I've seriously wanted to have my neck and double...
I've seriously wanted to have my neck and double chin dealt with for 20 years. I could just never justify it until now. I had a consult with Dr. Bitner and he suggested a facelift, as well as a hairline brow lift (which he does for free!) and SMAS lip augmentation with tissue taken from the neck. I am currently at three days post op and am posting photos of before as well as my first three days. Right now I am swollen and tight but have very little pain. My lips feel HUGE but the doctor assures me I am going to be very happy with the end result. I am already so happy with my jawline. I know I will look a whole lot better in a few weeks and just need to be patient. I will change my review from "not sure" when I am further along in the process and see the finished result.
Still very swollen, but don't feel that I look quite as grotesque. I have very dark bruising on my neck and around my eyes (which is kinda funny, since I didn't have my eyes done!). I have only taken 4.5 pain pills since the surgery, and nothing since night 2. I am really not in a lot of pain . . . everything just feels really, really tight. It's hard to eat and swallow. I am VERY excited about my jawline. Even with all the swelling, I can tell that I am going to like the end result. I can't wait for the swelling and bruising in my lips to go down. Every before and after pic I looked at of lips on Dr. Bitner's site were all very natural looking and no one had duck lips. I just have to be patient. In fact, the nurse told me that a month out I am going to wish they were a bit bigger. We'll see about that! Hopefully tomorrow's pic will be much less swollen.
Day 5 - in technicolor!
Well, it is day 5. I had hoped to wake up to a significant decrease in swelling, but to no avail. Still swollen as ever, and my bruising now contains every color of the sunset. Luckily, Dr. Bitner's nurse did a great job preparing me for the psychological aspects of recovery. Buyer's remorse? Check. The blues? Check. Thinking my lips are monstrously huge? Check. I just need to remember that this WILL resolve and focus on the positive . . . and there are a lot of positives. Dr. Bitner did extensive lipo and muscle tightening and skin excision on my neck, so it's gonna look WAY better no matter what. I will try to find a pic that shows just how bad my neck really was. The forehead lift has already worked wonders on my eyes, and I think the fact that my forehead is no longer a foot long will be great! I am in minimal pain; really, I'm just more annoyed by how tight my neck is. I have resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to be ready for a public appearance by Christmas but, really, it's just another day. There will be many more.
Neck and double chin - two years ago
Okay, this pic shows my round, round face.
Day 5 - redux
I realized I had been labeling my days incorrectly. I am actually only 5 days post-op today, so . . .sorry about that. I woke up today with noticeably less swelling in my upper face and bruises are starting to turn more yellow, which is a good sign. I still have a ton of swelling around my lower face and jaws, but my lips don't look nearly as wide and I can kind of see ME emerging from this. I really feel much better psychologically today. For those of you who are early in the game, just know that it's gonna be a little bit tough here and there, but the end result will (fingers crossed!) be worth it. I get my staples and stitches out tomorrow and am really looking forward to that. Now just have to figure out how to cover that incision along my forehead until it fades . . .
Day 6 - feeling more optimistic!
I had all my staples and stitches out today. I took a pain pill about 2 hours before my appointment and I wasn't uncomfortable at all. There were a couple of staples that had flipped over and they stung just a touch, but not big deal. I have ordered some camouflage makeup for bruises but it won't be here until tomorrow, so I tried to cover my bruises with what I had and it didn't work too well, LOL. That being said, I put makeup on my eyes and am really happy with how my eyes are looking. I am still REALLY swollen. My lips still feel huge and he said it will take about two more weeks for them to normalize. He said by six weeks I'll wish they were bigger. I am amazed by my jawline. I've never had a jawline like this. All in all, I am very pleased. While I had certainly hoped to be less swollen and bruised at this point, I can see kind of what the "final product" is going to look like and I am super happy. Hang in there, ladies!
Day 7 - the bruising never ends.
Tried a different technique to cover the bruising. Clearly didn't work, LOL! I guess I'll be hanging out at home for Christmas. Oh well. Still really swollen (maybe a bit worse today than yesterday???) but I know it won't last forever. I'm very glad to have all the stitches and staples out but feel a bit tender today from having them taken out I guess. I put on sunglasses, a hat, and a scarf and went to the store. I held the scarf over the lower half of my face so people probably just thought I was sick.
