What is Facelift?
Facelift surgery lifts and firms sagging facial tissues to restore a more naturally youthful facial appearance. It is often said that having a facelift works to “turn back the clock,” helping a patient look like a younger version of him or herself. By removing excess, sagging skin, smoothing deep folds, and lifting and tightening the deep facial tissues, a facelift surgery can help a patient look not just younger, but simply “better.”
Facelift surgery is individualized to a patient’s needs, and a cosmetic surgeon will tailor his or her techniques accordingly.
Patients who exhibit a mild degree of jowling and sagging skin are often good candidates for a mini-facelift. This is a less invasive technique that allows a cosmetic surgeon to tighten deep facial tissues through shorter incisions, typically located along the hairline above each ear and/or in the natural creases surrounding the ear. Through these incisions, structural tissues around the cheeks are lifted and tightened to correct jowling, refine the jawline, and rejuvenate a “tired” appearance.
Depending on the case, a mini-facelift may be performed using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia; your cosmetic surgeon will recommend the best option for your individual needs. A mini-facelift can help you address unwelcome signs of aging before they become too pronounced, postponing the need for more extensive surgery for many years.
A standard or “traditional” facelift will more fully address moderate to advanced aging around the mid-face and neck. While the surgery is more extensive than those for a mini-facelift, and thus more recovery time is required, the results are more dramatic. Through incisions located just behind the hairline, starting near the temples, and around the front of the ear, hidden in the natural folds, a cosmetic surgeon can reposition the deeper tissues beneath the skin and remove excess skin to smooth creases, eliminate jowling and sagging skin under the chin, and restore a naturally youthful contour to the face and neck.
As we age, skin begins to lose elasticity, and facial tissues lose volume. Eventually, this results in “jowls” on the lower face, deep wrinkles, and loose skin on the neck. While this is a natural part of growing older, patients who are bothered by these signs of aging may find a facelift to be a good solution. If any of the following describe you, a facelift is an option to consider:
You feel self-conscious about the way your face & neck look due to sagging skin
You wear turtlenecks and scarves not because you want to, but because you want to hide your aging neck
When you see your reflection, you feel that your face makes you look much older than you feel
You feel that an aging appearance is negatively affecting your career or personal relationships
Following a facelift, patients frequently experience an upsurge in self-confidence, as their appearance better portrays their healthy, energetic vibe.
A facelift is a complex procedure requiring exceptional surgical skill, but the recovery process is surprisingly quick for most patients.
Patients typically return to normal daily activities after about 2 weeks (strenuous exercise will need to wait about 4 weeks) following a standard facelift, and these time frames are normally even shorter after a mini facelift.
As every patient heals a little differently, your cosmetic surgeon will give you detailed instructions for aftercare and returning to activity.
The exact technique a cosmetic surgeon uses during a facelift depends on a number of factors, including a patient’s anatomy and personal goals, the extent of the facelift (mini vs. standard), and whether or not another procedure is being performed at the same time. Facelifts are typically performed using general anesthesia, although local anesthesia with sedation may be used in certain less extensive procedures.
After making the initial incisions, the skin is separated from the underlying connective tissue and muscles. This allows the cosmetic surgeon to reposition the deeper facial tissues, get rid of the jowls and create a firmer foundation for the skin. Then, excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is gently laid back over the newly rejuvenated facial tissues, giving the face a smoother, more youthful contour without over-tightening the skin.
Things to Do:
Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen regularly
Maintaining a healthy, stable weight
Adopt a consistent, quality skin care regimen
Things to Avoid:
Stay your face away from the sun
Unlike a breast or body procedure, for example, you cannot easily cover the area with clothing
Bruising and swelling are normal after a facelift, and will be at their peak about 2 days after surgery.
After that, bruising and swelling will gradually get better, and should be difficult to notice after about 10 to 14 days.