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


My name is Sharon Hopper and I am Dr. Ahmed’s 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 say…….. not necessarily as I did.  I’ve worked in plastic surgery over 30 years and Dr. Ahmed and I have worked together for most of that time. 

I’m 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 in the outpatient department at Alton Memorial Hospital 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 ¼ inch of hair is shaved from the front of the temple.  It grows back very quickly.  This is done so part of the incision is placed in the hairline.  You’ll be evaluated by the anesthesiologist who will be monitoring you during the surgery so Dr. Ahmed can devote his full efforts to your Facelift.  


Dr. Ahmed will mark all over your face with a purple marker.  Then it’s off to the operating room.  Once you’re in the operating room, snoozing away, you don’t 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.  Isn’t that reassuring?  We’re moving skin around.  It’s not like we’re opening up your heart, liver, lungs or gut so this isn’t a high risk surgery by any means but it’s 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 won’t be moving around trying to clear your throat – they can suction it.  You won’t have your jaw muscles clenched.  You won’t 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 won’t be a moving target.  If you need medication for some reason there’s 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 road……….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 DaVinci Quick Recovery facelift (he’s never loved me more, I’ve never been so beautiful, etc.,) but………..  Can you tell which it was for me from the picture?  Don’t tell me modern anesthesia drugs aren’t great!  For a few minutes, I couldn’t talk right because of the numbing medication (just like the dentist) hadn’t 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.  You’ll have some soft padding underneath the elastic Velcro dressing.  Usually it gets a stain on it, sometimes not.  I didn’t 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.   I’d 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 facelift some months later.  My mouth didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 tail…. before going back to bed or the couch. I can’t say that I had a lot of pain but I didn’t 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 didn’t participate much but I also didn’t 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 know….soft foods like fudge, snicker doodles, chocolate chip cookies, caramels etc.) for a few days.   I took an Ativan before going to bed because I’m 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 didn’t know I had a facelift two days before.  A couple of comments were made about how nice I looked and…….they wanted to know if I had a stiff neck.  This is humorous…….before we left home I had this long conversation with Michael about how this was private and I didn’t really see any reason why we (meaning, he – my loosed lipped husband) should share this with everyone.  The women know I work in plastic surgery so they always ask what’s new………but they didn’t expect me to say I’d had a facelift two days ago.  Then the next thing I know I was the one spilling the beans.  They couldn’t 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 wouldn’t be able to resist showing off.  I didn’t 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.  I’m 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 didn’t 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 Michael’s daughter.  



                                           1991, early 40’s                                          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


January, 2014

Sharon, RN



American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Inc.



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