Let me start with, I love my plastic surgeon and...
Let me start with, I love my plastic surgeon and trust him implicitly. I've used him for eight years on a couple things (1)breast augmentation repair (from an old leaking implant from another doctor), (2) nose job and now is the neck lift. He's the type of doctor that will tell you "no". LOL.... I asked for a chin implant a few years back and he refused, said I had some saggy skin on my neck (that could wait) but would not do unnecessary procedures. I like that about him. I'm considered "young" as far as average age for this surgery goes but I have been unhappy with my neck for almost three years and decided the year I turn 40 (this Fall) I wanted to have this done and bring in my fortieth feeling amazing. I am going for my pre-op this week and have my surgery scheduled for March 18th. I am nervous as I've opted to do this in his office under a local and 'mild' sedation (valium) but I am saving three grand by opting for this method and that's worth it to me. I expect to be given arnica and a couple scripts when I go in this week for the pre-op. I have a friend (an ER nurse) that will be with me for and after the procedure. This is a HUGE secret I am keeping from everyone I know and I just want to keep it on the DL. Hoping scars do not give me away.
More pre-surgery pics to add
Here's a few more pics of my "before" neck.
Tomorrow is the BIG day!
So less than twenty four hours from now, I will be valium groggy with my ear buds in (one at a time, I presume), loud soothing music of some sort and my trusted doctor snipping away at my face. I'm nervous about it but going to try my best to not think about the actual procedure. (even though I had to watch a video on the surgery prior and it's been running through my mind all day today!). I'm trying to get everything prepared so I can be totally unavailable to the social world for a little while. I'm putting an ice chest next to my bed that will stay stocked with ice (for swelling). Lots and LOTS of bottled water, gatorade, books, magazines, & movies next to my bed as well. But hopefully, I will sleep like a bear in winter, so, I am washing all my bed linens and pillows so be as nice and comfy (and sterile) as possible for when I return home. I stocked up on groceries today for the kids and will be making big batches of homemade chicken soup for me today (to freeze and use throughout the next week). I'm planning to take advantage of my bed-ridden condition and eat clean for the week+. Prescriptions filled (pain meds, valium and antibiotics). I start the antibiotics today. I know the pain meds will cause constipation (hope not TMI) so I'm cleaning out my gut today (exciting news, I know). Which is another reason to eat light and clean for the next week or so. All this preparation reminds me of hurricane planning (I live in FL)... well, except for the gut-clearing. ;-) OK... I will try to post pics tomorrow (depending on my conscious state of mind) post-procedure. If you are spiritual, please send prayers for my doctor. After all, I'm in his hands tomorrow. Talk to y'all soon!
So the in-office neck lift was done yesterday. I was on valium and lortab during the procedure but certainly more coherent than I would have expected. If you are opting for in-office vs hospital (general anesthesia)... it's a matter of your ability to tolerate what the surgeon is doing to you in a somewhat coherent state. I could feel a lot of pulling and tightening. Around my ears I heard the snipping and cutting of skin and could smell the cauterizing (which smells like burning hair) and sometimes feel that sensation. At one point I told the Dr. I needed more numbing on one area, which he did. The most intense part (for me) was the local anesthesia injections (there were many... at least 20) and the injections in the ears were painful. I'm not going to gloss over that. BUT, I am glad I did the procedure in office, overall. It's NOT for the faint of heart. I had my spa-music playing in my ear buds (one at a time) and tried to focus in on the music I had playing. Half-way through the surgery, they gave me another dose of valium and pain pill and then about an hour after that, gave me one more valium and pain pill. The final dose of valium and pain pill seemed to do the trick where I could REALLY relax... but, by then, it was almost over. Total it was about 6 hours long, one hour of pre-op and 5 of surgery. I had a drain put in, along with an ace-bandage wrap and and ice-pack wrap on top of the ace bandage. Today (approx 24 hours later), I went in and they removed the drain and re-wrapped everything. I will wear the ace-bandage and ice packs for the next four days or so. I have an ice chest by my bed to switch out the ice packs as needed. I am a bit swollen and feel slightly stiff, but the actual pain in minimal. I have lortabs (which I have taken a couple) and I have Advil (which I prefer). I'm laying in bed, and sleeping a lot. (Elevated, of course).I am a little swollen but not too much and no bruising (yet). I am also taking Arnica which really helps with bruising. Here' s my day one "bandaged" pics. You can't see any results yet. I'll update more as I continue to heal. Thank you for the well-wishes everyone! :-)
A picture comparison
I am two-days post op and decided to do a pic comparison from before and after ... I am still very swollen but see a big improvement already on my neck. Here you go.
A couple more comparison photos.
I'm getting a little more swollen as each hour goes by... I expect to be at a swollen "peak" in a day or two". The swelling is the more uncomfortable part for me. Other than that, no pain. Ice has been helping, as well as, my ace bandage and advil. I took the wraps off for the pics... the blue marks you see on my cheeks are from the doctors markings with pen... I need to remove that w/rubbing alcohol. Although, I was able to shower and wash my hair today, I stayed away from my face and neck... didn't want to accidentally mess with any of the stitches. It's amazing how great a nice shower feels after surgery, though! You can see the stitches around my ears. I imagine there will be a big difference in a couple weeks as the swelling goes down and the stitches come out. Overall, feeling good about my procedure. I run out of energy pretty quickly and tend to nap throughout the day. I'm REALLY taking it easy per my doc's orders and laying in bed quite a bit. I figure the more rest/sleep, the better for healing. Oh, and I'm consuming water like a marathoner. I'm not super thirsty, just trying to stay super hydrated.
