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Facelift – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Facelift?

Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift operation is designed to reduce sagging and wrinkling in your lower face and neck.  It does not correct problems around your eyelids, at the corners of your mouth (unless a mid-face lift is used), or the creases at your lips.  This operation may be chosen to help prevent the advancement of aging, or it may assist a patient who already has saggy and wrinkled skin.  The amount of improvement depends upon the degree of imperfections already present, and if minimal, results can be very dramatic.

How should I prepare for my Facelift Surgery?

It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions when preparing for facelift surgery to ensure the best possible results, and the guidelines may include:

  • Refraining from smoking for several weeks before and after surgery
  • Avoiding certain medications and herbal supplements
  • Arranging for help following surgery including a ride home and in-home care for at least 48 hours
  • Sleeping with your head elevated to minimize swelling
  • Avoid strenuous work or exercise

Is there pain after a Facelift Surgery?

Most patients only take pain pills 24-48 hours following their surgery.  The most likely discomfort that you may have is a very mild neck and backache from sleeping with your head elevated, and this can be controlled with over-the-counter medication.

What can I expect after Facelift Surgery?

Soon after your facelift surgery has been completed, you can expect some swelling and bruising and surprisingly, you will have very little pain or discomfort.  The vast majority of patients complaints are mostly having a tight sensation, which is normal; and as your healing progresses, you will notice that your swelling and tightness subsides usually by the fifth day.

When will I be able to go into public again?

For the most part, even complex facial procedure will not keep you from going into the public for more than a week. With make-up, many patients report that no one even notices that they had surgery.

What doesn’t a Facelift correct?

Facelift surgery will not address the fine lines around your mouth and lips, and it will not improve the excessive skin and bulges surrounding your eyes.  Facelift surgery will also not correct the inner part of your brow or the lines between the eyes.  Some of these issues can be addressed with a brow lift or Blepharoplasty surgery which your surgeon will discuss with you during your consultation.

Can a Facelift be performed on African-Americans, Asians, or Hispanics?

Yes.  African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and other ethnicities have unique considerations that will be discussed during your facelift consultation with your surgeon.  While African-Americans and Asians have an increased chance of keloid scarring, this is something that is typically avoidable and in general, the face ages in the exact same manner between every race.

What is revision Facelift Surgery?

Revision facelift surgery is usually performed on those patients that have had facelift surgery in the past and want to maintain a certain appearance, or for patients that have had a previous facelift procedure, and they are unhappy with the results.  The advantage to revision surgery is the procedure is usually shorter, and the discomfort is much less than the first time.

What is the natural-look Facelift?

The natural look facelift is a facelift that will not look stretched, pulled, or “plastic.”   During a natural-look facelift procedure, your surgeon will address only the issues of your face that cause the signs of aging, and he will actually manipulate the deeper tissues that have caused your aging to occur, and address them as well.

Where are the incisions in a Facelift and will I need to have the sutures removed?

Incisions are typically hidden in the hair behind your ear, and along the hairline above your ear.  Facelift incisions are made around the ear and dip inside your ear in the front to break up the suture lines. Stitches in front of the ear are removed after 5-6 days, and skin clips in the scalp are removed in approximately ten days.

How long will my Facelift last?

Plastic surgery of the face corrects visible signs of aging, but it does not stop the aging process.  The degree of improvement and duration of your results are based on your own individual aging process that can be affected by heredity, overall health, sun exposure, poor diet, exercise, alcohol intake, smoking, and personal lifestyle.  In other words, the better you take care of yourself, the longer the results will last. A face and neck lift should effectively correct the visible signs of aging for at least 5-10 years.  Although a facelift surgery cannot prevent aging, a person will always look better in the years to come, than if they did not have their facelift procedure at all.

How soon will I see my results of my Facelift?

People who undergo facelift surgery must understand that healing is a process and it will take time.  For that reason, you may not see the final results of your surgery for several months but patients report it is worth the wait.

Are there any differences with men having Facelifts?

Men and women have a number of anatomic differences, and this must be taken into consideration to assure the best results during a facelift procedure.  Due to the vascularity of the beard, men are at slight increased risk for bleeding, but they also heal more quickly with less bruising and swelling.  Facelift incisions need to be placed differently with men to avoid hairy ears, and issues regarding shaving. This will be discussed during your consultation with your surgeon and he will explain the options to men who desire the improvements facial plastic surgery offers.

What does a Facelift entail?

There are many variations to the facelift procedure and the technique your surgeon uses for you depends upon your individual features and aesthetic goals.  Your surgeon will discuss your options during your pre-op consultation, and he will typically hide the incision in the natural contour of your ear, extending it around your earlobe and into your hairline, for easy concealment.  Using these facial incisions, your surgeon will separate the facial skin from the underlying tissues and remove any excess skin while repositioning deeper tissues, if necessary, to improve your facial contour.

How do I know if I am a candidate for a Facelift?

If you are in good physical and emotional health, you have realistic expectations about your outcome, and you want to eliminate the sagging skin from your face and neck, you may be a good candidate for a facelift.  This will be determined during your thorough consultation with your chosen surgeon, along with other considerations.

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