After years of researching procedures for...
After years of researching procedures for facelifts (mini, SMAS, lifestyle, etc.) and now at 56 years old, I finally settled on a doctor and had my lower SMAS face and necklift. I am documenting on RealSelf in hopes that it will help someone make a well informed decision. Without all of YOUR help here, it would have been more difficult for me to make a good choice. Also, I was able to read answers given by Dr. Verret, and read reviews about him before I selected him as my surgeon.
When I tell you I have been looking into this for years, I mean at least 5 years. I have had approximately 7-8 consultations with different surgeons. There were a number of reasons that I selected Dr. Verret over the other surgeons in Dallas/Ft. Worth. For one thing, he is double board certified and ONLY does faces! That was important to me. I wanted a surgeon that did this type of procedure all the time...not a doctor that did more breast augmentation or body work. When I consulted with him he was very honest about what type of results I could expect. He answered all of my questions and he didn't push me to do any procedures I wasn't comfortable with at this time (my eyes). I knew I could go into surgery with this doctor and feel as comfortable as I ever would with anyone.
I booked the surgery and had the procedure on 9/5/2013. I am adding pictures and will document progress as I go through the next 4 weeks of recovery. It helped me so much to read some of your experiences, see your photos, and know a little more what to expect as I go along. Here's to all of you for helping all of us!! I have posted my BEFORE and DAY OF/DAY ONE pictures. I will post my progress for the next few weeks as my face changes and the swelling subsides. I am actually shocked that I don't have any bruising on my face. My neck is bruised but my face is not.
Days 4 & 5
I didn't really expect that the first three days with this procedure would be as uncomfortable as it was. They don't tell you about your EARS. It's not really a normal pain...it's like fire ants pulling your ears off. I took pain meds that were prescribed and it got me through it fine. On day four, all that ache and fire and throbbing just seemed to stop. I still have some strong sensations in my ears and neck from time to time but basically I feel great most of the day. I don't care much for sleeping upright but I don't want to swell anymore than I have already so I'm diligent about staying propped up.
I have cleaned the incisions as directed...a little painful at first but getting better. I actually have a tough time seeing the incisions. My ears look huge and swollen but the actual incisions are pretty well hidden. These come out in three more days.
I have kept the bandage in place 24/7 only removing it to wash my face and snap a few pictures.
I'm amazed that I don't have more bruising. I can't see any bruising on my face...just my neck. Time will tell on the final results but as far as I can tell, Dr. Verret did great work. I am not having any problems and everything has gone exactly as planned. As I mentioned before, he made this procedure very easy on me and I have felt very safe and confident throughout the entire process.
I took a picture of the incisions around my ear. I think my ear is very swollen but if you look behind my ear, you can see the neck incision in my hairline. It's hard to see but so are the ones in my temple area.
Day Six - 2 more till sutures are out
Let me tell you: You get really tired of this bandage around your head. That and sleeping sitting up.
Ok. Now that's out of the way, I still have itching around my ears and neck along with tightness and pinprick sensations. I feel like the nerves in my ears and neck are frayed and raw...which of course they are. I do have some numbness in front of my ears but it's not bad and it's not completely numb anywhere. It feels like when you've had Novocaine during a dental procedure and it's wearing off. You get "jolts" of sensation that come and go. That itching is healing...I'm sure.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is the swelling. My face looks like a balloon to me. I have to lay off all salt. I forgot about that till I read some posts here!
If I didn't have to wear this bandage for a few more days (then it's just at night for another 7 days), I think I could go out pretty safely and not scare anyone. A scarf would do it for the neck bruises.
I thought to mention that I have not had any other cosmetic surgeries in the past. This is the first one and I did a great deal of reading and research over the years to understand what type of procedure I wanted and needed. Part of my decision to consult with that many PS (7-8 over a number of years) was to get a consensus on what procedure would be best for me. It became really clear that a SMAS facelift and full necklift was what I needed. Believe me, I tried to get away with the "mini", weekend, quick, lifts but not one of the PS I consulted with told me that would be the best choice. Everyone of them said SMAS. If you look at my "before" pictures, I have jowling and crepyness in my neck but I kept thinking I could get away with a lighter lift. As I look back on the decision, I see that the recovery would have been pretty much the same and I had more laxity in my face and neck than I was willing to acknowledge. (denial..ha,ha). I almost had this done two years back in Virginia because I found an exceptional surgeon in Richmond that I would have trusted. I thought about going back to him for this but when I found Dr. Verret, I knew he could do this right and I didn't have to travel.
As part of this update, the surgery center just called to see how I was recovering and if my surgery had gone according to my expectations. My doctor followed up with me yesterday to answer a question and for every step along the way, someone has followed up with me appropriately, kindly, and in a timely manner. Nobody has dropped the ball. Job well done.
Behind the ear sutures
Best pictures I could get. I am afraid to bend my ear! lol.