Day 8 - Before and a couple of afters
As requested, here is a before next to a current pic. As you can see, I still can't cover the bruises but found a local store with dermablend in stock so I'll venture out Saturday You can see the my jaw and the edges of my face are still really swollen, but I think my jawline is going to look great I have never had a jawline . . .
Day 9 - It is what it is.
Okay, kids and grandkids are coming over for Christmas. I was SO hoping that I wouldn't be so swollen and bruised by today, but I guess I was being a tad too optimistic. I have on more makeup than I've worn in the last year combined, and my black eyes are still noticeable. Hope I don't scare the grandkids. Sigh.
Day 11 - baby steps
Okay, I bought some dermablend yesterday and it *almost* covered up my black eyes. I felt comfortable going to Ikea with a scarf around my lower face and no sunglasses. I didn't notice anyone staring at me like I'm freakish or something. Lips are still too big, and the swelling is really lopsided right now. And I have these kind of hard ridges on both jaws . . . kinda hard to explain. I'll assume it's just swelling of some sort. I have an appointment Tuesday to have my last two stitches removed, so I'll ask then. In the interim, I am SO happy with my eyes and forehead. I can't believe what a difference the browlift made. Wow.
Day 12 - thank heavens for scarves!
I haven't really noticed any improvement in the swelling over the past few days. I have also probably been doing more than I should, so that could be part of it. Under eye bruises were covered pretty well today by the dermablend, then I wore my regular glasses and it just kinda looked like shadows from my glasses. I have attached a pic showing the underside of my chin. It is hard to tell but it has deep red bruising. I also have a lot of bruising in my upper chest. While I could try to cover it all with makeup, a scarf is a heck of a lot easier. In general, I feel quite good. Very tight under my chin and through my jaws, but I guess that's too be expected. My mouth is still moving kinda weird and I can't really smile normally at all. My forehead and front scalp area sometimes have pins and needles feelings but are primarily just numb, which is a very weird sensation. I think that's about it. Thanks to everyone for all your awesome encouragement and comments. It is greatly appreciated. I was so worried that I had made a big mistake, but I am feeling better about it daily.
Day 13 - doctor's visit
Hi all. I went to the Dr. today and had the last two stitches removed (earlobes). Dr. Bitner was SO excited with my results that he went ahead and took some pics (final pics will be at six weeks). I started crying when I saw them. I can't believe it. Seriously. DH took a pic of the screen for one set and that's what I'm posting. I honestly cannot say enough good things about Dr. Bitner and his staff. The nurses are incredible and helpful and kind and empathetic. Dr. Bitner is not only a very, very skilled surgeon but a genuinely nice, warm, thoughtful man. All restrictions are now off and I can use regular shampoo (YAY!) put makeup over my forehead incisions, etc. Oh happy day!
Day 14 - bleh.
Okay, you all know I'm very happy with my results, but I'm going to whine a little . . . I have been sleeping with my head elevated since my surgery, but last night I decided to to sleep just on my pillows. When I woke up this morning, my jaws and upper neck area were really swollen again. Disappointing. If I pull my hair away from my face, I feel like my head looks like a giant square block. And the swelling in my jaws pulls my lips in a funny way and I still can't smile normally (or even close). Bleh. Further, the two little crescent shaped bruises under my eyes are still REALLY hard to cover with makeup. I can kind of do it, but in person the makeup looks really caked on and weird. Okay, done with whining. Hope you are all having a good day!
Day 15 and 16 - Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a fun NYE. Yesterday my swelling was dreadful. I couldn't stand taking my daily pic. I drank a TON of water yesterday trying to flush out the swelling, and slept elevated again and today it is starting to go back down again. The bruising under my eyes is shrinking, but the little bit that is left is really dark and very hard to cover. I have been wearing glasses and they cast a shadow right about where the bruises are, so that helps. I am actually going to a social event tonight with people who don't know about my surgery. We'll see if I can pull this off. . .
Days 17 and 18 - Lots of socializing
I went to a social event Friday night with people who don't know about my surgery, had dinner last night with people who do, and ANOTHER dinner tonight with one person who knows and one who doesn't. My mouth still doesn't work exactly right and I still have some swelling, but it's easy enough to cover. I still have a bruise under each eye and they are visible in certain lighting, even with all the makeup I put over them. I have attached a pic of my "socializing attire" that I wore tonight The hat covers my forehead scar (although makeup hides it pretty well) and my glasses cast a shadow right where the bruising is. The scarf kind of camouflaged the residual swelling in my neck. I have one more week before I have to go back to work, but I think I can pull it off fine by then. I just hope my mouth starts working a little more normally. Smiling is just weird, and one side seems to be working better than the other. Ugh.
