Our faces tend to sag and develop wrinkles and lines as we age and may make us look older than we are. But a facelift can turn back the clock and make you look up to 10 years younger.
A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a popular surgical procedure that creates a younger appearance on your face. The procedure can reduce the lines and wrinkles on the face and reduce sagging in the cheeks and jawline that happen as the years pass.
Other aging-related issues that encourage some patients to have a facelift include:
- Extra skin at the lower jawline
- Sagging skin in the cheeks
- Deepening of skin folds from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth
- Extra fat and sagging skin in the neck
During this procedure, the surgeon will pull back skin flaps on both sides of the face, and tissues under the skin are repositioned and fixed in place with sutures. The flaps also are closed with sutures, and the extra skin is trimmed away.
Many patients also choose to have a neck lift at the same time to reduce sagging skin in the neck.
Note that a facelift won’t reduce the fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage and other factors. But your surgeon can perform other nonsurgical procedures to address the quality or appearance of the skin.
Dr. Smita R. Ramanadham is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facelifts and related procedures. She will perform your facelift with the skill and artistic sense necessary for the best, natural-looking result. Dr. Smita also performs other facial and body cosmetic procedures in the New Jersey, New York City, and Tri-state areas.
The typical steps for a facelift include:
Dr. Smita will provide general or IV sedation for your comfort before the facelift begins. She may advise you to have other procedures during the facelift to improve your results, such as:
- Fat transfer or facial implants to enhance contours
- Skin resurfacing techniques to improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, or age spots
- Wrinkle reduction with Botox or dermal fillers
Your surgeon can choose a traditional facelift, limited facelift, or neck lift, depending on how much change you want.
The incision for a traditional facelift starts at the hairline, goes around the ear, and stops at the lower scalp. The surgeon may redistribute fat in the neck, jowls, and face and lift the deeper skin layers and muscles. Next, skin is redraped over the lifted contours, and extra skin is cut away.
You also may need another incision under your chin to improve the neck’s appearance.
A mini facelift may be done on some patients who don’t have as much skin relaxation.
Your surgeon will close the incisions with sutures that may dissolve, or they may need to be taken out after a week.
Once they heal, your incisions will be hidden in the hairline and shouldn’t be visible.
You will have considerable swelling and bruising after the procedure, but the results will start to show after one or two weeks.
Some of the best benefits of a facelift include:
Reduce Signs Of Aging Fast
The aging process makes many changes to the face that affect its appearance and texture. Sun damage, smoking, and stress also affect how the face looks.
But a facelift can rejuvenate the face and make you look younger by tightening skin in the face and neck. It also can improve sagging skin, deep lines and wrinkles, and those deep creases between the mouth and nose.
Eliminate Double Chin
If you cannot eliminate that extra fat and tissue around the neck, a facelift can take care of most of it. Wrinkles and sagging skin around the neck are part of aging and can make you look years older than you are.
A facelift can get rid of this problem by tightening this tissue and taking out extra skin.
Age, sun damage, and weight loss can give you extra skin around the face and neck. Jowls are one of the top things that many want to fix with a facelift.
This procedure can give you a tighter jawline that makes you look 10 years younger.
Deep facial wrinkles are caused by a drop in collagen production. A facelift, as well as dermal fillers, can reduce deep wrinkles, especially between the mouth and nose.
Great At Any Age
You don’t need to be at a particular age to have good facelift results. It’s common for people to have the procedure between 50 and 65, but anyone with wrinkles and facial sagging can opt for a facelift.
Modern facelifts can carefully tighten the skin without making it look like you had work done. After a facelift, you will look years younger, but it will look natural.
Ideal Candidates For Facelift
You may be an ideal candidate for a facelift if you are in good health and have sagging skin in the face that makes you look older than you are. However, you also should have realistic expectations of the facelift and realize that the procedure won’t stop the aging process.
Also, the following factors should not apply to people considering a facelift:
- You take medications or supplements that thin the blood: These can affect the ability of the blood to develop clots and can make hematomas after surgery more likely. Some drugs that cause these issues include aspirin, NSAIDs, blood things, fish oil, ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, and others.
- You have serious health conditions, such as a blood clotting disorder, uncontrolled diabetes, or high blood pressure. These problems can raise the risk of poor wound healing, heart complications, and hematoma.
- You smoke: Smoking complicates the healing process, so you should quit smoking before your facelift.
- Your weight fluctuates: If your weight regularly goes up and down, this will affect your face, so the surgery may have a poor result.
Surgery Preparation For Facelift
Before scheduling a facelift, Dr. Smita will talk to you about your goals and concerns about your face. The consultation will include:
- Medical examination: She will ask you about medications you take, health conditions, past surgeries, and any history of smoking or drug abuse. The surgeon also will conduct a physical examination and check your medical records to see if you’re likely to have any problems by having a facelift.
