As people age, traces of gravity, the sun, and the stresses of everyday life start to change the face.
Deep lines start to form between the nose and mouth, the jawline becomes looser and the neck may start to accumulate fat.
Aging causes the skin to lose its elasticity, and the subcutaneous adipose tissue becomes thinner. This causes the formation of wrinkles and lines that become deeper over time. This is called the aging of the face.
Facelift surgery consists of incisions on specific spots of the aging skin, pulling and stretching this skin upwards from the sides of the face, and suturing it to its new location. As with any surgery, face lifts have key considerations. One of the most important issues is preserving the facial nerve, which is responsible for the movement of face muscles. This nerve branches into thinner nerves in both sides of the face.
Face lift cannot stop the aging. However, this procedure can ‘turn the clock back’ and rejuvenate the face. The aging clock can be turned back but will continue to work. Some patients require a second surgery after 7-15 years, while most patients do not require a second facelift.
Cosmetic procedures usually aim to restore a more youthful appearance by correcting the signs of aging, such as removing excess fat, stretching muscles, and stretching the skin of the face and neck.
It is possible to combine facelifts with other surgical interventions, such as forehead lift, or cosmetic eyelid or nose surgeries.
It is not advisable to combine cosmetic nose and eyelid surgeries as eyelids are likely to swell after nose jobs, which can cause ruptures in the sutures. We recommend the nose job to be performed prior to the eyelid surgery.
Patients with sagging necks who still have an elastic skin and strong bones are the best candidates for a face lift. The median age for a facelift is about 60 years old.
A face lift will make you look younger and will increase your self-esteem. But please remember that no cosmetic surgery can give you a completely different look or bring back the health and vitality of your youth.
Face lifts are associated with a low risk of complications when performed by an experienced surgeon. However, the human anatomy, physical reactions and recovery process is variable among people, which adds to the unpredictability of the outcomes.
Possible complications include hematoma (collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon), damage to facial nerves (transient), infection, and reactions to anesthesia.
If you are a smoker, you will be recommended to quit smoking for better outcomes.
You will also need to stop using certain medications, such as aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs, prior to the operation as these drugs increase the risk of bleeding.
If your hair is too short, you can grow it out prior to the operation to hide incisions. If you are overweight, it may be helpful to lose 6-7 kilos.
The operation itself can take several hours or more, depending on the extent of the cosmetic surgery. The exact location of the incisions and the operation depend on the structure of the face and the surgical technique.
The incision will most probably extend from behind the hairline to the natural line in front of the ear (or through the cartilage in front of the ear) and will continue from behind ear lobule towards the occipital region.
If the neck will also be operated on, there may also be a small incision under the chin. The surgeon will separate the skin from the underlying fat and muscle tissue. It is possible to remove fatty tissue from the neck to correct the contour. Subsequently, the underlying muscle tissue is tightened, and the excess skin is removed.
The sutures preserve the tissues and cover the incisions. Staples can be used instead of sutures on the scalp. After the surgery, the surgeon will insert a surgical drain under the skin behind the ear to drain any collecting blood. The surgeon may also wrap the head loosely to prevent swelling and bruising.
The surgical incision will extend from the scalp at the forehead to in front of the ear and will reenter the scalp. The portion of the incision that is in front of the ear is the only part that will be visible after the operation,
and will not be noticeable without close inspection. It can easily be covered with light makeup. The skin is repaired with delicate sutures for minimum scarring.
Most patients can return to work within 2-3 weeks. For important social appointments, you should wait 4-8 weeks. There will be some degree of bruises and swelling in the face. This is natural. However, you should immediately report any severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of the face to your surgeon.
Some numbness is natural, this will improve within several weeks or months. Your surgeon will recommend you to keep your head lifted and for you to sit upright for several days in order to reduce swelling. Any inserted surgical drain will be removed within 2 days. The bandage will be removed the next day and replaced with wound dressing.
Some of the sutures will be removed after five days; however, it may take a little longer for sutures of the scalp to completely heal. The patient will be able to stand up in 2 days.
Please be gentle with the face and the scalp during this time, as the skin will be tense and numb. Your physician will inform you about when you can go back to specific daily activities.
Avoiding heavy housework or physical activity for at least 2 weeks (walking and light stretching are acceptable), abstaining from alcohol, steam baths and sauna for several months. These measures will allow the body to rest and focus its energy on recovery.