Poor cosmetic outcome and nerve damage from rhytidectomy, May 19, 2015, 5:42 pm
I was 52 years old looking for a refreshed appearance to keep me in the work force longer, and to have the redundant skin and dark circles around my eyes improved. Was not all that interested in having the facelift, but my sister suggested that my neck could be greatly improved upon.
A SMAS, upper and lower lid blepharoplasty, laser skin resurfacing around the eyes, and liposuction under the chin was performed in October 2012.
At a follow up visit about two weeks after my facelift, the surgical assistant brought up that "there had been some excitement during my surgery". She and the plastic surgeon admitted to having an observer in the room who passed out. The surgical assistant left her post managing my anesthesia to tend to the girl who had fainted. The surgeon quickly interjected that it was just for a couple seconds. An indicator that the operating room deviated from standard procedure.
Approximately one month after my facelift, I noted a numb earlobe and dysesthesia of the left pinna and told my plastic surgeon at follow up.
Approximately six months after my facelift, I developed a bulge in my right cheek. The plastic surgeon attempted to minimize the bulge with filler. Also a scar at my left outer canthus from the blepharoplasty needed revision. This was never completed.
I always had dysethesia of the left ear which didn't allow me to touch a phone to my ear, had me shy away should my husband try to kiss me, or if anything came near it. I also had a positive Tinel's sign in front of my ear at the angle of the mandible. The plastic surgeon was informed of this numerous times.
Multiple office visits ensued with no resolution of anything.
In November 2014, two years after my facelift, I developed severe burning pain in the left side of my face.
I went in to see Dr. Guyette several times regarding this. I asked if I could have greater auricular nerve damage, and he said he had never hear of this. He has been a board certified practicing surgeon for 27 years
A merry go round of doctors and surgeons visits ensued. I was told I had trigeminal neuralgia so an MRI was ordered. The MRI tech had to call me back for secondary views and failed to give me hearing protection or the panic bulb, so I now am suffering from severe tinnitus due to hearing damage.
I ultimately ended up having to drive to Las Vegas to see Dr. A Lee Dellon, a peripheral nerve surgeon, who removed a very large neuroma from my greater auricular nerve. He also resected my posterior occipital nerve and transverse cervical nerves and buried the ends of the nerves into my sternocleidomastoid muscle so that they would not be able to elicit pain in the future. The rate of this type of injury is 7% and really under reported or ignored by surgeons. My plastic surgeon injured the nerve during surgery which caused this problem.
The cost was astronomical as this peripheral nerve surgery was out of network and the recovery time will be at a minimum six months as my nerves need to be retrained. I am still in excruciating pain and am on a litany of medications including neurontin, lyrica, cymbalta. Most certainly, my life has been altered 180 degrees. I have not been able to work in my job as a health care provider for the past six months. Financially, emotionally, the strain on my husband and family has been great.
Aside from all of the very large problems, I miss having my face feel "normal". There was always a somewhat pulled tight feeling and my cheeks push up more when I smile.