What Happened to Informed Consent? - Phoenix, AZ

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I had the Lifestyle Lift surgery in June 2011. At...

I had the Lifestyle Lift surgery in June 2011. At the same time laser surgery was done around my mouth and chin. A friend recently asked me if, knowing what I know now, I would have gone through with it. Here's what I told her:

I am a very calm person and have had two cataract surgeries, two eyelid surgeries, two eye muscle surgeries, and one lumpectomy in the last three years. All except the eye muscle surgeries were with only local anesthesia, but for most procedures I was anesthetized for about 5 minutes while the numbing was administered for the surgeries done under local anesthesia. Other than very minor post-op pain, I sailed through all of these.

After my Lifestyle Lift surgeries I felt as if they had not been fully honest with me about the pain involved in the numbing process. I'm not afraid of needles, but I wasn't expecting over a dozen shots around my face, chin and ears prior to the lift surgery."Local anesthesia" had never been explained in detail, and I assumed that the pain mentioned on their Consent form would be the normal amount expected post-op for any surgery. As the shots went on and on prior to the lift my anxiety level rose, as each shot has the pain of a puncture plus the sting of the anesthesia itself. If someone had said during my early consultation that I should be aware that about 15 shots would be administered, it would have helped prepare me, and I wouldn't have felt so anxious. And if I'd been informed beforehand, I still would have gone through the surgery. I realize others might not, and I feel as if that is why they didn't tell their patients what "local anesthesia" really means. So I'm telling you: The shots are numerous and painful, but tolerable.

The lift procedure went fine and then they numbed me for the laser surgery. In a criminal court I feel that that numbing procedure would be called "cruel and unusual punishment." It was absolutely excruciating. I think I went into shock immediately, as it felt as if a long hypodermic needle was being threaded through my un-numbed lips from each end of my upper and lower lips. I was screaming and crying, and if the assistant's hand isn't broken from my gripping it in severe pain, it's a miracle. I would bet that none of the Lifestyle Lift physicians has had that sort of numbing done on themselves.It was truly traumatic, and in the swirling vortex of my pain I didn't even think to tell them to stop.It was the worse pain I have ever experienced.

To my surprise the physician, whom I actually liked, called me two days later, and two times since, and admitted that Lifestyle Lift is trying to find a better way to anesthetize patients for laser surgery. My feeling is they have no right in the world to be doing laser surgery until they solve the numbing problem, using themselves as guineau pigs. Whatever happened to the Hypocratic oath they all take, in which the first tenet is: "First, do no harm?"

So no, had I known the amount ot trauma involved in the laser surgery, I would have saved up my money and had it done under the type of twilight anesthesia in which the patient is aware but feels nothing--as with my previous "local anesthesia" surgeries.

I feel I have been deceived by what they omitted to tell me. I wrote to them about it, and said I felt some sort of refund was due because they had failed to give me enough information for me to have provided truly informed consent. They denied my request as if the end justifies the means by which it is achieved.

Please be aware that I am not unhappy with the outcome of the surgeries,nor the facilities, nor the staff, which were fine. The physician said that not all patients experience that severe amount of pain, which may be true. But the potential is there, and unfortunately you don't know your reaction until those needles start threading through your lips.

A friend who had the lift surgery five years ago still looks great, but L.L. wasn't doing laser surgery back then. And she said the pill they gave her prior to surgery made her woozy enough be be mostly unaware of anything. I took the prescribed pill the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, and it had no effect whatsoever. No drowsiness--nothing. And they didn't ask how the pills made me feel--they just went ahead with everything.

I believe the physician was accurately following L.L.'s prescribed protocols for the numbing and surgery.He wasn't careless or uncaring. The numbing protocols themselves are flawed.

So if you decide to do the lift surgery, now at least you're aware of the numerous shots. And I wouldn't do that laser procedure again for any amount of money. The pain is still fresh in my memory.

Name not provided

My statement explains my ratings, which are a cautious "yes" for the lift procedure, but a adamant NO for the laser. The doctor answered all the questions I knew to ask beforehand. It was the ones I didn't know to ask that made the lift surgery anxiety-producing, and the laser numbing unbearable.

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
3 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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