I was supposed to see Dr. Crespo based on the great results of a facelift that he did for a friend of mine and inquired about him on the website that he shares with Dr. Picard-Ami. Dr. Picard-Ami responded and told me to come for the consultation in Panama City and then they would decide which surgeon would see me. I did that and was very specific in emails before arrival that I was seeking a "minilift", just lower facelift to reduce lines to the sides of my mouth and some slackness in jowl. I am only 50 so it was not major but bothered me (I am a model and youth is everything in this business).
I arrived for the consult and only Dr. Picard-Ami was there. I later learned that Dr. Crespo did not even know that I was attempting to be his patient. Dr. Picard-Ami told me that he advised that he call the surgery a 'necklift' and that he could see my 'platismus' band at top of throat. He said that he would cut and separate that so it wouldn't be visible and then use that incision under my chin to access my lower jowl area for lifting and use incisions in front of my ears to pull back the SMAS (skin plus deeper layers of tissue). He also said that he could do fat grafting which almost all plastic surgeon do now, by harvesting some fat from my belly (I had hardly any) and injecting that into the folds around my mouth. He also suggested a lower blepharoplasty on my left eye.
Before coming to Panama, I said explicitly in my emails that I did not need any work on my neck or eye areas, only the lower face. I agreed to his 'necklift' method of tightening the lower face and initially agreed to the blepharoplasty and paid for both. Then after mentioning it to friends of mine, I canceled the bleph because no one could see why he said I needed it, including me. I was marked by Dr. Picard-Ami in pre-op for the around mouth facial lines and proceeded to have the 'necklift' as he described it although it was not supposed to entail tightening any of the skin on my neck as I did not have even a tiny bit of skin laxity there. 2 days after surgery I realized that I was getting an infection behind my left ear where he had put in the surgical drain. I was still in Panama but not in Panama City and my local doctor began treatment for it.
I sent Dr. Picard-Ami the picture of it (awful looking) and he said that I had no infection! I had to fly to Panama City to have stitches removed a week after surgery which I did even though my local doc said he could not remove the ones near the infection because the incision was not healed which I thought also. Despite how infected the area still was, he removed the stitches but forgot to remove the ones under my chin and I realized it just before leaving his office, then he did it. He still told me that the area wasn't infected but to keep taking the antibiotics my doctor had given me (??). Of course, I was going to. It took 4 weeks for the infection to heal enough to stop putting medication on it. It is still very red and looks awful to a regular person. I also was having trouble with my lymphatic system being very congested (I know the symptoms from my own experience and because I write books on health). My lymph nodes were swollen and painful all over my body and the skin on my neck felt super tight.
In addition to that, once I was not swollen anymore, I realized that I had several very large (2 inches long each) and very hard lumps in my lower face. I went several places for consultations and all of the practitioners said they had never seen anything like it! I was visibly disfigured. I went back to Dr. Picard-Ami one week after stitches were removed and he denied knowing of any reason that could happen or what was wrong except "swelling". I am not stupid nor were the medical practitioners who saw me who were horrified by them and it certainly wasn't normal swelling. The lumps were rock hard. He injected some steroid into it them and he said that 'may help' and advised me to go back to the U.S. and not worry about it because nothing more could be done anyhow. I instead went to the medical director's office of the hospital at Punta Pacifica. I was advised not to go home but to remain for further evaluation by the top plastic surgeon of the practice, which I did.
The end result of multiple examinations was that some material WAS applied somewhere above or under my cheeks and in the jowl area. I demanded by email to know what he had done (despite him telling me nothing was done in that area). He replied that he had surgically grafted fat in those area - a far cry from him injecting my fat into my nasolabial folds! However, the opinion of the most famous dermatologist (MD) in Panama after examination was that she does not think it was fat that was grafted. I am an extremely calm person and I am stressed beyond imagination! I do not know what is in my face, I certainly cannot trust Dr. Picard-Ami to be straight with me AND the hospital told me that they have nothing to do with him, that he is not affiliated in any way with Punta Pacifica and so I have no medical or legal recourse with them! I have had 15 treatments so far with ultrasound and radiofrequency treatments to try to soften and move the lumps which are scar tissue formed over whatever substance he put in my face (encapsulations). One lump has been molded to a slightly less conspicuous size but is still very visible and unnatural looking. The other which runs at an angle in the hollow of my cheek has had no improvement. Even worse, I had to see a doctor on my own for the lymph glands in my neck getting infected which is a medical emergency. He said that the skin around my neck and under my chin was pulled too tight (right, I had no extra skin to pull!) and it is compressing my lymph glands causing some to become hypertrophic. I need to have manual lymph drainage treatments done for an hour each day for an undetermined about of time. I am 100% on my own to pay for the expense of all of these treatments to try to mitigate his errors and they are likely to be permanent!
Dr. Picard-Ami has taken no responsibility financial or otherwise and I have now paid far more than if I had had my minilift in the U.S with far more stringent standards for plastic surgery and I have been in Panama by myself for 8 weeks missing all of my work back home! I was told that no U.S. doctor is going to want the liability of trying to fix the mistakes of a surgeon in Panama and the therapists here know how to do the ultrasound and "lump" massage treatments recommended by other doctors that I cannot get in the U.S. Dr. Picard-Ami claims to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery but he is not listed on their website. DO NOT have plastic surgery in Panama. You have NO RECOURSE if anything goes wrong!