Facing a fresh start

EVENING Star sales manager Giselle Cooper is going under the surgeon's knife for a five-hour facelift. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING asks if she has any last-minute nerves, before the op.

By Tracey Sparling

EVENING Star sales manager Giselle Cooper is going under the surgeon's knife for a five-hour facelift. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING asks if she has any last-minute nerves, before the op.

HER friends and colleagues told her she must be mad to even think about it.

But yesterday Giselle Cooper walked in to a Cambridgeshire hospital, to voluntarily go under the surgeon's knife for a facelift costing nearly £7,000.

Today her face is swaddled in bandages, and she can't wait for their removal to see the result of his handiwork. The 47-year-old hopes the nose-to-mouth lines which she has always hated, will be smoothed and filled.

“I'm so conscious of these lines, and I've always had them,” said the Suffolk mum before the op.

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“As I've got older they have got much deeper, and I've just lost two stone in weight which hasn't helped.

“I asked the doctor what I could do, and he recommended a face lift. A face lift is from the nose down to the neck - anything above that is a brow lift or extra surgery so I opted for the facelift.

“My friends and colleagues all think I am absolutely crazy, but then they say I am brave. My daughter and son (aged 21 and 17) say 'if it's what you really want, go for it.'

Nerves had not kicked in at all for Giselle, who focused instead on the result. She said: “I don't feel nervous at all, I just can't wait to get it done.”

In yesterday's operation, the surgeon at Nuffield Hospital Cambridge cut round and behind Giselle's ears in to her hairline, tightening her neck, defining her jawline and smoothing her nose-to-mouth lines.

Before she went in to hospital, she explained the process: “My cheeks don't just get pulled back, the surgeon reconstructs the muscles beneath the skin. He will be using fat drawn from my inner thigh, and injected in to my face, which lasts 100 times longer than collagen. It's called the Coleman technique, and it was developed in the United States.”

Several consultations have led up to this week's operation.

Giselle said: “I've met the surgeon a couple of times, and on the first occasion he was very serious, pointing out every single thing which could go wrong. But I am so happy to be getting it done that it didn't dissuade me.

“I've always planned to do this and now the time is right for me, to have a fresh start in life.

“I remember when I was 25 I went to a cosmetic surgeon and said do him 'what can you do about these lines?' he said the only thing was a facelift or to put on a lot of weight - both of which I discounted at the age of 25!”

So years ago she started investing in a savings bond, with a view to one day making the face of her dreams come true.

The operation cost a total of £6,910, and as well as the financial cost it brings health risks.

Giselle said: “The surgeon couldn't stress enough that this was a major operation. If he hits a nerve there's a very minimal risk it could leave me with a smile or blink which is slightly uneven, but not enough to notice - not as if I'd had a stroke.

“The biggest risk is if I bleed a lot afterwards. I'm not sure where I could bleed from, but if that happens I get taken back to surgery.

“When I wake up I will be covered in dressings and lots of stitches on each side of my head behind the ears, pulling the excess skin. That's going to be quite nasty.”

The dressings are due to be removed today , and the stitches next week.

Giselle said: “The surgeon has told me I am going to look horrific when the bandages come off. I suppose I will when you think about how much pulling and stretching he will have done.”

There will also be bruising, which will move down her face towards her neck as the days go by.

Giselle is due out of hospital tomorrow

New York surgeon Sydney Reese Coleman is the creator of LipoStructure, and designs the instruments needed to perform this technique.

It works by injecting fat from another part of the patient's body - so there's no allergic reaction - to reduce or eliminate aging wrinkles and crows' feet.

Injections of fat into the deep layers of facial tissue can virtually eliminate the angular, thin appearance that often accompanies age.

It gives patients a more youthful appearance, by re-establishing contours on the face.

The procedure tries to keep the extracted fat cells alive, so that blood supply can be established in the recipient zone and results will last longer.

Dr Coleman has published articles, lectures at conferences, and regularly trains other plastic surgeons.

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