Neck & Jowls - New Orleans, LA

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I am starting this entry at 7PM, after my surgery...

I am starting this entry at 7PM, after my surgery at about 9AM, so that I don't forget the little things. I know pics are a big help on here but I'm not comfortable with that right now... I'm thinking I might do a half-face post at some point, but right now, I just look like a person with swollen cheeks (just a little, not like golf balls), purple bruises and a jockstrap on her head. I did this because my neck and face are fat in a way that is not proportional to the rest of my body. When I lose weight, this fat stays.

I am within a normal healthy weight range for my height. Losing 10 lbs wouldn't hurt, but that's about it. If I starved and weighed about 95 lbs and maintained that for the rest of my life, I probably could get this to go away. But, I'm not going to live like that. I know women who weigh 50, even 80 lbs more than I do and do not have this much fat in these areas. It is more like someone who would be about 100 lbs more than I weigh. Not. Fair. So, I'm taking charge!

I am 35. I had mine done with general anesthesia, as including the jowls/ lower cheeks was more involved than the neck alone. When I showed up they had me pee in a cup (for women of childbearing age, for the anesthesia... which I found intrusive because I'm not having sex, they should let me sign something to that effect if my word isn't sufficient. I am aware of my own body and know what I have and have not been doing!). But anyway, they put me in a gown on a table and got the IV set up in my hand, had the dr draw on my face, etc. It took awhile for everyone to be ready, but they let me watch my own tv in the meantime, which was a good distraction to the sounds of an OR. Of course once the IV was active I was out, and I rested for about half an hour once I awoke before going home.

I was kind of restless and in pain at that point - understand that I am allergic to prescription pain killers, so they gave me a steroid, a prescription anti-inflammatory and tylenol. All that worked pretty well after a little bit. When I got home I ate a little, took meds and then slept for 2-3 hours. As others have said on here, the compression garment is really uncomfortable (but necessary!). It is impossible to ignore. I sleep on my side normally but you're supposed to sleep on your back with your head elevated... that was tough to do and actually fall asleep at the same time.

Right now, I am not sure because I can't touch most of the area through this garment where the thick gauze is, but I don't think I have any areas of numbness. All around my mouth feels awake and I think I can move all my muscles regularly (a potential issue with the jowl part of the procedure). I am trying to eat some mac n cheese (figured it is soft and easy to chew) but it HURTS to chew it on the side of my neck :O(. I don't know if it's where my stitches are or what, but it's pretty sharp pain. Earlier when I ate organic apple and berry sauce it was fine, and I tried some vanilla ice cream too, fine. The chewing is a problem... but I need some substantial food! Trying a morsel at a time... It also hurts to swallow, partially inside from the tube (just a little) and partially from moving my neck muscles, I think.

I'm taking the next few days off work, and so far it's pretty boring! I am trying to keep ice on the areas because it says that will help bruising and, of course, swelling. I wish I had started right when I got home but I slept first. Have to take the arnica montana (for bruising -i have both pills and a cream), steroid, anti-inflammatory and tylenol every few hours. Oh I also have an anti-biotic for one day. So the "jock strap" and the large swath of gauze underneath obscure most of the affected area, but I can see that my neck, around my collar bone, is bruised purple and there is a whole area of blood pooling around in there making it a little puffy. I know this is the work of gravity. It hurts to hold ice against it. I assume it looks pretty much the same under the garment but I'm not taking it off to look yet. I assume also that it is going to get worse over the next day or so, as that's what happens with regular accidental bruises. I am going to try to leave the strap on as long as I can stand to not wash my hair (prob 2 days) and then put it right back on. Then I will hopefully be feeling like I can massage the area. Dr said that was very important. I'm also kinda scared to see the bruising! :O/

9:30PM and the pooling of blood around the bottom...

9:30PM and the pooling of blood around the bottom of my neck is unnerving. It's so swollen with blood under the skin settling there... if it's the same tomorrow I'm going to call the office and check if they think it should be looked at. They're only 2 blocks away, thankfully...

Day 2, the pooling of blood has subsided for the...

Day 2, the pooling of blood has subsided for the most part, I'm sure because I slept all night laying down, we'll see if sitting up for a few hours now brings it back. The nurse called to see how I'm doing and said that shouldn't be pooling like that so to call back if it does. Kinda nervous now.

Cheeks are still swollen and still without bruising, both of which she said is normal. Throat is still sore and it still hurts to eat.

Randomly patterned purple bruising all over my lower neck. It extends pretty far down, but she said that's ok.

Day 4 Sunday after Thursday morning surgery... my...

Day 4 Sunday after Thursday morning surgery... my cheeks/jowls are still very swollen, so, "fatter" looking than before surgery. I can very much tell however that there is volume missing from my neck. I think my profile angle will be much better. I look really terrible, though, face-on, because my cheeks are so fat. Hoping to be able to hide it and the bruising with a cowl and go to work tomorrow. Still no bruising except on my lower neck, so that's good!

6 days. I feel monstrous. The thing I hated most,...

6 days. I feel monstrous. The thing I hated most, my fat face, is even fatter!!! It's huge. I feel deformed and grotesque.