Day 7 update
It has been a week and tomorrow the sutures come out. This has been a long week and for some reason I'm "dragging" today. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and drank some coffee around 5:00 which made me really nauseous and ended up taking a phenergan because I was so afraid I would be sick to my stomach but wasn't. I have no idea why that happened but it didn't help starting off my day that way! I think the point may be that sleeping comfortably isn't easy sitting up. I know I'm not sleeping in any regular pattern and I'm not sure what affect that will have long term.
I am beginning to see how my neck and face are starting to settle out. I keep telling myself not to make and judgments...it's too early. Swelling, bruising, incisions that are still healing...all of these things will change and morph as the days go on.
This is a process. We think of it as an "event" and we build up and prepare for that event and then sleep through it. What we have when we awaken is a process...and a rather lengthy process at that! I think that may be the most important aspect of this as you consider a FL. I'm simply one week into recovery and I see a year of changes ahead of me. The numbness, the ear twinges, soreness, swelling, scarring, all play a part of this experience. I would do it again, absolutely. I thought I would be most happy about my neck, and I'm sure I will be when it heals, but I actually love having smooth tight skin on my face again. I couldn't anticipate that; I didn't know I missed it so much.
I always knew I would do this; I have never had an aversion to correcting the aging process if possible.
I'm still a bit worried about the resolution of this procedure. Will I have dimpling? Will my neck look "swept"? I'm not certain that everything is "perfect" at this point but I just have to go on with the process and wait and see. That's why you absolutely MUST trust your surgeon. Things can go wrong and they do go wrong and you want a doctor that has "been there, done that" frequently.
I get to work from home the rest of this week and next. I think I can go out as soon as I am released from the "hostage head bandage" tomorrow. I think the swelling is better today and I can see a little definition in my face.
I have some fullness under my chin that I do not believe will resolve itself. Dr. V told me before surgery that he could take most of it out, but my anatomy was such that I would still have fullness there. It won't affect my actual jawline, and it's not fat, so the lipo didn't fix it even though he did some lipo there. I went in knowing that , and sure enough, he was right.
He also told me that the horizontal lines on my neck would not correct with the surgery. I think they will be much better but they won't be gone. He was really up-front about what I could expect. I like that in a doctor. No surprises or expectations that can't be met.
Thank you to all of you who have posted and written to me in support. I have read some wonderful stories here.
Sutures OUT and follow up was GREAT!
Again, choose your surgeon carefully. I realized again today why I trust this doctor. He knows what he's doing. He had a plan for my face and it's all coming together on schedule and it's just what I expected and wanted. I had some questions, some concerns...and his answers to me reflected that he had thought all of this out and knew exactly what my face was doing as it healed. I don't know any other way to explain it except that his answers were better than any of my questions. This is a good...very good PS. A little discomfort taking the sutures out...all good. I'm extremely happy about my progress. Best wishes to all who are in the healing process!
Sorry no pics but will post soon
I think this is one, if not the best decision and investment I've made in my health...so happy with the results. My face looks just like I wanted. I am waiting on my neck to "clear". I had a great PS. I was out of the house by day 7 and I'm at a restaurant at day 10. I could not be happier with the results. My boyfriend told me tonight that my swelling was almost gone and my face looked beautiful. I have to tell you, I don't obsess anymore about my face!!!! I hardly look except to do my makeup and I simply stopped seeing any of the problems that plagued me every day in the mirror. I am really at peace with this. It's great. Will post pics soon. Very busy being happy.
Two weeks 5 days post
I am pretty much free and clear as far as re-entry into the world. Nobody notices that I have had anything done, my bruising isn't noticeable and my swelling is minimal. My next door neighbor who knows me well, didn't even notice...I had to tell her, and she still didn't really see it. That is exactly what my PS said would happen (he has a habit of being right...thank goodness!). I see a huge change and I love the freedom it has allowed me NOT to obsess about my neck anymore. I can take a picture now and not freak out over my neck and lower face. I have numbness that is improving in my ears and upper neck. The feeling is coming back now and it's a little unpleasant but I adjust daily. I haven't liked touching my neck the last few weeks because it's tender and weird and numb and it doesn't feel right. The last few days have been much better and the feeling is returning. I'm back to normal skin care and the clairasonic on parts of my face now.
I wanted to mention that I started taking Wobenzyme at about 5 days into recovery. I took 5 tabs 3X per day AWAY from any food. This was for swelling and inflamation. It dropped my swelling out fast. I purchased them at Whole Foods but they are probably cheaper online. Don't take with food as they will act as a digestive enzyme instead. Please consult with PS before, of course. I am only using Vasaline on my incisions as per doctor's instructions. I don't have any real scars to deal with because you can't see any of them so it's just the healing.
I don't think I need to post more pictures so these will be the last ones I think. I am extremely blessed to have had such an easy recovery. I really believe this was due to my PS. I had a major facelift...SMAS and full neck rejuvination and I had almost NO bruising to my face. Amazing. There is certainly tightness, numbness, swelling...etc. all the things expected for this type of surgery but I really believe if you have a skilled PS like Dr. Verret, you can recover quickly and beautifully. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions and best of luck to all of you that are on this journey.