The different types of facelift surgeries are meant to give a younger look to patients. The aging process of the face is different from person to person, dependent on age, genetics, bone structure, skin type and lifestyle habits (dieting, smoking, sun exposure). Some people’s aging process is more prominent in certain areas of the face, such as the eyelids, the neck etc. Because of this reason, it is extremely important to meet with a plastic surgeon, in order to figure out the best course of treatment for the issue you would like to address.
Most candidates for surgery are women in their 40s or men in their 50s. The patient will be able to ask the surgeon any question regarding the procedure (anesthetics, length, area etc). The patient must undergo a complete check-up. Patients must also stop smoking and using medications two weeks prior to surgery.
A facelift is performed when the patient is under general or local anesthesia. The patient will get an injection which should make them relaxed before surgery. The operation is performed while the patient is lying on their back. After shaving the area, the operation will begin. Most of the time, the incision starts at the temporal area and is drawn to the back of the ear, into the hair. Through the incision the skin is separated from the layers of tissue underneath, and it is pulled towards the temporal areas.
A facelift can be performed simultaneously with a blepharosplasty, liposuction (in the area under the jaw), or chin implants.
The facelift can also be performed simultaneously to a brow lift. There are tubes that are left in at the end of the surgery which are only taken out a day later. The patient must also wear a helmet for two days after surgery. Post-surgery pain can be relieved with pain relievers. Patients are usually discharged two days after surgery. Recovery time varies from patient to patient. Most patients take about two weeks to recover.
Shampoo can be used (lightly) 3-4 days after surgery.
Sun exposure should be avoided for six months following surgery.
Hematomas – the most common complication, but doesn’t happen that frequently. Blood collects underneath the skin, usually a day or two after the surgery. If it’s particularly large, then the patient will have to undergo another procedure to drain it. This complication is usually connected to a person’s (high) blood pressure.
Sensory nerve injury: sometimes the sensory nerve is hit during surgery, this will result in some lack of feeling in the auricle for a number of months.
Skin Necrosis – sometimes, following the separation of the skin, a necrosis is formed at the ends of the skin. This usually fixes itself, even though it may take a couple of weeks.
Hair Loss – sometimes hair will fall out near the temporal area
Scarring – scars from facelifts are generally very small and almost invisible. Very rarely will there be prominent scarring. Scarring depends on the healing process.
Motor Nerve Injury – this type of injury is extremely rare, and the doctors take great care to avoid these types of injuries, especially in the lower jaw area. This type of injury causes paralysis in the muscles near the mouth. An injury of these nerves in the forehead results in difficulty in lifting the brow. This is usually temporary.
Recovery is a slow process, taking between a few weeks to a few months. The facelift is effective for one year up to ten years, dependent on the looseness of the skin operated on. The looser the skin, the less time it will last. Facelifts are one of the more successful aesthetic plastic surgeries available. A younger look is generally accompanied by a better self-image and more self-confidence.