Facelift surgery, or Rhytidectomy, helps in enhancing the overall appearance of the face by removing the wrinkles and tightening the facial muscles. Facelift surgeries are generally opted for by women who are above the age of 50 years and wish to look like their younger self. As a sign of changing times and men’s desire to look good at the workplace and home, they are increasingly opting for this procedure.
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon
As facelift is an invasive procedure, only an experienced plastic surgeon can help in achieving the results properly without facing any side effects. It requires a specific set of surgical skills and techniques and extensive knowledge in operating on the facial structure.
When not properly operated, it could lead to several complications like:
• Abnormal fluid discharges from face, including pus.
• Surgical wounds.
• Extreme pain, swelling and redness on the face.
• Breakage in the stitches automatically before the surgeon removes it.
• High fever.
• Facial nerve damage
• Facial assymetry
To avoid all these complications in your facelift surgery, invest adequate time for researching about the surgeon and his/her experience in performing facelift procedures. There are minor differences in the facelift procedures for men and women. Therefore, men who want to go for a facelift should inquire if the plastic surgeon has previous experience in performing facelifts on men.
During the initial consultation, the surgeon will analyze your facial muscles and facial elasticity. Patients who have good skin elasticity can achieve optimal results with the skin adjusting easily to the new and improved facial contours.
Furthermore, the surgeon will talk about your medical history, any facial surgeries or treatments you had in the past. It is best if you are in good health to quickly recover from the effects of the facelift. The surgeon will discuss your expectations from the surgery and may suggest some adjunctive procedures to achieve a better appearance.
Initially, surgeons perform facelift surgery to restore the previous youthful appearance. However, in recent times, facelift has also included the minor changes such as repositioning of the skin and the fat to augment the effects of a facelift. Surgeons now combine facial implants, brow lifts, lip plumping and various other minor procedures to maximise results.
After performing some tests and examining the face physically, the surgeon will fix the day of the facelift surgery in consultation with you as per your availability.
Getting Ready for Facelift
You should maintain good health and rest adequately for at least a week before the facelift surgery. If you are a smoker, then you should completely stop smoking for a minimum of three to four weeks.
The surgeon may recommend some medications to increase your metabolism and immune system. He may also make some changes to your current medications if it could lead to complications during or after the surgery.
Before leaving your home for the facelift procedure, ensure to keep some pillows ready on the best to lift your head while resting. You can also keep some loose-fitting clothes that are easy to wear in an accessible location. Have sufficient ice in the freezer and some gauze tapes and washcloths.
Make sure to have enough food for at least a week, as it won’t be advisable for you to go out in the coming days after the facelift.
The Procedure of the Facelift Surgery
The surgeon will administer either local or general anesthesia, before the facelift. Based on your expectations, he will customize the facelift procedure. There are different types of facelift procedures to help you achieve the optimal results.
The standard facelift treatment can radically reduce the fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin on the cheeks, and near the jawline. The surgeon makes thin incisions along the hairline and at the front of the ear. The incisions will usually remain hidden under the natural creases of the skin and aren’t easily visible. The surgeon will then reposition the skin over the facial structure to smoothen the creases and wrinkles.
This procedure not only addresses the issue of sagging skin on the face, but it also eliminates the wrinkles and the jowling to an extent on the neck too. For very loose skin, the plastic surgeon may sometimes remove it and tighten the remnant skin over the facial bones.
This procedure is less invasive when compared to a standard facelift procedure. The ideal patients will have minor skin sagging on the face. The surgeon makes a minor incision along the hairline and sometimes near the ears. Next, he pulls the facial skin taut, hence correcting the sagging skin to restore the firm and youthful appearance.
This type of facelift is best for people having the starting signs of ageing. If you are above 50 years of age, it is best to go for a standard facelift for best results.
This facelift is for people aged between 30 to 40 years and have good skin elasticity. This facelift addresses the creases and sagging near the eyes and the cheeks. Though the incisions made are similar to a standard facelift, the incisions will be much deeper to tighten the skin.
A lower facelift addresses the wrinkles from below the nose, and around the mouth and jawline. This helps to remedy jowling, frown lines and sagging skin near the chin area. The incisions will be made similar to that of a standard facelift along the hairline and near the creases of the ears.
The entire time for the surgery can take anywhere between two to six hours depending on the type of facelift procedure. After making the required changes, the surgeon will stitch the incision and bandage the face.
Recovering After a Facelift Surgery
Before you are discharged after the facelift surgery, the surgeon will give you proper instructions on how to take care of your face for the next few weeks.
During the First Week
The surgeon will bandage your face to prevent any infections and to speed the recovery process.
• Place the compression garment on the face as directed by the surgeon.
• You can only shower after three to five days after the surgery. Even after this, the surgeon will advise you on proper methods to clean your face and the areas of incisions.
• You can walk around in the home after two or three days from the day of the surgery. The surgeon will encourage you to walk for a while in the morning and evening to promote proper blood circulation.
• It is best to rest or sleep in an inclined position with the support of two to three pillows behind your head.
• If drainage tubes are attached, make sure to get clear instructions from the surgeon about draining the tubes at proper intervals.
• You can keep a cold compress on the swelling to ease the pain and discomfort.
• The surgeon will ask you to stay indoors for the entire first week and keep away from sunlight.
During the Second Week
The surgeon will remove the bandages and the drain tubes around the second week of recovery. You will still have swelling and bruising on your face and for some, the face will appear red. The skin on the face will take some time to adjust to the new positions. If your recovery process is on schedule, then the surgeon may permit you to go outside after two weeks.
At the end of the second week, you can observe a noticeable difference in the reduction of the swelling.
In the Next Few Weeks
The most important thing that many worry about is the restoration of their normal physical appearance. This can differ based on the speed of the recovery and usually takes about six weeks for the wounds to heal. During this period, it is vital to avoid:
• Sunlight, as the skin is more prone to sunburns.
• Visiting swimming pools, saunas or any other similar activities.
• Applying makeup till the skin heals completely.
• Using anti-inflammatory drugs.
Once the swelling subsidizes, you can see the results of the surgery. Though surgeons try to make the scar as inconspicuous as possible, you should still be open to the possibility of the appearance of a slightly visible scar on the hairline or near the folds of the ears.
When proper practices are adopted, the effects of facelift surgery can last for about ten years. To prolong the results of the facelift in spite of the ageing process, follow a proper healthy diet and adopt a stable skin care regime.
The information is being provided by PlasticSurgery.in and have no intention to replace the medical advice of your doctor. Please consult your doctor directly for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed by Dr. Tejinder Bhatti, Plastic Surgeon on: 20-JUN-2020
“Dr. Tejinder Bhatti is a cosmetic plastic surgeon by training but now completely dedicated to the art and science of minimally invasive hair restoration surgery. He also runs a hospital, the Five Rivers Hospital in Mohali, Chandigarh where junior plastic surgeons perform esthetic plastic surgery under the overall supervision of Dr. Kulwant S Bhangoo who is the Chairman of the Program. Dr. Bhangoo is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. He is an internationally renowned top cosmetic surgeon and chief of Plastic Surgery in Buffalo NY, USA.”