Facelift Journey

Revision FaceLift: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Revision Plastic Surgery

One of the reasons I founded The NipTuck Coach, a plastic surgery consulting business was due to my own cosmetic surgery disappointment and my post-surgery emotional roller coaster. You can read about my facelift  experience and disappointing surgery results here.

My plastic surgery journey included, poor post-op care, poor communications and a less than desirable outcome. This fueled my insight into the psychological aspects of going under the knife, as well as what’s wrong with the plastic surgery industry today. I’m hoping to make a difference in patient communications. 

I’m not new to the world of plastic surgery or the beauty industry.  I’ve worked in the industry for many years, have had dozens of procedures and have an understanding of plastic surgery beyond most lay people. Despite all of my knowledge and insider connections the outcome of my surgery did not meet my reasonable expectations or an agreed upon outcome. My experience with my plastic surgeon was less than stellar and I had no one to turn to for advocacy and support.

 You are probably wondering why this happened and how I’m dealing with it. A plastic surgeon’s best referral is a beautiful outcome. No plastic surgeon wants to have an unhappy patient, or so you would think. The goal is to rectify a less than optimal outcome by good communications, acknowledgment from the surgeon that the results could be better, and finding the best resolution for the patient. If the surgeon feels he/she cannot meet the patients expectations, then its up to the surgeon to do whatever is in the best interest of the patient, including referring to a colleague, who may be more skilled for this surgery. Finally, working out agreeable financial terms.  (more…)

Plastic Surgery: Life after a Face and NeckLift, What You Should Know!

It has been 8 months since my face and neck lift. There are many aspects of this journey that I was not ready for and many that I was…

I am still numb along the sides of my cheek area, and at times still feel pulling around my neck. This is quite common. To my dismay, my neck is not as tight as I had hoped, there is residual laxity. This can happen. The neck is the most difficult area to treat and one of the most common areas of complaints. There is fine line between too tight and not tight enough. Achieving a natural look is the goal of every facelift. Sometimes, the surgeon pulls as much as he can during the surgery, only to find that as the patient heals, he/she, has not pulled tight enough. There is no way to predict this. When this occurs, you either have to live with it, or have revision surgery. I have chosen a revision after my year mark… Sounds like another blog topic . 🙂

Here are some things that I would like to share:

  1. Do your research. Ask lots of questions. How many procedures has this surgeon done? What is his/her revision rate? Read about the medical procedure, familiarize yourself with the medical terminology and the various techniques used in facelift surgery. Understand what your surgeon will be doing; the expected results and what the policy is if you are displeased with your results. If you are not clear, ASK questions until you are comfortable with the surgery, your surgeon and your decision.
  2. View Before and After photos of current patients. Ask to speak to a couple of them before you make your decision. Do not rely on here -say or pictures alone.. Try meeting in person with the patients before you make a final decision.
  3. If you choose a surgeon out-of-town, prepare for a different post-surgery experience than you would have had from a local surgeon. Your local surgeon will schedule more post-op visits. Ask the surgeon, if he is out-of-town how he handles his post-op patients. Know this in advance, so you are not disappointed or angry with your surgeon, post-op.
  4. Expect to take more time off than your surgeon suggests especially if you are over 50 years old. Although you think you are in excellent health you are not 35. Your body takes longer to heal, it may take 4 – 6 weeks before you really feel yourself.
  5. If you are staying out-of-town, hire a nurse for the first 48 hours, unless you have a friend or family member who is calm about how you are going to look, right after surgery. It is worth the extra money and will give you peace of mind.
  6. Ask your surgeon to please not change your ear lobes, unless you want them changed.. If they do after surgery, make sure that your surgeon is aware of this and will fix it for no charge. Your ears are swollen- no earrings for awhile.
  7. Take care of your skin pre-surgery. Use the right combination of anti-aging and brightening ingredients so you will look radiant after surgery. Have a chemical peel if you need to rid of brown spots. Another option is to combine laser resurfacing with your facelift . You are spending all this money on your facelift, your skin should reflect your refreshed look.
  8. Try not obsess about how you look right after your surgery. Healing takes time and everyone heals differently. If you look into the mirror everyday and question every little flaw on your face or neck, you will drive yourself and your family crazy. Give yourself time. You will see your face evolve and one side may evolve differently. Be patient. Don’t freak out if you are not looking like you expected at first.
  9. Discuss any issues of concerns with your surgeon. You are NOT being a pest. You only have one face and you paid good money for your facelift. If you are not getting the response you need, be persistent. Go to his office and wait if you have to. A good surgeon will be concerned about your concerns and will address them.
  10. Don’t be surprised if you feel depressed after surgery. This is something that many surgeons do not discuss with their patients and they should. It is normal to feel this way and for some this feeling persists for many months. Seek help. Talk about it with others.
  11. Sharp pains after surgery is a normal healing process. The nerves are re-generating. Don’t be scared. You may also experience itching.
  12. As the healing process progresses, you may see things that you do not like. Sometimes they resolve. Give it time. wait until 6 months before you share your concerns with your surgeon.
  13. Having a facelift does not mean you will never have to use fillers again. NOT TRUE! If you are having a facelift plus fat transfer then you will probably not have to use fillers. If you only had a facelift and you are middle age, chances are that you will still need fillers. A facelift will not address volume. The lines around your mouth will not change with a facelift. You may need fillers there or laser treatments.
  14. You will remain numb for a long time.. not to worry. The feeling will come back. If you have any concerns about this ask your surgeon.
  15. This is a huge decision. Know what you are getting into. Prepare yourself and your family.
  16. Costs vary depending on where you live and who is doing your surgery. Facelifts can start at $10,000 and go over $20,000+ including OR, anesthesiologist, Nurse, Hospital and pre-op tests.

Some surgeons are willing to discount procedures, due to the economy. I predict that as the economy improves these discounts will diminish.

I would love to hear your Facelift or cosmetic surgery experiences or any tips that you would like to share.


After the first week, recovery is still slow. I am tired with low energy. My husband is having a difficult time with my recovery, and keeps telling me he just wants his pretty wife back. He does not understand why I am putting myself through this.

10 days after my surgery, I start feeling stronger and take extra strength Tylenol for discomfort. No pain. My neck looks great, however, I am still swollen, so it is difficult to see the final results. No more bands or creepiness. I am pleased.

I have some stitches that are bothering me on one side. They should dissolve but this could take a several more weeks, I am told. They feel sharp and hurt behind my ear. If they do not dissolve, I will have them removed.

One side of my face is still more swollen then the other, I understand that this is common. I am not worried.

By two weeks, I am looking pretty good.. my bruising is almost all gone with the exception of below my right eye. Just a little yellow now in certain areas. With make-up, no one would know . My eyes are healing nicely. I am still numb under my chin, on the sides of my face and feel a pulling sensation around my neck. I am also very itchy at times. This is all normal.

I still can’t wear earrings as my ears are still swollen. I do notice that my lobes now look different, something to address with my surgeon.

One month later, I am looking good.. no more bruising. My face a wonderful glow, my check look tight, but not too tight and my neck looks good. At this point, I am pleased with the results and feel the cost was worth it.

Costs range from $10,000- $20,000 for a full face, neck plus upper eyelid. You also have to include, anesthesia, nurses, OR, hospital or hotel room if you are out -of-town. Some plastic surgeons have their own recovery suite in their OR.