Face Lift Surgery
Everyone has an idea of what a face lift is, but facial rejuvenation surgery is increasingly specific: traditional face lift mid-facelift, mini-facelift, neck lift, and endoscopic brow lift, eyelid surgery or maybe just Botox and lip augmentation. Maybe all you want is just a nip and tuck around the jowls. There is no one solution to address the aging face. With new instruments, better techniques, and more concern with facial anatomy your original notion of what a facelift is now is a thing of medicine’s past.
The original concept is still the same-lift up and plump up what age and gravity have taken. For this reason there is not just one single solution, such as the facelift of the past. The treatment(s) now are vast. Surgical procedures and nonsurgical procedures offer many options to correct the aging face.
When you look at your face in the mirror, divide your face into three sections: the brow and eye area, the cheek, lip, mouth and jowl areas and finally the neck. Most surgeons look at your face in three sections and work on changing or enhancing what you want to change. Sometimes it is a limited scar facelift and brow lift or someone else may need the upper eyelid lift, mini-facelift and neck liposuction. The most common complaints are sagging jowls, excess skin, deep lines and wrinkles, and a turkey waddle or sagging neck.
Neck Liposuction or Suture
The neck is supported by the platysma muscle. This muscle starts at the chin and extends down the center of the neck. Fat and loose muscle are the general reason the neck appears sagging or full. You may have both fat and loose muscle or just one of the two. This essentially determines how your plastic surgeon will correct it.
- Fat Neck: Fat is removed through a small incision under the chin using liposuction much like what is done for the body.
- Sagging Muscle (platysma): Using a special technique, the surgeon can tighten up the muscle (platysma) without any additional incisions associated with neck lift surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate?
All men and women show signs of aging over time-some more than others. The age that most individuals start considering a facelift begins generally in the mid to late 40′s until they just don’t want to worry about it any longer. With age the structures and skin of the face and neck loosen creating a sagging round or sunken appearance. Jowls form along the jawline and under the chin causing the lower face and neck to loose its characteristic definition. However, heredity and lifestyle can accelerate the aging process causing people to look older than they feel.
Possible Risks and Complications
Complications from facelift surgery are rare when performed by a board certified plastic surgeon. Nevertheless, such complications should be taken into account when considering any procedure. Depending on the individual and his/her adherence to the surgeon’s instructions there may be risk of excessive bleeding, infection, and/or reaction to anesthesia.
Scarring will result, but the incisions are made where they will appear as inconspicuous as possible. Poor healing and wider scars are more common in smokers.
Preparing for Surgery
If you are a smoker, you are strongly encouraged to refrain from smoking for at least one week prior to the facelift procedure and continue to refrain from smoking until your incisions have healed (about two weeks after the procedure). This will promote faster healing and reduce the risk of infection. At your preoperative visit, your surgeon will discuss your expectations and let you know about the cost of facelift surgery as well as provide a homeopathic remedy (e.g. Arnica) which is taken the day before surgery and a week to ten days after to help reduce the effects of bruising and swelling.
The facelift procedure takes between one and two hours. During the procedure the surgeon will make two small incisions on each side of the face: one incision behind the ear and the other just above and in front of the ear. Through these incisions, the surgeon separates the skin from the underlying structures, tightens the structure, pulls the skin toward its original position, and removes the excess skin. Sutures close the incisions.
Face Lift Recovery Time
During face lift recovery, your face will be lightly bandaged. Any discomfort experienced after the procedure is controlled with oral pain medications prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery. In most cases, stitches will be removed within one to three weeks.
Although you may be up and about a day or two after surgery, you should take it easy for at least one week. You may shower and shampoo your hair as soon as the bandages are removed. Most are able to return to work and social activities within two weeks. Physical activity should be limited (i.e. stretching, bending, walking, and running, etc.) until your energy level returns (typically within two to four weeks). Although much of the swelling and bruising disappear in the first few weeks, it may take several months to see your final results. Minor swelling and bruising can be concealed with special make-up.