{Life-Changing Plastic Surgery Stories} “I Felt Like My Lower Face Was Sinking Into My Chest.”

Written by Ramona Duoba

Deciding to have a surgical procedure often comes after a defining moment. You glance at your passport photo and can’t believe what’s happened to your looks during the last decade. You won’t go near the pool without meticulously wrapping a sarong over your swimsuit. You secretly pull back the skin on your face to see what you’d look like, minus the lines around your mouth, eyes or on your forehead. Penelope L.’s defining moment was a bit more dramatic. “When I did cardio exercise I had a sensation that lasted about a minute and then stopped suddenly. It wasn’t an ache or pain. It was something that was just different. It’s kind of hard to explain. The sensation was on my left side and probably had more to do with my breathing, but my breathing never stopped. The doctor recommended I have an EKG. On April 29, 2011, the same day as the Royal wedding, I checked in for an outpatient procedure. The last thing I remembered hearing was, ‘We’re taking you to the O.R.’ Fifty-year-old Penelope had three major heart blockages. “I was a walking time bomb,” she said.

How was a triple by-pass your defining moment?
Once I recovered I told myself I wasn’t putting off what I wanted to do. My jowls had to go. Sagging jowls run in my family. My mom is beautiful, but she has them.

When did you have the surgery and are you happy with the results?
I had a lower face-lift and neck lift surgery on December 14, 2012. I’m very, very happy with the results. I no longer walk around with my lower face sinking into my chest. Now I look more the age that I am and I really like that.

You are a practice administrator for a plastic surgeon, so you see patients and their results daily. What was the procedure like for you?
The lower face and neck lift were a breeze. I had I-V sedation, also known as a twilight. I just felt like I was having a really good sleep. Dr. Magassy pulled the neck back behind my ears and the lower face up in front of my ears. I came home with a wrap that looked like a helmet. The reason for this is to keep everything in place for the first 48-hours of healing. If you can imagine the wrap underneath your chin, pulling up, it helps with the contour. The wrap was the part that bugged me the most, but then again it was only 48-hours.

Did the procedure require liposuction?
Dr. Magassy always does a little lipo with this procedure. It’s called sub mental liposuction and it eliminates any fat that might be lying there.

Were you swollen?
Yes, but I didn’t bruise because I pre-medicated with Arnica Montana, a supplement to prevent bruising and swelling. The noticeable swelling lasted about two weeks.

How long was the recovery?
I had the surgery on a Friday and was back at work the following Tuesday. Since I work in a plastic surgeon’s office it wasn’t uncomfortable to be there with a swollen face. There was a little redness from the stitches, which lasted about three weeks. The area from the sutures is slightly raised so I use a silicone in a tube for scar management.

How did your friends and family react?
I went to have my nails done a couple of weeks after my surgery and the manicurist asked if I changed my hair color. When I told her I had a lower facelift she said, ‘You don’t look like you had surgery at all, you look well, like you had a vacation.’ No one asks if I had work done. Everyone thinks I look ‘well rested.’ I had the surgery just this past December and the friends I saw after Christmas just told me that I looked really good.

You’ve worked for Dr. Magassy for seven years. What do you like about him? Why did you choose him?
I’ve seen the results of many patients over the years and I liked them, so Dr. Magassy was an easy choice. He has the experience and I knew there would be a balance of the results I wanted and what he felt I needed. The results are subtle and natural. What you want may not be what you need.

How has this surgery changed your life?
It has enhanced how I feel about myself, the image I put forth in my job. I love telling people what I do for a living and what I’ve done to my face. I’m not hush-hush about it. I talk candidly about it. Getting natural results is the product of skilled hands. Don’t wait until it’s too late because once your skin becomes even more lax, you’re likely to look more pulled back after surgery. It’s harder to achieve a subtle result.

Are you considering other procedures?
Not now. Maybe I’ll have my eyes done, but I’ll let Mother Nature decide. When it’s time, I won’t think twice.

A note from Dr. Magassy:
Penelope was an excellent candidate for the lower face lift and neck lift surgery. Besides being motivated to do this surgery, she has nice bone structure. The surgery took about 2 1/2 to 3 hours under a local anesthesia. An incision is made in the hair line and the skin is raised. Penelope had sagging skin and it was very elastic, so her results are great. I see her every day and her attitude is terrific. I have seen this type of surgery make a big difference in a person’s life. They feel better about themselves. Much more confident. They feel as good as they look and vice-versa.

0 Responses to “{Life-Changing Plastic Surgery Stories} “I Felt Like My Lower Face Was Sinking Into My Chest.””

  1. Victoria says:

    Gee, I just don’t see much in the ‘before’ picture that looks all that bad. But then we are looking at someone who works in a plastic surgeon’s office. It would be hard not to have a procedure done in those circumstances. It’s almost like being a sales clerk in a clothing boutique–you are going to dress the part. But if it makes her feel better about herself, I’m all for it. It bugs me that the before and after pictures have different lighting and she is wearing makeup in the after picture. I realize she’s happy with the results, but if we are going to assess this as observers we need to see her in equivalent conditions before and after.

  2. Soledad says:

    I see what she was having a problem with because I have it too. It’s not a big difference to others but you know what you looked like as a young woman and how you’ve changed. I would’ve preferred that the after picture not have makeup because of course she’s going to look a lot better than the before picture with no makeup. What she had done is what I would need, but I am unemployed and would have to have a lot of extra money to do this. She looks pretty and obviously not self-conscious any more.

  3. Hilda says:

    I would love to have a face lift and neck lift but would
    Need to know how much would it cost, to have this done???



    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi Hilda,

      First, it’s important to consult with a few plastic surgeons and find one you’d like to do the procedures. If you go click on the tab on our main navigation bar that says Plastic Surgery, you’ll find information on some wonderful doctors. You can also go to plasticsurgery.org and search there. You can discuss price when you meet with them., which will vary depending on what you exactly what you have done. There’s also a company called Care Credit that lets you pay for the procedures over an extended period. Most plastic surgeons accept Care Credit.

      Geri Brin

  4. Catherine says:

    Much like Ali Moss, I do not see your jowls, but I understand it is also personal perception. I also have jowls, but mine make very defined lines at the corner of my mouth that extend on either side of my chin. I had lipo under my chin about 4 years ago, and now, the skin is loose and I have a bit of a “turkey” neck. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it!
    My question to you is: How much do a lower face lift and neck lift cost ? Those are exactly the procedures I am interested in having done, but need to consider the expense!
    Thank you for your kind reply. You look wonderful! I hope your personal health is also excellent!

  5. Diane says:

    The lighting and makeup are very confusing. I think she had Botox also and a brow lift and lip
    Injections. This does not make me want to do anything. She was beautiful and natural before
    As well.

  6. Ali Moss says:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see any jowls in the before photo. I have jowls that make me look
    like a marionette. Could you show some before and after shots of ‘real’ jowls? thanks

    • Debbie says:

      I don’t see jowls either. In fact, it looks more like she had her eyes done than anything else. I really don’t see where her neck needed surgery.

    • Geri Brin says:

      i realize that Penelope used the word “jowls” in the interview but this wasn’t about her jowls so much as about her lower face, including her cheeks, jawline and sagging skin under her neck.

      i don’t believe she had anything done to her eyes. we have other photos that we can show you.


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