Cosmetic Surgery: A First hand Account

Cosmetic surgery …in a few words

“Cosmetic surgery is a specific medical procedure that is designed to alter, improve or enhance the appearance of any part of the body. Cosmetic surgery is an elected procedure chosen out of a desire to improve aesthetic appeal rather than to improve function”

And in a few more words…

So having decided to go down the surgical route for beauty, how much hand wringing, soul searching and endless discussion takes place before somebody finally decides to go under the knife for cosmetic surgery?
Well surprisingly there’s plenty of hand wringing and soul searching but almost no third party discussion, at least not with a significant other!
According to a leading London based cosmetic surgeon, the vast majority of cosmetic surgery patients have no discussion whatsoever with their partners or family, either before or after plastic surgery, unless of course the results dramatically affect their appearance!

So no group discussion then…

It would appear that despite living in an age when so many of us are obsessed with our looks, very few, if not all of us are not prepared to disclose the lengths that we’ll go to achieve those desired looks. Having your husband, wife, or partner tell you that you’re beautiful and perfect just as you are, doesn’t make a single bit of difference when it comes right down to it.

Cosmetic Surgery: A truthful account

In a bid to understand the motivations but ultimately the process, we found a remarkable account of a woman who’s been brutally honest about her journey through facial cosmetic surgery and in a bid to protect identities; we’ve paraphrased the following account of her facial cosmetic surgery experience, whilst keeping intact every relevant detail.
To give you a little background, the lady in question (let’s call her Susan) is in her mid fifties and for as long as she can remember, has never liked the way she looks, especially as she matured.

Having made the decision to have facial plastic surgery, Susan decided to document every stage of her treatment from her initial consultation to the completion of her surgery for anybody else considering a full-face lift.
After an in-depth consultation with her plastic surgeon, Susan decided to have the following:

  • A lower facelift (this involves making incisions behind the ears, and pulling the skin and musculature of the face back to tighten the lower cheeks and neck)
  • Lower blepharoplasty (Cutting away excess under-eye fat)
  • Botox treatment (applied to the forehead and filler treatment to plump out the lines between the mouth and nose)
  • Micro-needling (a procedure in which tiny holes (thousands!) are pricked into the skin with a Dermaroller to stimulate the skin’s rejuvenation)
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment (used on the cheeks and nose to eradicate red veins and sun damage)

Susan’s Account…

19 June – Surgery day (still not too late for a change of mind!)
Before surgery, I am obliged to have a number of tests.

  • An ECG (to make sure I won’t die of a heart attack)
  • Blood pressure
  • Temperature

All mandatory before I’m put under anaesthetic, as is my signature on the consent form!
My nerves are frayed having willingly consented to a procedure that could result in: permanently watering eyes, a lopsided face, infection, hair loss and even death!

These images are still fresh in my mind as I’m led down to the operating room and I’m both nervous and scared at the same time.
I’m asked if there’s anyone I want them to call when I come round, or if I’m expecting visitors.
I answer emphatically ‘No’ not having even told my boyfriend, avoiding any attempt on his part to persuade me not to go through with the treatment.
Post operation, I’m told I’ll have to wear a supportive ‘face garment’ as much as often as possible for the first few weeks.

After two and a half hours of surgery, I start to come round. I can’t see a thing as my eyes have been bandaged and this, coupled with the fact I’m almost deaf anyway, means I’m completely disorientated. My blood pressure is taken so often that the pain in my arm soon becomes unbearable, so instead they switch to my leg. I’m nauseous and I have a terrible headache, which no amount of drugs seems to alleviate. In the middle of the night I vomit all down my gown. A nurse changes me like an infant.

This is the worst night of my life. My face hurts. I can’t move, sit up or sleep.

20 June (1 day after surgery)
My surgeon arrives to remove my bandages and to look at his handiwork. When I open my eyes, everything is blurred. I panic, but I’m informed that this is because of the antibiotic cream in my eyes, and I won’t see clearly for three or four days.
I’m asked if I want to look in a mirror? Absolutely not! I try to say, but I can hardly open my mouth, so tight is my skin stretched towards my ears.

Later the same afternoon, I’m due to be taken to the plush hotel where my surgeon has treatment rooms in the resident spa for his nonsurgical treatments (fillers, Botox, etc.).
He and a nurse will visit me every day during my weeklong recovery. If I had gone home – which I had no intention of doing, I would have had to have someone with me for the first three or four days as I was told to rest. People with young children are advised to forewarn them first, in case they are scared or upset by what they see initially.

I struggle to get up, but I’m eventually helped to the bathroom to wash my hair (a daily ritual to avoid infection) and I vomit green bile. I haven’t eaten for 48 hours.
When I’m dressed and ready to go, I’m wheeled to reception wearing my supportive ‘face garment’. I’m told I must wear this continually for the first week to keep the swelling down, and then as often as I can over the next few weeks.
As I climb into the cab, I can see the driver glance at me in his rear-view mirror with a look of concern and horror.

At the hotel, I am put to bed with a list of instructions. I must hold ice packs to my face for 15 minutes of every hour. I must drink lots of water and take painkillers, plus arnica tablets to reduce the swelling.
Because of my blurred vision, I can’t read or watch TV. But I’m too ill to care. The night is the second worst of my life: the pain in my head, coupled with the feeling of being stretched, is almost unbearable. I am only allowed to sleep on my back, propped up with pillows. I can’t eat, because I can’t open my mouth. I can’t even insert a toothbrush.

Absolutely none of this has come as a surprise as I was told that all of this would happen, and it did!
In addition to the pain and discomfort, I was told that I would hate myself, and hate my surgeon for doing this to me. The phrase ‘Roller-coaster ride’ was used and ‘It will get worse before it gets better, with the swelling increasing by day three before it starts to go down.’

