Face Lifts Facts

Face lifts (rhytidectomies) are commonly performed all over the USA. When done well, the procedure can improve the individual's appearance which will reveal a younger looking skin, with a soft texture and wrinkle free face.

The amount of improvement after a face lift is variable and depends on your

- surgeon

- age

- bony structure

- skin type

- social habits like smoking

- sun loving affinity

Minor face lift is a short procedure and can be accomplished in a matter of hours under local anesthesia. The more complex procedures need general anesthesia and can be prolonged often requiring 3-5 hours.

The classic and commonly performed face lift procedures are:

SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system): This is the most commonly performed face lift procedure. It involves an incision at the hairline and separating the skin from the underlying bone and muscles. The excess fat and loose tissue are removed and the muscles are tightened. The procedure can be done to reduce fat on the chin and neck.

The endoscopic subperiosteal (subgaleal face-lift) does not require extensive surgery and is less invasive. By raising the facial structures the skin is tightened. The procedure is less painful and has a rapid recovery. Because of the very small skin incisions, scarring is minimized.

Recovery Process. Most individuals who undergo a facelift need some time off; the recovery period may vary from several weeks to a few months. The most common immediate side effects of surgery are:

- pain which may be mild to moderate

- swelling

- bruising

- Numbness or tingling around the lips or mouth.

Complications. Rhytidectomy like any surgery is not risk free. Despite the best surgeon and the safest technique, close to 2% of individuals develop some type of complication.

The most common complication is collection of blood (hematoms) which often require drainage. Minor blood collections will usually resolve on their own, but all large collections will require removal. If hematomas are left alone, the chances of infection and skin breakdown are high.

Other rare complications of facelift include:

- skin infection

- excessive bleeding

- asymmetric facial features

- delayed or poor healing

- scarring or keloid formation

- permanent nerve injury to the facial muscles

One should be aware that these complications are rare, particularly when the face lift is perofrmed by a good surgeon: but the more complex the face lifts, the greater the risk.

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