- Medication review. Dr. Smita will check every medication you take to determine if you should stop taking anything before having a facelift.
- Facial examination: Dr. Smita will take pictures of your face from several angles and do a close examination of your skin, bone structure, skin quality, and fat distribution to understand your best options.
- Expectations: She will ask what your expectations are and will explain that a facelift can change your appearance but it won’t help with asymmetry or fine wrinkles.
Before your procedure, you will need to do the following:
- Follow instructions about medication use: You’ll be told which medications to stop taking and when. For instance, you will need to stop blood-thinning drugs at least 14 days before surgery.
- Wash your hair and face: You will need to wash these areas with germicidal soap before going to surgery.
- Don’t eat at least 12 hours before surgery.
- Have someone available to help you: You will need someone to take you home after surgery and stay the first night with you.
Facelift Risks And Complications
Any plastic surgery has a risk of complications. Long-term complications are rare, but if they occur, they can change your appearance. Some of the most severe risks are:
- Scarring: Scars from the facelift are permanent but can usually be hidden by the hairline and natural contours of the ear and face. In a few cases, patients may have raised red scars.
- Nerve injuries: This problem is rare, but can affect the nerves that control muscles or sensations. Temporary paralysis of a muscle or loss of feeling can last up to a year. Some patients may need revision facelift surgery.
- Hair loss: Some patients may have short-term or long-term hair loss near where the surgeon makes the incisions. If the loss is permanent, you can have surgery to transplant hair follicles into the affected area.
- Skin loss: A facelift may occasionally damage the blood supply to the face. This can lead to skin loss, which can be treated with medications or a procedure to reduce scarring.
Like any surgery, facelift patients can have typical surgical complications, including bleeding, infection, or allergy to anesthesia.
A facelift is a significant procedure, so you will have extensive recovery time. The swelling and bruising usually are the greatest on the third or fourth day after the procedure, but it gets better after a week.
There will still be signs of healing after a few weeks, but most patients feel ok going out in public after seven to 14 days. You should be able to go back to work and light activities after the first week.
You can expect swelling and bruising for several weeks, and some areas of the face may be numb. However, after two weeks, you can go back to more strenuous activities.
Most visible signs of healing fade after two to four weeks, but total recovery can take six to 12 months.
Patients having a facelift may have other procedures on the face or body; it makes sense to do others to save time and money when having a single procedure.
When you opt for several simultaneous procedures, you can have all of your recoveries at once, which condenses months of healing into a few weeks.
Dr. Smita will perform a medical evaluation before scheduling your facelift to discuss other procedures you could have.
If you’re thinking about a facelift, you probably have many questions about what to expect. Below are some of the most common questions and answers:
Can I Smile After My Facelift?
Yes, but your face will feel tight for the first one or two weeks, so it can be harder to smile at first. However, this will fade with time, and you’ll be able to smile normally after a few weeks.
What Is Included In A Facelift?
Most facelifts include removing extra skin, smoothing out prominent wrinkles and folds, and tightening facial tissue. The procedure doesn’t include a brow or eyelid lift, but you can have those simultaneously if you prefer.
Will My Facelift Be Noticeable?
The incisions are at the hairline, so most facelift scars aren’t visible. Also, modern facelift techniques have advanced from the past, so your results should look natural.
When Is The Best Time To Have A Facelift?
People in their mid-40s may see the best results, but people in their 50s and 60s also see significant benefits from a facelift.
How Many Years Younger Will I Look With A Facelift?
A facelift will make you look seven to 10 years younger, according to several clinical studies.
How Can A Facelift Fail?
One of the most common problems is failing to resize tissue, which can cause bulges and eventual relapse to the previous appearance.
Can My Facelift Make Me Look Worse?
If you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in facelifts, you should have good results.
However, one common issue is with patients with volume loss in the cheeks. When a facelift is done in this situation, it can give you a face that looks pulled or windblown.
Will A Facelift Eliminate Wrinkles?
A facelift will reduce jowls, significant sags, and loose skin. But it won’t get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. You should consider Botox, dermal fillers, and various nonsurgical procedures to address those skin issues.
Is A Facelift Worth It?
Most patients say their facelifts were worth the expense and recovery time. However, done correctly, a facelift can take seven to 10 years off your face, which cannot be achieved with non-surgical procedures.
Having a facelift is a complex decision, but if you use a board-certified plastic surgeon, this procedure can make you look younger and restore your self-confidence. Talk to Dr. Smita today to decide if this procedure is for you.
Facelift surgery can turn back the hands of time for your face and help create a rejuvenated appearance. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of choices for surgery, depending on your personal needs and goals. This treatment is meant to make you younger-looking but still natural. To learn more, we welcome you to contact our practice in New Jersey to schedule your private consultation with Dr. Ramanadham.
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