I started researching having my facelift in Costa Rica about a year ago. Good reviews and the need to feel I had an exceptional surgeon led me to Dr. Lev. I paid my $1000 deposit at the end of Dec. 2013 and had my surgery scheduled for Aug 19, 2014. I bought my airline ticket (Delta $640) shortly after getting surgery date confirmation from Didi, Dr. Lev's assistant to US patients. I decided to have my facelift at Clinic Santa Lucia, which turned out to be very good for its cleanliness and the care I got.
I flew into San Jose on Monday, Aug 18th and got through immigration and customs with no problem. Once out of the airport, I saw my name on a sign held by a smiling man who whisked me off to Casa Mercedes, my home for the next 15 days. That same afternoon, Mercedes Castro, the owner walked with me the short 1.5 blocks to Dr. Lev's office for my surgical consultation. Dr. Lev greeted me with a big smile and light kiss on the cheek. His office is nicely decorated and the exam room is large and more comfortable than many of the USA exam rooms I've been in From the facial pictures I had sent Dr. Lev, he thought I'd need a brow lift. However, after closely examining my face and features he said one was not going to be needed. He was also very honest in telling me that a chin implant was probably only going to make a very slight difference in my profile.
So, together we settled on a facelift #2, which included upper eyelids, neck, cheeks, and mouth/jaw area. My surgery was to be the next day at 2 o'clock. I felt so confident after talking to Dr. Lev that I slept very well that night. Mercedes drove me to the Clinic the next day and from that point on everything went so quickly. I first met, Dr. Greenwood, my anesthesiologist. He took my history and told me I'd be under for about 4.5 hrs. He patiently answered all my questions and promised he'd take very good care of me. He was true to his word. He put in my IV himself so expertly that I hardly felt it. Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Lev both have a very reassuring, kind way about them. After my IV, I was given a shot in the backside to relax me. I don't remember anything after that. I don't know what time I woke up, but the first thing I did was touch my head. Yes, it was over. I had the helmet bandage on.
My IV had pain medication and an antibiotic in it. I also had a catheter in, but that didn't bother me at all. The nurses had put a bolster under my knees and my legs had compression stockings that steadily squeezed all through the night. There was also a blood pressure cuff recording that vital. My nurses both spoke English and were wonderful. There was not a moment that one of them was not by my side. Part way through the night, I developed nausea from the anesthesia. Nurse Freddie quickly brought me a cool cloth for my head and got the OK to give me medication to ease the vomiting. The medicine worked quickly and I was able to sleep soundly after that. I felt reasonably good the next morning, despite the hours of surgery and nausea I'd had the night before. Freddie brought me a cup of coffee and Anna, my other nurse came in a little later with a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit. I had to cut the fruit up in baby sized pieces because my mouth wasn't opening very much, a normal thing with facelifts.
Shortly after that my catheter was taken out and the last IV bag with antibiotics was hung. I was surprised that I didn't feel more pain. After my breakfast was done and my IV bag had dripped empty, Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Lev checked me over with great thoroughness and said I could leave the Clinic. I think I was back at Casa Mercedes around noon. Dr. Lev told me I had to "move like a robot", no turning my neck or bending over. So, when I needed to look sideways, I had to turn my whole body in that direction. I rested a lot that first day after surgery, but was able to get up, move about, and eat with little difficulty. I did not have to take the prescription pain medication Dr. Lev gave me. Extra strength Tylenol was all I needed. The tight bandage that Dr. Lev put on to hold everything in place was removed the next time I saw him, I think on day 3. It was a relief to get that off and have lighter bandages on. I found out that Dr. Lev had put in 6 drains, which is time consuming for the surgeon but much better for the patient's recovery. Each time I looked in the mirror at my swollen, bruised face, I reminded myself this was normal and temporary. Six days post surgery, Dr. Lev took out some of my stitches. By that point I was longer wearing a bandage and I could manage a smile to thank him for all his good care and attention. The rest of my stitches and staples will come out the day before I go home, Sept. 2nd. For those reading this, please don't hesitate to use Dr. Lev as your surgeon.
I'm sure he is the best surgeon in all of Costa Rica, and probably beyond. Dr. Greenwood is also very skilled as well. Together they make the best team I could have ever hoped for as my doctors. Although I feel great and have good energy now that I'm one week past my surgery, I know I have to take it easy and give my body time to heal. Casa Mercedes is a wonderful place to recover. There are only 2 rooms for recovering guests so it has a very home-like atmosphere. My room was small, but very comfortable. I had my own bathroom and the constant companionship of Bobby, Mercedes' little dog. The house is spotless, attractively decorated, and very relaxing. The back patio is especially nice for enjoying the birds, plants, and lovely morning sun. I am so glad Didi advised me to stay here if I could. One more big plus at Casa Mercedes, the meals are wonderful, very healthy and flavorful. All ingredients are market fresh and the put together with a lot of care by both Mercedes and the cook/housekeeper that comes each day. Mercedes is super organized and tuned in to guest comfort. She takes care of all details, so I can focus just on recovering. She's been in the business a long time and knows exactly what's she's doing. I have written as much as I can remember about how this all came together for me. Costa Rica is a safe place to come for surgery. The doctors here are top-notch. I hope sharing my experience will help others that might be considering this country Costa Rica and Dr. Lev for cosmetic surgery.