We are recognized as individuals by the appearance of our face. Not only does the face provide recognition, it is also the place that we convey many of out thoughts and feelings. Think of a mother’s smile.
As we age the effects of time are displayed on our faces. Each person considering a facelift has a unique set of concerns and goals. Aging is a result of loss of elasticity in the skin usually associated with a variety of factors such as heredity, gravity, and environment, e.g. sun exposure and stress. Some habits – for example, cigarette use – are particularly destructive to the face and accelerate the appearance of aging. The results of these factors on the face is loss of elasticity of the skin. With time, there is evidence of excess skin around the eyes and the cheeks usually called jowls and the hanging or excess skin of the neck. In addition, lines begin to develop in and around areas of the face, called wrinkles or rhytids.
Dr. Sampson sees each facelift patient as an individual. His interest is in creating a natural, appealing result you can enjoy for years to come. Request an appointment and meet with Dr. Sampson today.
Choosing a Facelift
The facelift is a procedure that treats the visible signs of aging in the face and neck. It treats the sagging skin to the mid-face and the nasolabial fold. Fat that has fallen in the lower face may create jowls and loose skin around the neck may produce a double chin. These issues all create an appearance that manifest aging. A facelift is designed to correct these facial deformities and will produce a more youthful and rested appearance. It is not a procedure to change the fundamental appearance of the face.
Over the last few decades, various techniques have been developed to provide an alternative for the full or traditional facelift. These procedures have various names such as mini-facelift or mini-lift. These techniques cover the same basic anatomy, but may vary in the extent of dissection or lifting of skin and in addition, may vary in the areas that are treated by the particular techniques.
At your consultation with Dr. Sampson, he will discuss the individualized plan for your care. Including whether the limited procedures, mini-facelift or mini-lift is a good procedure for your care. Additional techniques that may enhance your surgical results are procedures such as eyelid surgery, brow lift, liposuction of the neck, fat injection to the nasolabial folds or the use of resurfacing techniques such as lasers or chemical peels.
The facelift incision usually begins in the hairline at the temple. The incision continues behind the ear. The skin is raised to expose the underlying tissue. This underlying tissue made up of fat and a thick structure called the SMAS is repositioned and sculptured to improve facial appearance. The overlying skin is then re-draped and sutured close. Sometimes a second incision is placed under the chin to improve the contour of the neck or a liposuction cannula can be used to reduce the fat from the neck.
Initially, there will be swelling and numbness following a facelift procedure. The pain is usually not severe and is easily treated with pain medication. It is not unusual for skin to be bruised or discolored.
Dr. Sampson and plastic surgery staff will instruct you to elevate your head to reduce the swelling. No vigorous activity should be planned in the initial weeks following surgery. Showers and washing the face can be resumed the day after surgery and you can return to normal, light activity within a few days following surgery.
It is important to understand the recovery after surgery and it is very individualized. The recommendations here are meant to be guidelines not strict dogma. One should not plan any large, social engagements within 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. However, return to work is generally within that time period. The office visit regimen is very individualized according to the needs of our patients. However, if you need specific information, please ask.
It may take several months for swelling and healing to take place. The scars will improve as time goes along, but may take over 6 months to fade to an acceptable level.
Risks & Complications
All patients vary in the ability to heal, effects of scarring, and of course, expectations of surgery. Fortunately, the complications of a facelift are quite limited, infrequent, and usually minor. Your consultation and pre-operative evaluation will pay much attention to your general health and cardiac history. Other potential complications include infection, hematoma (blood under the skin), and injury to nerves or muscles. It is importance to stop the use of cigarettes and aspirin or other blood thinners before surgery.
Facelifts: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a facelift?
A facelift is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the face. It smoothes loose skin and contours the neck. It is also known as rhytidectomy.
What benefits should I expect?
A facelift will reduce the signs of aging in the face and produce a fresher, younger look.
Will a facelift make me look 25 years old?
For most patients, a facelift produces an improvement in the appearance. It will not make you look like you are again 25 years old.
Does it hurt?
As with any surgical procedure, there is associated pain and discomfort. These pains can usually be easily managed with prescription pain medication.
How many years will it take off?
The amount of age reversal is a difficult question to answer. The results of a facelift will improve appearance and produce a more rested appearance. It is quite difficult to tell with any degree of accuracy the amount of age reversal.
It is a facelift performed under general or local anesthesia?
Some limited facelift procedures such as a mini-facelift or mini-lift can be done under local anesthesia (like a dentist uses). Most surgeons performing the traditional procedure prefer to operate under more controlled anesthesia. For example, “local with sedation” or general anesthesia.
How long before I will need a refresher procedure?
Every patient is different, but generally, it will be 5 to 10 years before one needs another facelift. But, please remember that expectation of the aging process plays an important part in the equation.
Are there any risks?
Like all surgical procedures, facelifts have risks including, bleeding, infection, and risks of anesthesia. Other more specific risks include hematoma, i.e. bleeding under the skin, injury to nerves or muscles, usually temporary, necrosis, death of skin, usually associated with smoking.