Some of the most visible signs of aging first appear on the face. Although the changes appear gradually, there may come a day when you look in the mirror and decide that the face you see doesn’t reflect the way you feel about yourself. If you’d like to look as good as you feel, a facelift can help. Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift smooths the loose skin on your face and neck, tightens underlying tissues and removes excess fat. As a result, your face will appear firmer and fresher. You’ll find basic information about a facelift in this brochure. However, the best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your individual needs to have a personal consultation with a plastic surgeon certified by the Board of Plastic Surgery.
Is a facelift right for me?
Facelifts are most commonly performed on patients in the 40-60 age range. However, the procedure can produce good results for people in their 60s, 70s and 80s as well. You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you have any of the following types of conditions :
- A deep line that runs from the corner
- Loss of a well-defined jawline
- Deep wrinkles in the cheeks and sagging skin near the cheekbones
- Loose skin, wrinkles or excess fatty tissue in the neck. Facelift surgery needs to be approached with extra caution if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Blood-clotting problems
- The tendency to form excessive scars.
Be sure to alert your plastic surgeon if you are affected be any of these conditions.
a) A facelift can improve the deep cheek folds, jowls, and loose, sagging skin arround the neck that come with age.
What should I expect from the consultation?
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering a facelift. During this meeting, your surgeon will assess your physical and emotional health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for surgery. You should arrive at the consultation prepared to provide complete information about:
- Previous surgeries
- Past and present medical conditions
- Treatments you have received
- Medications that you are taking, including nutritional supplements and herbal remedies. If you are overweight and have a realistic desire to lose more than 15 pounds, your weight loss could affect your results. It’s important to discuss these plans with your surgeon. During your physical evaluation, your plastic surgeon will assess your bone structure and the underlying tissues of the face. The thickness, texture and elasticity of your skin and the severity of the wrinkles and folds will also be considered.
Your hairline will be examined to determine where incisions can be considered in developing your surgical plan. Your plastic surgeon may explain additional procedures that can be performed along with a facelift to meet your appearance goals. For example, a facelift is frequently combined wih:
- Forehead lift, to correct lines or furrows in the brow
- Eyelid surgery, to eliminate drooping upper eyelids or bags beneath the eyes.
- Nose reshaping
- Skin treatments, such as a chemical peel or laser resurfacing, to minimize fine wrinkles.
- Face contouring with micro fat or tissue cocktail injection.
How is a facelift performed?
The technique chosen for your surgery depends on your features, your surgeons’s perferences and your desired results. There are many variations to the facelift procedure. However, the incision is typically hidden in the natural contour of your ear, and then extends around the earlobe and back into the hairline. Following surgery, the incisions are easily concealed by your hair or with makeup. There also may be a small incision hidden beneath your chin.
Working through these incisions, your plastic surgeon frees the facial skin from its underlying tissues and pulls it upward and back. The excess skin is then removed. In some cases, the deeper tissues may also be repositioned to restore a more youthful contour to your face. If necessary, an incision under the chin allows your surgeon to remove fatty tissue in that area and smooth the cord-like structures of the underlying muscle in the neck.
How will I learn about the safety of facelift surgery?
Each year, thousands of people have facelifts and experience no major complications. However, it is important for you to be informed of the risks as well as benefits.
One of the most important parts of your consultation is the discussion that you and your surgeon will have about the possible complications of facelift surgey. In addition to listening carefully what your surgeon tells you, be sure to raise any questions you may have about the safety of the procedure.
By carefully following your surgeon’s advice and instructions — both before and after surgery —you can do your part to minimize some of the risks.
b) Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples follow the natural line in front of the ear, curve behind the earlobe into the crease behind the ear, and into or along the lower scalp.
c) Facial, neck tissue and muscle may be separated; fat may be trimmed or suctioned and underlying muscle may be tightened.
d) After deep tissues are tightened, the excess skin is pulled up and back, trimmed and sutured into place.
e) Most of the scars will be hidden within your hair and normal creases of your skin
What can I do to prepare for my surgery?
When the date for your procedure has been set, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after surgery. A number of points may be covered, including:
- Avoiding certain medications that may complicate surgery or recovery.
- Stopping smoking for a period of time before and after surgery
- Arranging for help and special care following surgery
- Letting your hair grow long enough so that it will cover your incisions while they heal
- Hair coloring before surgery if you do usally.
How will I be cared for on the day of my surgery?
Your facelift may be performed in a hospital, an outpatient surgery center or an office-based surgical suite.
If you are admitted to a hospital or surgery center, your stay will be a short one, perhaps just one or two nights. We have arranged a three days package programme in the hospital that you may benefit. Medications are administered to keep you comfortable during the surgical procedure. Your plastic surgeon may use local anesthesia and intravenous sedation for your facelift. However, for some patients, general anesthesia may be the best choice. Your surgeon will monitor your physical status throughout the operation and during your recovery.
How will I look and feel right after surgery?
When surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to a recovery area. A bandage may have been wrapped around your face to help control swelling. Sometimes, small drainage tubes are placed beneath the skin to drain away fluids that might otherwise accumulate. Discomfort is usually minimal, but any pain you feel can be controlled with medication prescribed by your surgeon. Although everyone heals at a different rate, you can expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
The first day
- In this early stage of healing, you should rest with your head elevated to help minimize bruising and swelling
Within the first week
- Swelling reaches its peak, and then begins to subside.
- Bandages will be removed and you may shower.
- Stitches will dissolve or be removed.
- You may return to light activity, but continue to sleep with your head elevated.
- You can wear makeup to conceal any discoloration.
Within two weeks
- Most of the bruising will disappear
- You may resume many of your normal activities, including non-strenuous.
After several weeks
- You may resume exercise.
- Swelling and puffiness will continue to subside.
- Numbness in the facial area will diminish; however, some numbness may persist for several months.
Throughout the healing period, you should avoid exposure to direct sunlight and, for the long term, be conscientious about using sun block preparations to protect your skin.
f) After surgery, you’ll present a fresher, more youthful face to the world.
What should I know about my results?
If you are like most people who have the procedure, you’ll be very pleased with your refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. Although the healing may take some time, you can expect the end result to be worth the wait.
A number of factors, including your heredity and your lifestyle, play a role in how long the results of your facelift will last. Even though the aging process continues, patients are usually happy with their apperance for many years following a facelift.
Some patients find that they want to make additional improvements at a later time.
How long will I continue to see my plastic surgeon?
After the initial healing period, you will return to your plastic surgeon’s office for a postoperative foollow-up visit so that your healing and progress can be evaluated. In the following months, your surgeon may ask you to return for periodic checkups. It’s important to keep these appointments so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and address any questions or concerns you may have.
CHOOSING A QUALIFIED SURGEON
No matter what type of plastic surgery you’re considering, one of the most important factors in its success is the surgeon you choose.
Although it may seen hard to believe, some of the physicians who are performing cosmetic surgery today have had no formal surgical training at all.
It’s advisible to consider the following points before scheduling a consultation:
Find out if he or she is certified by the Board of Plastic Surgery. Surgeons with this certification have completed a minimum of six years of surgical training following medical school, including a plastic surgery residency program.
During this intensive program, surgeons learn to perform surgical procedures for the entire body and face. At the same time, they develop their technical skill and aesthetic judgement.
After training, a surgeon must pass comprehensive oral and written exams before being granted certification. It is also very important to find out the post graduate education, experience, competency for specific procedures and scientific status of Plastic Surgeon.