As I researched physicians and gathered recommendations, I was referred to a surgeon in NYC, but I didn't want to travel out of state, so I looked for good local options. What attracted my interest in Dr. Miller was that he had an office in NYC, but he also was part of a well-established ENT practice with several offices in NJ. He had the experience and reputation I was looking for. When I consulted with him and he showed me his work, the first thing I noticed was the completely natural results he was able to achieve. Dr. Miller knows exactly what he is doing - he's a professional technician. He is not the kind of personality or doctor that "sells" what he does verbally or any other way. He lets his work speak for itself. In my experience as a PS patient, there are two types of people that go for PS in the first place - those that are incredibly insecure, and those that are incredibly secure! Knowing which one of those people YOU ARE will help you find the right doctor and staff FOR YOU. I knew this was the surgeon for me - I trusted Dr. Miller's experience and judgment and I was not disappointed.
I came to my consultation with an idea of what I needed and wanted. Dr. Miller and I were on the same page about it. I also wanted to know what was needed to get me there - plus I'm one of those people that likes to know the hows and whys! He answered all of my questions. Not everyone likes to know the details - I like to know, so I asked. Go in with questions ready - I had a list!
I chose to have multiple procedures at once to achieve my facial rejuvenation: Upper blepharoplasty, lower trans-conjunctival bleph with lasering of the skin, full deep tissue face and neck lift with fat transfer from the hip, and (the cherry on top) a small chin implant. I was nervous, but I wanted to do this once and be done! And besides, it's less expensive because you only pay for anesthesia once. The price was less than $14K and this included the follow-up visits and 2 more fat transfers to complete the rejuvenation of my face spaced 3 months apart. I understood that this was going to be the longest surgery I have ever had (5-6 hours) and that I would be intubated. I scheduled my surgery for a convenient time allowing myself 2 full weeks off from work and to return when a lot of people were going to be on vacation! It was a good plan! I was really nervous the day of, but everyone at the center was very kind - the anesthetist spoke with me before we went in and I told her about my history with anesthesia. I really think the worst part is everything up to the point of feeling the drugs making you go to sleep. I really don't mind that feeling at all - and when I woke up - I was totally fine and able to WALK from the table to a chair and the nurses helped me get dressed and in 10 minutes after some chit chat I was on my way home with my new face. I joked that even THEN I was looking and feeling BETTER than when I had walked in! I was so relieved that all that anticipation and anxiety was finally behind me.
Not everyone is a good patient. Ten days before the procedure, the office had me sign paperwork and gave me prescriptions for the meds I would need to perfect my healing: pain meds, ointment, eye drops that prevent infection, a med for all laser patients that keeps a possible shingles reaction at bay, and an antibiotic to prevent tissue infection. All of this came with specific instructions, when to take and time, etc. I am a good patient and I followed all of the instructions. After all - this is my FACE and the rest of my life! In addition to what they prescribed, I also, after clearing it with the doctor, took a supplement to keep bruising and swelling at bay called Arnica Forte. It is a combination of Arnica (homeopathic), some healing vitamins and enzymes. I also took probiotics and got off of red meat and ate vegetarian for 3 days before my surgery. I wanted my body in the best shape for healing and dealing with the constipating effects of the pain meds and anesthesia. I had a designated care taker (highly recommended because you are not going to be able to sleep while trying to remember when to take your meds or swap your ice pack or bend over for anything you drop, etc.) Your only job after surgery is to sleep and heal. My designated care taker was ALSO given instructions how to care of me! For the first day, there are drain tubes behind each ear that need to be watched after. These are taken out the next day and come out painlessly - the reason why is because the area around your ears are numb! This numbness goes away after a few weeks. The skin around my eyes needed to be cleaned 3 times a day and ointment reapplied each time. This is super important for best results because you don't want any scabs to form under the eyes as they heal. All of the tasks at hand are important and you should have someone available to do the running around and caretaking for you for at least the first couple of days. And of course, I had my preferred icing regimen - a towel and a Ziplock gallon bag of finely crushed ice. We froze it laying flat in the freezer (quickest way), smashed it with a rubber mallet and transferred it to a new bag with no holes. It's the most flexible and comfortable ice pack for the face and eyes. Don't spend money on any other ice pack including the pearl ones - the plastic is just not as flexible and soft as a Ziplock bag!!! What I did invest in was a soft gel cervical ice pack (it's about 20" long by Core Products) to wrap around the back of my neck and ears - and I bought a chin strap with Velcro that would wrap around my head to hold the ice pack in place (called Face Caddy) so that my hands would be free to ice the rest of my face or to eat, etc. For the first WEEK you are going to be IN BED icing your face, looking forward to your next meal, napping, peeing, watching (or listening to) TV. People ask if it is painful. I really bawked that they prescribed 30 pills of oxycodone. I thought that was way too much and I didn't use it all but I was glad that I had it. the only thing that hurt me was the back of my ears. I slept propped up on pillows because it helps so much to keep the swelling down - but it also took the pressure off the back of my head. When it started to get a little uncomfortable, I would reach for the oxy. I guess I did that for the first 2 days regularly and after that Tylenol was enough. That's it. The combination of being sedentary, not wanting to strain yourself, and pain meds/anesthesia in your system means that Collace stool softener is going to be your best friend for a while. Don't hold back - take 3 of those suckers at once... drink lots of water and flush!
