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Sharon Hopper's Rhytidectomy (daVinci Quick Recovery Facelift) Story:


My name is Sharon Hopper and I am Dr. Ahmedís nurse and daVinici Quick Recovery Facelift patient. This is just a brief accounting of what my personal daVinici Quick Recovery Facelift experience was.  Of course, you should do as we sayÖÖ.. not necessarily as I did.  Iíve worked in plastic surgery for 30 years and Dr. Ahmed and I have worked together for the past 28 years. 

Iím just as dedicated to our practice as Dr. Ahmed is so I wanted to do my surgery when it would cause as little disruption to the practice as possible.  I chose to do my surgery the Thursday before Christmas in 2005.  I was back to work, for a light day, the following Tuesday.    



The first thing that happens after you register at the Riverside Surgery Center (you need your driverís license) and pay your fees is that they start an IV.  They numb it first which is nice.  Next, your hair is put in itty bitty pony tails and about ľ inch of hair is shaved from the front of the temple.  It grows back very quickly.  This is done so that part of the incision is placed in the hairline.  Youíll be checked out by the anesthesiologist who will be monitoring you during the surgery so Dr. Ahmed can devote his full efforts to your QuickLift.  


Dr. Ahmed will mark all over your face with a purple marker.  Then itís off to the operating room.  Once youíre in the operating room, snoozing away, you donít know it but they put a small tube in your mouth.  Why, because it gives instant access for anything you need for any reason.  Dr. Ahmed believes in having and not needing rather than needing and not having.  Isnít that reassuring?  Weíre moving skin around.  Itís not like weíre opening up your heart, liver, lungs or gut so this isnít a high risk surgery by any means but itís nice to be prepared for anything.  You need to lie still and be relaxed so precision judgments can be made.  If you get a spit gurgle, you wonít be moving around trying to clear your throat Ė they can suction it.  You wonít have your jaw muscles clenched.  You wonít be talking, licking your lips, wiggling your nose or breaking the sterile field by trying to scratch an itch.  In other words, everything that Dr. Ahmed needs wonít be a moving target.  If you need medication for some reason thereís instant access.  



Patience is not my greatest virtue.  I was getting a bit frustrated wondering just when we were going to get the show on the roadÖÖÖ.then the next thing I knew I was in recovery, giggling.  I have no clue where the 3 hours went.  I felt very relaxed and giggly happy.  On the other hand, my husband was sentimental in recovery after he had his QuickLift (heís never loved me more, Iíve never been so beautiful, etc.,) butÖÖÖ..  Can you tell which it was for me from the picture?  Donít tell me modern anesthesia drugs arenít great!  For a few minutes, I couldnít talk right because of the numbing medication (just like the dentist) hadnít worn off yet.  Sometimes this same medication makes your skin look a little pale until it wears off, too.  Your family/spouse/friend can be with you in recovery.    Youíll have some soft padding underneath the elastic Velcro dressing.  Usually it gets a stain on it, sometimes not.  I didnít have one bit of postop nausea which had been a problem for me in the past.


Then you dress and go home.  I brought a scarf thinking I would want to cover up the white Velcro strap but I was so happy I could have cared less if anyone saw me.  I had my surgery at 8:30 am and was home by 1:30.  I spent the rest of the day propped up in bed with my neck roll pillow and ice bags.  I had forgotten my ice bags at the office so we used a new pair of athletic socks and some zip locks and made due.  It looked bizarre and everyone made fun of me but it was quite functional.   Iíd say on a scale of 1-10 my pain was maybe a 3 or 4 so I took the pain medication and the Ativan and went to sleep.  Michael was so good.  He brought a cooler to the bedroom so we could keep up with the ice which makes such a difference.  Of course, I did the same when he had his QuickLift some months later.  My mouth didnít want to open as wide as normal and rotating my neck felt tight.


The next morning I was in the office at 8:30 for my 24 hour checkup. Tiffany took these photos when Dr. Ahmed took my dressing down.  Sorry, I wasnít cleaned up yet but I wanted you to see what it really looks like.  When you first take the elastic strap off your face seems so out of shape from the swelling, the strap and the ice bags.  Everything looks so round but that just takes a little time to go away.  The first thing I did when I got back home was take a shower, wash my hair and put it in a pony tailÖ. before going back to bed or the couch. I canít say that I had a lot of pain but I didnít want to so I took the pain medication on schedule which kept me quite comfortable. 



Later that day my daughters came to make cookies so I was up for an hour or so.  I sat in the kitchen while they baked.  I didnít participate much but I also didnít miss out on the fun.  The grand-daughters thought it was a hoot that Grandma had the socks on her head.  I had chicken noodle soup and other soft food in small bites (you knowÖ.soft foods like fudge, snicker doodles, chocolate chip cookies, caramels etc.) for a few days.   I took an Ativan before going to bed because Iím one of those people who just cannot sleep when they are excited or not in the usual position. 


The next day was Christmas Eve and I was in bed/couch all day until early evening. After I showered, I let my hair down and put on some blush, lipstick and mascara and what a difference. It was exciting to see the clean angle to my jaw and the tight skin in my neck. Christmas Eve is our wedding anniversary and that evening we kept with tradition and went to the Hopper side of the family for appetizers and gifts for a couple of hours.  There were some folks there that we only see once a year who didnít know I had a facelift two days before.  A couple of comments were made about how nice I looked andÖÖ.they wanted to know if I had a stiff neck.  This is humorousÖÖ.before we left home I had this long conversation with Michael about how this was private and I didnít really see any reason why we (meaning, he Ė my loosed lipped husband) should share this with everyone.  The women know I work in plastic surgery so they always ask whatís newÖÖÖbut they didnít expect me to say Iíd had a QuickLift two days ago.  Then the next thing I know I was the one spilling the beans.  They couldnít believe it until I showed them my stitches and pointed out some bruising in my lower neck under my sweater collar.  Michael said he knew I wouldnít be able to resist showing off.  I didnít feel like I needed the Vicodin quite so much so I alternated with Extra Strength Tylenol during the day but I did take Vicodin/Ativan before bed. 


I spent Christmas morning at my daughters with my elastic strap off for 4  or 5 hours which was a little too much.  By the time early afternoon rolled around I was ready to put my strap back on, go home and rest.  I watched some movies, balanced the checkbook and just hung around.  I was on all Tylenol except for right before bed.  Iím not a back sleeper so dosing off was a bit of a problem for me through all this. 


Monday we went to Red Lobster for clam chowder for lunch but spent the rest of the day around the house taking it easy.  I worked on a portrait lay out and played a little piano in short spurts.  I didnít need any medication other than Tylenol and by this time I was starting to feel more normal.  The tightness in the mouth and neck was subsiding.  If I touched the skin in front of the ear it felt numb (this lasted about 4 months with me.)


I was back at work, mostly doing desk work, on Tuesday.  I saw a few patients on Wednesday.  

Thursday we left for Oklahoma to visit with Michaelís daughter.  



                                           1991, early 40ís                                          2007, 2 years after facelift. 


I started 2006 younger looking than I ended 2005 which was great.  It was just a nice being on the patient end of the deal as it is for me to help all our patients.   

           2009 - 4 years later



Sharon, RN



American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Inc.



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