Ready for my "Swan Neck" - San Francisco, CA

I've always hated my neck and jawline. My chin and...

I've always hated my neck and jawline. My chin and jawline have always been a confidence breaker in my struggle body image. I remember as early as middle school sitting in a classroom staring at other girl's jawline and slim necks and wishing I looked like them. Even when I was slimmer, I had a double chin. My mom has struggled with her confidence with her neck and jawline and so I could see where I was heading in the future if I didn't do something about it. My boyfriend of 8 years proposed to me in January and I had always said to him that I would not let myself have a saggy, fat chin because I would do something about it- so he wasn't surprised my by interest in getting this surgery.
Well, I am finally doing something about it! YAY! I'll be 29 this year and I really want to do this before I lost elasticity in the skin on my neck.
I met with Dr. Hagstrom in San Francisco in February and scheduled this surgery for June 3rd! He said I was a great candidate! I don't have anything but wonderful things to say about Dr. Hagstrom, Michael, and Darren. Everyone in the office is so accommodating and knowledgeable and friendly.
I was NOT going to post anything on this site, but as I am getting closer to the date I really want to make a record of what happens. I really benefited by reading reviews from others who have gotten this surgery and so I thought if I posted something about my experience maybe someone would benefit as well!

I can't believe the surgery is just a few days away! I went in a couple days ago and picked up my prescriptions that need to be filled. I'm going to pick them up on Tuesday, I think. Surgery is scheduled for 9am on Wednesday June 3.
I'll keep you posted on what is happening later in the week.

Monday June 1, 2015: Update

I went to CVS today to drop off my prescriptions and while I was there I asked the Pharmacist about her thoughts on Arnica used topically or Arnica taken orally. I have been reading review after review about how people who have undergone this procedure start taking Arnica orally 2 weeks prior to surgery and then use Arnica creams or gels to help with swelling and bruising. I even did some other research of the incredible benefits of using Arnica after surgery! I was about to purchase an Arnica gel but the Pharmacist mentioned that sometimes Arnica when taken orally can interfere with Anesthesia or other medication prescribed by the doctor. She also mentioned that rubbing Arnica topically over an open wound could hinder the healing process if it got into the open wound.

Question for the people who have experience using Arnica- what are your opinions? I am going to ask my Doctor about it, but I would really like to know some other opinions. I am a big fan of holistic medicine and initially I was impressed by the reviews I read about Arnica. Let me know what you think and if you feel like it benefited your healing process. Thanks!

Only 2 days until the surgery! I can't believe it's almost here! I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I am actually really happy I decided to document my experience!

Tuesday June 2, 2015: Update

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! Today I have the day off work so I am preparing everything I need to feel comfortable for the next few days. My Fiance will be here with my for the whole day tomorrow- the Doctor suggested I have someone home with my for the first day.
I am pretty sure I'm not going to want to cook anything, so I made some homemade veggie noodle soup and packaged it up in 6 little containers ready to heat up in case I'm hungry. I set up a bed on the couch with firm pillows in case I want to watch tv and sleep. I read a review from a very helpful woman who said to prevent her compression garment from irritating her, she bought 9x5 surgical pads and put them in between her skin and compression garment to make it more comfortable so I went and bought a box of those. I already picked up my prescriptions from CVS so I'm all set there! Aaaaaand most importantly I have added tons of shows and movies to my Netflix que and I have a list of books I want to read!
I'm a total skincare junkie and so I'm doing a mask and trying to infuse lots of moisture into my skin before I go in for surgery tomorrow. I probably won't be able to use my skincare or Clarisonic for a while after the surgery. I'll ask my Doctor about that as well and I will pass on the knowledge just incase anyone out there is a skincare junkie and wonders the same thing.

I wanted to post a couple more pre-op pictures for the record. Although the "before" is burned in my mind and I'm sure it will be absolutely nuts to look in the mirror in a couple months after healing and not have a double chin. It will be the best feeling ever! I can't even imagine NOT having to position the camera in whatsoever way and try to suck in the double chin and stick out the tip of my chin and angle my face to make my face slimmer?! I wanted to post a picture of my full body shot to show that although I am a little overweight, I don't believe my neck is proportionate to the rest of my body. Well, at least I feel like it makes me look way heavier than I actually am. I live in San Francisco and I walk everywhere. I'm always on my feet and I go to the gym about 3 times a week. I eat relatively healthy and I don't touch soda or fast food. Anyway, send me good vibes tomorrow!

