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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.)
was back at work, mostly doing desk work, on Tuesday. I
saw a few patients on Wednesday.
we left for
to visit with Michael’s daughter.
1991, early 40’s
2007, 2 years after facelift.
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.