Day 19 - Pic from last night and reactions
Okay, picture updating seems to be working again. This is what I wore last night. So people who don't know haven't really been looking at me weird or anything. However, I know my mouth is not working correctly so I have been kinda vaguely saying that I've had dental work and that seems to work. People who do know are amazed by my neck, but two of them asked if I had something done to my eyes! The forehead lift really made a huge difference. The swelling is really noticeable when I pull my hair back from my neck and that's noticeable to people who know me well. So there have been comments of "oh, you'll look great when the swelling goes down" - which is pretty much how I feel, LOL! The swelling in my midface has gone down quite a lot the past two days and I now have nasolabial folds again, but no where near as deep as they were before of course. I really want these bruises under my eyes to be gone!! I'm so tired of layering on concealer and makeup. I usually don't wear that much makeup and it's kind of time consuming.
Day 19 - the naked truth
Here is a pic with no makeup at all and hair pulled back from face. You can see the amount of bruising that is still left under my eyes as well as the asymmetrical swelling in my face/jaw. If you compare this with other photos I've posted, you can see that the makeup does a pretty good job of covering the bruises now, but is not perfect.
Day 20 - I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .
Well, okay, that was kind of obnoxious, but I just saw a friend who knows about my surgery but hadn't seen me. She was SO impressed and couldn't get over my neck and my eyes. It made me feel really happy. She also was super reassuring about my remnants of black eyes and forehead scar being nearly undetectable (especially with my glasses on). I am sort of able to smile now, but only with my mouth closed. Still swollen along the jaw line but I think it's going down a bit again. I can see that the three week mark is really a turning point for looking kinda "normal" again. I am so glad I was able to do this and have nearly four weeks before returning to work. Otherwise I think I would have been really self-conscious about it.
Oh, and a before and after.
I realized these two pics are really similar with regard to facial expression, etc.
Day 22 - swelling and Incisions
So I'm posting pics of the incisions next to my ears, as well as the browlift incision. I am pleased with how my incisions are healing. They are quite easy to hide. I am also posting a pic of my jawline swelling. It is improving a TINY bit each day, but not as much as I would like. Sigh. Again, easy enough to hide with my hair, but I had hoped to be less swollen three weeks out. I guess it will just take time.
Day 24 - Swelling is not so swell.
So I decided to start exercising again a few days ago (doctor said I could) and WOW did I swell. Yesterday I kinda felt like Shrek. There is swelling on either side of the midline under my chin (I guess where the muscles were tightened?). I'm kind of freaking out and hoping this doesn't mean that I am going to have my baggy neck again. I am also still swollen around the ears. Has anyone else had this kind of swelling three weeks out? I tried to attach a pic but it won't let me right now. I'll do it later.
Day 25- a little better again
Okay, after taking it easy yesterday and LOTS of icing, my swelling is not quite as bad today. I'm awfully lopsided though. In other news, apparently I am not getting away with not telling people. Everyone has noticed. Oh well.
Four weeks- still a little swollen.
My post - exercise swelling is starting to recede a bit, but is still there under the jawline. Overall, I'm very happy with my outcome. I've been back to work all week and a lot of people have asked if I changed my hair. I think my black eyes are covered enough that they aren't really noticeable with my glasses. I have had a few " looks" though, for sure. If people ask, I will tell them, but I'm not gonna just bring it up in normal conversation.
Obligatory one month before and after
Pretty darned pleased with my progress!
Almost five weeks - please help with the swelling!
My exercise induced swelling from last week has been waxing and waning. It is worst in the morning, gets a bit better in the afternoon, and then gets a bit worse again at night. Yesterday I went for a walk. Just a nice, normal walk . . . wasn't power-walking or anything. This morning I had "Shrek face" again. My jaws are like those of a pitbull. I am getting so discouraged with this. I have tried ice packs, warm packs, OTC diuretics, bromelaid, and am still sleeping with my head elevated every night. Does anyone have any advice? I have a Dr. appointment a week from today, but would like some relief in the meantime. Bleh.
