Mary’s Story, Part Two

Biltmore Lift Facelift

"He did everything that he told me he would do and the results were exceptional!!! I was well pleased."

"A huge thank you for fixing my face, especially my eyes... It was so wonderfully subtle"

"Dr. Harley is the most caring and compassionate doctor I've encountered."

"From every standpoint I would highly recommend Dr. David Harley."

"Dr. Harley’s one-on-one, hands on approach, and willingness to spend extended time, made me feel that we were really working together."

"If I were to have further cosmetic procedures, another surgeon would not even be a consideration."

"Dr. Harley is exactly the kind of physician everyone wants."

"(Dr. Harley) made me feel comfortable and excited about the procedure. I think I slept through most of it."

"Dr. Harley was highly recommended to me as being one of the most qualified surgeons who could perform a Mini-Lift."

"I felt like Dr. Harley was more of a friend to me than a doctor. He is so friendly, caring, and ‘down-to-earth.’ I felt completely comfortable with him."

"(Dr. Harley and his staff) will always have a special place in my heart!"

"Dr. Harley was very professional and has an enjoying and reassuring manner that puts one at ease. He made the experience positive and really takes the apprehension out."

"Besides being an excellent surgeon, he is a wonderful human being."

"Friendly and interested in his patients. He is not only my doctor, he is now my friend."

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Mary’s Story, Part Two


Part two of a three part story about Biltmore Beacon Correspondent, Mary Koppenheffer’s, experience planning for, having, and healing from a face lift. part one covered the preparation, part two discusses the procedure and first few days post-op; and part three will cover the healing process and the results at six weeks after the surgery.


Click Here to see a Scanned PDF File of the Actual Story



‘Biltmore Lift’ Surgery is a Relaxed Procedure with Big Results


The “Big Day” was finally here. Today I am going to Dr. David Harley’s office just outside of  Biltmore Forest for a face lift known as a “Biltmore Lift.” My husband, Ron, came with me, since I wouldn’t be able to drive home after taking the pain medication. 


We arrived at Dr. Harley’s office at 9 a.m..  His office is a converted 1950s bungalow on Hendersonville Road, and it feels more like a cozy home than a setting for surgery. I’m greeted by Dr. Harley’s wife, Nicole, who asks me if I’m excited. I am. I feel relaxed and ready.  Surprisingly, not at all nervous. The atmosphere is cheerful and fun. As surgeries go, this is happy stuff, and I’m feeling pretty great. 


I came to the office with the medications Dr. Harley had prescribed — an antibiotic to ward off infection, Valium to relax me, and Phenergan to settle my stomach. Sitting in the waiting area, Dr. Harley administers my “face lift cocktail,” and within minutes I’m sinking into a very relaxed state. 


Dr. Harley escorts me into his surgical room. I am really feeling no pain. His nurse, Kelly, helps me get situated, and this show is on the road. I am tired and already feel like drifting off. Before I do, I feel a sensation around my chin which in hindsight I believe was the local anesthesia being administered. It did not hurt, it just felt “curious,” like a few light pricks around my jaw.


While I feel this, Kelly is massaging my arm to help me relax even further. And when I say it did not hurt, that statement comes from someone who pays for general anesthesia at the oral surgeon.


As for the procedure, that is all I can remember. I did nod off, and when I woke up, Dr. Harley and Kelly said I looked great, everything went well, and Ron was helping me to the car. I looked like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol with bandages around my head, and under my chin. My pre-surgery instructions were to wear a shirt that did not need to go over my head, so I would not disturb the stitches. 


The rest of the day was spent at home in a lounge chair blissfully enjoying daytime TV and fading in and out of sleep. How bad can that be? I took medication as prescribed, and I did not feel any pain. Of course I wanted to see instant results, but realistically, I knew a face lift was not a “lunch time procedure,” and I will just have to wait. I was not really hungry throughout the day, and I couldn’t open my mouth very wide, so Haagen Dazs was on the menu.


Sleeping was a challenge for me. My post surgical instructions were to sleep propped up with a few pillows so I would not lie flat. I’m a side sleeper, and sleeping on my back just does not feel natural. And of course I was aware of the bandages. I kept reminding myself that it would just be a short time, and I made it through the night pretty comfortably. 


Now, the question will be, how long before I really can enjoy the results of the face lift?


The next day I was back in Dr. Harley’s office where he took off the bandages and inspected his work. He said I was looking good, and I took his word for it. Post-op instructions were to clean the wounds with half-strength hydrogen peroxide twice a day, and apply an antibiotic ointment every four hours. The stitches would come out in a week. I was allowed to wash my hair, but I did so trying to keep the shampoo away from the healing incisions.   


Speaking of stitches, I couldn’t really see much. The scar from the neck lift was under my chin, and the face lift stitches were hidden behind my ears. There were also some stitches above my ears in the hairline, which I could not see at all, but I could feel them when I wore my glasses.

My face was swollen, and there was some light bruising around my jaw and neck. I continued with pain medication for two days post surgery, and that was all I needed. 


Dr. Harley gave me a white nylon helmet with a velcro chin strap to sleep in, and I also wore it several times a day to hold ice packs. I was dreaming of looking better than before, but for now, I looked like Joan of Arc, who, I’m pretty sure, had other things on her mind than bulldog jowls.


The head gear was actually pretty functional, since I could put the ice packs on the sides of my face and the cap held them in place. Ron, my husband of 33 years, had the pleasure of seeing me walk around the house wearing the skull cap with three ice packs protruding from the sides of my face and my chin. We are still together. I reminded him the best was yet to come.


I continued to ice my face off and on for about two weeks, and by then, the swelling was substantially reduced, but not gone. In fact, it may take a few months before the swelling completely disappears.


I continued to take pain medication on the day after the surgery, as well as in the morning of the second day post-surgery, and by the afternoon I really felt fine, needed no pain meds, and was working from home. No pain, but I was aware that my face was swollen, especially out toward the ears. I stayed home for two days after the surgery and relaxed.


On the third day post surgery, I planned to get out of the house and see some clients. I was a little apprehensive about how they would think I looked.


Click Here to read Part 3 of Mary’s Story