The procedure went great!

I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night because I was just so excited and nervous. Woke up at 8am and had some oatmeal because of the suggestion from Michael, the Doctor's assistant. He said an empty tummy sometimes is effected by the medications and he wanted me to be comfortable throughout the surgery.
Arrived at 9am with my Fiance and we were escorted to a little room where the procedure would take place. I took 1 anti-anxiety pill, 1 pain pill, and 5 little arnica tablets that dissolve under your tongue. Then we went over any last questions I had:
Question 1: How long do I need to wear the compression garment?
Answer: First 24 hours straight through. Take it off and change the gauze and while you have it off snap a quick picture of yourself. The swelling and bruising will be starting and so this time is a good time to see your neck before all that happens. Then put the garment back on for another 24 hours. After the 48 hour of straight wear, you can wear it only at nighttime. Personally, I will probably wear mine more because I was the band to really hold things together for the tightest results possible.
Question 2: I sleep on my tummy with my face turned to the side. What are your recommendations for sleeping positions?
Answer: You should try to sleep somewhat elevated for the first night, but if you wake up in the middle of the night and you are all cozied up in your normal sleeping positions you will be fine. I was afraid that if I slept wrong that the fat and skin would be displaced, but he assured me that won't happen. It's just good to sleep elevated slightly because it'll help with the inflammation and swelling.
Question 3: When can I go back to the gym?
Answer: In about a week. You'll know when you are ready.

My Fiance left the room and we got right into it. I was surprised that I still felt so alert and anxious and I mentioned that maybe I should take another anti-anxiety pill. The Doctor assured me that once he got going and I felt what it was like, I wouldn't need another one. I felt a couple tiny pinches under my chin and it went totally numb. He had already carved out the little hole and I didn't even know! The insertion of the long tube with the numbing solution was the weirdest sensation. It hurt just a little and it was a little jabby, but once he got in there, he would place the numbing solution all over the inside of my neck and before long my neck felt very swollen and numb. Then Dr. Hagstrom got right to it! I couldn't feel a thing. At one point I felt a little something under my right ear, he gave me some more numbing solution. I could really tell what a PRO at this he is. Looking up at him- he had such concentration in his eyes. And yet he was so friendly and talkative and assured me what a great result I was going to get. Michael, his assistant, held my hand the whole time and asked me about our wedding plans. It was surprised that I could respond- although my words were slurred. It was done quicker than I thought and I was home by 11:15am.

They removed 175cc's. I don't know what that truly means- if it's a lot of if it's normal. It really doesn't matter to me because Dr. Hagstrom said he wanted to give me a beautiful neck that blended with the rest of my body. He said if I decide to lose weight it will just continue to get better and better. Which is great because I have plans to get wedding ready- this procedure was my first real step!

Walked home completely coherent! It's been 4 hours since I initially took the meds so I just took some more. After this dosage I'm feeling more sleepy. He did tell me to take Motrin or Advil along with my pain pills. I haven't done this yet but I am starting to feel a little pain. My neck is incredibly swollen and still a little numb but I am in good spirits! I think I'm just going to take a little nap and watch a movie and eat some of the homemade soup I prepared.

Thursday June 4, 2015: Update

My face and neck are feeling super swollen and tight today but I spoke with Michael and he said I am expected to get more swollen and bruised as I continue to heal. I slept deeply last night but I had a really hard time sleeping on my back and I woke up with my face shoved in my pillow like normal.
Took off my compression garment for a minute to change my gauze and snapped a couple pictures! I think it looks swollen and puffy, but it is a great improvement! I really hope that after a couple weeks my double chin isn't there when I look straight on and from the side I hope I have a defined jawline.
Feeling low energy today but I'm pretty sure it's the effects of the medication. I'm just going to relax and watch some tv and try to get some sleep.