Thanks for all the help!
Hey, everyone Thank you so much for all your support and advice. To clarify, I did email my doctor last week when this started and sent pics: he assured me that this sometimes happens with exercise and that it will resolve in a few weeks. I'm not terribly concerned that something is wrong per se; rather, I find it uncomfortable and I really don't like how I look. I work very long hours at my job and by the end of the day I am SO swollen. However, I shall try a combo of all your suggestions over the next several days and hope that it helps. Grrrrr. I also have to remember that I had a LOT of work done on my neck. He did extensive liposuction, tightened the muscles, and did a lot of work with the skin. I guess I should expect that it is going to take some time to resolve. When the swelling does (periodically) go down, I LOVE my results. I just need to remember that eventually the swelling will dissipate and my final results will be awesome. Boy I'm impatient sometimes.
Six weeks today
Sorry for being so incommunicado of late. I have had a nasty ass virus since last Saturday night and have barely been on the computer. Ended up having to reschedule my six week followup for next week. The swelling had gone down pretty well by last week but then we had a dance party at our house and I danced for hours and it came back again . . . primarily below my jaws and along the sides of my neck. Again, easy to hide with my hair, but annoying to me. I'm posting a pic from the dance party, though. I think I like it better than any pic I've had taken in . . . oh . . . 20 years or so. I was always SO self-conscious about my double chin when getting a picture taken.
Seven weeks and some before and after pics
Finally made it for my six week checkup a week late, but better than never. I was still sick and my appointment was first thing in the morning and I was SO swollen. They took "after" photos and I look pretty darned shiny and swollen in them. However, I put them with my official befores for comparison purposes. My front view "after" looked really weird due to the swelling on the sides of my jaws- I looked like a had a square head. I took a different front view "after" today and cropped my real front view "before" and "after" to show my eyes and forehead in more detail. Anyway, I'm posting them so you can all see what an amazing job he did on my neck, especially. He said yesterday that he doesn't think he's ever had a neck turn out quite so well.
PS- wrinkles and stuff
I also talked to the doctor (well, actually his nurse who is AMAZING) about whether I should do a peel or whatever for my wrinkles. She doesn't think I need it and suggested Obagi C RX as she doesn't think there is any reason for me to do anything drastic with my skin as I have very few wrinkles. That made me very happy!
Thanks to everyone
There have been so many incredibly nice comments on my page the last few days. For those of you who are in the "before" phase, I am glad that you found my review helpful. I know this site helped me a ton. So I kind of went "public" yesterday by making this pic my FB profile pic. I NEVER have a pic of me as my profile pic. It's always the grandkids or pets or something, but I'm so happy with my results and decided to just go for it.
Eight weeks - woohoo!
10 Feb 2016
2 months post
Well, it's been weeks today since my surgery, so I thought I'd check in with an update. For the most part, I feel great about everything. I am still dealing with a little swelling under the jawline and it switched from side ti side depending on my sleeping position. I also still have a linebacker's neck and it's a tad sore. I would expect the rest of the dwelling to disappear over the next month or so. My lips are finally starting to feel like they look and act normal, but they still feel strange when I smile wide or laugh. I still have a strip of numbness around my face and a pretty large spot on my scalp due to the browlift. My incisions look great for the most part, but the incisions below my ears that go back into my hair are kinda raised. The doctor said he will inject them with kenalog if they don't settle down. Now for the good stuff - I feel really good about how I look. I seriously feel like I look 40, and I'm thrilled with that. I love not being self-conscious about my neck all the time. I had forgotten that my eyes were one of my better features when I was young, so I'm really pleased that they look so good. While this is not a particularly easy procedure, I am very happy I went through it.
Nine weeks - the naked truth
17 Feb 2016
2 months post
I decided to take a pic with my hair back and no make up this morning. I have been using the Obagi C Rx for a few weeks now and my skin is kinda red and peeling. I am hoping that will resolve soon. The swelling is still coming and going throughout the day, especially below my ears, in my upper neck, and along my lower jaw. I think it might be resolving slowly, however. I feel like my face is moving much better than it was and that I look much more "normal" when I talk etc. I'm definitely feeling less self-conscious about how I look and am much more willing to smile with my teeth showing, etc. In the pic with makeup, you can see that my marionette lines are coming back a big. I'm okay with that, as I think it looks more natural. All in all, things are good! Hang in there, newbies. This is a long haul but well worth it.
