What I Wish I’d Known Before Getting A Facelift

I can’t consider that I’m talking publicly about my facelift and that tens of millions of individuals now understand how vain I’m. But since I don’t consider in gatekeeping, and this was not a call I took calmly, I’m embracing the ability of transparency and sharing information.

Having been in the sweetness industry for a few years as a makeup artist, beauty expert, writer, and brand founder, by the point I hit my late forties, I’d already tried all of it: Botox, fillers, lasers, radio frequency, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), LED, microneedling, and microcurrent therapy. A lot of those procedures were effective, if not miraculous, they usually did help smooth, tighten, and lift. But as I rounded the corner into my fifties, I discovered these treatments were less and fewer effective, and I used to be now not getting the outcomes I wanted. I used to be probably in my midforties once I began enthusiastic about getting a lift, and I even had surgery booked at one point, but I used to be truthfully just too chicken to maneuver forward with it. After I hit 50, I felt in another way. I reached out to the various plastic surgeons I had met through the years to ask every query I could. I pored over before-and-after photos with the intensity of a forensic scientist, and hounded friends and acquaintances who’d been through it already.

I do know plenty of people might think I’m crazy for getting surgery on the tender age of 53 (or for doing it in any respect), but in line with Latest York facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono, MD, the typical age of a facelift patient in his practice is between 47 and 53. When I made a decision that Michael Byun, MD, in Chicago was the fitting plastic surgeon for me, I felt prepared. Calm, even. He has a fame because the “repairman” of faces, known for putting every part back where it was. I scheduled a lower- and mid-face lift, together with an upper and lower blepharoplasty (lift) for my eyelids, for September 2021. The surgery was planned for five hours, and I had a 7 a.m. start time.

The road to recovery didn’t go exactly as planned. Despite all my due diligence and my surgeon keeping me well-informed of what to anticipate, I encountered surprise after surprise in real life. I wish I’d known a couple of more things. So listed here are six thoughts to be mindful in case you think a facelift is likely to be in your future.

There Can Be Unplanned Complications

As I discussed, I’d sampled from a pupu platter of nonsurgical procedures prior to surgery. What I didn’t expect is that a few of those self same stopgap measures could find yourself complicating my surgery. I’d been getting conservative hyaluronic fillers in my nasolabial folds for years and had filled my cheeks a couple of times once I was around 40. Byun says that fillers “can linger and accumulate, especially into the muscle and fatty tissue.” He needed to remove some during surgery, because it could actually bulge whenever you lift the muscle and skin.

I also had a complication from a previous thread lift. In keeping with Byun, most suture thread lifts now use absorbable sutures, but they cause abnormal scar tracks as they disappear. He needed to “fight” through the abnormal scarring during my surgery, which added an additional hour to my procedure (and an additional, unanticipated incision). This alarmed my husband, who was actively pacing within the waiting room.

It’s Normal To Feel Regret

I had no pain after surgery (literally none). However the emotional toll of the surgery took me by surprise. Perhaps it was the unrecognizable face staring back at me within the mirror and the nagging feeling of, “Oh shit, what have I done?” But for the primary time in my life, I had a panic attack, necessitating a middle-of-the-night call to my doctor and a prescription for Xanax. In fact, I had been warned about this by my surgeon’s office, but I assumed that since I used to be so well-informed and had done a lot research, it wouldn’t occur to me. Nevertheless it did, and like my post-op face, it wasn’t pretty.

Your Face Will Mutate

I learned that swelling resolves in neither a linear nor symmetrical way. In the primary two weeks after my surgery, I’d get up day-after-day secure within the knowledge that I’d look higher each morning. But then two weeks hit, and boom, as I became more lively and rejoined my life, my face would still puff and swell in odd, uneven, and sometimes alarming ways. My surgeon calls the primary month after surgery the “Baby Alien” phase. It’s aptly named because while you could look a little bit younger, you furthermore may look…otherworldly. Byun explained to me that wound healing goes through 4 phases. The primary two (hemostasis and inflammation) are quiet. Proliferation, the third phase, is “quite noisy, that’s why you see fluctuations after two to 3 weeks.” Wearing a mask was particularly helpful for incognito purposes.

Your Skin May Feel Really Strange

There are plenty of odd facial sensations after surgery. My skin was so tender that I didn’t a lot as splash water on it for a month, throwing my dedication to my skincare routine right out the window. It was also numb, and the crown of my head and my whole scalp also felt itchy and spongy. My head itched for months afterward. Byun says these reactions are “completely normal and expected” and are even a “great sign” that the nerves are growing back.

Eating And Sleeping Will Be Different

My doctor said to not eat anything aside from soft foods for the primary few weeks after surgery so as to limit using the muscles in my lower face while chewing. Not only could I not get a fork in my mouth, I could barely open wide enough to suit my toothbrush. I ate plenty of oat milk ice cream and soup. The act of brushing, swishing, and rinsing was comically messy. Sleeping was a challenge, because my eyes wouldn’t fully close for months. I could manipulate my lids to get them shut, however the muscles were pulled so tight they wouldn’t stay closed. The doctor kept telling me it could resolve, and in fact it did, nevertheless it was incredibly distressing.

You May Want To Change Your Phone’s Security Options

The facial recognition feature on my iPhone didn’t recognize me for several days. Fair enough, though, because I didn’t either.

Today, nearly a 12 months and dozens (okay, a whole lot) of scrutinizing selfies later, I’m delighted by my crisper jawline, higher cheeks, and smoother eyelids. Still, it took me an extended time to get so far. For many of those months, I felt like my face just looked odd, although I used to be actually my harshest critic.

I wish I could definitively say that I’d undergo all of it yet again, but due to emotional strain it placed on me—and on my poor, disconcerted husband—I just can’t say obviously. Outwardly, he was nothing but supportive and inspiring. Inside, I later discovered, he frightened about my pain, my emotional anguish, and my appearance throughout my entire recovery. He was beside himself with fear that my face would never get back to normal and that he would must live with a miserable wife who’d fucked up her face. Even now, within the “settling” phase, which may take as much as a 12 months, I still have the occasional moment of considering, “Why on earth did I put myself through this?” I assume that, as with childbirth, the memory of the trauma will fade, and that when my jawline inevitably succumbs to gravity over again, I’d give it some thought. Might being the operative word.

This text appears within the August 2022 issue of ELLE.

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