Thursday, July 25, 2024

I’m 96 and I’ve Had 3 Facelifts — Here’s What I Learned

Must read

What is the best age to have your first, and perhaps your only, facelift? There’s no agreement because everyone ages differently. In my opinion — and perhaps some doctors will disagree — you shouldn’t start until you see some unpleasant signs of aging. I don’t believe in doing it proactively. (As they say, if it’s not broke, why fix it?)

After the surgery, if someone remarked on my refreshed look, I never lied or denied it. I usually said, matter-of-factly, “I had a facelift.” In return for my honesty, I was rewarded with an outpouring of confidence from women and men, who were considering cosmetic changes and needed a sounding board.

No matter how much you want it, the prospect of a facelift evokes fear, shame, and embarrassment. Perhaps the hardest thing about cosmetic surgery is admitting that you find something about yourself unacceptable, that you don’t measure up, and worse, that you care. How uncool!

Nearly five years after that first lift, when a recurring sinus condition required an operation under general anesthesia, I reasoned, why not have a few aesthetic adjustments on areas I hadn’t dealt with before? I hadn’t had a brow lift during the first surgery because you would have a scar in your hairline from ear to ear, and a lot of people lost hair along the scar line. But in the few years since I had my first facelift, a new scarless endoscopic brow lift had been invented. You would just have five little incisions and they would heal over — today, I have no idea where those scars are; they are completely gone.

So I chose to have an endoscopic brow lift to raise my brow slightly and smooth out the scowl etched there, making me look angry when I’m not, and a minor refinement on my nose. I remember a doctor I interviewed later saying, “If you do one thing, you get a good result. If you do two things, you get a better result. Do three things, you get a great result.”

For round two, I was not curious to try another surgeon. My original facelift doctor had done well by me. Why switch? Many women feel the Astroturf is greener elsewhere, traveling to Dallas or LA for a facelift. And it’s fine to travel for the best care, but today, with excellent doctors in every part of the country, you shouldn’t have to travel that far to find a good plastic surgeon. Whether you stay home or travel, you’ll want to make sure your surgery is done in an accredited operating room. My anesthesia was administered by an MD anesthesiologist. There are some good nurse anesthetists, but shopping by price for anesthesia can be dangerous. [Editor’s note: Kron wrote an Allure article on “Finding Dr. Right — and Avoiding Dr. Wrong” with tips for choosing a surgeon.]

Two days after the second surgery, I went home from the hotel where I had been recovering. I was in my own bed, propped up on a stack of pillows, eating Jello-O. I heeded the advice a good friend gave me before my first facelift and had stocked the refrigerator with soft, low-sodium food. Salt increases swelling. I once saw someone bringing in Chinese food to a recovery facility. I couldn’t believe it.

Kron in the 1990s

Kimberly Butler

Sleep was fitful the first few nights because I had packing in my nose and, as the pain meds wore off, I had unexpected pain in the top of my head from the endoscopic brow lift; it felt like a brick had fallen on my head. The pain subsided gradually over a few weeks.

More articles

Latest article