A facelift is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures available, designed to treat wrinkles, sagging and skin laxity within the face for a younger, more refreshed appearance. As we age, the effects of time, gravity, sun exposure and stress inevitably take their toll on our faces, producing wrinkles, folds, fat deposits and loose skin.
Patients unhappy with the changing appearance of their face may seek relief through a facelift. This time-tested procedure targets the mid- to lower face, including the cheeks, mouth, chin and neck. Ideal candidates are usually those in their 40s, 50s or 60s looking to reverse the early signs of aging in the face, are generally healthy and have realistic expectations for surgery.
During the facelift procedure, an incision is made around the ear, sometimes extending into the scalp. There are several different techniques that may be used depending on each patient’s facial structure and desired goals, but most include sculpting, lifting and repositioning the underlying fat, muscle and deep tissues, while also trimming and redraping the skin for dramatic yet natural-looking results.
In most cases, a facelift is performed under general anesthesia, but may be performed under a local anesthetic and sedation for some patients. The entire procedure usually takes two to four hours to perform on an outpatient basis.
After a facelift, patients may experience mild discomfort, bruising, swelling and drainage for a few days. You can wash your hair after two days and can likely return to work within a week. It is recommended that patients avoid strenuous activity for four to six weeks after surgery until swelling has completely subsided.
The results of the facelift will be immediately noticeable and will continue to improve for up to three months, as swelling and other side effects begin to fade. While results are not permanent and do not make patients immune to the effects of aging, you will continue to look younger than if you had never undergone any treatment.
Browlifts (forehead lifts) can revitalize drooping or lined foreheads, helping you look less angry, sad or tired. Using either traditional or minimally invasive (endoscopic) methods, browlifts involve the removal or alteration of the muscles above the eyes to smooth lines and raise the eyebrows for a more youthful appearance. The procedure is often combined with other operations such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) and facelifts to improve the look of the eyes and other areas of the face.
First, the patient’s hair is tied with rubber bands near the incision site. Then the surgeon makes a coronal (headphone-shaped) incision behind the hairline, stretching between the ears and across the top of the forehead. The incision may be placed further back or made along the skull bone joints to minimize its appearance in patients with thinning hair or who are bald. Then the forehead skin is lifted, tissue is removed, muscles are adjusted and the eyebrows may be lifted. Excess skin is trimmed and the incision is closed with stitches or clips. The site is washed and the rubber bands are removed. Some surgeons will protect the stitches with gauze or bandages.
After the hair is tied as with the traditional procedure, the surgeon makes three to five short incisions (less than an inch long) behind the hairline. The endoscope is placed in one so the surgeon can see beneath the skin without having to make a large incision, while he or she lifts the skin and adjusts muscles through the other incisions. If the eyebrows are lifted they will be stitched or screwed (temporarily) into place. The site is washed and the rubber bands are removed. Some surgeons will protect the stitches with gauze or bandages.
With both procedures, you will be on your feet and able to wash your hair in a day or two, and many patients return to work or school in 7-10 days or less. Swelling and bruising should fade by the third week.