After an 11hr flight from London to L.A. Mom and I arrived arrived safely and stayed 1x block away in a hotel in Redondo Beach. I popped into FineTouch Dermatology as I was curious to see the place, make sure it really existed and meet the staff. Thankfully, they all exist and we were made to feel very welcome and everything seemed, calm yet profession. Like most people at the top of their game, Dr. Umar is a humble man, calm, softly spoken with an air of 'nothing to prove'.
Nice relaxing start to the day and after a late breakfast as recomended by the team in order for the medications to work as expected ahead of my afternoon appointment. Dr. Umar and his medical team (Nicole, Daisy and Chelsea) were excellent and made provisions to make my mother relaxed and comfortable ready for my expected 3hr operation.
After a detailed consultation the medications were administered. Pictures, videos and measurements were taken, I got changed then lay face down on the operating chair/bed and received the aneasthetic directly into my scar. This was the only uncomfortable bit as the back of the head is particularly fleshy and sensitive. Once the meds kicked in, Dr. Umar and his team setabout about removal of my AKN scar. I was very aware of the burning smell as the tools cut out the scar using some sort of heated blade. I felt a bit of heat twice near the start of the operation, but no problem as once I told the team, they administered more aneasthetic and then I relaxed for the next 2.5hrs. I could feel some blood splashing, however this was immediately taken care of by the team without the need to say anything. I could feel lots of pulling as Dr. Umar gradually cut out the scar and all keloid tissue. No pain whatsoever so I relaxed. I almost fell asleep a couple of times as there was also soft music playing throughout. During the operation I realised just how focussed the team are and they seemed to preempt each other's moves with almost military precision and discipline.
After the operation, more pictures and video taken by the team, then the new scar was dressed and bandagged. I peeped at the removed scar and was amazed how large it really was. It was floating in a contain with some sort of dark liquid prior to being sent off to the pathology laborotries.. I found it looked quite hideous from the insideonce I looked at it closely - Thank God it's gone! We were then given plenty of medication to carry out, a drink, then we returned to the hotel for a much needed meal. Literally as I returned to my room, I felt some bleeding. It lasted about 15mins, then clotted naturally - I was pre-warned about this so did not panic, however I realised how very awkward it would have been to try and clean myself. Mom assisted and also came into my room every 1.5-2hrs or so to check I was not excessively bleeding during my sleep.
Returned to the clinic for routine check-ups and all was well. I dilligently took the medication and Mom took close note of how Daisy changed my dressing. Thankfully Mom was a Midwife, so instictively knew what to do. Rest of the day spent relaxing. Visited Hollywood (very over-rated) and returned to the room for more rest. Glad to be back at Redondo Beach, much much nicer (I could happily live here)! ;-)
I am not in a position to offer advise as I am not medically trained, however here's some of my own opinions:
1) Follow every instruction to the letter as advised my DR. Umar and his team
2) Wear a dark colored T-shirt with a very wide neck, ideally
buttons-up at the front with no collar - trust me, this is good advice - [You are unlikely to be cold, this is California!]
3) Have a trusted person with you after the operation - I underestimated how reliant I would be on Mom's assitance - Can you believe that I was going to make this trip alone, until my wife and mother insisted I had assistance? - I'm grateful to both my wife and my Mother as I needed Mom immeasurably during the post operation days and long flight home to England
4) Eat a good amount of fruit and vegetables in the run up to the oepration - I ate lots of spinach, peas, corn, grapes, apples and oranges in the 2 weeks prior and felt great
5) Drink lots of water, but given the length of time of the operation, perhaps stop drinking 2hrs prior to the start time
6) Stay somewhere peaceful and close to the clinic/surgery - Redondo Beach is an especially calm, peacful and beutiful place, if you can stay here then I think it will do you the world of good
7) Rest when you need it - Listen to your body - Holiday another time, for now just relax
8) Take some time out from work after the operation - I underestimated the healing required. No lateral movement to start with, so that rules out driving (which I do to get to work), also there could be a little bleeding or oozing of the gel, and your neck will at first be a little tight, so just stay at home, get some rest and again - listen to your body
POST-OPERATION PICTURES [Viewer discretion - graphic images follow]:
The white lumpy things at the top of the scar are just cotton wool buds. The purple colour is BetaDine (something like Iodine). Sutures (a kind of stitch) hold the scar in the semi-closed position (e.g. the vertical thread-like lines). You can see already thay my hair-line will be very close to my original hair-line and that the AKN scar has been completely removed. The whitish creamy looking substance around the scar is the melted antibiotic gel that is put into the scar twice a day each time the dressing is changed.
These pictures were taken 2x days after the operation) and prior to it being cleaned. I wanted to show it in it's purest form - The expectation is that this wide scar will mostly close similar to those on the FineTouch Dermatolgy website:
Last picture above shows my Mom's handy work - Thanks Mom!!! :-)