21 June (2 days after surgery) Feeling even worse it that’s possible!
The swelling, despite the ice, has worsened. My face and ears are numb. I can feel stitches and a lot of dried blood inside my ears. Not sure why there are incisions inside my ears! Feeling the back of my head, I find the stitches snake up through my hair. My eyes droop at the edges, and are lined with black thread. They are also curiously round, and my whole face is tinged with yellow from the bruising. I like the feel of my chin, though. There is no loose skin any more; instead, my heart-shaped face has reappeared. I have been given just one cream, to use three times a day on the area around my mouth, to calm the redness from the Dermaroller. I am also given a factor-50 sunscreen, which I’m told I must wear for life.

21 June (3 days after surgery)
Starting to feel a little better at last!
I’m now sitting up, and able to drink a fruit smoothie and swallow soup. The member of staff assigned to look after me is tireless, bringing endless buckets of ice, and copious plates of pineapple, which is good for reducing swelling.
My Surgeon arrives in the afternoon to remove the stitches beneath my eyes. I can see, now, how women fall in love with their plastic surgeons. I look forward to his visits to check on my progress. ‘Once the swelling has gone down, and we have given you the Botox and the filler, you will be perfect!’ he says.
I spend the entire seven days in my lovely hotel room. I am bored rigid, unable to talk on the phone, as I’m not allowed to place anything on my ear, which is too painful, anyway.
This recovery time is part of the process, a line in the sand in your life before you emerge as someone different.

My stitches are checked regularly, and by day five I’m being encouraged to venture about a little wearing a headscarf and dark glasses; the pool is out of bounds, though, for at least three weeks. But I still look too terrifying.
By day five, I’ve plucked up enough courage to look in the bathroom mirror. I’m aghast at what has happened to my face. It is all lumpy. My lower eyelids droop. There are broken blood vessels around my mouth. I’m bruised and battered. I panic.
‘I look like a cod,’ I tell my nurse. She tells me not to worry, that the swelling will go down and my eyes will return to normal, as long as I do my exercises (stretching the skin upwards gently with my fingers, holding for a few seconds, as many times a day as I can manage). This restores elasticity in this very delicate area I’m told.

27 June – Going home – Yay!
I’m slowly getting better. My sight is almost back to normal. I’m pronounced fit to drive, so I go home.
I’ve been given some more rules: I mustn’t exercise, or fall over, and I mustn’t wear a hard hat, so no riding my bike or running!
I still have stitches behind my ears and in my hair although these will eventually dissolve but right now they itch.

18 July – I LOVE my new face
One month after the operation, I go back to be signed off by my surgeon and for my finishing touches.
(I don’t hate him at all now!) My stitches have dissolved or fallen away, the incisions have healed, but my face, eyes and ears are still numb, and I haven’t recovered my sense of taste, but I’m assured this will all settle down after about another five months!.
Filler, seemingly buckets of it, is injected into the lines around my mouth. Instant, youthful plumpness that I’m told will last about eight months.
My surgeon performs something called ‘soft Botox’: it allows some movement, rather than the unreal result that a full on Botox treatment would produce. He injects a tiny amount into my forehead and at the sides of my eyes.
I also have IPL to get rid of brown spots on my face, and some tiny red veins.
Having witnessed how effective this treatment is, I return three weeks later for more IPL on the brown spots on my hands.

The scars below my eyes are only visible in a magnifying mirror now. My best friend (my only confidant in my cosmetic surgery journey) asks me whether it was worth it and if I would do it all again, and right now, I’m still not sure. I saw my sister five weeks after surgery and she didn’t even pass comment.
And for anyone who might think I had this done to keep a man, let me assure you, that’s just not the case. Other than a puzzled glance from my boyfriend a few weeks after the surgery, he hasn’t even noticed.
For the first three weeks, you are not allowed to kiss anyone, and having someone run their fingers through your hair is out of the question also.
I still haven’t gone public with what I’ve had done. But I did receive a welcome ‘You are beautiful,’ comment from my boyfriend even though I know I’m not.

Despite everything, including the physical and the financial pain, I love my new face and I think I now have the face I deserve.

End of Susan’s Account…

The total cost of Susan’s treatments, including a lower face-lift was $22,000 (£13,500).
Total recovery time was approximately 4 to 5 weeks, with full feeling returning after 5 months.

If you are considering plastic or cosmetic surgery whether it’s for your face or any other part of your body, make sure you do your homework. Quality and costs can vary greatly so do your homework and choose wisely.

These professional associations will help you in your search:

ASPS: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

PSF: (The) Plastic Surgery Foundation

BAAPS: British Association of Aesthetic plastic surgeons

EBOPRAS: European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

To conclude:

Whilst Susan’s personal account of her procedure may sound a step too far in your own personal pursuit of beauty, plastic or cosmetic surgery remains a very effective, if not a costly remedy to the effects of time and age.
Yes, plastic and cosmetic surgery can be painful and expensive but there are millions of very happy people who have had surgery and are extremely happy with the outcome. However, if surgery is a step too far for you, you might want to consider something very effective, completely natural and far less invasive than cosmetic surgery, and at a fraction of the cost.

Go take a look…

Don’t overlook facial massage! It is a tried and tested 100% natural treatment (No surgery!) that really does push back the effects of ageing. For an in-depth look at the best facial massage course available, click here: ‘Ultimate Facial Massage Course’

Good luck

PS. This is a personal account from a patient who had a full-face lift. Her response to treatment and her recovery time is specific to her. Anybody choosing this or any other surgical treatment may or may not respond in the same way that Susan did. If you have any concerns whatsoever you can choose not to proceed with any treatment at all. Always consult qualified professionals before making your decision.


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Author: Alex Marsh

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