Am I an Ideal Candidate for Facelift Surgery?
We may not be able to stop the aging process completely but we can certainly reduce the signs. Find out if you’re an ideal candidate for a facelift.
In 2018, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that 17.7 million people had surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures. This number continues to increase every year.
With the advent of new surgical techniques and in-office procedures, more people are choosing to have cosmetic procedures.
There are many reasons for cosmetic surgery. Some procedures provide revision and healing of scarring. Some strive to provide a more youthful look and increased confidence.
Examples of the surgical procedure include eyelid lift, lip enhancement, nose reshaping and facelift. If are considering this type of procedure, read further to learn more about facelifts.
Reasons to Consider a Facelift
A successful facelift provides a refreshed and younger look. The facelift should not be obvious or make you look different.
People choose to have a facelift to improve visible signs of aging on the face and neck such as:
- Facial sagging caused by relaxation of the facial skin
- Deepening skin folds between the nose and corner of the mouth
- Fallen fat pockets
- Jowls that develop on the cheeks and jaw
- Double chin caused by loose skin and excess fat of the neck
If you have a desire to reverse some of the normal aging effects, speak with a cosmetic or plastic surgeon. They can tell you about the procedures that may be right for you
Make Sure You Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon
Make sure you know the qualifications of your plastic surgeon before consenting to surgery. It is also important that you feel comfortable asking your surgeon questions.
Several questions to ask when choosing a surgeon:
Are you board certified? The gold standard certification is from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This indicates that the surgeon has completed additional specialized training.
How many times have you performed this procedure? Some people are uncomfortable with this question. It is important for you to be confident with your choice. If the doctor doesn’t want to answer this question, you may need to go elsewhere.
Will You have Other Medical staff Assisting with the Procedure? You have the right to know who will be in the surgery and their qualifications.
What type of Anesthesia will be Used?
One approach involves initial sedation followed by local anesthesia. Will you be aware of what is going on during the procedure? Will you have general anesthesia where you are completely asleep the whole time?
Knowing what to expect can help you feel calmer about the procedure. It usually takes longer to wake up from general anesthesia than local.
Ask to See Before and After Pictures
Plastic and cosmetic surgeons usually have compiled a file of before and after pictures. This can give you an idea about the surgeon’s skills. This can increase your confidence in having the procedure.
What Percentage of Your Patients Have Required Revision or Repair of Their Surgery?
The surgeon should be willing to give you a percentage of patients who have required more surgery for complications.
Remember, complications are not always the fault of the surgeon. You may, however, have concerns if many of his/her patients need more procedures.
Underlying Conditions that Make You a Poor Candidate for Plastic Surgery
Many individuals have personal habits or conditions can make plastic surgery a poor choice. The contraindications include:
- High blood pressure
- History of blood clots and need for blood thinners
- Drinking alcohol
- Heart disease
- Certain mental disorder
These factors cause poor healing. Thus, if you are having cosmetic surgery, you are at high risk for scarring, tissue death, and other complications. Some mental or mood disorders need treatment before performing cosmetic surgery.
How is a facelift done?
The medical word for a facelift is a rhytidectomy. This procedure can be done as an outpatient surgery or in the hospital. Some procedures require sedation and local anesthesia while others need general anesthesia.
As an overview, the skin is elevated, and the tissues and muscles underneath are tightened.
While the skin is lifted from the face, the surgeon molds and redistributes the fat. Next, he/she repositions the skin, and removes extra skin. The wound edges are stitched or taped closed.
The type of incision used depends on the specific procedure planned for the patient, all of which generally includes SMAS lift and facial fat transfer.
A traditional facelift incision begins at the temple in the hairline, travels down your face in front or behind the tragus of the ear and ends behind your ear at your lower scalp. If you are also having a neck lift, you may have an incision under your chin.
A limited incision begins in your hairline above your ear and wraps around the front of your ear. It does not go back to your scalp.
Neck lift incision starts in front of your earlobe and travels around your ear to your lower scalp. This procedure also includes a small incision under your chin
In general, a facelift takes between two and four hours.
What to Expect During the Recovery Phase?
You will have a recovery period following the procedure.
After a facelift, you may have:
- Mild to moderate pain
- Some drainage from the incisions
You should call your doctor at once if you have:
- Severe pain on one side of your neck or face during the first 24 hours after surgery
- Trouble breathing or feel short of breath
- Pain in your chest
- Irregular heartbeats
Your bandages will provide slight pressure over the incisions to decrease swelling and bruising. You may have a small drainage tube placed under the skin behind one or both ears to drain extra blood or fluid that accumulates.
For the first few days, you will need to rest with your head elevated to decrease swelling and bruising. You will have pain medication that you should take as prescribed. Cool packs put on your face will decrease pain and swelling.
You can expect several appointments with the healthcare staff over the following two months. They will watch for proper healing and use different types of bandages to facilitate the healing process.
Self-Care During Recovery
Follow your surgeon’s wound care instructions to prevent infections and speed healing. Avoid picking at crust or scabs on the wound. Use types of soaps and shampoos recommended by your surgeon at the time instructed.
Avoid wearing clothes that pull over your head. Instead, wear clothes that fasten in the front. Also, avoid anything that causes pressure or motion of the skin around the incisions. Do not wear any makeup until your surgeon gives you approval.
Refrain from vigorous activity or sports until cleared by your physician. In addition, no coloring, bleaching, or perming your hair for 6 weeks following the procedure.
Exposing incisions to direct sunlight increases scarring. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day for at least three weeks. You may want to continue this practice for longer to protect the sensitive tissue.
Risks Associated with Facelifts
All surgical procedures carry risks. It is important to be well-informed about all possible risks. Complications associated with facelifts do not occur often. Cosmetic surgeries conducted by qualified and experienced professionals are considered safe.
Possible risks can include:
- Anesthesia complications
- Damage to the facial nerves that control muscles, usually only temporary
- Blood clot under the skin known as a hematoma
- Loss of hair around the incision, this is uncommon
- Numbness around the surgical site that usually improves within days or weeks
- Death of tissue
- Lack of evenness between the two sides of the face
- Widening or thickening of scar tissue
Some patients also experience swelling, pain, or fever. This may be a sign of a hematoma and should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Do Facelifts Last Forever?
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. The youthful appearance gained from the facelift will begin to fade in time. The facial skin may again begin to droop. However, if you have had a facelift, you’re ahead of the game and will maintain the youthful look longer. In general, a facelift lasts approximately 10-20 years.
Facelifts Can’t Change Everything
Facelifts work toward restorative treatment. They will not change your appearance nor will they stop the process of aging.
This is not the movies. You can’t have a facelift and assume a new identity.
Are You Ready to Discuss Your Facelift with a Healthcare Professional?
Has this article further piqued your interest in considering a facelift? Continue perusing the site to learn more specific information about facelift options that may be right for you.
You will also find information about cosmetic procedures for men and women. More men are taking advantage of cosmetic treatments than ever before. Find the answers you are seeking today as you look through our site.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.