What is a Facelift surgery?
Facelift has become more and more popular, especially for people in middle age.
As we age, our facial muscles are weaker, collagen depletes and facial mass shrinks. This leads to a sagging of the facial skin and formation of creases and wrinkles on the facial skin.
A facelift surgery (also known as Rhytidectomy) helps reverse some of these signs of aging to make the face appear more youthful.
Who should get a Facelift surgery done?
If you have developed telltale signs of aging due to age or even due to smoking or excessive exposure to the sun and would like to restore a more youthful appearance to your face, you should consider a Facelift surgery. There are different types of facelift surgery depending on the degree of change you desire, including a traditional facelift, a limited incision facelift or a necklift. Limited incision or “mini facelifts” (also known as “thread facelifts”) are used for those cases where the skin sagging is less pronounced while a necklift is used only to address the skin sagging and fat accumulation under the chin.
In order for a facelift surgery to deliver results, however, the candidate’s facial skin still needs to have some remaining elasticity and flexibility which is needed in order for the surgeon to stretch and tighten the skin during the procedure. Ideally, the candidate will also have a strong facial bone structure which will help support to tightened or “re-draped” skin and contribute to better healing and lasting results.
How do you prepare for a Facelift surgery?
- Inform the surgeon or clinic beforehand about any medication you are currently on, either prescription or over-the-counter (OTC).
- Avoid aspirin or any blood thinners starting 2 days before the surgery
- Avoid Vitamin E starting 2 days before the surgery
- Stop smoking for at least a week before the surgery
- Inform the surgeon or clinic beforehand about any serious medical conditions you might be suffering from leading into the surgery. The clinic will always perform a blood test prior to the surgery but it is still wise to inform them beforehand of any preexisting conditions
- Inform the surgeon of clinic beforehand about any drug allergies you have a history of.
How is the Facelift surgery done?
This depends heavily on the exact type of facelift performed. The surgeon will develop a customized facelift surgical plan depending on your facial anatomy, skin properties as well as your expectations from the surgery.
In a traditional facelift – which is the most comprehensive of all facelift procedures – the surgeon will tackle the creases under the eyes, sagging around the cheeks, lines around the mouth as well as sagging and fat accumulation under the chin and in the neck area.
The surgeon will make an incision all along the length of the side of the face starting from the temples (side of the forehead) down past the back of the ear and all the way down to the neck. A good surgeon will take care to ensure that the incision is made along existing natural folds or creases so that scars are hidden.
Once the incision is made, the surgeon will lift the facial skin from the underlying facial tissue and remove any excess fat or skin and then tighten and re-drape the skin over the muscle and bony structure of the face to improve the overall facial contour and definition. The skin is then fixed in place using stitches or medical staples and is wrapped in bandages.
Most often, a facelift surgery is performed under local anesthesia or sedation.
What happens after the Facelift surgery?
At the end of the operation, the face is wrapped up in bandages. Sometimes, drainage tubes are used to drain out excess blood and fluids for up to 48 hours following the surgery. You will need to visit the clinic 5-7 days after the surgery to have the stitches removed.
Typical precautions to be observed following the surgery include:
- Avoiding smoking for one month after the surgery as this can delay the healing process and increase the risk of post-surgical infection
- Avoid any pressure on the face
- Sleep with the head elevated 20-30 degrees to reduce swelling and blood accumulation in the face
- Avoid wetting your face
- Avoid direct exposure to the sun
- Regularly changes bandages / facial dressings as advised by the doctor
- Avoid pools, saunas or Jacuzzis
- Make sure you take your medication as prescribed by the doctor and ensure that you complete the course of medication no matter how well you are healing
- Avoid heavy physical exercise for at least 3-4 weeks after the surgery and avoid any contact sports for at least a month after surgery
- Avoid using any facial makeup until the doctor has sanctioned it.
How long will it take to recover from the Facelift surgery?
Swelling and bruising can last for several weeks after a facelift surgery, especially for a traditional facelift surgery that tends to be more extensive in nature. After around 2 weeks, the swelling and bruising usually subsides to a point that you can go out in public but in some cases the facial skin remains dry for several weeks after the surgery.
Noticeable results can take several weeks to appear but most patients tend to notice marked improvements in their facial appearance as the swelling subsides over time. It is important to note that a facelift only helps reverse the impact of aging but does not halt the aging process. As you continue to age, signs of aging will reappear on the face and might require follow up procedures.