And I was getting lots of liquids, because of all the procedures I had done to my face I found that a liquid diet was what I needed for a few days until things settled down. Blender-prepared oatmeal for breakfast and chicken soup all day! (it's so good for you, though!) The worst day is day 3 - that's when the swelling peaks. To cope with this (healing is work!), I did "My Worst Day Dance" - I twirled a little bit and slid around the kitchen in my socks, arms raised, singing, doing my little dance to celebrate that from that day on, things were only going to get and look BETTER! And they did. The next day the swelling was dramatically better and I started getting excited! I can't post pictures of my worst day, but suffice to say it looked like I had been beaten to a pulp - but I wasn't feeling poorly at all!
I was able to shower comfortably about day 5 and it felt so good! The staples behind my ears came out painlessly on day 7. Dr. Miller took more pictures and said I was doing great. Just a few days later I couldn't stand it any longer and I started playing with make up - he wanted me to wait 10 days anyway. I looked great. I had a great profile and only had to worry about keeping the pinkish, lasered area around my eyes concealed which was easily done with make up. A word about that - mineral make-up is your best friend for this. You will have minimal fine lines in your face because of the swelling and the minerals also feed the healing skin. They can be layered to get the right coverage - I used a green powder and a sable brush to "paint" the concealer over my trouble spots first to neutralize the pink color and covered it with the foundation powder. I tried it all - creams, Lancome Dual Finish wet, air-brush - NOTHING covered as well and as naturally as layered mineral powder. Once my swelling started going down and my pink areas resolved (about 6-8 weeks) I resumed using my cream foundation and concealer.
I am a good healer, on top of everything else I did to take care of myself - and I was ready to go back to work BEFORE my second week was up! I was still numb in spots, like my ears, but no one knows that. Make-up took care of what little discoloration I had left. What we don't realize is that we naturally swell depending upon what we eat and drink, so our faces are always changing - no one noticed any swelling - what they did notice was that I looked relaxed and content after my "stay-cation". Perfecto.
It was recommended that I continue to wear an ace bandage around my head and under my chin at night for the first month as my newly lifted neck continued to heal. I was told that those folks who wear it the longest seem to do the best and get the best result. That's what I wanted, so that's what I did.
Three months went by and I returned to Dr. Miller for the second of the 3 fat transfers to my face (the first one occurred during the surgery). For 3 days before that procedure I took Arnica Forte again to keep down the swelling and bruising. The shots to numb my face felt like bad bee stings, but they sure helped to numb the injection site - I only felt pressure. Dr. Miller massaged my face to get the fat where it needed to be and documented my progress. The whole procedure took 5 minutes and I didn't bruise AT ALL. I could have gone straight back to work - in fact, 3 months later for the final transfer I DID go straight back to the office! No one noticed a thing and I was fine - just a little excited because I looked a little younger! I did wind up taking some Tylenol for some achiness.
So here it is 8 months out and I anticipate looking even better as time goes by and I like the idea that I will always be "ahead of the curve" as I age. When the day comes that I need a little something more done, I hope Dr. Miller is still around to do the job. No regrets! Now I can do my "Best Day Dance!"