Friday June 5, 2015: Update

This piece of advice is going to be so obvious for some of you, but for someone who rarely takes medications it was new to me. Eat a little something before you take those intense pills from the Doctor's office- even if you aren't hungry! DUH- LOL!! I had my antibiotic yesterday afternoon on an empty tummy and I ended up throwing up twice. My Fiance was a little nervous about that so he called Michael and he picked up right away. Michael asked if I had been eating before my medicine and I told Wren that I hadn't. He asked if I had a fever and some other symptoms but to all those questions the answer was no. It was awesome that he was so assessable and covered all the bases.
Anyway, after that I had some crackers and soup and laid off the medicine for the rest of the day. By 10pm I wanted a pain pill because my neck was irritating me. It was't painful- just uncomfortable a little. After a warm dinner and a pain pill, I slept incredible!
Woke up and immediately took off my compression garment and hopped in the shower. First shower since Wednesday and I swear I heard angels sing when I stepped into the hot water! I was not sure if I should use my Clarisonic but I really wanted to- so I did. I have a pimple forming on the side of my cheek by my ear so I wanted to do something about it. With a small amount of my normal cleanser I verrrrry gently massaged the Clarisonic all over my neck and it felt amazing. My neck is feeling a little itchy today so the vibrations felt incredible. I totally avoided the incision area.
The incision area is still very numb. Still feels very swollen and sore and if I'm going to touch my neck it has to be very gently. Not able to press too hard or grab the skin yet. Also, I notice a limited range of neck movements. The skin is tight and I can't look up too far or side to side.
All in all, I'm very swollen but I am still pretty happy with my results so far. I know it is way too soon to tell how it's going to look as a final result so I will continue to post frequently. Most reviews say that people experience a lot of swelling and start to see great results in about two months. A kind reviewer commented on my story confirming this saying it took her about two months to see some great results.
Two quick things: I am surprised I am not bruised at all! And I am totally surprised this hasn't been more painful!
I'm not ready to post more pictures yet as I am still verrrrrry swollen and in incision area is very pronounced. Look for photos in a couple days from me :)

Saturday June 6, 2015: Update

I'm 3 days POST-OP, guys! Today is the first day that I've taken the compression garment all day and it feels awesome! I'll put it back on before I go to bed tonight. I wore it for the first 2 days straight. I took it off yesterday for a couple hours just to stretch my neck and shower and do a facial mask but then I put it back on. A lot of people complain about the compression band and I get the annoyance- but it's helping your neck stay tight! Totally worth it in my opinion.
Wren decided to take me out to dinner to our favorite sushi place tonight and so I put a little makeup on and I think my neck and jawline look pretty good for only 3 days post procedure. My neck is still very, very swollen and numb feeling. I avoided the incision area when I was putting on makeup- I think it's healing pretty well- it's now scabbed over and the skin around it is peeling a little. I massaged my neck with a little coconut oil when I got out of the shower today but it hurt a little so I didn't do it for long.
Stopped the hardcore pain pills- only taking Arnica and my Antibiotic and a little Advil at night. I'm feeling like my swan neck is right around the corner! I'm so hopeful! I expect things to just keep getting better and better! I will post an update and pictures when I get back from my appointment on June 10th.

Sunday June 7, 2015: Update

It's only been 4 days so I know my neck is still healing- I've just gotta be patient. I'm feeling kinda of discouraged today. My double chin is very visible and swollen and my neck is so tender to the touch. It's still numb and becoming more itchy. It doesn't even look like I've had anything done- I think my neck looks exactly the same as before right now because it's so swollen.
I really noticed this because when I was out for dinner last night I expected to feel really sexy and flirty with my new neck and I caught a glimpse in the bathroom mirror and I seriously looked exactly the same as before with this big swollen double chin. The only difference is I KNOW it's it not the same and I've just gotta be patient. They sucked 175cc's of fat outta this neck and if I look back at the picture I took right afterwards- it was promising. I think that is why the Doctors want you to take a photo soon afterwards- because that photo comes close to the end result.
I wasn't going to post any of this today but I think it is an important process of the REAL healing process. I am not a complainer and I try to see the positive in everything. I don't know why we always expect results instantly with so many things, but I don't think this is the type of surgery where instant gratification is the case. The Doctor said something to me about "slow and steady" healing and I remember feeling like the FAT is sucked out! It's gone and really how long is really this gunna take to heal?! Like a week?
I'm trying to take it slow and understand that the healing process may take months and I may not see a final result until my wedding in January. My goals now are to get back into the gym and tone up before January. I'm not ready for the gym yet today, but I am going to go for a long walk in the city today. Tomorrow I'll go to the gym. And I will keep updating about the process- like I said I have an appointment on the 10th so I'll let you guys know what happens.

