Facelift: Frequently Asked Questions
Facelift is a major surgery. If you are considering one, you probably have lots of questions about the risks, recovery and cost. Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about rhytidectomy, along with their answers:
- What is a facelift?
- Am I a good candidate for a facelift?
- At what age is facelift usually performed?
- What does a typical facelift consultation entail?
- How is a facelift performed?
- What are the different facelift techniques?
- What should I expect postoperatively?
- When will the sutures/surgical staples be taken out?
- Will there be scarring?
- What kind of downtime can I expect with this procedure?
- When will I be able to see the results of my facelift?
- What are the risks of facelift?
- How long do the effects of a facelift last?
- What is a stem cell facelift?
A facelift, also known as rhytidoplasty or rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgery procedure designed to improve the signs of aging on the face by tightening the sagging skin and underlying muscles, and by removing excess skin and fat.
If your skin is starting to sag around your jowls and face, if you appear tired when you are not, or if you think you just don't look as young as you feel, a facelift might be right for you.
There really is no typical age for a facelift anymore. People in their 30s have facelifts, as do people in their 80s and every age in between.
At your consultation, both you and the surgeon get to ask each other questions and get a feel for whether you can work well together to accomplish your goals. Be frank about why you think you need a facelift, and then listen carefully while the surgeon explains what can be achieved realistically. Bring photos of yourself at an earlier age to show how you used to look so that your surgeon can give you the most natural look possible. The surgeon will also discuss fees, anesthesia, and the risks associated with a facelift procedure.
A facelift operation is usually performed as a day surgery under general or light sleep anesthesia. It typically takes between two and six hours to perform, longer if you choose to have one or more additional procedures performed at the same time. The surgeon places the incisions as inconspicuously as possible above your hairline and in the natural fold in front of the ear where the scar will be hidden. The surgeon loosens the facial skin from the underlying fat and muscle, tightens the muscle and fascia underneath, and then redrapes the skin, trimming and suturing or stapling it into position. This is a facelift in its simplest form.
There are several different categories of facelifts including the mid-facelift, mini-facelift, and temporal lift. Deep facelifts that involve adjusting the facial muscles known as SMAS (sub-muscular aponeurotic system) tighten the jowls, cheeks and face in general. The temporal lift can help get rid of wrinkles in the mid-face area.
Following your facelift, your face will be swollen, sore, tender and probably bruised for several days. It will be covered with a fluffy bandage that is usually replaced with an elastic wrap by day two. Swelling will be at its worst about three days after surgery and will begin to disappear within the first few weeks.
Stitches are usually removed around day five; surgical staples, which are used in the scalp, may be removed seven to 10 days after surgery. This is not usually a painful process, but your surgeon can provide an anesthetic if necessary.
Scarring is a given with all surgery, so it's more a question of visibility. Facelift scars are hidden in the hairline, in the folds behind the ears or under the jawline, so they are not very noticeable. If your surgeon uses a less invasive endoscopic technique for your facelift, the scars will be even more inconspicuous.
Depending on how extensive your facelift was and how active your job is, you can expect to return to work about a week to 10 days after your surgery, although you will likely need to conceal residual bruises with cosmetics. With your surgeon's permission, you can resume most of your normal activities after about three weeks.
As your swelling subsides, you will begin to notice that your facial skin and underlying muscle appear firmer, usually within weeks of your surgery. Be patient, however, as it can take months for the final results to emerge.
Facelift risks include a chance of infection, hematoma (blood pooling), nerve damage and resulting numbness, and permanent discolorations caused by the bruising. You may also have uneven results (known as asymmetry) or be unhappy with your facelift results in general.
The benefits of a facelift last about 10 years, so depending on how old you are when you have a facelift, you may need another down the road.
A stem cell facelift, sometimes called a liquid facelift, is actually a facial rejuvenation procedure that involves fat grafting to the face to add volume and contour. During a stem cell facelift, fat cells (and the stem cells within them) are extracted by liposuction, processed, and injected into the face. This procedure is currently controversial, and the major professional plastic surgery organizations recommend steering clear of it for the time being.
All About Facial Rejuvenation covers other topics pertaining to facelift surgery, including information on what the average facelift cost is.
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Buinewicz Plastic Surgery & Medspa
3655 Route 202
Suites 225 and 230
Doylestown, PA 18902