Anyone considering a facelift undoubtedly has many questions as to the nature of the procedure and the associated downtime. Here we hope to address some common questions and concerns.
1. What exactly is a facelift?
The facelift is well recognized as the gold standard of facial rejuvenation. Like many procedures, the term facelift has broad meaning that varies according to a surgeon’s technique and aesthetic. In general terms, a facelift refers to the lifting and tightening of the facial skin and underlying connective tissues and muscles (called the SMAS). There are many ways of approaching the skin and the SMAS, and each surgeon masters techniques that work best for him/her.
It is important for you to discuss your goals with your surgeon. Some patients desire a more pulled look while others desire a more natural and subtle rejuvenation. Different techniques can yield the results that you desire.
2. Can I achieve the same results with filler or Botox?
Botox and filler are great adjuncts in the treatment of facial aging; however, they will not provide the same lift as a facelift nor do they offer the same longevity.
In our practice we focus on a fill and lift technique. We often combine the tightening advantages of a facelift with volumizing effects of fat injection using your own fat tissue. This filling enhances youthful rejuvenation especially of the cheeks (also known as your malar region).
3. How long will my recovery be?
Patients are often surprised by how quickly they recover following a facelift. We tell our patients to expect to have mild to moderate bruising for one week and mild swelling for up to two weeks. Most people feel comfortable going out to eat and driving their car at the one-week point, but prefer not to truly socialize until the two-week mark.
There will be stitches in front of and behind your ears. These stitches are removed in stages with the first set of stitches removed at about one week and the second set at about two weeks.
4. What are the risks of a facelift?
The main risks associated with facelift are injury to a nerve, hematoma or bleeding, difficulties healing, and the possibility of dissatisfaction.
There are many things you can do to limit your risks. It is important not to take blood thinners such as aspirin prior to your surgery and to make sure you have good control of your blood pressure. Furthermore, smoking has been associated with significant complications in facelift surgery. In our practice, we do not offer this procedure to smokers.
With respect to dissatisfaction, patients must manage expectations and understand that it is impossible to predict how long the results of a facelift will endure. Some patients can expect 10 or more years of consistent lift, while others somewhat less. The longevity is primarily dependent on skin elasticity, which is a function of genetic makeup and environmental exposures.
5. What else can be done at the same time as a facelift to maximize my results?
While a facelift can dramatically improve the laxity of the face and the restoration of youthful shape, it does not necessarily address the texture of the skin itself. Fine lines and areas of discoloration often require resurfacing procedures. Deep facial resurfacing can address issues of hyper-pigmentation and wrinkles, particularly around the mouth. In addition, rejuvenation of the eyes (blepharoplasty) is also often considered.
To learn more about the facelift and mini-facelift options in our practice, call (603) 775-7444 and schedule your consultation today.