Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bad reviews about Lifestyle Lift: evidently i am one of the lucky ones

I had my Lifestyle Lift along with upper & lower eyes and the additional neck tightening procedure done February 9, 2009. So I am writing this about six weeks after everything was done.

Immediately following the procedure I experience swelling and bruising, which is fairly normal. The pain I experienced however was awful! The pain meds I was given hardly made a difference. I am no baby either. I had this Lifestyle Lift procedure done because ten years ago I had gastric by-pass surgery to lose weight so I could have a hip replacement done. I lost 186 pounds, and had the replacement done! I am familiar with surgical pain. My main reason for having this procedure was the removal of the "turkey waddle" I had hanging from beneath my chin because of the massive weight loss from my gastric by-pass. The eyes and mid face lift to me where just "vanity add-ons" but I wanted it all so that I looked younger and felt better about myself. The weight loss left me looking so much older I had self image problems!

To the point. The surgical procedure to me was a nightmare and extremely traumatic. I was constantly being administered more of the local anesthesia because I was not staying numb. But the WORST for me was that I could see and hear everything! It was traumatic. Hearing the muscle being sliced, seeing the tools, hearing the doctors and the assistants, hearing the liposuction sucking the fat from the jowls, feeling the jabbing pressure. NOT GOOD!

Following the procedure I spent the night in a hotel because I had driven 2 hours to the city where the closest clinic was located. No sleep - much pain. Follow-up with the doctor the following day was short, short, short! She changed the bandaging and told me to return in two weeks, if I could. Well of course I could!!! Who, in their right mind wouldn't????

At home I faithfully followed the post-op instruction sheet. My partner helped me and if anything we went overboard on keeping the incisions cleaned and covered. I kept the neck wrap on 24 hours a day for the first three (not just the two weeks recommended) and then slept in the wrap for the remainder of five weeks after the procedure. I took the round of Z-pack (Zithromax) that I was prescribed. However the pain - Oh goodness! NOT GOOD AT ALL! My ears hurt so badly I couldn't get comfy - I slept in a recliner for three straight weeks. There was a place on my right temple that at times I would experience such a sharp stabbing pain that I thought something had struck me. The wrap around my face and under my chin went over my oh so painful ears but I did it anyway and took pain meds so I could. I knew that the skin had to re-attach itself to the underlying muscles and tissue. I wasn't going to risk having that awful turkey waddle back in any way!

The Zithromax didn't keep the infection away and I knew enough to call the Lifestyle Lift clinic and tell them immediately. They gave me more pain meds (stronger) and another round of antibiotic (not a Z-pack) to take for another ten days. Still, I had the lower edge of the incision in front of my left ear open up. I kept it very clean and covered. I emailed a picture of the wound to the clinic manager and she gave it to my surgeon. I did receive a reply via a phone call from the clinic telling me to continue with what I was doing and stating that my smoking had most likely caused this. (Funny but all my other incisions were healing quite nicely - how come my light smoking effected only this ONE spot????)

At my next follow up, the Dr. blew into the room, looked at the wound, stated that she could not stitch it closed because the tissue was too fragile. She said to continue what I was doing, she also hypothesized that the stabbing pain I was experiencing was a migraine (?) that my hair looked great (?) and the assistant would remove my stitches. She then blew-out of the room, never to return. The scared silly young lady who tried to remove all my stitches was inexperienced and ill trained, bless her heart. She missed a number of stitches and was shaky, worrying that she was hurting me...I was (and still am) without feeling in the areas she was working so she couldn't hurt me.

When I finished my second round of antibiotics, I still felt that there was infection so I made an appointment with my family physician. My wonderful family doctor immediately prescribed another Z-pack and told me to continue with the pain meds, and the topical antibiotic crème.

I had another appointment with the Lifestyle Lift Dr in two weeks (my six week follow-up) Between the time I saw my family doctor and returning to Lifestyle Lift my daughter, who is a nursing student came to visit. One look at the wound in front of my ear and she asked "why in the world I was keeping it covered all the time?" She went on to say that the healing process requires air to dry the wound allowing it to scab over and heal from the inside out. By keeping it covered all the time I was creating a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow."

Well, thinking back I knew that was true because of my own first aid training, however I found it strange that at NO TIME did the Lifestyle Lift Dr. tell me to uncover the wound for even a little time much less even mention uncovering the spot at all. When I did uncover it, the scabbing occurred and by the time I went back to Lifestyle Lift the Dr. wiggled the skin around the area and said that yes it was closed and healing (she knocked off the scab) and that it might scar. I asked her what she would do about that because I did not pay $8500 for a scarred hole in front of my ear or the still loose skin under my chin (not a waddle but, not smooth either!) Dr. W said that she could remove the scar if after six months it was still bad enough to bother me and that some neck - firming crème might help tighten up the crepe-like skin under my chin. (Hey, if that had worked I wouldn't have paid thousands of dollars for surgery!!!) But she didn't give me any names of neck firming topical nor did she write any prescriptions. She did mention that I might look into a Dr who did laser firming in my hometown (more $$$ out of my pocket!!)

After sitting for over an hour in the separate waiting room for post-surgical people and talking to five others who had used the same Dr. I must admit that only one other man (of Latino descent) and myself (Caucasian) looked decent. One woman's ears had a quarter of an inch height difference and a big fold in one ear lobe that she stated wasn't there prior to the surgery. Her face and the face of another African-American lady looked as though they were pre-surgical NOT post-surgical! Both were really angry and upset! In my opinion they had every right to be upset. The other lady in the waiting room had awful scarring around the ears, jowls that were still prominent, and many large, deep wrinkles around the mouth (smile lines) - it was bad!

If I had known about this web-sight, had thought about the difference in local and general anesthesia (hearing and seeing everything) I certainly would have spent the extra money, gone to a board certified plastic surgeon and had this done in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. Also, I caught an interview on television with the "inventor" and founder of Lifestyle Lift . He stated that the optimal age for someone to have this procedure is in their late 40's early 50's - At NO time was this fact mentioned to any of the people in the waiting room that I spoke with nor was I told this.

Even though my resuults are FAR better than those I encountered in the post-op waiting room or have seen on this web-site I still am not 100% happy and I would NEVER encourage anyone else to undergo this procedure with this company!

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