These are reflections on my mini-facelift, which I had on July 8, 2014. The success of the procedure was entirely due to the remarkable skill and aesthetic sophistication of Dr Jonathan Pontell in Wayne PA.
DISCLAIMER: What follows is a personal account of my mini- facelift experience. Your experience can, and most likely will, be totally different. I have no credentials in anything and just enough education to teach Art and Animation. This should make it perfectly clear that any advice I offer here is mine alone and may be inaccurate. I strongly suggest that you take everything I say with a pound of salt.
See Before and After pictures, (the 10 day after pictures look tighter than when all the swelling goes down).
In spite of my disclaimer, there is one thing that I absolutely know is true. Dr. Jonathan Pontell (see credentials below) of Wayne, PA is an intelligent, aesthetically sophisticated, kind and skilled Facial Plastic Surgeon. in fact, the man is nothing short of a MAGICIAN.
Frankly, I never dared expect the results that Dr Pontell was able to achieve. I had shopped around and had many consultations with doctors whose credentials were fine and few who I wouldn’t trust with my dog. Nobody else even came close to Dr Pontell, in my estimation. I was shopping for skill, a developed aesthetic and a speciality in faces. What I got, with Dr Pontell, was all these things plus results that were nothing short of astonishing.
CAUTION 1: Now, before we go any further it is critical for everyone to understand that when a Plastic Surgeon refers to “mini- facelifts” there are may things that can mean…(and you would never, ever go to any surgeon for a facelift who wasn’t Board Certified in FACIAL Plastic Surgery). Dr Pontell is a Facial Plastic Surgeon, board certified by American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and American Board of Otolaryngology (ear and throat specialist).
There are at least three very different procedures, which different surgeons mean when referring to “Mini-facelifts,” “Mini-lifts,” “Weekend-lifts” or “Lifestyle-Lifts.” It is absolutely essential that you know what you have signed up for.
The options can range, for instance, from:
1. A non-surgical procedure involving heat or ultrasound to tighten the skin.
2. The surgical removal only of excess skin leaving a scar around the front and back of the ear.
3. The procedure which I just had in which the skin, tissue and some muscle in the lower face and neck are moved up and back and extra skin and tissue are removed, leaving you with an almost completely invisible scars (depending on the surgeon), which “hide” in the contours of the front and back of the ear, including going up inside that little flap in your ear (the tragus), and down inside the hairline at the back of your head.
Obviously, these are all very different procedures with different outcomes and a different longevity for each. You need to be quite sure that you know exactly what you are paying for because, let’s face it (no pun intended), for most of us this leap into the unknown is way out of our normal budget. We have usually either saved for years or gone into debt to accomplish it.
CAUTION 2: Find out everything you can about the doctor you eventually choose. This would include extensive research on the web. Finding out his or her rating on RealSelf and other reputable rating sites, reading comments from previous patients (that are not on the doctor’s own site, duh) and if possible talking to and seeing someone who has had the procedure done by that doctor. I had followed comments on Dr Pontell for three years before I was ready to consider this procedure.
In my case, Dr Pontell’s Office Manager had undergone the exact procedure I was wanting and is approximately my age, so not only could I see her before and after photos, but there she was in the flesh and she looked great. I had done truly extensive research on Dr Pontell and it was clear that he was the best there is.
Dr Pontell also has several YouTube videos. In one you can watch the whole operation for a mini-facelift online, which is horrifying, fascinating and illuminating. I mean, he has his hand inside his patient’s cheek and she is talking to him as if they were having coffee together.
You know, my darlings that if you are 64, as I am, the outcome of any procedure will be different than if you are 35 or 40 and that’s just the truth so live with it and go in with reasonable expectations. Aside from the skill of your surgeon, your general health and daily habits dramatically effect the outcome. Ironically, my expectations were too low.
OK, back to the surgery…I had filled the various prescriptions some days before. There was an antibiotic, a single tablet of Ativan, some ointment for my staples and stitches down the road and fortified Tylenol.
I took my Ativan immediately upon arrival.
Because the procedure is done under a local anesthetic I didn’t even need to fast (not eat) the night before. What I didn’t realize was how totally cool it would be to be awake and lucid during the surgery and yet feel absolutely no pain. This is accomplished, first using a topical anesthesia that numbs the skin and then the not too painful needles that will numb the whole area to be worked on.
So I was awake, but I didn’t actually watch what Dr Pontell was doing, thank God. Each side took about 45 minutes. It is not painful or boring (depending on the surgeon). I had a blast during my surgery, asking what was going on and discussing all kinds of things.
When the slicing, pulling, stapling, sewing and other stuff was all done, they wrapped my head like a mummy and told me to come back the next day to have the dressing changed. I was helped to my feet as though I was a tottering old lady…
See picture of me at home, right after surgery
That white thing around my neck is not part of the head dressing. It is a terry covered soft thing (see picture below) that cost about $12 at Rite Aid Pharmacy.
SEE PHOTO )(the neck thing)
That is what it looks like and it really saved me, because keeping your head at a “thirty degree angle” while you sleep is not as easy as it sounds. Make sure you get one that is light foam and terrycloth.
I also, loved having this oversized (10” high) leg wedge, because you tend to slip down when you are lying flat. I bought this a year ago because I’m on my feet all day long and when I come home I lie down and immediately put my legs and feet up on this thing.
I included it in my after surgery necessities. I think, (and this is just me talking), that having my legs and feet up so high increased my circulation and helped me heal.
SEE WONDERFUL FOOT THING
SEE ME WEARING BOTH NECK THING AND USING FOOT THING
CAUTION 3: Make sure that you have figured out where you will stay and who will be there with you. Remember, just because it was a short surgery and you had local anesthetic doesn’t mean that your
body doesn’t feel like it was mauled, because it was, and how is your body supposed to know that it was for a good reason?
Because I have cats and a dog at home and live alone, I arranged to stay at my Aunt’s house, which is clean and sweet and has no animals. I wanted to be basically left alone, but to be fed nice cold soups and sherbet. You do not want people who will feel they have to socialize with you; you just need an attentive loving someone to look in occasionally and run a warm bath for you.
You need stay in bed for at least 3 to 4 days (preferably more). You really don’t want to wash the dishes or answer the phone or be nice to people for the first few days at least. I went back to work on day 6, but that was because my hair covered everything and I took good care of myself during that time. Sleep is important.
Personally, I recommend a good audio book, one that’s not too demanding, as your brain activity is minimal and one that’s not funny, because you don’t want to stretch your face, even to laugh…
SEE DAY 2 After first follow up visit
For those interested in the really cool, but gory details,
There was absolutely NO pain, it just looks scary…
SEE BELOW Sutures and Staples:
Here are the sutures and staples on Day 5…with special ointment…
There is a sort of Frankenstein look, up close, but with my hair down I went back to work on Day 6. THEN, all staples and most sutures were removed Day 7. I did have some bruising, but I masked it with make-up.
Final stitches were removed Day 14…SEE PHOTOS
I was swollen down my neck and and along the cheek near the ears…
the rest of the swelling gradually goes down.
See Photos from Day 20