Jeanette Barton's MACS Facelift

In 2004, I was lucky enough to be recommended to Hiroshi Nishikawa via my GP as at this time I was very conscious about my baggy eyes and 'turkey' neck. In those days, the only solution was a full face-lift and blepharoplasty for my eyes. The results were amazing, although the down-time was substantial.

So when in 2011, it was clear that things needed a little 'tightening', I had no hesitation in returning to Mr Nishikawa to see what he could do. As usual, he made me feel completely at ease and told me that there was a new procedure available that should do the trick. It is called the MACS face-lift - Minimal Access Cranial Suspension which would solve the problem of my saggy jowls and neck. He also explained that by comparison the down-time was much shorter than my previous surgery.

My procedure was booked for a Friday, which would give me the weekend for my family to be around for the first couple of days. On the morning of surgery, I excitedly prepared to get to The Westbourne Centre for 8am. Because naturally, you aren't able to drive immediately after the procedure, I drove there myself and parked with the intention of getting my husband to the Centre for when I was ready, in order to drive me home. On arrival, I was immediatly met by the staff who took me along to the medical suite to be prepared. They were so calm and reassuring that there was no time to get nervous about what was to happen. Mr Nishikawa came and greeted me as did his colleagues, then he proceeded to draw all over my face in a purple pen - very attractive!

Before I knew where I was, I was in theatre being sedated. This is the wonderful part of it all because you are conscious of being 'worked on', but totally unable to feel anything that is happening. You are able to hear people talking and join in the conversation if you want to. I seem to recall chatting to everyone in the room, but I'm sure it was gibberish!

Then after what seems like five minutes, but was actually an hour and a half to two hours, you have been wheeled out and are sitting up having a cup of tea with the nursing staff. Obviously your face is bandaged up and swollen, so the effects are not visible straight away, but I was told that things had gone really well and that by lunch time I would be able to go home. I can honestly say that for the first few days, when you expect to feel pain, I personally only experienced discomfort and no actual pain.

For at least two weeks it was suggested that you sleep sitting up in order to assist with the reduction of swelling. As long as you prop yourself up with plenty of pillows, this is not really a problem and is more comfortable as you can't really lie on your incisions anyway, as they are still sore. You are also provided with a bandage that velcros around your head to support the swelling, which in my case was minimal. I wore this as much as possible for the first week to 10 days, but the magic time is when you take this bandage off for the first time and you see your tight neck and droopy jowls have disappeared!

The good thing is that you can shower and wash your hair from the next day onwards which is lovely and helps to make you feel better. The stitches dissolve of their own accord, so there is no need for any stitch removal. I decided not to venture out of the house for a week as there was some yellow bruising around my cheekbones and I didn't want the neighbours to think that I'd been in a fight! However, when I did go out, no one gave me a second look and this was soon after my first appointment back at The Westbourne Centre a week after the procedure.

The strange thing is that people I have told about the procedure have said that it is an amazing transformation and asked for Mr Nishikawa's details, but people I haven't told, other than telling me how well I look, have not asked if I have had any work done! This is because the result is so natural , making me appear fresher faced rather than unnaturally tight. A good tip is to have a new haircut just before you have the procedure as people that you would rather not tell feel that it is the haircut that has taken 10 years off you!

So for anyone contemplating a MACS face-lift, I would say go for it and don't hesitate as there is nothing to be worried about. It is completely pain-free and is actually a pleasureable experience, due to you having an immediate outcome that makes you feel great about yourself. The bonus is Mr Nishikawa is lovely and puts you at ease from the minute you first meet him.

Jeanette Barton

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