I spent probably a total of an hour or so massaging the area last night with a little vibrating thing like the doctor said to. I've read it's supposed to help things 'move' and make the hard parts less hard... I'm hoping after say 4 days of this there's some sort of result because it's just awful right now, swollen and hard.

The purple bruising is still prominent, wearing tight cowls at work that I crocheted (but my fat swollen face is sticking right out for all to see! :O) ). There is a lot of yellow bruising surrounding the purple - almost my whole neck is yellow. If there was any doubt that it's a jaundiced yellow color, there's an inch wide strip of untouched, healthy-colored skin running directly across my entire neck.

I am a masterpiece of ick.

As of yesterday have moved to wearing the compression garment all the time to ~12 hours a day.

One week since surgery. Yesterday was terrible,...

One week since surgery. Yesterday was terrible, but as of late last night and today, I think the swelling in my cheeks has gone down!!! I look less monstrous!

I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, I suspect it might... I started on Tuesday with massaging the area, a LOT. I did both just with the palm of my hand (at work) and with a vibrating massager (while reading). It's so sore that massaging is very, very hard to make myself do, especially near the incisions, but I keep doing it anyway, and I believe I'm being gentle enough not to damage anything.

So, I have a little bit more hope. The Dr. had said, "this is going to make your whole body appear slimmer" and I feel like today I can sort of see what he means. My neck is still very swollen, but you can tell there is less bulk overall there, and I think my cheeks are less swollen, and anyway, looking in the full mirror I think I see the beginnings of why he says that. Can't wait for it to get better!

The bruising is still bad. I'll upload a pic soon so that I can compare.

Day 9... things seem a little better. That *%@#...

Day 9... things seem a little better. That *%@# purple bruising is very stubborn. If you look at the pics, for example from today day 9, it may look like a shadow down my chest (and there is) but there is also blue bruising there. Still.

I did a lot of massaging at work the last couple days... trying to kinda grab and roll the area. It hurts less, but some spots, like around where he went in (below my ears and under my chin), are still super tender. I also try to make lots of weird facial expressions and move my neck slowly around all which ways.

So. Sick. of wearing cowls around my neck :O(.

Day 11... sometimes I forget there's a problem but...

Day 11... sometimes I forget there's a problem but then I move my neck a little too much and feel the tightness, or go to wash my face and remember how swollen and tender it still is. I really hate that there is bruising showing up ON my face now, where my jowels are. You can tell in the day 11 pic... but the other bruising is a lot better... I can't wait until I can stop wearing crap around my neck. At least the weather has been merciful and not too warm so that I don't look suspicious.

So it's been about 3 weeks. Most of the obvious...

So it's been about 3 weeks. Most of the obvious bruising was gone a week ago, and I was able to stop wearing cowls. Which is good, because Mardi gras was very warm and I would have looked ridiculous! In my newest pictures you can see that there is some remnant bruising on my jowls (up on my lower cheek). My profile is much better, and head-on my jaw is better (less heavy)... there is still swelling around my jaw, and there is still a lot of numbness but it was greatly improved after 2 weeks, and gets better all the time. At 2 weeks there was still blue bruising way down on my chest from gravity. I still wake up sometimes thinking that there is something extra around my neck (from the stiff, swollen parts), and sometimes I still have some discomfort and even slight pain when chewing. I'm still deciding whether or not it was worth $3100. I think probably so... but waiting to see how I look after more swelling subsides. No one has said anything to me, other than the people I told.

A couple months out and the swelling keeps going...

A couple months out and the swelling keeps going down -- it is NOT anything anyone would notice, even ME, but I can feel it with my hands and slightly I can tell on the sides that under my jawline there is more swelling to go down. But there's no way anyone else would ever be able to tell - not even from 3 weeks after the surgery out. it is a very subtle but effective surgery. Directly under my chin is still numbish... my jowls are still slightly sore if I press on them, so I'm hoping that means they will also go down a little in time. The volume difference from before surgery is substantial. I think it was worth it, finally officially changing the status of my evaluation from 'not sure' to 'worth it'.
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon

Once I see my results I'll reassess his rating :O). Right now 4 of 5. Pretty confident in him... UPDATE - he is a very good surgeon. He did wonderful work. The cost included all fees for the operating room. It took a few weeks to get a consultation but the office worked with me to make it possible for surgery to be scheduled the next week after, so that was nice, as I was ready ready!! The staff is very kind, available, and ready to help you. I'm dealing with a couple of other drs and their offices for other things right now, and these folks are refreshing. The office and the operating room are in a big mansion on St. Charles. The operating area is especially true to the old home, which made me very comfortable because it is a beautiful, familiar environment (New Orleans architecture etc). The Dr has been practicing there for about 16 years, and I liked what I saw about his previous work. His bedside manner is friendly, calm and non-accusatory. I really liked the operating room nurse, very genuine person... everyone I encountered was nice and took their time with me to make sure everything was right, and EVERYONE asked me about my allergies which was very reassuring, because I have many drug allergies and I've had several doctors over my life prescribe me things I told them I'm allergic to.

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
4 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
3 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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