Monday, June 8: Update

This is the worst day of swelling so far. Todays marks 5 days post procedure and my neck is feeling seriously full and very tender. Because I am generally a pretty active person, laying around all day for the last 3 days was fun but annoying. I wanted to get up and enjoy the city. So, Wren and I went for an amazingly long walk yesterday and had a picnic by the bay and it was awesome. This morning I woke up and went to the gym for an hour and did some interval training and it felt great at the time. Maybe I pushed it a little too far because I came back home to do some laundry and my face and neck is suuuuuuuper swollen and huge! I took a shower and put my compression band back on and I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day. DAMN THOUGH! LOOK AT HOW SWOLLEN AND BLOATED MY NECK LOOKS! It's possible that it looks worse than before I did the surgery. But I know for sure in a week or so once the swelling has gone down, I'm gunna look awesome. But WHOAH today I'm not feeling so hot today.

Wednesday June 10, 2015: Update

I had my 1 week post-op appointment with Dr. Hagstrom today! Not a whole lot to report. The only new development is itching and tingling. The Doctor says that means the nerves are healing. Under my chin at the incision site it is still totally numb and firm. The rest of my neck is still swollen and numb in some spots. I have firmness at the base of my neck, too. The Doctor said the firmness in some areas is expected and that I can start massaging my neck. FYI: I've been using coconut oil. Michael, his assistant, was very happy with the results so far- he said it's already a great improvement and it's going to look incredible once the swelling goes down. I think both of them were surprised that I had no bruising. Still wearing my compression band every night and I have plans to continue to wear it for a long time to keep the skin very tight. And then I set up my 3 month appointment for Sept 8th!

Tuesday June 16: Update

So I am almost at the 2 week post procedure mark and I feel like it's been a pretty great week! For sure there has been ups and downs and days where I look in the mirror and I don't see a difference yet... But for the most part I am starting to see the swelling decrease slowly every day. My neck is still very tender, but I can massage it with no problem. I've been using coconut oil. I wake up in the morning and massage it for about 5 minutes and then head to the gym for my regular cardio. (Workouts have been great- no adverse effects at all.) Then at night when I get home from work, I take a hot shower and let the heat beat on my neck for a little while and then I massage it again and put on my compression band. You'll see from the updated photos that my neck is still looking pretty swollen and when I look up, it's very tight. I also have some unevenness and hard lumps in some areas- but I'm confident with the massaging and time those will go away soon. The hardest lumps are right under my chin at the incision site and at the base of my neck where my neck meets my chest. The Doctor said that is totally normal and with all the reviews I've read, this seems consistent with most people.
THE GREAT NEWS is that people are beginning to ask me if I've been losing weight! Three people this week gave me such nice compliments at work. I wore my hair up in a bun one day (which I never do because I feel like it used to make me look fat and show off my big double chin) and a girl I work with said that I looked more radiant than normal. And then the next day, I was told by two people that I look like I've lost weight. One woman that I've worked with for almost 2 years called me over and asked me to do a turn for her and said, "You look like you've lost about 25 pounds! What have you been doing differently?"
Yaaaaaay!!!! I just keep telling everyone that I've been trying to get fit for my wedding and for my health. Which is true- I've been going to the gym consistently for about 6 months and I've lost about 10 pounds overall. But now that my huge double chin is really gone, I feel more confident and more beautiful every day. I seriously can't wait to see my results in a couple months!
I took a couple photos this morning right after I took off my compression garment with no makeup on and I also took a couple photos at work from the day I was getting all the compliments to show my results so far when I'm all done up.

