Why Facelift May Be Right for You
A facelift is the operation that no one admits to wanting or needing, until they are shown the potential results of this facial rejuvenation treatment. Patients are afraid of the stigma of facelift surgery; actors and actresses that have been "overdone" resulting in an unnatural appearance of being in a wind tunnel, or distortion of the mouth or eyes. These risks are all completely avoidable if the surgery is performed correctly. Unfortunately it is difficult to avoid this outcome when too many procedures have been performed.
There is no "best" age to have this procedure, as we all age at different rates. In my practice, the age range has been from 39 to 88 years of age. When the signs of aging (such as loose skin and fat in the neck, jowl formation along the jaw line, and sagging of the cheeks) begin to develop, it is the time to consider a facelift.
A standard facelift does not address the eyes or forehead, as these are separate areas that can be addressed with eyelid surgery or a browlift. The procedures can be done at the same time as a facelift. To see what the effects of a facelift may be, lie down and look up at a hand mirror. This position puts gravity in a positive vector, and this should be the anticipated result of facelift surgery.
Over the past 20 years, the complexity of the surgery has increased greatly. Originally, the skin was undermined and lifted, but now the deeper facial structures are also addressed. The incisions are normally made around the ear, extending into the hair-bearing scalp in front, and behind the ear. With healing and time, these incisions are well concealed in natural creases of the hairline. The deeper facial tissues are also tightened, and often liposuction of the neck or jowls is performed.
The facelift operation is normally performed under "twilight," or deep intravenous sedation, with the help of an anesthesiologist. Most facelifts take three to four hours to perform, and are done on a daycare basis. Stitches are removed over the course of the first 10 days, and most patients are socially presentable at two to three weeks. All patients will have temporary numbness of the skin of the cheeks and neck, but this will return in the first few months after surgery.
Complications such as infection, hematoma (a blood clot under the skin), and weakness of the facial muscles are all rare, in the range of one in 100 cases. Should these complications arise, your board certified plastic surgeon is more than capable of dealing with them.
Although they are not for everyone, a facelift should give you a rejuvenated appearance, not an "operated" look. Your friends should ask questions about your appearance, such as have you been away, have you lost weight, or did you change your hair? All of these are compliments to you and your surgeon, as no one knows why you look better, only that you do!
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