Aging alters the body in many ways, but nowhere are these harsh realities as visible as on the face. Coupled with the sun’s damaging rays, the aging process coarsens the texture of the skin, diminishes its youthful layer of fatty tissue, and causes the angularity of the face to be lost. As the skin makes its downward descent off the cheeks, jaw, and neck, it pouches into unsightly bags and overhanging jowls. These outward signs often generate comments of tiredness and questions of sadness that really belie an inner vitality. The great value of a face lift is that it can help counter this generalized facial sagging and give the face a more rested and youthful appearance.
In recent years, we have begun to understand that the face ages not only by gravitational decent , but also by sinking in due to the loss of volume. That is one of the reasons that fillers have become popular as they restore volume to the face. However, the most widely available filler to use during facelifting, is a patient’s own fat. We commonly use very small amounts of tummy or hip fat to smooth out some of the creases and depressions in the area around the mouth, the dark circles under the eyes, and even the temples and lips. The addition of fat has truly revolutionized facial rejuvenation giving patients a youthful and soft appearance as well as even improving the quality of the skin.
About the Procedure
A face lift removes excess skin and fat from the face and neck area through incisions that start beneath the sideburn, then follow the natural curves and creases where the ear meets the face. A short scar facelift (minilift) will be able to be done through this incision alone. If one has a considerable amount of neck skin laxity, the incision will need to be extended behind the ear back into the hairline. These incisions all typically heal inconspicuously. The facelift repositions and supports the underlying structures and drooping skin. The preoperative analysis evaluates the quality of the skin, looseness at the jawline, the angle from the chin to the bottom of the neck, and the amount of fat and excess skin present in the neck area. The results are very dependent on the elasticity of the skin. If the skin has had extensive damage, additional procedures may be required. The face lift can best correct skin laxity in the face and neck as well as contour problems caused by protruding fat.
After a face lift, a secondary procedure may be performed when new sagging appears in facial and neck tissue. This procedure is referred to as a facial “tuck-up” or a minilift.
In every face, regardless of the person’s age, some slack can be found. Following surgery, the aging process continues and the skin loses more of its elastic properties. Gravity causes the loose skin to accumulate along the jaws, along the sides of the mouth and in the center of the neck under the chin. The minilift usually requires less surgery than the initial procedure. The incisions and scars are in about the same places as with a face lift, but the recovery period is usually shorter.
It is impossible to predict when – and to what extent – this may happen. Genetics, age differences, ethnic backgrounds, stress, illness, and nutrition all play a role in how soon minilift procedures may be considered.
Recovery and Healing
Facelifts can either be done under local anesthetics with sedation or under a light general anesthetic. Many patients prefer the latter simply for comfort and to make sure that they remain comfortably asleep for the entire duration of the procedure. When the facelift is being done along with the eyelids and the brow, the procedure can last up to four to six hours. Therefore, your comfort and safety are our highest priority. We prefer that you spend one night in the Hyatt Place Hotel behind our facility with one of our caregivers to make sure that your first evening is as easy for you as possible. We will monitor you to make sure that your recovery is as smooth as it can be.
As with any surgical procedure, the general risks include bleeding, infection, and anesthesia complications. Though rare, you may develop a pocket of blood and fluid, called a hematoma. This would probably need to be removed by releasing a few sutures and removing the collection. You should expect to have little discomfort, but any that occurs can be controlled with pain medication. Intense pain is a sign that you should call your doctor.
There will probably be decreased sensation of the face for a month or so with a gradual return to normal. You can expect to feel, but not usually see, a few little bumps that will even out over time. There will be permanent scars from the procedure that at first will be red, but should fade and become inconspicuous.