DR. M.F. NOORMAN VAN DER DUSSEN
cranio maxillo facial and aesthetic surgeon
 
 

Christina

 
 
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  • I am a (biological) woman her late twenties and had quite bad bossing of my eyebrows as well as indented temples from birth on, so I decided to undergo temple augmentation and a forehead feminization with a brow lift a year ago.

    Before going through with the surgery I have contacted what I guess to be every single surgeon who offers this procedure in the world, because very few people offer temple augmentation and I wanted to have all options spread out infront of me. It took me a while to decide if I wanted to have bone cement or an implant for the temple augmentation after having a couple of consultations where every surgeon tried to convince me of „their“ method. I felt most confident with Dr Dussen after having talked to most surgeons per Skype and thus in the end I decided to go with the bone cement. Also I didn‘t want to have an implant with the risk of displacement or be limited in doing sports in future.

    In total I only found two surgeons who using offered bone cement. When I had my first Skype meeting woth Dr Dussen I asked him many critical questions (I had heard about bone cement being able to be infected so I was cautious with this decision and addressed it, I asked him about the costs of follow-up surgery, I asked him how many procedures he performed each year and how many revisions eg.) and he answered me truthfully and didn‘t gloss over the risks of the procedure (even though this really is quite a safe procedure).

    I decided to meet him in person and have an examination with him. During the examination I told him spot on what I wanted and he listened carefully and did not try to „push“ me into any direction. After taking a couple of months of consideration, I decided to have another Skype meeting with him (both the second and third meetings I had were free of cost). We skyped again for quite a long time and again I talked about my wishes and my fears and he again answered them very patiently (I think he realised that this is a very big deal for me and I wanted to feel 100% confident with him).

    A couple of days later I booked a surgery date and had luck that a surgery date was free I think about 4 weeks from then, I guess because somebody cancelled. In total from researching out to the first doctors to booking a surgery date it took about two years. Just as a side note Dr Dussen was by way the cheaptest surgeon (which is something that I did NOT consider to be the most important point at all, I prefer good results over low cost, but some surgeons wanted 2,5 times the price).

    Also if you need any follow-up surgery in the two years following your treatment with him you have a contract that you pay nothing (except the hospital fees which are also fixed by the contract beforehand only if you need to go to the hospital because he can also operate in his own clinic where you pay nothing at all). I also had the feeling that quite a few of the others doctors I spoke to were a slimey and my alarm bells always go off when doctors promise you a „perfect result“ and try to pressure you into booking an appointment because they can „only guarantee you this cost for three months“.

    The secretary of Dr Dussen was the person who organised everything logistically from then on and she is also very nice and understanding. After making the booking and paying (a third of the price up front I think) as a reservation, she sent me a very long email with all the information I needed including tipps on how to get to the hospital and the clinic because I don‘t come from Belgium. She also recommended me a hotel that the wife of Dr Dussens doctor collegues runs, which is 1 minute away from the clinic, and where the collegue lives.

    I decided to book a stay of 7 days there and not in some other hotel because the price was pretty much the same as other hotels and I wanted to have somebody near me in case of complications. The hotel is really beautiful, it was one of the prettiest hotels I have stayed in. I flew in a day before the surgery so I could have a non-stressed last consultation with the doctor and he reminded me to not be nervous and relax.

    On on the day of the surgery I took a taxi to the hospital from the hotel (which took quite long because of traffic) and when I arrived I was a bit confused of where to go. So it took me quite some time to orientate myself and when I didn‘t get called by the reception I was a bit worried because I was running late so I called the secretary of Dr Dussen who helped me navigate through registration. I was brought to my room and I was a bit nervous of not seeing the doctor before surgery anymore because I was convinced I would see him a last time when the staff told me I wouldn‘t.

    I was anxious and I demanded with all courage I had (which is easier said than done in such a stress situation) to see him and the staff said they would see what they could do but couldn‘t promise me anything. So I called the secretary again and she said she will try to make it work. After all when Dr Dussen heard that I wanted to speak to him he took this very seriously and even though we were running super late he came to my room.

