Facelifts and Facts

Facelift is a very common cosmetic procedure performed in the USA. It is also known as rhytidectomy. More than a billion dollars are spent annually by individuals to improve the facial features and each year both the numbers of individuals wanting the procedure and the amount of money spent is increasing.

The major aim of facelift surgery is to treat the facial skin sagging and loose tone.

When done well, the benefits of facelift surgery may last anywhere from 8-10 years

The Procedure

There are numerous versions of facelift surgery. The common variations of the procedure include

Deep plane lift: The deep plane facelift treats the underlying tissue layer or layers and muscles to provide the longest facial rejuvenation benefit. The procedure can greatly improve the appearance of the face for older patients who wish to see a dramatic change.

Composite lift: The skin lift is signified by lifting and repositioning the surface skin layer in patients who request a less significant change in the appearance of the face.

Mini lift: The mini-facelift term has been used to describe the least invasive approach that provides for a more temporary solution in younger patients who are not yet true facelift candidates. Consumers may also hear the term S-Lift, which describes the type of incision that is used in the procedures. This incision starts at the base of the sideburn and continues on the inside of the ear to form an S shape

Subperiosteal lift: This is a less invasive facelift is the Subperiosteal lift, whereby tissue on the bone is lifted in patients who require an actual change in facial appearance, including areas of the face that facial implants must be used for.

Scar lift: A short scar facelift is used to describe the short length of the scar. A full scar facelift is used to describe the longer scar. This type of face lift achieves all the goals of any face lift, thought they are achieve with less scarring. The short scar face lift also allows for a more vertical face lift with intense focus around the cheek.

Thread lift: in this procedure, special thread with hooks engage the loose skin and pull the tissues, thus providing an immediate aesthetic looking face

Furthermore, there is also the isolated midfacial lift which addresses the deeper tissues and is more appropriate for patients with more facial aging in the cheek area.

Only a consultation with a surgeon will delineate which one of these procedures you are the best candidate for.

Irrespective of the procedure, all of them are designed to remove the sagging skin and improve the skin tone.

The majority of facelift procedures require general anesthesia. The time of the procedure is variable depending on the extent of revision and reconstruction but in most cases average about 90-120 minutes.

Cosmetic surgeons have designed ingenuous ways to hide the surgical scars. All incisions for the face lift are hidden by the natural creases, temples, in front or at the edge of the ear or behind the ear

The surgeon then separates the skin and muscles of the face from the deeper facial tissues.

In the open surgical procedures, the skin may be tightened or reshaped by either removing the excess skin and or muscles.

When the surgery has been extensive and it is expected that there may be swelling or blood collection underneath the skin, the surgeon may leave small plastic tubes (Drains) to remove this fluid. The drains limit the swelling and help decrease the swelling after surgery. The drains are usually removed in a few days

Some minor face lifts can be done under local anesthesia also.

Recovery after Facelift Surgery

After every facelift procedure, some degree of facial swelling is common. The swelling may occur on the eyelids and especially where the incisions are made. In all cases, there is a loose dressing applied to the face area.

Some physicians apply a plastic compression garment after surgery to help limit the swelling and improve the skin tone.

Pain of mild to moderate intensity is common after the procedure. An odd ache over the face is present for at least a few days after the procedure. The pain is easily controlled with over the counter pain medications.

Soon after surgery, it is not recommended that one participate in heavy exercise for at least 4-6 weeks.

Most individuals delay all social and professional activities for at least 3-4 weeks.

Immediately after the surgery, the texture of the skin is not smooth and may feel rough for at least a few months after the procedure.

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