This is probably going to be my last update for a while, as I'm pretty much past the healing stage and at my final results. This post is going to answer questions that I think might be useful for people who are considering getting a chin implant. Most of these apply regardless of whether you're male or female. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.
Q.) When did you decide to take the plunge and actually get an implant?
A.) Probably around 2011/2012. Like many people, I saw myself in photographs and realised I hated what I saw.
I saw a photo of me on Facebook that made me realise I had a horrible weak chin. Some people would sigh and think 'no one's perfect,' before moving on and forgetting about it (or spending the rest of their lives hating themselves,) but I'm a doer and a perfectionist. I like to solve problems. I also draw and paint, so I have a keen sense of aesthetics. There are parts of myself that I don't like but can live with. I couldn't live with my old chin. It was a 'problem' I needed to 'solve'.
Q.) Why did you wait until 2017 to do it?
A.) I had been planning on travelling and I also didn't have a lot of money as I used to work part time. I was also studying for my degree so lots of things were in the way. I got a consultation with Dominic Bray in early 2016, but I was still only temping and I didn't want to undergo such an expensive procedure while not in stable employment (I paid for my surgery outright - no loans or credit cards for me). Late last year I go a long temping gig that pays much better money, so I knew it was time.
Q.) What size and type of implant did you get?
A.) I can't remember the name of the implant, but it has wings. It's basically the standard one that shows up when you google a chin implant with wings. Medpor or something?
Dominic and I discussed a size small during my consultation, but during surgery he said that the small would not give anywhere near enough projection, but the wings were perfect. So he took a medium and trimmed the wings down to the same size as the small. I'm glad he sized up as a small would definitely not have given me much of a difference.
That is one thing to keep in mind, though: no matter what size you discuss in the consultation, you may receive something different during the actual surgery. Sometimes it's hard to tell what size someone will need without actually putting the sizers in first to check it out.
Q.) Why did you choose Dominic Bray?
A.) Dominic had an excellent reputation for both his skill as a surgeon and bedside manner. He specialises in the face and in particular the facial nerves (I was concerned about possible nerve damage). Dominic was very open and honest during the initial group consultation. He showed before and afters (and even showed the B&As of his first - and only - unhappy patient) and was realistic about the results he could achieve. At no point did he mention other surgeries or push a sale - in fact he discussed the cheaper option of fillers with me during the consultation, when I hadn't even brought them up. In the end, I didn't bother viewing any other surgeons. I wouldn't necessarily recommend that to others because in general it's better to shop around, but I felt Dominic was right for me and none of the other surgeons I researched in London appealed for various reasons.
Q.) What do you friends/family/colleagues think?
A.) Friends = don't know, Colleagues = haven't noticed, Family = better than expected. My family was against it ('you don't need it, blah blah blah...') but in the end they were supportive. I think they're okay with it now - we don't actually talk about it much, mainly because I sometimes forget I had it done, lol. I haven't asked their opinions of the final result. I'm sure none of them hate it but either way, I did it for me, and my opinion is all that matters.
Q.) What were your expectations versus reality?
A.) Luckily my expectations were in the line of 'improvement'. I did look at 'chinspiration' pictures of people with beautiful bone structures, but I knew that my results would not be the same, as there is only so much that surgery can do.
Let me repeat that: There's only so much that surgery can do. With a good surgeon and your own common sense you will get great results and should definitely see improvement, but unless you were a 90% Angelina Jolie lookalike to begin with, you are still going to look like yourself afterwards. That's not a bad thing, either; if you really truly want to look like someone other than yourself, it's a therapist you need, not a surgeon. My chin is still not perfect, and my jaw line is still not the most defined in the world, but it's a hell of a lot better than what it was, and that's what I expected.
Q.) Do you feel that your implant has changed your life significantly?
A.) I feel more confident for two reasons: firstly, because I was badass enough to go through with something that truly terrified me, something that could have gone wrong either physically or psychologically.
Secondly, when someone looks at me from the side, I don't cringe any more. Sounds like a small payoff, but it really isn't. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing to have.
Q.) Can you feel your implant? Do you constantly notice it there in your face?
A.) No, and this had been something that I was worried about pre-op. Immediately after the op your chin will feel heavy and the skin under your neck will feel tight. This will go as you recover, more quickly for some than others. My face just feels like my face; I only notice my chin when I touch it. I'm still getting used to the sensation of it being touched by outside objects, such as a scarf. There is still a tiny patch of numbness near the incision that doesn't bother me. It will go soon.
Q.) You had your surgery under local. Why did you choose that?
