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Prior to the operation, the only people who knew my plans were my husband and a close friend. Everyone else was told that I was having wisdom teeth removed in hospital. I arranged with my boss to work from home for 2 weeks. I definitely needed 2 weeks lying low after the procedure, due to both how I looked and how I felt.
At 45 I was relatively young for an AMF. For much of my life I was a heavy smoker and as a youngster/ teenager I suffered bad sunburn. I looked old for my age. I had my second child at 39 and on several occasions I was mistaken for her grandmother. I have a broad, square face and some sagging had most definitely taken place.
At the consultation, Mr Guest (as most reviewers say) was realistic. He explained that the AMF would not particularly address my double chin (as it recedes). Nor would it have an effect on my acne scarring (he recommended dermaroller for this). None of this put me off, as my only aim was to look less old and get a lift to my sagging visage! I am accustomed to my receding chin and my neck is OK.
The afternoon before the operation, I drove to Bristol to stay at Downlands House B and B. The owner, Patricia, was extremely pleasant and obviously used-to AMF ladies staying with her. It was close enough for me to walk to the hospital the next morning.
On the day of the operation, I was very nervous. Once in the operating theatre, I shook uncontrollably – to the extent that I was worried that the knife would end up in the wrong bit of my face! However, the sedation kicked in and calmed me down. I did not go to sleep. Apparently, the sedation can be made deeper if you feel too alert during the operation. So don’t be afraid to ask. I was aware of the surgeon pulling and moving the flesh on my face. But of course there was no pain.
In the hours after the operation, I felt quite ‘high’. A mixture of relief and the meds, I think. I do not remember finding it hard to eat. But I was numb for post-operation meal.
Once the local anaesthetic began to wear off, I got a maddening itchy pain in one ear. It felt as though it was bent backwards in the bandage. It wasn’t, it was the sensation returning. The other ear, in contrast, took 4 months for sensation to return!
I stayed overnight in the hospital. Mr Guest checked on me a couple of times and again in the morning before discharging me. He was extremely kind. He gave me a face / under chin support, (which I ended up wearing a lot at night and around the house for two weeks, as it felt better to have a bit of pressure on my swollen chops).
The morning after the operation, I returned to the B and B and virtually spent 24 hours in bed. I had bought lots of nuts (calorie dense, so that I didn’t have to worry about meals) and cartons of fruit juice (straws). I slept on and off until the next morning.
I drove home 48 hours after the operation. If honest, I was still a bit woozy and it hurt to turn my head. I went very carefully.
Once home, I still needed another 24 hours of lying around and dozing. Luckily my husband had taken the children camping for the weekend.
I experimented with a scarf draped around my face, which at this stage was a frightening sight – very swollen and wider than it was long, with a fair amount of bruising. Even at this early stage however, it was clear that the ‘lines’ of my face and jaw were firmer.
My healing was slowed down due a large haematoma behind one ear; my face looked uneven, as it was more swollen on the infected side. At my first appointment for stitch removal, I was given antibiotics. Over the next few days, the haematoma got larger until (what a relief) it emptied through one of the stitch holes. I was worried that the purple-looking pouch it left behind would stay forever, but it gradually disappeared.
For a good month, I slept on the sofa, where it was easier to stay propped up. Sleep was a bit hit and miss during this time. When I had my second lot of stitches removed, I was given more antibiotics. For me the stitch removal did not hurt.
After two weeks I returned to ‘normal’ activities. Nobody commented on my appearance. After about a month, my husband said that he was very impressed with how much younger my face looked. He had been worried that I would look weird and lifted. But the result is very natural.
At six weeks post-operation I went camping in France. Looking back at the photos, I still look somewhat puffy and slitty eyed! I needed Vichy Dermablend to cover the scars when my hair was wet.
It was a good 10 weeks before my face had fully subsided and 16 weeks before I felt that things had fully settled down.
The big difference to my face is in the central area. The flesh over my cheeks is lifted and I have ‘apples’ back. Don’t under-estimate how youthful having nice visible apples of your cheeks can make you look. Think of the celebrities who have fillers in this area (they should have an AMF).
In addition, my under-eye area is transformed. I previously had very ageing criss-cross lines under my eyes and these have more-or-less disappeared. My jowls are much reduced but still present. But I am happy with this.
It was around the 4 month mark that people started looking approvingly at me, usually saying that my shorter hair looked really good. Nobody guessed that I had surgery, but clearly the AMF has changed my appearance for the better.
Needless to say, nobody now thinks that my daughter is my grandchild!
It is hard to judge these things on yourself. I think that I probably appear 5 or 6 years younger. I look my age instead of looking like I have reached my 50s. I feel much more confident and have no urge to have any more procedures (at least not at the moment).
However, I would say to anyone thinking of an AMF; do not expect to come out of this totally unscathed, as there is a chance that you won’t. I still have some numbness on the sides of my face, but do not really notice this. I am a little lumpy behind the ears, but am happy to live with this as it cannot be seen.
The AMF carried out by Mr Guest seems to be a tried and tested procedure with very good, predictable results. Personally, I believe that I have been given-back the face that I lost prematurely. I feel extremely fortunate to have found something that works so well at a not-too-painful price. I would do it again in without any hesitation.
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