The effects of time and aging on the face are unavoidable. Skin eventually loses its strength and elasticity; skin, fat and muscles thin. Sun damage and smoking greatly accelerates these changes. The skin and muscles of the face and neck increasingly sag. A face lift cannot stop this aging process, but it can help diminish some its signs. A face lift is a cosmetic procedure that repositions sagging skin and muscles and then removes the excess skin to achieve a more vigorous and youthful appearance.
What exactly is a face lift?
Now-a-days there are so many kinds of “lifts” that it has become confusing. First of all, there is no standard procedure. Virtually every surgeon uses their own minor modifications that they then vary from patient to patient as needed.
The term “face lift”, also called a rhytidectomy, traditionally meant a procedure to reposition and remove excess skin, fat and muscle as needed on the side of the cheek, the jowls, and under the chin and neck. This is also more precisely referred to as a “cheek-neck lift” or “face and neck lift”.
If the neck is the only area sagging then a “neck lift” is performed. If the eyebrows need to be repositioned it is called a “brow lift”, or “forehead lift”. When a brow lift is performed in conjunction with a face lift the procedure may be referred to as a “total face lift”.
Terms such as “mini-lifts”, “lifestyle lifts”, S-lifts, “cheek lifts” etc., means whatever the user wants it to mean, but basically refer to some minor modifications of existing face lift techniques.
Who is a good candidate for a face lift?
When you look in the mirror and you see the “extra skin” in the cheeks, jowls or neck is starting to sag, then its time to start thinking about a “lift” procedure. Most patients are over the age of 45. Patients in their 80’s have also benefited. Whatever the age, surgical candidates must be in good overall health. Those with any health issues should obtain clearance from their medical doctor. As with any cosmetic plastic surgery, realistic expectations are important. Patients need to fully understand what the procedure can and cannot achieve. You should have all your questions answered before the surgery. Just as importantly, you should listen carefully and completely to your surgeon’s answers and explanations.
Is a face lift the only way to improve the appearance of an aging face and neck area?
No. Non-Surgical Injections, Fat Transfers and Laser Skin Treatments may achieve results superior to traditional face lifts. The key is how much sagging and skin redundancy is present. One way to test this is to sit on the edge of a bed and looking into a hand mirror, bend over, then lie on your back. If the folds and sags are worse when you bend over and then noticeably better when you are on your back, then you are a good candidate for a lift procedure.
Non-surgical procedures are indicated when there is little or no sagging and the primary result of ageing is loss of facial volume. The best test for this is to carefully and honestly compare photos from your late teens and twenties such as from your year book, wedding, or other professional photos with your present appearance. Has your face become narrower? Are there depressions under your eyes or in the cheeks? Have the lips thinned? Has the chin receded and are their depressions in front of the jowls? Then restoring volume is important for you to create a youthful look.
Laser skin treatment is best for smoothing wrinkles and will produce some skin tightening. But will not replace a lift procedure when there is a lot of skin redundancy.
Depending on the circumstances, a single approach, a combination of two or all three approaches may be needed to produce your optimum result.
How is a Facelift Performed?
A facelift is performed by making an incision around the ear which depending on the type of lift may extend behind or along the hairline in the temple and behind the ear. The skin is elevated and the muscle and connective tissues are then pulled and tightened to improve sags and wrinkles. Excess skin is removed, and tightened. Liposuction may also be performed to remove excess fat. Sutures are used to close the incisions, and protective bandaging will be applied.
Depending on what variation of facelift is performed the procedure typically requires from one to four hours, and healing can last anywhere from three days to three weeks.
Healing after a Facelift
Proper healing after a facelift is paramount to achieving ideal results. Patients must be cautious, diligent and follow their doctor’s recommendations exactly to guarantee successful recovery.
Sutures are typically removed about 7 days after surgery. During the initial period of healing, it is common to have some pain, tightness, swelling and bruising. Using cold compresses and pain management medication will alleviate these unpleasant effects.
Keep your head elevated to reduce the risk of swelling; The dressing is removed between 24 and 48 hours. You may then gently wash your hair and face.
It’s important to keep your scheduled follow-up visits so Dr Perry can monitor the healing process. Report any extreme discomfort, and if you have any concerns at all, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Perry.
What are the risks associated with a face lift?
Face lifts are a commonly performed procedure, and when done by a skilled, experienced surgeon such as Dr Perry, problems are extremely rare. The few that do exist include:
Bleeding collecting under the skin
Injury to motor nerves
Numbness is common but improves with time
Take the first step:
If you are considering a face lift, schedule a consultation with Dr Perry. At your consultation Dr. Perry will carefully listen to your concerns and goals, perform the appropriate examination, answer any questions and explain your options often using computer imaging.