The face cannot escape the aging process. As the years go by, the facial and neck skin becomes more lax. Wrinkles start showing around the eyes and the mouth as fine lines that eventually become deeper. Skin folds form at the lower face and upper neck area.
Aging is influenced by many factors: genetic programming, sun damage, the gravity effect, bad eating habits, lack of sleep, etc.
As people live longer and are in better physical shape, the demand for rhytidectomy (facelift) continues to grow. Facelift surgery is now among the most popular procedures in the field of facial plastic surgery.
Facelift Surgery and Its Details
Facelift surgery is usually started with an incision in the temple/sideburn area, a little above the ear. The incision then runs in front of the ear, around the earlobe, then behind it. Finally, the incision continues along or behind the hairline on the back of the head and uppermost part of the neck.
The exact course of the incision is slightly different between different surgeons. As a general rule, your surgeon will try to place the incisions in a natural wrinkle line, along the hairline or inside the hair in order for them to be camouflaged as much as possible.
Once the incision is completed, the facial muscles under the skin (called S.M.A.S.) are tightened with sutures. The excess skin is removed and the incision is closed with sutures.
In some cases, drains in the form of fine tubes may be inserted through the incisions at the end of the procedure to allow fluid to drain, but this is not always necessary.
The average duration of a facelift surgery is 3 to 4 hours.
Some surgeons prefer a local type of anesthesia combined with intravenous or oral sedatives, while others prefer general anesthesia.
At the end of the procedure, a cotton dressing is applied around the face and neck incisions.
The Candidate For Facelift
The majority of patients undergoing facelift surgery are between mid 40’s and 60, though it is not uncommon for some patients to have a facelift in their 70’s. There is also a new tendency for patients to opt for a facelift at a younger age (during their 40s).
Your Recovery Following Facelift
Expect some swelling and some bruises during the first 7 to 10 days following the surgery.
Although the surgery is generally painless, some patients may have pressure sensation or mild discomfort in the operated area for few days. Some analgesic medications will be prescribed to you to make you feel more comfortable, though many patients do not use them.
Drains, if present, are removed one or more days later.
When sleeping, use pillows to make sure your head is slightly elevated during the night.
Physical activity should be restricted for the period decided by your surgeon.
Sutures are usually removed in about a week if they are not of the absorbable type.
You can expect to go back to work 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
A facelift carries risks like any other surgery. However, the percentage of complications in the thousands of facelifts performed yearly in North America is quite low.
A Final Word
Your face is precious. A facelift result that does not look overdone is a must.
Therefore, choosing a facial surgeon with experience is highly important.