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Cosmetic / Plastic Surgery Message Board

Cosmetic / Plastic Surgery Board Index

Six days ago, I underwent a lower face lift. Prior to the procedure, I didn't have an opportunity to talk to anyone who'd ever undergone cosmetic surgery so my understanding of the procedure and its after-effects was based on what I'd read on various cosmetic surgeons' websites.

Typically these websites will say things like "some swelling and discolouration is normal" and "there may be some discomfort but this is easily controlled by medication" and "there may be some numbness for up to several weeks following the procedure."

Having now become an old-hand, I can tell anyone who is contemplating this kind of surgery, that all of these statements are true. The range of individual reaction will obviously be fairly wide, but so as not to be shocked or disappointed, consider the statements to be vast understatements. Expect that you'll be on the upper end of the unpleasantness range. If it turns out differently, the whole experience will be easier for you.

You should expect significant swelling and bruising. You should expect to see a forensic crime-scene photo staring back at you in the mirror over the first several days following the procedure. At least for the first few days, you should not expect to see any improvement - in fact, the bruising is more likely to grow deeper and more extensive. You should expect that some people will avert their eyes, the way one does when seeing someone who is disfigured. And you should expect to feel discouraged, maybe even a bit depressed, and definitely impatient for the healing to be complete. Healing will take longer than you want it to. Time will pass slowly.

I haven't experienced any "pain" per se, but it sure can be uncomfortable. Except when you're distracted by something, expect to feel tingling, pressure, stiffness, itchiness and numbness. But it doesn't hurt the way you think of the pain of a sudden deep cut, stepping on a tack, a burn, biting your tongue, or a migraine headache.

Cosmetic surgeons' websites will also tell you that your expectations for improvement should be reasonable. It's too early for me to be able to say one way or the other since I'm still waiting for the swelling and bruising to subside, but I believe that this should probably be the most important factor in your decision to proceed or not. The after-effects described above are clearly temporary. Two to four weeks after the procedure, most if not all of the swelling, bruising and general discomfort will be behind you. Your satisfaction with the results will ultimately be based on what you expected to get out of the surgery. Don't expect a dramatic change. If you currently look like Ernest Borgnine (sorry Ernie, wherever you are), don't expect to see Harrison Ford in the mirror. Figure out what feature or characteristic you'd like to correct or improve, and expect the results to be slightly less dramatic than your "dream" look. For example, I really didn't like seeing my father's jowls every time I looked in the miror. My self image just didn't match the old guy looking back at me from the mirror. I hope that a few weeks from now, I'll see a 45 year-old looking back at me, rather than the 52 year-old I've been seeing lately. I'm not expecting to turn the heads of attractive young women - although this would be quite a stunning new development which I would certainly welcome...

Anyway, I hope this helps shed some light on what the procedure might be like if you decide to go through it yourself. You'll look like hell for a week or so. You'll feel uncomfortable some of the time, but not in pain. Manage your expectations.

For those of you who have already gone down this road before me, I'd like to know if my experience rings true.

[This message has been edited by Los (edited 10-13-2002).]

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