uh, no

I have said it before– I am vain. Being old and vain can be an expensive combination as I was reminded this week. As vain as I am, I am somewhat prudent too. Probably a result of age and experience.

I have a turkey wattle, loose skin under my chin. It’s from losing weight after my gastric bypass and it’s a sign of getting older, things begin to sag all over when you are half a century old. I don’t like the way it looks and decided to do something about it. I made a consult appt with the doctor who did my Juvederm treatment to see if I might be a candidate for lipo.

He was cordial and polite while he pulled back my hair and tugged my chin skin. He smoothed my skin back and said lipo wouldn’t do it.There was too much skin and sucking out some fat would leave me uneven and lumpy looking. He suggested a lower face/neck lift. An in-office procedure, trade name Naturale. Procedure is another term for in-patient surgery though he could do it in a hospital if I preferred though it would be more expensive and I’d be drugged up. In office would be with general anesthesia, a couple of injections to numb me but I’d be lucid.

He explained he would make a small incision by my right ear and another under my chin. He’d suck out some fat from under my chin and tighten up the rest with the ear incision. I’d have a drain installed under my chin for 3 days and after that I’d wear a face band to hold it all in place. He would give me a prescription for painkillers but it was likely I wouldn’t use them.I could not take Advil, aspirin or Aleve 10 days before my procedure or after. I’d be able to get around after a day or so but recommended taking off a week. You might be fine and ready in 5 days and think I am a great doctor because I said it would take a week. But if it takes a week then you have plenty of time to heal, he explained. The older the patient the longer the recovery time. He flattered me saying I’d probably take 5 days.

There are risks. Although it rarely happens blood can pool under the chin and I would call him and go to the hospital to have it drained, to avoid blood clots. It happens in less than 1% of cases he said.

Then I went to see the business manager who would give me the costs, details and even schedule the procedure if I wanted. This was what helped me make my decision.

The procedure would be $9291.00, if I paid in full in 7 days I’d get a 20% discount and it would be $7694.47.

Although I have confidence in this doctor and he took time to fully explain the surgery (and it is surgery whatever term is used) and answered my questions I left without scheduling. The main reason is the cost. I expected it to cost a bit, that I’d be spending vacation time and other costs besides money. I admit this was too much, frankly I can’t afford to spend this. I’m not rich, money is definitely an object. Then I had an unexpected twinge of conscious– what if I donated this sum, $7,000, to charity? Wouldn’t it be better used and possibly have greater long-term effects than what shows on my face? I asked how long the effect lasts and he said depending on weight loss about 5 years but a little tuck would usually tighten up the loose parts. Unfortunately I don’t have that amount to donate but it doesn’t mean I can’t give something. In the meantime I’m going to live with the wattle and looking like a 50 year old. I may not be thrilled with it but I know it’s the right choice. This doesn’t mean I am evolved enough to say no indefinitely. If I can afford it, and the circumstances are right I probably will. I am vain and honest.

I posted this not to glorify myself for becoming immediately enlightened or to criticize plastic surgery. I hope it answers some questions for someone who is curious about the procedure, what it is and the costs in time and money. The costs may be higher elsewhere, depending on the region, doctor and other factors, this is a rough estimate but the procedure should be much the same.

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