Facial Rejuvenation : Face Lift
You may be a candidate for a facelift if you have experienced a loss of skin elasticity and muscle tone of the face and neck. A facelift may also be desired if you have the appearance of jowls and deep creases between the base of the nose and the corners of the mouth, and have developed facial and neck wrinkles. A facelift may also be helpful if you believe you lack youthful chin and neck contours and/or feel you have a tired facial appearance. A facelift is intended to give the patient a more rested and youthful contour to the face and neck. Facelifts can range from “mini” to “standard” depending on location and extent of skin laxity. The operation is done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia with sedation, or under general anesthesia.
As people age, effects of gravity, the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth, the jaw line grows slack and jowly, folds and fat deposits appear around the neck. Other areas of the face may lose the fullness and volume that is characteristic of a youthful face. One should know that the face lift can’t stop the aging process. It can only “set back the clock,” improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening the underlying muscles and re draping the skin of your face and neck. Patients can often benefit from the addition of volume to the face in the form of fat that is suctioned from another part of the body. A facelift can also be done along with other procedures such as forehead lift, eyelid surgery or nose reshaping.
Suitable candidates for a facelift:
- A woman or a man whose face and neck have began to sag but whose skin still has some elasticity.
- Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.
- A facelift can make you look younger and fresher. It may enhance your self confidence in the process, but it can’t give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth.
- When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, the complications and risks involved are minor. By following your doctors advice closely you can reduce your risks.
- Risks include: hematoma, a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon; injury to the nerves that control facial muscles, which are usually temporary; infection; and reactions to anesthesia.
- Smokers are usually affected by poor healing, and have increased complication rates.
What To Expect From Surgery
Planning your surgery:
Your surgeon will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone structure, and discuss your goals for the surgery. He will check for medical problem such as high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive sears. You will be asked to stop smoking for 4 weeks before and after the surgery as it inhibits blood flow to skin and healing process. You will be asked to stop talking aspirin or aspirin-like medications (NSAIDs) as they effect clotting. If your hair is short, you can let it grow long before surgery, so that it is long enough to hide the sears while they heal. A face lift is usually done on an out patient basis, but your surgeon may hospitalize you for a day when using general anesthesia. Facelifts can also be performed under local anesthesia combined with a sedative to make you drowsy.
Facelifts usually take several hours. There are many different techniques. The incisions are started above the hairline at the temples, extend in the natural line in front of the ear, and continue behind the ear lobe to the lower scalp. A small incision is sometimes made under the chin, if the neck needs work. Your surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat is either trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. Then the underlying muscle and membrane is tightened and the skin is redraped. The excess skin is removed. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions. Metal clips may be used in the scalp beyond your hairline. After the surgery a thin drainage tube is placed under the skin behind the ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The head may be loosely wrapped in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
If there is any discomfort it can be minimized with pain medication. Numbness of the skin is normal and will disappear in a month. To keep the swelling down, your head should be kept elevated and still for a couple of days. Drainage tubes and bandages will be removed after one to five days. Your face may appear bruised and puffy, but in a few weeks you will look normal. Stitches will be removed after five days. The scalp will take longer to heal. Patients are back to work at about 10-14 days after surgery. By the third week you will look and feel much better.
Instructions to be followed:
- Take it easy for the first week after surgery as your skin will be tender and numb.
- Be gentle with your face and hair.
- Avoid strenuous activity including sex and heavy house work for two weeks.
- Avoid alcohol, steam baths and saunas for a couple months.
- Get plenty of rest, let the body heal.
Your new look:
Even after the swelling and bruises are gone the hair around your temples may be thin, your skin feel dry and rough for several months. The scars are hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. They will fade with time and will be scarcely visible. Having a facelift does not stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time. You may want to repeat the procedure one or more times after five to ten years, but the effects continue to look better than if you had ever had a facelift.