Over the years, the skin of the face and neck loosens. Gradually, we begin to see wrinkling around the eyelids, on the forehead, and on the sides of the mouth. Pouches develop along the jawline and sometimes produce a “double chin”. In women especially, extra folds form over the front part of the neck. Some faces also become etched with numerous fine wrinkles. These changes are the result of aging process, heredity, and gravity. They are accelerated by skin abuse, overexposure to the sun, alcohol, smoking, poor nutrition and stress. These factors limit what can be done and how long the result will last. Fortunately, cosmetic facial surgery can minimize many of these problems.
It is often said that a facelift will take 8-10 years off a person’s age. It is impossible to predict precisely what the result will be. More realistically, a successful operation will allow a person to look as good as possible for one’s age. The operation designed to diminish the changes of the aging face and neck is called a rhytidoplasty and is commonly referred to as the facelift operation. The term “facelift” is really a misnomer since the operation combines lifting of the face , neck, and temple regions all in one procedure. In some patients liposuction of the neck may be performed in conjunction with the facelift to remove the excessive fat or folds under the chin. These procedures also can be combined with surgery of the eyelids and forehead.
How The Facelift Is Done
The incision for the facelift operation begins in the temple hair above and in front of the ear. It extends down just in front of the ear , around the earlobe, up behind the ear , and then backward into the hair of the scalp. Through this incision the skin is elevated out into the temples, cheeks, and neck. The underlying muscles and connective tissues are re-positioned to lend some permanency to the realignment of the facial structures– the so-called SMAS, two layered or sling procedure. Excess skin is then removed. Sometimes fat is removed and, occasionally, a small incision is made under the chin to help with the correction. The skin edges are secured with appropriate suture material. The facelift operation usually takes between two to three hours. When it is completed a bulky dressing is applied and the patient is transferred to a recovery area.
Keeping The Patient Comfortable
Preoperative medication to relieve tension and local anesthetics to numb the face during surgery are commonly administered. These should keep the patient comfortable and free of pain. If desired, general anesthesia can be administered.
The Immediate After Effect
After the operation, some swelling and bruising can be expected. The swelling usually subsides within the first few days and the bruising subsides within two to three weeks. There may be mild discomfort for a short time after surgery but this usually is controlled easily with the medication. Significant pain is quite rare. Sutures are removed in a few days and make-up can be applied shortly thereafter. Numbness around the ears is common and usually temporary.
The Result to Expect
The elimination of excessive skin of the face and neck should give the patients a more youthful appearance. Just how much improvement will be made depends on the individual’s physical characteristics and the extent of the surgery.
How Long Before I Can Resume Normal Activity
You should be up and around in a day or so. Returning to normal full time activities is again, individual. However, most patients return to their usual routine in approximately two to three weeks.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT READY FOR A FULL FACELIFT…
WHAT IS PARTIAL FACELIFT?
Since everyone ages at a different rate and people are seeking improvement or just to maintain a certain level of youthful appearance at an earlier age these days, a full facelift often may not be necessary. One or two areas may be all that needs work and you should not mistakenly wait until everything goes and then get it fixed”. As a rule the earlier one starts a rejuvenation program, the better and longer lasting the results are. You may call this a temple lift, a cheek lift or a neck lift, but I prefer the term PARTIAL FACELIFT. Your best investment is an individual consultation with a surgeon you trust.
Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) – This operation is designed to correct deformities of the nose. It is the most common operation in facial surgery throughout the world.
Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) and Eyebrows & Forehead – Brow and forehead lifts do a great deal to alleviate drooping eyebrows and wrinkling of the forehead and improve the quality of eyelid surgery results.