A facelift is a surgical procedure to improve visible signs of aging in the face and neck. It helps put your cheekbones back into their more youthful place, remove any excess sagging skin, and correct the jowls that many of my patients complain about. In most cases, it is performed with a necklift to tighten the neck skin at the same time.
The patients who come into my office are always concerned about looking “fake”. I believe that the best plastic surgery is where a person still looks like themselves, just more refreshed with some years taken off. It should not be obvious that they have had “work done”. For facelifts, the way that I help accomplish this natural look is by placing the pull of tissues on the layer under the skin called the SMAS. This places the soft tissue framework of the face back to its youthful position. The skin is then gently draped back in place and excess trimmed. The skin is not overly pulled creating that “wind tunnel” look. Sometimes I also perform fat grafting to the face where volume was lost from aging.
Patients undergo full medical evaluation prior to surgery. Since smoking is associated with major wound healing problems, I require my patients to stop smoking for at least 2 months prior to surgery. Patients should also stop any asprin, ibuprofen, motrin, and anti-inflammatories as well as herbal medications and vitamins 2 weeks prior to surgery.
I perform my facelifts in an outpatient surgical center under general anesthesia. I will make incisions inside the hairline at the temple, in front of the ear, then around the earlobe and behind the ear, ending at the scalp area. Most people already have wrinkles creating creases in this area so the incisions are well hidden. Excess skin is removed and sagging muscles and connective tissues are tightened. In some cases, fatty deposits are removed from beneath the chin and neck. Incisions are closed with small sutures. The procedure may take up to 5 hours depending on whether any other procedures are performed at the same time. You will have to spend the first 24 hours in an after care nursing facility.
This patient had a facelift, neck lift, and fat grafting to the cheeks.
This patient had a facelift and necklift
Post op care and recovery
Initially you will have a large dressing wrapped around your head. You may have surgical drains attached to bulbs hanging at your neck. These will be removed in approximately 24 hours. Stitches will be removed in approximately 7 days. Swelling and bruising decreases within two weeks. Tightness in your face will be present for several weeks and there may be slight changes in your hair pattern around the incision. You should avoid the sun for months after surgery!
The healing process is gradual, so you will not notice final results for up to 6 months. A single procedure often achieves the desired results. Most patients who have had facelifts are pleased with their new, more youthful appearance.