Whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s, you might have noticed signs of aging on your face. You might still have good skin tone, but your skin is looser than it used to be. You might see creases, sagging, and wrinkles too. A face lift can take years away from your appearance. Even if you’re beyond your 70s, Dr. Kaplan can help you look more refreshed, less tired, and more attractive.
What is a Facelift?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:
- Sagging in the middle of your face
- Deep creases below the lower eyelids
- Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
- Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
- Loss of skin tone in the lower face that creates jowls
- Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw can give even a person of normal weight the appearance of a double chin
The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions, and stress.
What is a Neck lift?
A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the jawline and neck, such as:
- Excess fat and skin relaxation in the lower face that creates jowls
- Excess fatty deposits under the chin
- Loose neck skin
- Muscle banding in the neck, which created abnormal contours
The loss of youthful contours in the face and neck can be due to a variety of factors, including heredity, gravity, environmental conditions, and stress.
Some people feel they are not ready for a full facelift because the upper face is still pleasing. However, many patients will note excess wrinkling of the neck skin, a “turkey wattle” or double chin, and jowl lines.
When the neck area doesn’t match the upper facial appearance, a neck lift may be a good solution.
Rejuvenation procedures that can be performed in conjunction with a neck lift are: a brow lift, to correct a sagging or deeply furrowed brow, fat transfer, to add fullness to the lips and cheeks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, or eyelid surgery, to rejuvenate aging eyes.
Just as everyone’s face is unique, everyone’s facelift surgery is too. Your facelift will be carefully customized to best suit your unique facial dimensions, skin type, bone structure, and your own personal goals. Many women and men combine their facelift with a neck lift, eyelid surgery, or other facial procedure for a more comprehensive enhancement. The placement of incisions, length of surgery, and the actual methods of surgical procedures will vary depending on the technique your plastic surgeon feels will give you the best possible results.
Facelift surgery involves incisions close to the hairline and the front of the ear as well as behind the ear. In some cases, if the skin under the neck requires tightening, incisions will be made in the area below the chin. Dr. Kaplan will then remove excess fatty tissue, either surgically or through liposuction, that has accumulated on the neck and chin areas. The muscle and tissue under the loosened skin are then tightened, the skin is repositioned, and any excess skin is removed. The incisions are closed by stitches and special clips are used to secure the incisions around the scalp line.
A facelift normally takes a few hours to complete and may take longer if you are having more than one procedure performed. When the surgery is complete, Dr. Kaplan may place a temporary drainage tube behind your ear to assist with the elimination of any collected blood from the surgery.
Most people have relatively little discomfort after facelift surgery, and any discomfort that may occur can be quite effectively managed through prescription medication. There is often some loss of sensitivity of some of the skin after the surgery, but this normally disappears within just a short period of time.
Dr. Kaplan may advise you to try to keep your head in an elevated position for a few days following your surgery to help minimize swelling. If you have had bandages placed after your surgery, you can expect them to be removed within a week’s time, and the better part of your stitches will most likely come out within the same time period. The special sutures around your scalp might have to remain slightly longer than your stitches because that area may take a little longer to begin to heal.
One of the most important ways to promote the healing process after facelift surgery is to have ample rest and allow your body to focus on the healing process. You’ll be active in just a few days, but you should count on relaxing for at least a week after your facelift surgery. Take special care to skip all activity that is arduous, put off sex, and don’t do heavy cleaning around the house for a couple of weeks. You should also refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages and taking hot, steamy baths. It’s important to avoid exposing yourself to strong, direct sunlight for the first few months as well.
Keep in mind that your face has undergone a significant procedure and it will take some time for it to regain its normal appearance. In the first days and even weeks of your recovery process you may have a feeling of disappointment and even feelings of sadness about the way you look when you see yourself in the mirror. Your face may feel numb in areas. It may look and feel stiff. Your facial movements may be awkward. You will have bruising for a couple of weeks.
But all of these conditions will gradually lessen and your new, freshened appearance will begin to appear within about 3 weeks.
Potential Risks and Complications
Rarely are there serious or long-lasting complications from facelift surgery. But, as with all surgeries, there are potential complications that may occur. In rare cases, blood may collect under a certain area of the skin that will have to be removed by Dr. Kaplan. Also in rare instances, facial muscles or nerves may be affected and cause temporary stiffness or awkward movements.
You should follow the directions Dr. Kaplan gives you before and after your facelift surgery to minimize the occurrence of complications and to promote the healing process.
Common Questions About FaceliftS
Where will my facelift surgery be performed?
In most cases, facelift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in a hospital. Some plastic surgeons may decide to have a patient stay in the hospital overnight, depending on the type of anesthesia that is used for the surgery. Other medical conditions may necessitate an overnight hospital stay. Dr. Kaplan will discuss these options with you during your consultation.
How soon will I be able to return to work?
In most cases, facelift surgery patients are able to return to their jobs within a 2-week period, depending on the individual’s healing process and physical stamina.
How will my face look right after my surgery?
When you first see your face after your surgery, you may be disappointed about how it looks. You may see some bruising, and you will notice that your face looks swollen. Keep in mind that during your healing process these things will all fade and you will soon see the benefits of your facelift surgery.
How long will my facelift last?
Don’t expect your face to never age again after facelift surgery. The aging process is a fact of life. However, you will still look more refreshed and younger than if you hadn’t had your surgery. Some people have more than one facelift over a period of years to maintain their freshened appearance.
Will the scars be noticeable?
There is no way to avoid permanent scars with facelift surgery. The good news is that these scars are usually quite undetectable because they will be hidden behind your hairline or in the natural folds of your face and around your ears.