My Personal QuickLift® Story
By Dr. Dominic A. Brandy
As a cosmetic surgeon who has performed thousands of surgeries, my personal QuickLift surgical experience is similar to the surgical journeys taken by so many of my patients. One of the common themes I have heard, seen and experienced in three decades of practice is the desire of my patients to look as young as they feel. The process of aging frequently presents a face to the world for us that doesn’t reflect how we feel on the inside, or how well we may take care of our physical health.
As well, science has documented that a sizable portion of patients seeking cosmetic surgery feel better afterwards because their body looks better. For both types of patients, I have learned as a physician that the result of a good cosmetic procedure is that we “feel better between our ears.” My patients tell me it is a great feeling to turn the clock back, even for two or three years, with a good cosmetic procedure.
This has been the case for me as well. Each day, I spend time taking care of my body, including daily cardio and strength training. I find that being in good health makes me a better doctor and surgeon and makes me feel great.
During one of my daily morning workouts not long before my surgery, I was exercising in front of a large-screen TV, and saw one of my own commercials come on. Staring back at me was my face, but it wasn’t the face of the man that I work so hard to keep in good health. I looked older, more tired than I felt.
I had a realization: I’m recommending that people get a QuickLift when I look like this? As the developer of the procedure, I was confident that it was effective, safe, and for a number of my patients, the best option to reduce the visible evidence of aging. So why wouldn’t I make the case personally by undergoing the procedure myself?
My decision to have surgery was not easy, just as it is not easy for any of my patients. I have skin. I have nerves. I feel pain. And because I am a doctor, I know everything that could go wrong. Yet, I was willing to have it done. The fact that I had the procedure gives me insight into the anxieties my patients may have. I see how I can make better recommendations for them based upon my own surgical experience as a patient.
Many of my patients tell me that their surgical experience provides them what they consider a second chance at how they live their lives. Some consider it a significant turning point that encourages them to make major changes in their lives — to lose weight, to get in shape, to climb a mountain, to present a better face to the world.
This is how it was for me. I was already taking care of my health and my body. As a surgeon and the developer of the QuickLift, I understood the procedure surgically. I knew the benefits and the risks. I could explain recovery procedures. I could monitor the healing process. Now I had the opportunity to experience surgery as my patients do, from the other end of the knife. I was breaking down a barrier that so often separates the doctor from the patient in medicine.
Like most of my patients, as the day of the surgery grew closer, I had times when I was a bit nervous, or anxious about having the procedure. On the day of the procedure I must say it was a bit odd to walk into my own office as a patient, not a doctor. My staff took me back into one of our pre-op rooms and I changed into my gown, signed all of the pre-operative forms and took my pre-meds to relax. They definitely do make a difference. I met with my associate who was to perform my Quicklift procedure, and without trying to micro manage my own surgery, we reviewed our plan for me.
I was given additional medication and after a short while I was escorted back to the surgical suite. It was time. Although I was feeling VERY relaxed, It is definitely a different experience experiencing the surgery from the chair instead of from the doctor’s perspective. Two things I noticed: that the procedure went quickly, about an hour or so, and that I felt little pain, which was because of the local anesthetic and the sedatives, which worked very well.
One of the common misconceptions about facelift surgery, even minimally invasive surgery such as the QuickLift, is that it’s a one-day miracle. It is still surgery. There are still post-op issues or concerns for each patient. Even I was uncertain about exactly what my experience would be post-operatively. Fortunately I healed very well. Among the complications I experienced were some minor swelling and pain in the month after my procedure, and in one area behind my left ear, I developed a small lump of skin. As I advise my patients, I stuck with the directions for recovery and gently massaged the lump on a regular basis. It disappeared after several weeks.
As a doctor you know that every patient experience will be somewhat different. Because of my own personal patient experience, I can tell them with a much greater degree of certainty what they can expect. In the majority of cases, the skin heals quickly and within days, the evidence of a surgical procedure is not readily apparent. Proximal examination is often the only way to see evidence of the surgery, usually when a family member or close friend studies your face very closely. However, complications of some fashion are not uncommon, but manageable. In my case the sailing was pretty smooth.
In my practice, I very carefully document pre-surgery and post-procedure progress with photographs. Looking back now on my own photographs, I can see that my scars were red in the days following my procedure, but became increasingly less obvious and virtually unnoticeable after several weeks post-operatively.
In my personal experience, surgery reversed many of the physical changes in my aging face. Like any other aspect of my health, though, it was up to me to follow directions and maintain my facial health by following the same regimen that I advise for my patients: a high quality sunscreen, a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, a lot of filtered water and good, common-sense skin care.
Today, I spend a considerable part of my week consulting with patients about aesthetic surgery options. More than ever, I understand that surgery is a major decision that my patients spend weeks evaluating. By the time I see a patient for a consultation, they have probably been talking with our staff for two to four weeks.
I recognize that a patient won’t have as much confidence in what lies ahead as I did, because I am a doctor. So the first thing I do is pull up a chair and sit down right next to the patient. I understand their anxiety. I see the concern in their eyes. I talk about my own experience with the procedure. I review my own emotional experience, from elation to anxiety to nervousness prior to the procedure. I review my actual surgery and how I looked and felt afterwards. Then I show them my scars. They are tiny, but they are there. I tell them what I did to help my face heal.
Sharing this experience with my patients helps to eliminate the barrier between doctor and patient. It makes for a much more relaxed and comfortable process to evaluate the right procedure for the patient and to ensure that the medical and emotional considerations are properly addressed.
For me, the QuickLift has achieved good results medically and in terms of appearance. It has helped me present to the world the face of a healthy man. It has also enabled me to relate to my patients in a way that is uncommon in medicine — as a fellow patient. There is no replacement for being able to pull up my chair, look into a patient’s eyes and say, “I know the QuickLift works, because I had one myself.”