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My Facelift Diary

I am extremely grateful to this patient for sharing her experience on my website – I hope that other patients considering a facelift find it reassuring and helpful.

I had been unhappy with my appearance for a couple of years.  Having realised the big 60 was on the horizon I had done all I could to stay fit.  I went to the gym regularly, only drank alcohol at weekends, watched what I ate.. but no matter what I did my face let me down.  I felt young inside yet I had the turkey wattle look of a woman much older than me.  I do a lot of amateur dramatics and it was beginning to upset me to see the photos that were inevitably taken – profiles were the worst!

Pre-op photo – front

Pre-op photo – side

Pre-op photo – neck

It was obvious that the only way I could “dewattle” is with surgery. I didn’t want a full face lift – I was quite comfortable with my older dumpy looks – but I did want to have a proper neck and jaw again! I started to investigate options. There are a lot of “pile em high and sell em cheap” options on the internet. People who promised the earth for a small price. However there are also lots of horror stories of what can go wrong. If I was going to do this I was going to use someone local with a good track record and who I felt I could trust.

My husband was very supportive and we found ourselves one night in July 2012 at the Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells at a free open evening to meet with a surgeon and ask questions.

Mr Pacifico was extremely professional. He answered all our questions and gave us lots of literature to take away. He said he believed I was a candidate for a neck and lower face lift but wanted to ensure I knew what I was letting myself in for.

After a lot of deliberation (and a formal quotation) I decided to go for it! Mr Pacifico said winter was a good time and I should expect to be out of circulation for about two weeks. We fixed on 4th February 2013 – lots of time to prepare and ensure I wanted to go ahead. I had two consultations with Mr Pacifico prior to my arrival at the Spire Hospital so I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for.

I checked in to the hospital at 12pm having not had anything to eat or drink since 6am. I was shown to my private room and within half an hour Mr Pacifico was there to answer any questions and to draw in indelible ink on my face! He had warned me not to wear any makeup or put on any face cream that morning to ensure the pen marks didn’t rub off! He also assured me that the lines he drew on my face were guide lines and not where he was going to cut me!!

At 2pm I was in a gown (and pure cotton knickers – best place to get them is Marks and Spencers!) ready for the off. I was taken to the theatre on my bed where the anaesthetist checked my name and then fixed a needle thing into the back of each of my hands. One was used for the anaesthetic and that is the last I knew until I came round back in the ward. I felt a little woozy and was hooked up to oxygen and drips. The nurses were surprised to see that I was not swathed in bandages – just two drains coming out of the back of my head, one behind each ear. I felt a little tight around the ears but no pain whatsoever. During the night I did have a little discomfort but a nurse immediately gave me some morphine and I was back in my lovely comfortable woozy world.

Appearance of drains under skin

Very early in the morning Mr Pacifico arrived to see me and produced the all important mirror. I could not believe it when I saw myself – as I used to be – the face that I thought had gone forever – looking back at me! I had a neck and cheekbones again! Okay I did have a slightly chipmonk look because of the swelling round my ears and sides of my neck but even with those the difference was startling. It was decided best for me to stay in for another night just to recuperate – and that was the best decision as I made enormous progress within that additional 24 hours.

The only discomfort was when breakfast arrived and I realised that when Mr Pacifico had said eating may be a little difficult at first he had meant – stay on mush and no chewing until the tubes are taken out of your head! I had ordered toast but as I had drains in every mouthful made me sore. It was odd that the only pain I ever felt was self-inflicted and I would recommend porridge and yoghurt for your first meal after the op! I changed my menus to mash, fish, cottage pie etc. for the rest of the day and was fine.

The only fun was the ink on my face – it really was indelible! In the end I found that a good lashing of face cream left on for ten minutes did the trick!

Day after surgery with drains

Day after surgery

The following morning I saw Mr Pacifico for a final check before leaving. He booked an appointment for me to come back a week later to have the stitches out. My husband came to pick me up and could not believe it. I had washed my hair, put on my makeup, was pain free and had the biggest smile on my face he has seen for a long time – and the years had rolled away. Absolutely no regrets!

The first night at home was a little uncomfortable as the only sore places were the sides of the head where the drains had been and it was hard to avoid laying on them. A big pillow helped. Apart from that by the second night all was well and I cannot even feel any tightness any more. There is still a little chipmunk swelling around my neck and obviously there are still stitches to come out – but considering it is only Friday and I didn’t have the op until late Monday – I cannot believe what a speedy recovery I have had.

Home – two days later

I knew I was going to be okay when one of the nurses in the hospital said to me “If I was going to have cosmetic surgery I would opt for Mr Pacifico as he is a real artist and always ensures he has good results”.

I cannot agree more!

Three weeks later:

Last stitches come out later today (the ones behind the ears).
Swelling has all gone and I still feel amazing.


Some tips:

I didn’t tell anyone except close family what I was doing. Mr Pacifico had promised a natural look and he was right. He said people would notice you look better but wouldn’t know why. I had just been tested for varifocal glasses. I went back to work one week after the op and made a point of wearing them for the first time. Everyone said I should have worn glasses earlier as they made me look so much younger! It is worth thinking of a change of hairstyle or something that will give people something to focus on – it worked 100%

I bought and used tea tree shampoo and conditioner from the op up until now – and will continue to use it until the stitches are all out and healed. Definitely good to have a medicated shampoo to cut down on infection risks.

Apart from that just enjoy!!!!!

JD – East Sussex