What is a Face Lift?
As part of the natural process of aging, there comes a point in your life when you look at your reflection in the mirror and find that your appearance is no longer consistent with your self-image or even how you are feeling. Disguising your appearance through changes in hairstyle, hair color or makeup cannot hide the fact that time has taken its toll on your once-youthful appearance.
A Face Lift, or Rhytidectomy, is intended to restore a younger appearance by smoothing out and tightening major wrinkles and sagging skin of the face, neck and jawline. The muscles of the face and neck are elevated and secured together with the removal of any excess skin. This helps in maintaining the improvement of the contours of the face and neck. The goal of a face lift is to give you a natural revitalized appearance instead of a look that is overly tight and unnatural.
Effects of a Face Lift
Due to factors such as age, exposure to the sun, and genetics, the skin starts to wrinkle and sag. The reason why children and young adults have smooth and well-defined faces is because of their evenly distributed fatty tissues in their facial contours. As time passes, the skin sags and prominent folds, usually along the chin, jaw line, and the neck, appear. Getting a face lift will improve your facial appearance and have a dramatic effect on the neck, enhancing its contour and profile. This procedure can make you look five to 10 years younger.
After undergoing a face lift surgery, patients are happy and satisfied with their new, more youthful appearance. By lessening the most visible signs of aging and enhancing your best features, this procedure can help you look as good as you feel.
Candidates for a Face Lift
A face lift is recommended if you have any of the following conditions:
A deep line, the naso-labial fold, which goes from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth.
There is laxity of the skin near the cheekbones that causes a tired appearance of the face.
Presence of wrinkles, loose skin, or excess fatty tissue in the neck, with loss of contour.
Ideal candidates are men or women, 40 to 80 years of age, who are in good physical health.
Your surgeon will discuss how your face can look and what you can expect from this procedure. Many factors influence the overall impression of the visible signs of aging of the face such as the quality of the skin, the presence of bags or excess skin on the eyelid.
Additional procedures that can be done as an option or alternative to face lift surgery may be discussed by your surgeon if you are not sure whether the procedure is right for you. For instance, it may be more beneficial for patients who are younger or those without deep lines around the nose and mouth to have a combination of skin care, Botox treatments, or injectable fillers such as collagen to soften the early signs of aging. A brow lift and/or Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) may be more suitable if the problem is isolated to the forehead and eyelids. A skin resurfacing procedure may be a possible alternative if you have severely sun-damaged skin.
Your surgeon will discuss with you and explain all of the pertinent options available to address your areas of concern and to recommend a procedure or a combination of procedures that will achieve the results you desire. We have a great deal of experience with all of the available treatment options for the signs of facial aging.
It is important that expectations and goals for a face lift are realistic. A successful surgery should make you look better but not radically different. It is our goal and objective to create a naturally youthful appearance that is satisfying to you, highlighting your positive features while lessening the negative ones.
The Face Lift Procedure
Face lift surgery is done in an outpatient surgical center under a light general anesthesia in order to maximize your comfort and safety. With this technique, vital signs are monitored and controlled continuously, pain or anxiety are lessened, and there are no sudden movements, maximizing the surgeon’s precision during this delicate procedure.
The incisions are placed in inconspicuous areas such as at or inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe behind the ear, ending at the scalp area or along the hairline at the nape of the neck. The underlying supporting tissues are revealed by lifting the skin. These supporting layers are then tightened and elevated for maintenance of the long-term results of the face lift. It is important to avoid too much tension on the skin. For that reason, slack and excess skin is removed in precise amounts. If needed, a small separate incision below the chin is done to remove fatty deposits beneath the chin and neck. Fine sutures are used to close the incisions.
It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to finish the procedure depending on whether there are any other procedures performed at the same time.
Patients are required to spend one or two nights post-surgery at a local aftercare retreat where a specially-trained nursing staff will be there to monitor your progress. During your pre-operative visit, our team will take care of the necessary arrangements for this. During the initial period after surgery, you may have a large soft dressing that is wrapped around your head. Surgical drains may be in place for the prevention of fluid accumulation beneath the facial skin. These drains are to be removed in approximately 24 hours. Your progress will be monitored personally by your surgeon on a daily basis for the first few days. Showering with assistance and shampooing are generally allowed within the first 48 hours after the procedure. In a few days, stitches done around the ears or eyelids are removed. Then the scalp sutures will be taken out in 7 to 10 days.
Depending on several factors, your recovery period may vary in length. It could take up to one to two weeks for swelling and bruising to subside. If a skin resurfacing procedure is done together with your face lift, make-up can be used after a few days to conceal minor discoloration. Social activities may be resumed comfortably in approximately three to four weeks. The incisions are usually not readily noticeable and will fade eventually. It is recommended that that sun is avoided for several weeks post-surgery, especially if a resurfacing procedure is done.
Most patients return to work and social activities looking refreshed, with renewed energy and a high self-esteem after the initial healing phase. The healing process of this procedure is gradual so you may continue to notice an improvement in your appearance for up to six months. The longevity of the results is dependent on several factors, including your genetic background, habits (i.e. sun exposure, smoking, alcohol use), and your skin’s pre-existing quality. Your progress will be continually monitored by your surgeon and a program of healthy lifestyle, skin care, and periodic maintenance procedures will be arranged for you to improve the longevity of your result and to keep you looking your best.
Complications after a face lift surgery are rare and usually minor. On the other hand, differences in anatomy, general health, and healing characteristics may influence the risk of complications. These complications may include bleeding, infection, poor healing or loss of skin, facial nerve injury which is usually temporary, discoloration of the skin, numbness, asymmetry, and scarring. The risk of bleeding is greater in men or if you have taken aspirin or blood thinners within two weeks of the surgery. Patients who are diabetic, have a history of radiation, autoimmune or collagen disease, and smokers have an increased risk of wound complications.
It is expected for the facial skin and area around the ear to be fairly numb several weeks after the surgery. Some discoloration, which is temporary, may also be expected as healing begins. This may take a few months before it disappears. The facial nerve may be bruised during the procedure which results in temporary weakness of the facial muscles of expression; however, this happens very rarely. Permanent damage to the facial nerve is also exceptionally rare.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I lose sensation in my face after a Face Lift?
A: There may be temporary loss of sensation in the areas of the skin that are undermined during the procedure. Full normal sensation will return within a few weeks. During the early post-operative period, it is important that men be extra careful when shaving to avoid nicks and cuts. Also, all patients must steer clear of hot compresses.
Q: Are signs of sun damage corrected by Face Lift surgery?
A: Generally, no. Improvement of skin laxity, which is a function of aging and hereditary or environmental factors, is done by the face lift surgery. On the other hand, other types of treatment are required for fine wrinkles caused by sun damage. Some of these treatments are chemical peel, laser resurfacing or dermabrasion.