I am finally getting the extreme asymmetry in my face corrected...actually one whole side of my face is smaller than the other, my eyebrows slant down to the left while my mouth slants down to the right & I have a substantially more defined jawline on the right than the left...basically I look like a cubist painting, I think Barbara Walters & Shannon Doherty have something similar to what I aim to have corrected.
I had a consultation with Dr. Sydney Coleman in NY & although I liked him & was encouraged by what he had to say, some of the negative feedback about him on this board has me a bit concerned. According to Dr. Coleman I will first need a facelift to correct the jowliness & bring in the larger side of my face, then some lipostructure to fill out & balance the smaller side. I'm also considering a consultation with Dr. Hidalgo but I'm not sure he does fat grafting. Is there anyone else recommended for these sorts of "structural" corrections? This "deformity" has held me back from full participation in life & I'm finally going to make the necessary changes, no matter what it takes! I just want to be sure they will indeed be improvements. Any advice is highly appreciated. Thanks.
Are your problems purely soft tissue? because you describe a condition called hemifacial microsomia where one side of your face is smaller than the other. Not only does it onvolve soft tissue but also the facial bones. As a surgeon, we try to identify thes patients where I work with a craniofacial team that includes many different doctors. If you are unsure, get a second opinion. I always welcome those.
Thank you, I am getting a second opinion with Dr. Joseph McCarthy, who apparently specializes in this. Since you seem so knowledgeable, I hope you don't mind me asking a few more questions...are there other specialists for this I should know about in NY? Who's the best? I don't merely want to look normal, I want to look gorgeous, if that's possible. How much [ballpark, range] does this sort of surgery cost? Is it painful? How much recovery time is generally required?...if it is indeed the deformity you mention, it is a mild case compared to the photos I've seen in my online research. Although my friends & family deny seeing it at all, it's hard to tell if they're just so used to me that they don't notice it or if they're just being polite. Thank you for your input, anything further about this you'd like to share will also be greatly appreciated.
It is difficult to answer your questions, but I will try. There are several surgical subspecialists that deal with hemifacial microsomia. At my hospital, they are plastic and reconstructive surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons and otolaryngologists (ENT). Also, restorative dentists, orthodontists, genetic couselors and audiologists if the inner ear is involved. There are varying degrees of this pathology. Large teaching institutions usually have these teams and everyone evaluates and has input. It would be very difficult to determine if you have this without an exam. The basic exam would include a clinical facial analysis with measurements, plain facial x-rays, an examination of the dental occlusion, a cranial nerve exam and possibly a hearing test. I would be leary of anything less
I have had dental work done but since my teeth are in my head attached to everything else, they still sort of slant to one side. They are an improvement as far as teeth go but not quite enough of an improvement overall...it was expenseive too, I hope it wasn't all for naught.
Hi Persephone - I had this same surgery done about 20 years ago by a maxillofacial surgeon. First I had braces, then half-way through the braces period I had the orthognatic surgery which removed a 1/2" piece of my jaw. I'm still asymmetrical, but it's much better.
After the surgery, I my jaw was wired shut for 6 weeks. I was told that I could expect to lose about 30 lbs, but I was very inventive and lost only 14. My plan for immediately after the surgery was to head to McDonalds and have a big greasy breakfast. Unfortunately, after 6 weeks of not being used, my jaw muscles were so weak that I couldn't chew anything at all!
I wish you the absolute best and will be thinking of you!!
Thank you Art_930, whew, that sounds like quite a process...how long from start to finish? Was any of it painful? To what extent were you able to carry on with regular daily activities? Do you feel it was a success? Thanks for your insights & support.
I was in intensive care for 12 hours, but I wasn't so out of it that my husband couldn't bring my baby in to nurse.
I can honestly say that there was really minimal pain. That's because they cut the nerve when they remove a piece of jaw. The nerve runs through your jaw like a piece of fishing line, and the hope is that the two ends will join back up together. Mine never did, so I have a non-feeling part of my lower jaw. Only side effect of that is that if I have a bit of food on my lip I can't feel it. My kids were trained to discreetly wipe their jaw to give me a hint that I needed to wipe my own.
If I remember correctly, I was up and around within about a week. I had a 5-year-old and an 8-month-old at the time and was nursing. I did have some paranoia the entire 6 weeks that I was wired shut, though. They give you a pair of wire cutters that you are supposed to have with you at all times and the reason for that is in case you have to vomit (they don't expect that you will) then you have to cut the wires so you won't choke. I wish they hadn't told me that part. Never need the cutters, but I wore them around my neck!
