Over time, gravity, sun exposure, and the stresses of daily life take their toll on our faces and necks. Deep creases appear beside the mouth, the jaw line slackens and becomes jowly, and the neck develops loose folds and fat deposits.
In cosmetic surgery, face lift procedures counteract these signs of aging by tightening muscle, removing fat, and removing excess skin, giving your face a fresher, youthful look. After surgery, some patients look 10-15 years younger
If you’re considering a face lift surgery, it’s important to understand that the texture of your skin will not be modified by the face lift procedure. Skin conditions such as wrinkles, acne scars, age spots or creases around the lips will not be no matter how firmly the skin is pulled during the face lift. This being the case, we recommend skin resurfacing before or in conjunction with a face lift procedure to improve the texture of the skin and to minimize the recurrence of wrinkles, age spots, etc.
Additional post-face lift surgery may be needed, such as chemical or laser resurfacing, along with Botox and filler injections to help treat laugh lines, wrinkles or furrows that are not relieved by the face lift procedure.
Fat grafting is often combined with a face lift surgery to help re-contour the face and to help rejuvenate the skin through adipose derived stem cells. This will be discussed in your consultation.
What can I expect from my facelift?
Facelift surgery, are technically known as rhytidectomies (which literally means, “removal of wrinkles”), rejuvenate the mid- to lower face and neck. Facelift surgery is most effective for patients who want to correct:
- Midface sagging
- Deep creases under the eyes
- Deep creases between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Jowls due to loss of muscle tone
- Sagging areas of fat
- Loose skin and fat under the chin and jaw
What can I not expect from my facelift surgery?
Facelift surgery can produce a dramatic improvement in appearance for patients with the problems mentioned above. However, facelift surgery does not stop the aging process; in time, signs of aging will gradually appear once again. Further, facelift surgery will not rejuvenate the brow, eyelids, nose, and some of the mid-face.
Patients who want to improve these areas may consider combining a cosmetic surgery facelift with a brow lift or eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). Injectable soft-tissue fillers, facial implants and skin resurfacing can also enhance the effects of a facelift.
Good candidates for a cosmetic surgery facelift
A face and/or neck lift is needed when injectable fillers no longer give the results that you seek. Generally, this is after the age of 40, but younger patients with a pronounced aging pattern may elect to have this procedure earlier in life.
If you are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and have realistic expectations, you will be a good candidate. Depending upon your age and needs, either a mid-face or a full face lift will be recommended.
The best potential facelift surgery patients are those who:
- Wish to improve one or more of the signs of aging indicated above
- Are men or women whose faces have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity
- Are generally healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have realistic expectations
- Are considering a facelift surgery for personal reasons, not because someone else is pressuring them to do so
During your free consultation, Dr. Dana Goldberg will discuss whether a facelift surgery is right for you. Specializing in body surgery, Dr. Goldberg does not do full facelift and necklift procedures. She can guide you to complementary procedures and recommend a facial specialist if a full face and neck lift is right for you.
Different choices for a cosmetic surgery facelift
You have undoubtedly heard of a variety of face lift surgery options. There’s the weekend lift, the 3-day face lift, the mid-face, the mini, the deep plane, the SMAS and the one that’s on the TV commercials.
A very inexpensive face lift surgery may be inexpensive because it is performed by someone with little experience and/or only tightens the skin, which looks good for about a year and then aging quickly returns to the facial structures which were not tightened underneath the skin. This is not the kind of result you want.
Dr. Goldberg will guide you to the most effective result, keeping recovery time and expenses to as reasonable a minimum as possible considering your particular aging pattern.
How the face lift surgery is performed
Face lift surgery is performed under IV sedation (twilight) or general anesthesia in our Jupiter AAASF accredited in-office surgery suite on an outpatient basis.
During a cosmetic surgery facelift, incisions are made in the temple area and around the back of the ears to facilitate lifting and reattaching the underlying tissues. The cheek pad will be lifted and the neck will be addressed to clean up the jowl area. Great care is taken to avoid visible scars, so the suturing is done around and behind the ears in women and in front of the ear for men to avoid having hair growing in the ear, since a man’s beard area may be moved upward and backward during the face lift surgery.
These incisions will heal to a faint line over a period of about six months. The length of the face lift surgery varies with the type of lift needed and whether other procedures are added, such as laser or chemical resurfacing, the injection of fat to plump up a thin face, or other procedures such as a brow lift, blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) or rhinoplasty (nose reshaping).
The way a facelift surgery is performed varies depending on the patient’s facial structure, and the extent of correction desired. The three most common incision techniques are:
- Traditional facelift: The “full” cosmetic surgery facelift for rejuvenating the face, jowls and neck, including fat sculpting, lifting and repositioning of muscle and deeper tissues, and skin trimming and re-draping. The incision begins at the temples and travels down to the front of the ear, around the earlobe, and behind the ear to the lower scalp at the hairline. Sometimes, another incision is made under the chin.
- Limited-incision cosmetic surgery facelift: For limited rejuvenation around the eyes and mouth, including nasolabial folds and other deep creases. Short incisions are made at the temples and around the ear, and possibly in the lower eyelids and/or under the upper lip as well.
- Neck lift: A neck lift concentrates on jowls, loose skin on the neck, and fat under the chin. The incision is made around the ear lobe and behind the ear to the lower scalp.
In all three methods, incisions are closed with stitches or tissue glue. Scars are hidden in the hairline and natural contours of the face.
Recovery from a facelift
For a full cosmetic surgery face lift procedure, recovery time ranges from about 7-14 days and slightly longer if additional procedures were done. You will experience some swelling and bruising, which may extend into the eyes, causing you to look as though you have black eyes.
A dressing is used for 1-2 days and a neck strap may be used afterwards as well. This can be relieved with pain medication and ice packs. Most patients are back to full activity within three weeks.
You’ll come back into the office within the first few days for your first postoperative visit at which time any non-absorbable sutures will be removed as well as any drains or packing, depending on your rate of healing.
After your rhytidectomy, Dr. Goldberg will wrap the incisions in bandages and may place drainage tubes in the area. The tubes will be taken out the next day, when your hair will be carefully washed. If surgical clips are used to hold the incisions closed, they will be removed one week after the facelift along with your stitches.
At first, you may experience swelling, numbness, bruising, and a feeling of tightness or tension in the face and neck. Your face may look uneven or distorted, and your facial muscles may feel stiff. Most of these usually resolve within 3-6 weeks, and sensation typically returns to normal within a few months. Scars become less red, raised, lumpy or itchy in time. Many patients return to work by the third week. Camouflage cosmetics can be used to minimize the appearance of bruising. You should be gentle with your skin and hair as you recover. Men may need to shave behind the neck and ears where areas of beard-growing skin have moved.
How long will my facelift surgery results last?
Results of a cosmetic surgery facelift do not last forever. You may want to have another procedure in five or ten years. But in another sense, the effects are permanent, years later, your face will continue to look better than if you had never had a facelift surgery.
Risks of a facelift
Possible complications of facelift surgery include: bleeding, infection, bruising, uneven swelling or discoloration, allergic reaction to the anesthesia, skin blistering (usually only seen in smokers), and temporary or permanent loss of sensation in the face. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of a facelift surgery with you before your surgery.