A facelift refers to improvements in the appearance of the face. This area lies between the lower part of your eyes and the border of the jaw. What results from aging are jowls, deeper nasolabial folds and “marionette” lines. The corner of the mouth drops and a groove can develop on either side of the chin. It’s not fun, but for most of us it is a reality.
It usually starts in the mid to late thirties and advances steadily from there. Some patients will experience more advanced signs of aging than others because of their genetics (check out your parents if you want to know what is coming your way).
Although you may have heard of ways to obtain a facelift without “surgery”, trust me there is no substitute for a “real” facelift. Surgeons may vary on some details of their procedure, but most involve an incision around the ear and in the sideburn area. Loose, sagging skin can only be improved if it is “lifted” back from where it was in the younger years. A facelift is the gold standard for facial rejuvenation and one of several facial procedures we offer.
Dr. Caridi’s Take
There are many different types of face lifting procedures and it’s very easy for patients to get confused. Many non-plastic surgeons have gotten into the mix offering all sorts of interesting procedures. Patients very much like the results of a good face lift but they fear surgery. Unfortunately, non surgical techniques have fallen far short of their expectations (despite the marketing promises). The “revolution” in facial plastic surgery is the creative and artistic application of the various procedures that when combined leave the patient with a beautiful, natural result, with little evidence of “surgery”.
The Facelift Procedure
Depending on the type of face lift and your own anesthesia desires, you may need local, IV sedation or general anesthesia.
Risks and Benefits:
Bruising and swelling is the most prominent part of the early recovery period. Numbness of the face is typical and temporary. The face will feel tight. Pain is not a sensation typically associated with a facelift. Face lifting in men will result in the permanent need to shave behind ears, where beard-growing skin is repositioned. Other risks include injury to the nerves that control facial muscles or feeling (usually temporary but may be permanent), infection, bleeding and hematoma, poor healing, excessive scarring, asymmetry, or change in hairline. The benefit of a facelift is a more youthful and refreshed appearance and all that comes with it.
Since a facelift involves an area that is hard to hide or conceal, recovery is usually limited to the time period you feel comfortable going into the public eye. For most patients, this is about a week to ten days. It takes about six weeks to feel you are truly getting back to normal and you will look your best about six months afterwards.
The key to recovery from a face and neck lift is to keep your head elevated, don’t open your mouth wide, and to limit movement of your neck especially for the first week. Drains, if used, are typically removed within three days. Exertion and exercise is typically avoided for about two weeks. Makeup can be worn after five days. Avoid spending time in the mirror examining yourself for peace of mind. I will often suggest the use of lite sedatives in the post-operative time period as it helps make it easier. If you commit for a face lift you should commit to the recovery as well.