I do feel it was a success, because my bite is so much better now and I haven't had to have any dental work done since then. No cavities or anything like that. I do think, though, that my jaw may have grown some more - just saw a photo of myself that was taken a week ago and I have a big wide grin, but the center of my jaw is way over to one side. Then again, it was so bad to begin with that even a little improvement is a blessing. I guess there's only so much they can cut out without affecting the temporal mandibular joint.
If you need some help with food ideas, just let me know.
I think you are jumping way ahead of yourself. I would wait until you get a proper diagnosis before you start worrying. Then you can tailor your questions and concerns toward what procedures you may or may not need. I have perfomed well over 100 orthognathic surgeries and they are all unique in their own way. You may not even need it, I merely suggested it as a possibility based on your description. Good luck.
I too have what you call facial asymmetry to a mild degree. And also my family and friends say..."well I have to really study and stare to notice it". But all I have to do is look in a mirror and its staring me right back. I think they are all just trying to be "nice" about it. I dont even like to look straight at people when walking down the street, cause I think they're thinking..."look at her face, it's lop-sided" My husband and daughter get upset when I ask them about it. They say it's all in my head. ( I also have scoliosis, so that makes my body "lop-sided" too.) I didn't even notice it myself until one day I was holding a mirror looking sideways into the large mirror on the wall. You can get a reversed reflection that way. Wow, I thought I was looking at someone else. Are you born with this, or does it develope over time? I never noticed it until a few years ago, and I'm 46 now. I look at pictures of me from years back and never noticed it. I would love to have a "make-over" to look normal. But I'm sure insurance wouldnt pay for any of it. And I bet there would be alot of pain involved. Let us know if you go ahead with some type of surgery. And then maybe someday I'll get up the nerve to check it out. Good Luck.
Kim - re insurance coverage. My surgery was actually covered because my bite was affected. My braces were not. And like you, my entire body is lop-sided. I didn't have any idea either, until I went to a tailor to have a skirt altered and while taking measurements he mumbled to me that my right hip was higher than my left. That's when I put it all together - my right eyebrow is lower than my left, my right eye is smaller than my left, my right ear is lower than my left. So it appears that my entire right side is squished and my left is elongated. And like you, once you notice it, it's all you can see when looking in the mirror.
Art...I too, had a bite that was off. Some years back I started to notice that I was having pain and limited movement in my right jaw. I was diagnosed as haveing TMJ. Then about 10 years ago I was put into braces. I was in them for almost 3 years. I now have a great bite and no pain. But unfortunatley, my teeth are now about the only thing thats straight and even! Ha Ha. But I have noticed for a long time too, that I have one jaw that is lower than the other. I can pull up the skin, so I know it's not the jaw bone that is off. But as you, I have one eye and eyebrow that is lower (or higher) than the other. And is my nose and ear. It it is not extremely noticable, but to me its monsterous. Oh well, I quess I've lived with this for this many years.
I am 30, & I only really started noticing the asymmetry in my face a few years ago...I always felt something about my appearance was off but could never quite put my finger on it. It was a relief to recently find a plastic surgeon who was able to name exactly what it is...I'd been to another a few years ago who was reluctant to admit he saw it at all, I had a friend with me who had never noticed it until I pointed it out to her & luckily she backed me up when the doctor tried to call me crazy & dismiss me as "not a god candidate"...I took this to mean he wasn't confident he could help & left it at that. Anyway, the more recent doctor I've seen had me bring in old photos & pointed out that the asymmetry was always there but only became more noticeable as I gained weight, lost some of the firmness of youth & became more jowly. I am seeing the specialist who was reccommended to me by another doctor who refused to see me based on my description & the fact that he won't consider doing a facelift on a 30 year old - which I found strange, to reject someone sight unseen based on their age, but whatever...The reference to Picasso is what I've always thought too, whenever my mother or someone called me beautiful I'd think "Yeah, like a cubist painting!".
I understand what your saying. I've looked at pics from earlier ages and if I look close enough I can see it too. But as you, as Ive gotten older and gained weight, and loosing elasticity, it's more prominent. I think our friends and family just get accustemed to seeing us for so long that they dont notice it either. I'm getting ready to join an excercise group and hopefuly I can loose some of the excess skin around my left jaw. (and all the rest of the excess skin I've aquired over the years....HA!)