Day Three Post op... showing the incisions (Warning... may be graphic for some people)
So, I am more swollen today than I have been yet. My face is quite the balloon.... but I know after a few more days, the swelling will begin to go down. In the meantime, I removed my bandages long enough to take some pics of the incisions and stitches (they will be in until mid-next week) Here's the handiwork of my doc. I think he did a really fine job on his sewing skills but, I'm biased! Mind you, there are a few blue pen marks and perhaps a tiny bit of dried blood around the stitches (so keep that in mind). This is not for for viewing of people that don't like anything graphic. BTW: There is some "puckering" behind the ears from where the skin was pulled the most... it will relax and flatten out in time, but my hair will cover it in the mean time. And as you can see the bruising is really minimal. Again, I think that is from the arnica tablets.
End of day four post op ... a comparison pic
The swelling in my face is still pretty obvious, but it's beginning to go down in my neck some. I decided to post a comparison from today vs pre-surgery with the same angle. I can really notice more definition.
TIPS on SWELLING for the people in recovery!
So.... I could not figure out why the bruising and swelling was going down... then suddenly began to come back. I was rather elevated... not working TOO hard at chores, icing, icing and more icing but it was increasing. So, I took to Google on my quest to investigate. I'm ridiculously curious anyway and needed SOMETHING to do! It's boring recovering in isolation! ;-) Turns out.... ADVIL (which I am taking extremely religiously) will INCREASE bruising and swelling due to thinning of the blood. Geez Louise, I should have learned that sooner!! I downed at least a whole bottle over the last five days. Another thing (and I was so proud of this initially). I STOCKED up on Gatorade... to stay hydrated... right??? Drinking my gatorade and popping my advils... I was quite pleased with my own caretaking. Good grief.... according to what I have learned (and should have realized) Gatorade has more sodium than almost ANYTHING else in the world, I would have been better to eat bags of potato chips (and tastier) therefore sodium (AKA SALT) is quite the contributor to water retention/bloating AKA SWELLING! AH HA!!! I've done this to myself. Cray cray! Well... at least now I am aware.
NOOOOOOOOOOO NSAIDS (Advil, IBprofen) and NOOOOOOOOO Gatorade. Hope this helps others from making the same mistake I did. I am all Dasani (water) all the time now. And protein... LOW SODIUM protein. Let the puffiness recede!! :-D
Follow up to my "swelling post" above....
Here's a couple pics from two days ago until today, I can really see the difference in swelling going down... wanted to show you what I meant. Going today to get the stitches out... YAY!!! That means I can (hopefully) wear a bit of makeup and show myself in public! I'll post more pics after the stiches are removed so you can see the incisions after stitches. :-)
Stiches removed.... almost!
So I went into the doc today to have my stitches taken out (one week post-op). I was SOOOO ready, only to learn, they don't remove ALL the stitches. They left the stitches on my earlobes and behiind my ears for one more week. The surgical nurse said that is standard. So, at least my chin stitches were removed and half my ears. Now it looks like it will scab and then fade some. The upside to fair skin is the scar will totally disappear into my coloring. the downside is that is an eventual process as scars typically take a LONG time to fade for me. 6 mths+. The nurse said she couldn't believe how well I was recovering with almost no bruising, that I looked like I was two-weeks post op. That made me very happy. She also said to use vitamin E oil (which I found at Ulta) to help heal the scars. Still quite swollen... but it is going down. Here's the stitches removed pics. Warning (they are RED).
Newest comparison pic (side view)
This will be the last pics I post for a little while as the swelling continues to improve each day, I feel it's best to wait 2-3 weeks to do another set of pics. So.... there's a more significant "after". :-)
Two weeks post-op... all the stitches removed
Ok.. went in today for my two-week checkup. I still have a little swelling but most all the bruising is gone. The doc removed all the rest of the stitches behind my ears but wanted to use a little tape on one ear lobe as it's not healed totally together. That's MY fault, BTW.. from PICKING. Don't pick at the incisions ladies.... even when they itches! Now, I get to wear a little piece of tape for two weeks. Oh well.... all in all, it was a good report. Here's my two-week out pics for you all to compare. :-) Hope you are all doing well! Big hugs!!
ughhhh... posted too soon!
Here's the other pics! lol
Update... a little less than one month post op. Here you go. :-)
Swelling has reduced nicely and significantly. The scarring is not noticeable to anyone except me (they are pink) and I go w/o makeup most of the time. I think the scars can easily be covered with makeup though if I wanted. Most of the swelling that still seems to remain is under my chin but I can tell thats still reducing. I have puffy cheeks naturally so, no fillers anywhere, for your reference. Hope everyone is well. No pain. My lower face doesn't have sensation (other than a little tightness) however every now and again I get an odd sting (in ears mostly) so I can tell the sensation will slowly return once the nerves heal and reattach... I know that will be very gradual. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Updated profile views
Here's a side view comparison.
Two month post op
Almost two months post op. here's my latest "after" shots... I think most (if not all) of the swelling has subsided. Here's my results.
Better visual of my chin scar.
10 May 2015
2 months post
This was taken today right after a good face wash... it's the incision under my chin. In width it is about the size of a nickel (yes, I placed coins next to it to measure). You can not see the incision with my head strait on. You can see it, if my head is thrown back or I totally raise my chin (which I don't naturally do).. in addition, I would have to have zero cover-up on it to see it in those instances. For me, scarring typically fades from pink to silver-whitish in about a year. It takes a while... but because I am so fair, the scars blend completely unnoticeable. However, I do not know that every skin tone would have that experience. Here you go.