As we age the jawline softens, excess skin develops under the chin and muscle bands become evident in the neck. A facelift can significantly improve these signs of aging allowing patients to appear up to ten years younger. The techniques that are used for facelifts have improved. Newer facelift techniques remove the excess skin and also tighten the underlying muscles which provides longer results. Our goal for facelift patients is to help maintain a natural and improved appearance while avoiding the overdone or “wind blown” result. A facelift cannot stop aging, but it can give you a more youthful appearance and often an increased self-confidence.
A facelift is usually performed under general anesthesia, but may also be performed under intravenous sedation. The incisions are performed in the hair of the temple, around the ear and on the back of the ear and then into the hair behind the ear. There will often be an incision under the chin to remove excess fat from under the chin and tighten the muscles creating the neck bands. All incisions are strategically placed allowing them to be maximally camouflaged. A portion of the skin is elevated and then the underlying muscles and connective tissue are elevated and repositioned, resulting in maximal suspension of the underlying structures and reducing tension on the skin. This reduction of skin tension helps to avoid widened scars or noticeable scars. Excess skin is trimmed and the incisions are meticulously repaired.
A large bandage is placed over the head and face to help maintain pressure over the areas that have been tightened. Suction drains are usually placed and will be removed on the first post-operative day. For the first night it is important to relax with your head elevated. The incisions are covered by the dressing so there will not be any wound care for the first day. The day after surgery, at the first post-operative visit, the dressings and suction drains will be removed. Your hair is washed and a lighter weight dressing will be replaced. It is inevitable for bruising and swelling to develop after a facelift and this will gradually subside over the next 10 to 14 days. Camouflage make-up may be used at 1 week to help cover the bruised areas.
It is normal to have some swelling and numbness around the earlobes, and numbness of the skin over the face and neck for several weeks after surgery. Strenuous activity should be avoided for the first two weeks, but after this you should be able to return to full activity. You should keep the incision lines clean and moisturized with ointments to help maximize the healing results. An elastic bandage will be provided that is taken on and off as needed and may be worn at night for the first few weeks after surgery.