Week 11 - Obagi!
Hi folks. I wanted to check in and show you something. I have been using the Obagi C-Rx system since I went in for my 6 week check (which actually happened at 7 weeks). The system is mainly designed to bleach your skin. It contains hydroquinone and vitamin C. At first my skin was really red and it peeled quite a bit. My nose still gets red from it, and I get small pimples now and then. That being said, I think it is really making my skin look nice. I also have their decollatage system which is quite a bit gentler. Not sure it's working yet, and you can really see the difference between my face and chest skin. Gonna keep working on it though, or maybe try IPL on my chest to see if I can get rid of all the hyperpigmentation from sun damage.
Aside from that, I am still having swelling that comes and goes and annoys the crap out of me, but no one else notices, so that's fine. Scars are healing beautifully. I figure by summer I should easily be able to wear my hair pulled back and no one will know the difference. I had an awesome moment last weekend - I was purchasing new phones for the family and had my 35 year old son with me. At one point he called me "mom" and the guy who was waiting on us looked at me really weird for a minute and finally said - "wow, you really don't look old enough to have a kid that old". I was very happy to say -" yeah, he's not even my oldest". It was fun. Maybe he was just being a salesman, but it was still flattering as hell.
Hope everyone is doing well on their own journeys!
30 Mar 2016
3 months post
I made a before and after with a pic I took today. Overall, I am still very please with my results. My jowls have come back a little as the swelling is slooooooooowly going away in my lower face, and I can see my marionette lines a tiny bit, but it actually looks a bit more natural. I am finally happy with my lips. They are back to working normally and they don't feel so freakishly large to me anymore. I think my eyes are the best thing that happened. Still can't believe he did it with a brow lift!! My browlift and temple scars are looking really good and are not very visible. The scars behind my ears that run back into my hairline are a bit angrier looking. I see the doctor next week for a four month check up and he will most likely inject them with kenalog to help. I am still using the Obagi products but the night cream invariably makes me break out, so I have quit using that. I accidentally spent too much time in the sun last week while in Las Vegas and the Obagi stuff has made my skin even more sensitive to the sun that it usually is, so I burned my chest and my nose a bit. I was really upset at myself, and my chest go very red and blotchy with some hives. Bleh. Anyway, for you newcomers to the process, this is a long process to get back to feeling "normal" and feeling like you your new face is really yours. While the bruises may heal quickly, there really is a protracted time of weird swelling, strange sensations in your skin (the top of my head above my forehead is still totally numb) and periods of loving that you did it and not loving it so much. I'll check in again with pics at some point so we can see how things hold up over time. In looking at the before and after pics, I gotta say I am SO happy not to have "resting sad face" anymore. I am a pretty jovial person, and that face just didn't reflect who I am inside.
Okay, more before and afters.
I went for my 3ish month check up yesterday and the doctor took even more pics. Here is a collage with before, 6 weeks, and yesterday. At 6 weeks I still felt really puffy and shiny and kind of unnatural. Now I feel much more "real" looking. My neck and jowls have relaxed a tiny bit as the swelling goes down, but not a ton. I am still swollen through my jaws but hopefully that will resolve through time. As he reminded me yesterday, he has never done lift quite this drastic, so my healing is probably a bit slower than it is for some. Anyway, here is the pic.
If it does't work this time, I'll wait awhile and try again.
Pic from May
27 May 2016
5 months post
Here is a selflie I took while my DH and I were traveling in Europe a few weeks ago. I really like it. I think it shows the "after" of my facelift pretty well.
Nine month update
14 Oct 2016
10 months post
Hi all. It's been a long time since I posted, so I thought I'd check in! Today I went to Dr. Bitner for a little "touchup". He fixed my earlobes (they had attached to my neck when they healed) and did a little bit of lipo on either side of my chin as I had some residual fat there. The whole procedure took less than an hour. I could have done it with just a local, but decided to do IV sedation as the thought of hearing the cannula grossed me out, LOL! I am still VERY happy with my results. I had my hair cut last night by a new stylist (pic attached) and she was FLOORED when I told her I am 57. I told her about the face lift as I figured she'd see the scars in my scalp, and she said repeatedly that I look very natural for someone who's had surgery. Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well and thanks again for all your supportive comments all this time. It's very helpful.