Contemporary facelifts produce a natural youthful appearance by repositioning deep facial tissues that have descended and restore lost facial volume. While excess skin is removed, the skin itself is not used to lift, or support, nor is it pulled tight. A properly performed facelift requires detailed knowledge of anatomy, meticulous attention to detail, and three-dimensional visualization of the desired outcome (prior to the surgery). Fat grafting is oftentimes performed at the time of the facelift to restore volume and enhance facial symmetry.
A facelift is an investment that will yield significant personal, professional and social dividends.
What’s the first step when considering facelift?
Schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. When you choose a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons you are assured that he/she has completed extensive training in plastic surgery, passed rigorous comprehensive exams, and must continue to meet certain standards to maintain his or her certification. Beware of physicians who state that they are certified by a cosmetic surgery board and that they are board certified cosmetic surgeons. The American Board of Medical Specialties is an organization that has approved medical specialty boards in the United States since 1934.
During your consultation she/he will talk to you about your concerns, expectations and goals. After performing an in-depth facial analysis including your neck, forehead and upper and lower eyelid areas, surgical and non-surgical treatment options will be reviewed and a treatment plan made.
What is the right age to have a facelift?
There is no “right” age to have a facelift. The right time is when you recognize changes in your facial appearance that concern you. These changes may include a change in your facial shape, the appearance of jowls, loss of facial volume, and loose facial and neck skin. Facial aging is not uniform and one facial area may have more advanced signs of aging than another. While many patients undergo facelift surgery in their 50’s the range may be from late 40’s to patients in their 80’s who are healthy leading productive lives. Men can benefit from facelifts as well. Scheduling a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon will give you the opportunity to understanding whether or not you would benefit from a facelift or from less involved nonsurgical options.
Is there an upper age limit?
There is no specific age limit. If a patient is healthy, has reasonable expectations and has satisfactory tissue quality then a facelift can be considered. A preoperative physical examination performed by the patient’s internist or primary care physician is routinely done prior to surgery.
Will I look like me after a facelift?
The answer is yes. You will “look like you. ” If you have advanced signs of aging, a facelift will result in a more dramatic improvement. You will still “look like you” but a significantly more youthful, energized, and healthy you.
What do I have to do to prepare for a facelift?
A preoperative physical is performed by your internist or primary care physican. Medications, herbs, vitamins and supplements that can “thin” your blood are stopped two weeks prior to surgery and discontinued for two weeks after surgery. If you smoke, then you MUST stop smoking one month before surgery and refrain from smoking until three weeks after surgery. Of course it would be better to quit. Smoking increases the risk of poor healing and complications from anesthesia.
Where is the procedure done?
The surgery is performed in a certified outpatient facility or hospital. For patients who have any underlying medical conditions, once cleared by their internist will have their surgery performed in the hospital.
What about my neck—is that included as part of a facelift?
The neck is an integral part of facial rejuvenation. Like the treatment plan for your face, the treatment plan for your neck is individualized. Fat deposits, neck bands and loose neck skin are all addressed during your facelift surgery. There are patients, usually younger who do not require extensive neck surgery during a facelift operation.
Can I just do my neck?
Neck lifts can be performed without doing a facelift. Most patients who are candidates for necklifts also have jowls that are a product of loose facial skin and descent of fatty tissue. Restoring harmony and balance between the neck and face is an integral part of facial rejuvenation.
Will I be in pain after the surgery?
All patients receive prescription medication to relieve pain. Many patients find that after the first day or two they no longer need prescription level analgesics and switch to Tylenol.
When will I be able to return to my usual activities?
It usually takes at least two weeks before you are presentable. This will depend on the extent of your surgery. Patients who have had additional procedures such as eyelid or browlift surgery or fat transferred to multiple facial areas will have a somewhat longer recovery. During the first two weeks after your facelift you must avoid all strenuous activity. After three weeks you can begin light exercise. You can gradually begin to increase your activity resuming your pre-facelift activity level between four to six weeks after surgery.
What about the scars—will they be very noticeable?
Proper planning and placement of the incisions will generally result in inconspicuous, minimally perceptible scars and will avoid hairline displacement. While the scars may be red initially, over time they will fade. A laser can be used early on to minimize the redness.