and south-western Ontario area before going ahead with my surgery. There is a flashiness associated with the promotion and press coverage of some plastic surgeons that put me off . Dr. Harris is the antithesis of that: soft-spoken, approachable, and supportive. I was very nervous about complications that I had read about, but my recovery was just as Dr. Harris told me it would be, and was actually easier than I anticipated. He was available via cell phone for questions or concerns post-surgery. My outcome shows that his surgical skills and aesthetic sense are outstanding; I look like myself minus the ravages of time and menopause! Needless to say, I highly recommend Dr. Harris.

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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