Before/After- 2 weeks Post-OP

Monday, June 22: Update

It's been a rough week! I'm almost at three weeks post-op and I really feel like my results were better last week! But then again- like I mentioned in my last update- every day is up and down so far. Some days I feel so sexy and confident and other days I feel like I still have this huge swollen double chin. I am still totally numb under my chin but the rest of my neck has pretty much regained feeling. I still have a lump under my chin and a lump at the base of my neck on the right side right above my collar bone. I have still been massaging- but not as frequently so maybe that is the issue. It's my goal to massage my neck twice a day like I was last week. I'm still wearing my compression garment every night.
I got home from work tonight, took a shower, and massaged my neck for a little while and decided to take photos because I really look swollen again. I still feel like I look better than my before photos, but the Doctor told me that my double chin would be gone after the surgery and I am getting worried that it won't go away. I know I am only 3 weeks post-op but that seems like a good enough time to heal. I am still hopeful that once the swelling goes down I will not have a double chin anymore. I will post again at 4 weeks. Hoping to see some great results before my trip to Florida in August.

Update: July 2, 2015

It's been 4 weeks since my procedure and as you can tell from the photos I still have quite the double chin. I do still feel slightly swollen and tight, but my range of motion is much better. The tenderness of my neck has really subsided- although it is still there sometimes in some areas. The hard lumps have softened but at the base of my neck right above the right collar bone there is still a lump even though it is softer. I'm still just a tiny bit numb and rubbery under my chin but the rest of my neck has regained all feeling. I have been massaging a little- not as much as I should I'm sure. I don't know if that's why I still have my double chin or not. I'm still sleeping with the compression garment every night in hopes that it'll make the remains of my double chin go away, but I am not really seeing much change.
My feeling about my new neck go up and down still. I can see a difference in the way I looked before and now, but during my consultation with the doctor he said that from the front view I wouldn't have a double chin at all once I got the procedure done. Maybe it's too soon to tell still but I am disappointed that I still have the double chin from the front view. In photos I still feel the need to stick out my chin in order to hide the double chin which is something I was really excited to not have to do anymore.
I have heard that at 6 weeks you really start to see some good results and at 3 months you'll see the final results. I am looking forward to seeing the doctor in September to talk to him and if I still see this double chin from the front view I will bring it up to him.

Update: October 8th

Hello friends on real self!

I am here to tell you that this procedure is definitely worth it. My biggest advice is be patient with your healing and go with a Doctor that will truly listen to what you have to say and want what is best for you... Dr. Hagstrom has been incredible.
From my last update, you can tell I was feeling disappointed because I still had a double chin from the front. So I went in for my 3 month checkup in September and shared with my Doctor my concerns and my disappointment. He agreed that I still had a double chin. He said it could just be my jawline or the structure of my chin, but he was shocked that I hadn't gotten better results. He said, "I stand by my work. I will do a revision." And I was so happy because he confirmed that I didn't get the best results and he wanted to make sure I was happy. He said it's important for him to be proud of him work and so he wanted to do this.
I had my revision on Sept. 29th - about a week ago, 9 days to be exact - and I already see a huge difference. It wasn't as hard the second time around, maybe because I knew what to expect. Some of the pain was different- the doctor explained that he had to reopen the scar tissue so it may be more painful. It was just uncomfortable but not much different than before.
I'm still healing and wearing the compression bands at night. I started taking arnica 1 week before and I am still taking it now. I have started massaging again with coconut oil and it hasn't been as painful as the healing process was last time. I returned to work on Thursday the 1st. My neck is still tight and sore and I have a limited range of motion. I have a hard lump under my chin again but the rest of my neck is soft.
I am so thankful for Dr. Hagstrom. He listened to me and I feel like he really cares about me. If you are looking for a Doctor in the San Francisco- or even in California and are willing to travel- I recommend seeing Dr. Hadgstrom.
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

I am very impressed with the amount of expertise Dr. Hagstrom has! He is very friendly and I feel like he genuinely cares about me. He seems like the type of Doctor who would tell you truthfully if you were good candidate or not and I feel like I can trust him. He was the first Doctor I had a consultation with and after hearing about his impressive educational background and all the years he has been a top surgeon in San Francisco, I knew he was the best choice. During surgery he was professional and worked quickly but also made sure I was comfortable and talked to me like a friend. Michael has been there every step of the way with me and I don't know what I would've done without him during the procedure. He is an incredible asset to the office! He has made me feel so welcome and he is such a good listener and held my hand through the whole surgery. He is reassuring and so helpful and knowledgable and I am so happy that he has been there during this process! Darren is such a sweetheart, as well. He's such a pleasure to see when you walk in the office. Overall, this whole office creates a feeling of warmth and welcoming. If I ever needed another procedure done, this would be my first choice.

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