A face lift pulls the skin of the face and upper neck tighter (below). The sagging and wrinkling that occurs with age is thus improved. With newer techniques, the deeper tissues of the face and muscles of the upper neck are also lifted, giving greater improvement. Excess fat, particularly below the chin, can be removed.
The incisions are placed within the hairline and immediately around the ear within the natural skin lines so that nothing is visible except on very close inspection. The skin of the face and upper neck is extensively undermined through these incisions. The deeper tissues are then tightened and repositioned. Excess fat is often removed from the neck. The skin is then re-draped and extra skin removed.
Who is it for?
Unless you suffer from a familial problem such as a short/fat neck or have severe sun damage, a face lift is rarely needed before the age of forty. As long as your health is stable, a face lift can be performed at almost any age into the seventies or eighties.
Of course, a face lift will not make a sixty year old look twenty again. It will generally make you look a few years younger. More importantly though, it will make you look more rested, healthy and cheerful. Following a face lift, you will continue to experience the changes of aging in your face. However, the effect is long lasting. You will continue to look younger than you would if the procedure had not been performed.
Often, a face lift is combined with other procedures such as liposuction of the neck (use of small tube to suck out the fat), fat grafting to the face, raising the tip of the nose, reducing the size of droopy earlobes or performing a blepharoplasty (eyelid tuck).
Movement of the deeper tissues gives a longer lasting result, with less tension and pulling on the skin. For most patients, I use the “sub-periosteal” technique, lifting all the soft tissues upwards on the cheekbones, and tightening the muscles of the neck.
Younger patients, with less skin looseness, can be lifted through incisions in the scalp only, using an endoscope (like other scopes used for minimal incision surgery like arthroscopy of the knee).
If needed however, a face lift can be repeated after five or ten years. To avoid a frozen expression, I am cautious not to pull the skin too tight at a second or third operation.
What to expect
General anesthesia is commonly used. If you prefer, your face lift can be done under local anesthesia (injections to freeze the tissues) with sedation. You may be a day patient or have an overnight stay in a post-surgical facility afterwards.
You will have a bulky dressing on your head and neck for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours following surgery. There will be bruising of the face and neck for about two to three weeks after the surgery. Temporary weakness of facial movements is common in this period.
Most of the swelling of the face settles within the first five to seven days. The skin of the face will remain numb for about three months as the tiny branches of the sensory nerves to the skin are cut when the skin is undermined.
A face lift makes you look more youthful. More importantly though, you will look relaxed and rested. A good result will not look “operated”, but rather people will comment that you look well and happy — “have you been on vacation?”.
If you are considering a Facelift and are located in or around Orange County, please click here to contact Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Bailey, to setup a consultation.
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