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Considering a Facelift?
As people age, the effects of gravity, smoking, exposure to the sun and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jaw-line grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.
A facelift can’t stop this aging process, but it can “set back the clock,” improving the most visible signs of aging. Most patients range in age from their 40’s to 60’s, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their 70’s or 80’s as well.
Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are usually infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their healing abilities and the outcome is never completely predictable.
During your initial consultation the surgeon will evaluate your face and discuss your goals. If you decide to have a facelift, your surgeon will explain the techniques and anesthesia he or she will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the risks involved.
A facelift is usually done on an outpatient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia. Surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy, also known as “twilight anesthesia.” Surgery usually takes several hours or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure done.
Incisions vary. Some people, usually those in their 30’s and 40’s, can have a “short scar” technique. People with looser skin will need a “standard” set of incisions, usually beginning above the hairline at the temples, extending in a natural line in front of the ear and continuing behind the earlobe.
If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscles, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions.
You should be up and about within a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first. By the third week, you’ll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
The chances are excellent that you’ll be happy with your facelift. You’ll have some scars from your facelift, but they’re usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case, they’ll fade within time and should be scarcely visible ultimately.
Discuss your case with a qualified plastic surgeon. Best of luck.