    When I said I just wanted a few quick words and wouldn't take long he said that I talking to each other is important and that we have all the time in the world. This is what reassured me that I had indeed choosen the right doctor. I again told him I wanted a super subtle and natural result and told him to not shave down any bone under a certain spot on my Glabella (and even put eyeliner there). He again took this very seriously and promised me to not do anything to the bone beyond that point and then repeated what he understood what I wanted one last time just to make sure we were on the same page. I am so glad we had this last talk and I would recommend everybody going through with such a procedure to shedule a last talk in hospital beforehand.

    I was already in the hospital gown at this point and after the doctor went I was brought to the preparation room. I was so excited when they rolled me through hospital and I was physically shaking but the staff was very calming. I was then put on a venous catheter and the staff gave me two packets of paracetamol granulate which I had to swallow (without water, that was disgusting). Then I was brought into the surgery room where there were many doctors and nurses and I was put onto the operating table. I felt super safe at that point. The anesthesiologist then told me I would feel a bit of burning sensation in my arm when he gave me the anesthesia and that this is normal. He then told me he is going to give me the medicine now, I felt a bit of burning and then I was away.

    I woke up in the wakeup station and faintly remember that Dr Dussen was there and patted my shoulder and told me the surgery had gone well and that we would see each other the next day for follow-up. I was at some point then brought to my room (I booked a single room for about 150 extra) and was given small amounts of liquid. In the night I developed quite some pain thus I couldn‘t wait for the next painkillers to be administered.

    On the next day I took a taxi back to the hotel and went to my room. The wife of Dr Dussens collegue brought me ice packs regularly and asked me if I needed some shopping done and went to the pharmacy for me so I could stay in bed. She also brought me baby spoons so I could eat because I couldn‘t open my mouth wide. After the surgery the swelling was not to bad but on the second and third day the swelling was massive (I looked like one of those people who got stung by a bee).

    These two days were really uncomfortable, but with the painkillers they were tolerable. Only one time I remember on the third day that I had pain in the night. I waited until in the morning to tell the wife of Dr Dussens collegue if her husband could see me because the night was so bad, and she was stern and told me I should have woken them up in the night to take care of me! The collegue then had a look at me and after that I was completely painfree.

    When I saw Dr Dussen again I think on the third day he was a bit surprised at how much I had swollen up and said it probably was because there was one spot on my temples that was a bit tricky on bringing in the material and that he had to manipulate that area a bit more than expected, which resulted in more swelling than usual. Nevertheless, I didn‘t think it was that surprising that I was so swollen. He then helped me unbraid my hair which he had braided for the surgery and gave me more painkillers to take back home just in case.

    We then also talked about after care, whom to contact in case of problems eg and then I was basically free to go (that was 3 or 4 days after the surgery). I decided to stay another day and then flew back home (the swelling was still quite noticeable then, and was apparent for one week and then a still little bit for a second week. I would say after two weeks I looked quite normal. Washing my hair the first time was a bit of a challenge because there was dried blood in my hair and my scalp was numb, but I felt a lot better afterwards.

    My forehead felt a bit stiff for about three-four weeks until I decided to actively move it again. My scalp was almost completely numb on the front for about 4 months and since then has improved (it still is a tiny bit numb, but I can feel through the numbness more and more). Interestingly the numbness was quite severe for about two and a half months with little improvement and then suddenly it got much better over the course of two weeks.

    Otherwise I was feeling absolutely normal again after about a week, I was even allowed to already do sports then without any limitation. So the main side effects were swelling, some pain after the surgery and problems eating the first days because I couldn‘t open my mouth very wide. Opening the mouth fully can take some time, so don‘t freak out when it doesn‘t work out straight away. Regarding the results I could not be any happier.

    I am so so so happy I had the guts to push it through, it sounds cliché but I am finally happy when I look into the mirror and see myself. The results are subtle and I got pretty much exactely what I wanted. It was a big decision for me to do such a surgery but it was worth every single penny.

    All the best,
    Christina