Decided to visit Dr. Erik Laban in the Velthuis Kliniek, Hilversum, Netherlands. I had had earlier jobs done there, in former years, performed satisfactorily, though by other cosmetic doctors, c.q. plastic surgeons. Dr. Laban explained to me that he was not one of those "doll" doctors who aim at removing all the "natural expression" - I answered that I respected that conception of facial rejuvenation, however, I insisted that I did not come for a superficial job, but for a genuine face lift, I pointed to my platysmal bands and to the choppy jaw line, which distressed me. He requested me to stand before the mirror in his office, he then came and stood behind me, laid his fingertips upon the top of my jaw drawing the skin upwards, reasonably tight, stretching the skin on jaws and throat, so that you no longer saw those sagging platysmal bands. I recall clearly stressing this, as I hate that hint of a turkey neck. He assured me the lift would fix those, "as you can see from the effect I am creating now" he said. The treatment I would receive was the "MACS lift", short for Minimal Access Cranial Suspension lift. What I did NOT KNOW was this, taken from the site of a prominent Dutch clinic for cosmetic surgery:
"S-LIFT OR MACS-LIFT
The S-lift is a facelift which leaves the forehead and the neck/throat areas untreated."
How was I supposed to know? If I consult a plastic surgeon telling him I want a tight face AND a tight neck... I then expect that surgeon to give me the treatment I ask for!
Okay, so I was unaware that Dr. Laban in fact arranged for a method which would NOT give me what I had clearly asked for. So I paid the six thousand euro. Thank you.
The day of the operation arrived, third of July 2012. I went to the clinic, way out of town, was received very nicely by the nursing staff - not a bad word about them, perfect angels - had to undress, was put to bed, was taken into the operating room - no general anesthetic, but sort of "heavy" local, even though I did fall asleep, after the first ten minutes where I heard a lot of banging and scraping and bonking, evidently in my own face, lol -
I recovered very well, and I looked great, so nice and tight and plumped out, which of course was due to the initial swelling. After a fortnight the swelling had gone, the bruises went away and .... I began noticing that the infernal platysmal bands were STILL there, and although the skin on my throat was tighter overall, the bands were visible, notably if the light came in from the side. That simply was not the young neck I had asked for, it still felt sort of flabby to the touch, ugh. I was very very angry, honestly, I flipped my lid. Had I not emphatically told this doctor what my expectations and wishes were?
Somewhere in October (or November) of that same year, 2012, I consulted another plastic surgeon, in Amsterdam, about an upper arm lift. As I sat opposite him in his office, he scrutinized my face and said: "Did you have anything done to your face recently...? I saw some traces of scar tissue behind your ear, just then, as I let you in the office. Whomever took care of that skipped the deeper layers... "
I told him of my own disappointment and anger with doctor Erik Laban. The doctor came over, took a close look and told me that probably I had been given a lift which was not suitable for my age, where a "neck-jaw lift" is required or "full face lift", thereby affecting the deeper layers of facial tissue, which the MACS lift was not intended to achieve, it was women between forty and fifty who profited from a MACS.
Actually I was very relieved that this doctor's observant eye evidently saw the same as my own, so I was definitely not "seeing things".
Anyway the date of the final check by Dr. Laban arrived, December 19, 2012. The doctor entered the office where I had already phrased my objections to the medical consultant. He showed adverse reactions to my displeasure, assured me that the MACS lift has been a great success, that I looked "wonderful" and that he certainly would not even remotely consider re-doing the surgery. We looked at the before and after pictures, I pointed him to the visible platysmal bands on one of the "after" pictures and he said, verbatim: "Oh, come one, what does a photo tell us anyway?!"
I then asked him, raising my voice, what was the damn point of taking those photos in the first place, if he did not consider them to be an accurate and objective rendering of the results of the treatment, unlike the human eye which is open to subjectivity, right?
He stood up, overruled all my objections, said that he done a good job, in all his twenty years of experience as a plastic surgeon he surely had not heard any such nonsense as I was dishing up, I looked "great", there was "no problem", this was just my "imagination" and with that he stomped out of the office in a huff, leaving me and the medical consultant sitting there wide-eyed and speechless.
So that was that.
Mind you, I am not saying I am a victim of a "botched" surgery, but I feel cheated out of my six thousand euro which left me with only half of what I had bargained for. And I am still mad with this doctor Laban, I would really like to box his ears, put that scalpel into his hands and order him to get to it and redo the lift and this time the way it *should* be done.
Wishful thinking, wishful thinking!
Anyhow, I got if off my chest here. Which is something of a relief. As for photos, I cannot provide any taken exactly at that time, end of 2012, focused on the results of Laban's handiwork. Those are in his archives.
The two photos I have added here reflect the results of a funny mood, using the "Make your own magazine cover" sites.
But that was clearly during the recovery days, before the flaws of the treatment came to light.