A.) I didn't. I thought I was going to have twilight anaesthesia. Dominic's PA Lucy has been on extended leave since last year. Lucy is an excellent PA and we had a great rapport - she is very organised and I can tell she's excellent at her job. Dominic must have taken on several temps during Lucy's absence, some were obviously better than others. I asked one whether or not I could have twilight anaesthesia without bringing a chaperone. She said it was fine as long as I wasn't planning on driving home. I had specifically called to double check this. When I got there on surgery day, Dominic explained all about how it would work under local. I asked if I was going to be given sedation; he explained that while he could give me sedation, he explained that it wouldn't be safe for me to get myself home afterwards (or words to that effect).
At this point my nerves were shot to shit with waiting and wanting to get it over with, so I didn't mention what the girl had said to me and agreed to the local, and that was that. Looking back now at how nervous I was (my anxiety was at 100/10,) I still don't know how I managed to do it. I honestly think I was so ready to just get it over with and be on the other side. There was definitely a point at first where I felt like jumping off the table and saying 'sorry, I can't do this'. But after the first fifteen minutes I felt myself calm down and accept what was happening. I actually kind of got BORED. The worst part of the whole thing is the sound/sensation of the pockets for the wings being made. *shudder*
Would I have preferred sedation? I'm not sure. Dominic asked me several times during the surgery to show him my teeth to check if my nerves were still working okay. Maybe by going under local, he was better able to avoid stretching the nerves. Others have complained of (temporarily!) having numb bottom lips post surgery, which thankfully I didn't have to suffer with.
The girl who told me I could go home by myself after twilight sedation doesn't work there anymore; the PA I met on surgery day and on my 1 week post-op visit (called Yvonne) was definitely NOT the same girl as on the phone (totally different accents).
Q.) If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
A.) I would not have had my surgery in the late afternoon. When I booked I was just happy to get a slot, as Dominic is very popular and is fully booked several months in advance. My day of surgery was spent waiting and being anxious as hell. I wish I could have saved myself all the anxiety by having an earlier appointment. Some people won't mind either way, but personally I recommend getting an early time if possible.
Q.) What was your biggest worry during recovery?
A.) Infection!! I was so scared that it would get infected and that I'd have to go through removal and then get another implant down the line. I wanted it over and done with!
Q.) Were the first weeks of recovery difficult?
A.) The only difficult part was having to sleep with that stupid travel pillow. Other than that my recovery was completely uneventful. I didn't freak out over the swelling. SO many people do and it boggles my mind. If you're thinking of having an implant done, I want you to read this next sentence out loud and let every word sink in:
You will look like shit for the first two weeks at least.
I did. Everyone does. Why? Because you just had surgery and you're swollen. YOU. WILL. LOOK. SHITTY. So please! Don't fall into the trap of freaking out because your chin looks huge on day 3 (mine did!!) or crying yourself to sleep because you don't think you like your results on day 5. Chill out!! You're early days and you have NO idea how it's gonna look yet. My recovery was pleasant because I knew beforehand that I was going to look like Jay Leno for a while, and made peace with it. At week one post I felt that I still looked too long at the front, but decided to give it time and see how it went. About a week later it looked much better. Wasn't that better than worrying myself into a state?
Q.) Did anything about your results surprise you?
A.) Some of that extra length on the front stayed with me, and I like it. The lower third of my face was way too small before - in fact, pictures of me from pre-op actually freak me out now, I looked like an alien potato.
Q.) Are you planning on changing anything else, whether by surgery or otherwise?
A.) Yes. Here's my list of gripes:
- my posture is shitty, I need an orthopaedic intervention
- I have a small mole on my front torso and another on my back. They are benign but I don't like them. I have already had a mole removed before, just below my collar bone.
- I have five pounds of vanity weight I want to lose. I was doing well before surgery but things have gone to shit since then. Maybe it's the stress of the surgery?
- I am considering having something done with my nose. The problem is my family will completely freak out if I get anything else done; my useless brother brought up BDD when I came home with another ear piercing (he's a vanilla dumbass), so whatever I have done will have to be discreet. I don't want a stupid pencil nose or anything like that; my bridge is fine, but the tip is bulbous and could maybe be a little lower as the distance between my nose and top lip seems kinda long to me. I still want to look like 'me' afterwards, so I'll have to do more research. My nose no longer completely dominates my face like it did before as my chin has made my features more proportionate, but it's still kinda bulbous and it does annoy me. Maybe I will make a new Real Self review, lol.
Other than that, I guess I'm done.
My experience has been mostly positive, and I'm glad I got the implant. If you're thinking about going with Dominic Bray, do. I'm very glad I chose him.
Any other questions? Ask away in the comments! But other than that, I won't update again until I get to the 6 month mark or if something else happens. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of me on my journey! To everyone still on theirs, good luck!!