Am I A Candidate?
Candidates for a facelift include those people with prominent lines or folds that run from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth, jowls or loss of definition of the jaw line, deep wrinkles or sagging of the cheeks, or loose skin, fat, or bands along the length of the neck.
How Is Surgery Performed?
There are a lot of variations in the surgical approach to a facelift, but an incision is usually hidden around the front and back of the ear, underneath the earlobe, and back into the hairline. A small incision is also required underneath the chin. The skin is then freed from the underlying tissues of the face and neck. The skin is then pulled up and back, and the extra skin is removed. Deeper structures of the face and neck are also tightened or repositioned. The small incision underneath the chin allows for removal of fat in the neck, as well as tightening of the muscular bands.
What Are The Risks?
Significant complications from face and neck lifts are rare. Some of the potential complications that will be explained to you during your consultation include hematoma (collection of blood underneath the skin that may require evacuation), infection, and injury to underlying structures (ie. nerves) albeit usually temporary. Although the incisions are often hidden, scarring and displacement can occur because of individual variations in healing. These risks can be minimized by following instructions that you will be given before and after surgery.
What Can I Expect?
Recovery time varies among patients. After surgery, you will need to keep your head elevated at all times. You will notice swelling, bruising, and discoloration, which will not always be even or symmetrical. The maximal amount of swelling occurs one to two days after surgery, and can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to completely resolve. Bandages are removed and changed the day after surgery in our medical spa to allow for hair washing. An elastic bandage will need to be worn for a few weeks thereafter for support and compression. Most of the bruising will disappear by two weeks. Make-up is allowed a few days after surgery. You may also experience some temporary facial numbness. The sutures are removed in 4 to 7 days while the clips in the hair-bearing areas are removed in about two weeks.
Straining and heavy exercise is restricted for 6 weeks. You will usually be able to resume normal activities within 2 weeks. The use of a sunblock and avoidance of direct sunlight is highly recommended.
How Long Do The Results Last?
Your results can vary from subtle to dramatic, depending upon your facial features and what you want to accomplish. Because the healing process is a gradual one, you can expect stable results at about 6 weeks. Minor changes in settling may take up to several months. Individual variables along with surgical technique can influence the duration of a face/neck lift, but patients are usually pleased with the restoration of a smoother and more pleasing contour to their face and neck for many years.
You will return to Dr. Lee’s office at prescribed intervals for follow-up. Your relationship continues with our practice every step of the way so that all of your questions and concerns can be addressed during your recovery.