Contemporary facelifts produce a natural youthful appearance by repositioning deep facial tissues that have descended and restoring 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 (before the surgery). Fat grafting is frequently 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 facial rejuvenation?
Schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. 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 formulated.
What is the right age to have a facelift?
There is no “right” age to have a facelift. A good time is when you recognize changes in your facial appearance that cannot be satisfactorily addressed by non-surgical treatments. These changes may include a change in your facial shape, the appearance of jowls, loss of facial volume, and lax facial and neck skin. Facial aging is not uniform, and one facial area may have more advanced signs of aging than another. While a typical facelift patient is a female in her early to mid-50’s, there are patients in their 40’s who will benefit from a facelift. Likewise, there are many patients in their 70’s, and sometime in their 80’s, who, as long as they are in good health, may be candidates. Men can benefit from facelifts as well.
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 before 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 physician. Medications, herbs, vitamins and supplements that can “thin” your blood are stopped two weeks before 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. For patients who have any underlying medical conditions, once cleared by their internist, surgery is performed in the hospital.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Most facelifts are performed under general anesthesia. For patients who need more limited surgery, local anesthesia may be used.
What about my neck—is that included as part of a facelift?
The neck is an integral part of facial rejuvenation. As 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/necklift surgery.
Can I just do my neck?
Patients can undergo an isolated neck lift. However, most patients have jowls that represent lax 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 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 can result in minimally perceptible scars that lie within the hairline and in natural skin creases and avoid hairline displacement. The quality of the scars also depends on the genetics of the individual patient and how she/he tends to heal. The incision begins just inside the sideburn, follows a natural curve where the ears meet the cheek, and then curves inside the ear, and appears in a natural crease where the lower part of the ear joins the cheek. The incision then continues around the earlobe into the crease behind the ear and extends into the hairline without disrupting it.