What Is a Facelift?
Most women over the age of about forty begin to pull at their faces to try to imagine the effect that a facelift would have upon them. They then question what is involved and how long will the effect last. It is critical to remember that a facelift is not just the lifting of the facial skin and does not replicate what the fingers do to the face in the mirror. As we age, gravity, the effects of the sun, and smoking cause permanent damage to the skin. Much of the elasticity of the skin is destroyed, causing it and the attached fat and muscles to sag. The surgery is intended to restore and enhance the innate features of the face without distortion or evidence of scars.
When a facelift is considered, of course an experienced, well-qualified plastic surgeon will be selected. The interview with your surgeon is very important for you to have your questions answered and to develop a comfortable relationship. Your surgeon will ensure that you have the right motivation and information to proceed. You should be willing to stop smoking, engage in a reasonable exercise and nutritional program, and avoid severe sun and tanning light exposure.
The surgery is generally performed in an outpatient setting with sedation for anesthesia. It is essential that the proper pre-operative measures have been performed and that you are completely prepared. The operation includes an elevation of the skin from the soft tissue beneath. In the cheek and jowl areas, fixation of the delicate tissue and fat beneath is accomplished with specialized suture material. In the neck, the thin muscle, just under the skin, is tied in the middle and fixed behind the ears to support the lift. In this way, the foundation is provided for the skin of the face to be favorably repositioned. The scalp above and behind the ear is closed so that the hairline is restored. A light dressing is applied without tension.
You will be seen by your doctor the day after your surgery and then weekly until you are fully healed. The first few days post-operatively you will be doing very little, other than healing, drinking plenty of fluids and resting with your head elevated to reduce the swelling. Facial skin heals very quickly because of the very rich blood supply, so the stitches are removed within the week of surgery.
Following surgery to maintain glowing skin, the most important skin care instructions include the avoidance of cigarettes and sun, continuing a good diet and exercise program and getting plenty of sleep, thereby reducing stress to the lowest level possible. Remember, it is the confident woman that we see as beautiful. Beauty comes from within and shines outward.
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