Lora began low carbing nearly 5 years ago, and has shed over 150 pounds, learning
a great deal in the process. With an education in nursing and nutrition, Lora debuted
Low Carb Luxury in 1999, and now writes for multiple publications as well as speaking
in public arenas.
"People are like stained glass windows:
they sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light within."
— Elizabeth Kubler–Ross
As we mentioned in previous issues, last October (10-16-2003), I underwent cosmetic surgery.
I had two procedures done. A Rhytidectomy – a facelift, and a Blepharoplasty – eyelids.
In our first part of the series, we took you through the basics of these procedures, explaining how and why each are
performed. In our last issue, we began our interview with Dr. Mendelsohn. If you missed Part One, click here to read it. If you missed Part Two, click here.
We continue our in-depth interview with Dr. Jon Mendelsohn,
who performed my surgery at the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center in Hyde Park,
Ohio. Board Certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
and Fellowship trained by the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery,
Dr. Mendelsohn is a renowned specialist in facial plastic surgery.
Question: What should I make my surgeon aware of beforehand?
Make a detailed list of all medications and all supplements you are taking,
including herbal drinks and herbal teas. Many medications and supplements contain ingredients
that could be harmful to your recovery. Your doctor's office will give you a list of medications and
supplements to avoid.
All aspirin products, ibuprofen products, and vitamin E must be
discontinued 2 weeks prior to your surgery due to their effect on blood clotting.
Be very careful not to take over-the-counter meds, like cold tablets containing aspirin
and ibuprofen. If you need a headache medication, take Tylenol. Even eating excessive
garlic and onions may cause blood clotting problems. If you are taking antidepressants,
and any other prescription medications, inform your surgeon during your first consultation!
Question: What risks and considerations should the patient be aware of?
You can expect numbness and swelling. In 3% to 4% of cases overall (less than 1 in 1,000 in my practice), a
hematoma can form, and there is usually some scarring, though it generally fades to nearly invisible. While
it's never happened with a patient of mine, nerve damage can occur in the face. That's why it's important to
have a highly qualified facial surgeon who stays in the plane above the nerves. Some paresis (temporary loss of
nerve function) is common, however.
Question: Can you guarantee the results of a facelift?
Answer: Cosmetic surgery is an art and not a science; consequently no assurance or guarantee of results can
be given. The procedure is designed to produce a maximum benefit in the appearance of the face by removing major wrinkles and sagging of the skin. It is impossible to remove every wrinkle regardless of the treatment. We do guarantee follow-up, however, and will work with you
to help you get your best results.
Question: Is depression common after facial cosmetic surgery?
Answer: Depression is common following cosmetic surgery. There are several factors that contribute to post-operative depression,
Expecting to have a downtime and accepting it will help you get back to normal sooner.
Take time to relax, meditate and care for yourself. It is also important to have support from others.
Be sure to ask for that help. You can also find support online with other people who have
had the same procedure and may have similar experiences.
- The anticipation and stress of preparing for surgery can have a rebound effect.
- The medications, anesthesia and trauma of the surgery have physical effects that will affect your
- Stress and fear regarding complications and disfigurement.
- Refraining from exercise can make you feel tired, blue, and out of sorts.
- Adjusting to your new look.
- Dealing with family and friends' reactions to your surgery.
- Financial stress.
- Feeling guilty about having the procedure.
Question: What kind of pain can a patient expect?
Answer: Minimal pain is mostly gone by the third day and easily controlled by medications.
Question: Can you discuss recommended post-op care and wound care?
Answer: You can go home after several hours and generally, a dressing is in place only for one day.
You can shower on the day after surgery. Swelling which is mild to moderate generally peaks at
two days then disappears rapidly over the next three weeks.
Minimal bruising usually peeks at two days and then disappears rapidly by seven to fourteen days.
You'll be able to apply make-up in four days and comfortably appear in public at that time.
Expect to resume light activities within the first week, and most by at least three weeks.
In most cases, half of the stitches are removed at six days and the rest at ten days.
You will need to sleep with your head elevated at a 45 degree angle, and on your
back for the first few weeks. A recliner is ideal for this. You can also use a wedge
pillow, or a reading pillow. Have a table nearby, where you can keep your needed items
close. Take a look around and make sure all the things you'll need are at waist
level. Do not bend over for any reason for the first few weeks. Bending over can cause
bleeding. A nearby TV, radio, or tape player, along with some audio books and movies
will come in handy. Plan to rest a lot for the first few days, and gradually increase
your activity. You will tire easily for a few weeks.
You will be given a list of items you will need postoperatively, including prescriptions
to have filled, cleansers, shampoo etc. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. You
will also be given a list of post operative instructions. Please read these a few times so
you are familiar with them. Generally, you'll be expected to clean the suture areas 3 times
a day with peroxide, and will use an ointment.
Shop for, and prepare ahead, some nutritious foods for your recovery. Depending on
your surgery, it may be difficult for you to chew, so soft foods are best. Be
careful not to have foods high in salt or sodium, as they may make your swelling worse.
Gelatin, pudding, soup, and protein drinks are some good choices.
Question: Any last words or advice?
Answer: It is important to realize what cosmetic surgery can do and what its limitations are. It
will help you look years younger and look your best. It will help restore and improve
balance and harmony to the face, and to reverse some of the signs of aging. It enhances
your appearance and makes you look more rested. It doesn't change you. You look like the
same person, only better. It doesn't change your personality. It can't guarantee the perfect
face. It will give you improvement, not perfection. It is important for you to have
realistic expectations of what can and can't be achieved before undergoing cosmetic
A final word from Lora...
As I write this, it's been 3 1/2 months since my surgery. I am told I can expect my best result at
6 months, and it's important to note that I was, indeed, one of those exceptions to the rule. I did —
in fact — develop a hematoma on my right cheek as an unexpected complication of the procedure, so my healing
has taken a bit longer.
Am I glad I had the surgery? Absolutely. I, too, went through a bit of a depression afterward, some of
it coming from the fact that I had that complication and knew my healing would be delayed. But everyone
can see a huge improvement and each week that improvement becomes more pronounced.
When I hit my optimum results, I will write a follow-up for the magazine with before and after shots.
Dr. Mendelsohn has been exceptional and I would highly recommend him to anyone. He's bright, caring,
and goes the extra mile. He called every few hours after my procedure and was available 24 hours a day
to take my calls to his cell phone as well. He sent flowers and never let me wonder if he was on top
of everything. He and his staff take an active role in their patients' recovery and this attention
is very appreciated.
I would also be remiss if I failed to thank the dearest man in my life, Neil, for being there every
step of the way from my initial consultation, to day of the surgery, to caring for me for more than three weeks
afterward. I cannot stress strongly enough the need for someone you trust completely to be your caregiver
after a procedure such as this. Make sure this is arranged for.
Neil was there day and night and I don't know what I'd have done without him. He helped to shower me, cleanse
the wounds, keep dressings on, chart every medication, cut my food... and well, the list goes on and on, but he was
amazing beyond belief. I hope he knows every day how much it all meant to me and how grateful I am.
• Copyright © February 2004 Low Carb Luxury
• Procedural information is copyright © 2004 Dr. Jon Mendelsohn,
and the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center, Hyde Park, Ohio.