As part of the ageing process, skin progressively loses its elasticity and muscles tend to slacken. The stresses of daily life, effects of gravity, smoking and sun exposure make their mark on our faces.
In everyone, the natural aging process causes the folds and smile lines to deepen, the corners of the mouth will droop, the jaw line sags and the skin in the neck slacken. The eyes soften, with more skin gathering upon the eyelids and the brow line may sink.
Some may feel frustrated that the appearance of their face has aged more than their body or mind and in other cases substantial weight loss can propel the aging effects on the face. Some may be more aware or more self-conscious than others and a facelift means all of these factors could be addressed in surgery.
What does the procedure involve?
The procedure can vary depending on the type of facelift that is suitable for you. The operation is carried out under a General Anaesthetic and takes approximately three to four hours. The incisions start in the hair above each ear at the front and passes down in front of the ear, finishing in the hair behind each lobe. Each scar should be well hidden with your hair. The skin of the cheek and neck are lifted up and stitches are placed in the muscle layer to elevate the lower face. After placing a small drain, excess skin is removed and the wound closed with a combination of stitches and clips and a light dressing is applied.
Is this treatment right for you?
The best candidate is one whose face has begun to age but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are aged between 40 and 60 but facelifts can be successful on some well into their 70s or 80s. Facelifts should not be obvious and the well-documented facelifts from Hollywood are usually those which draw attention for all the wrong reasons. Instead, the patient should look younger and more cheerful. It is a procedure that not only works well technically but also increases morale and is well appreciated by patients.
If you are overweight and intend to lose pounds, you should make this your goal before having a facelift. This may allow your surgeon to remove more skin and therefore achieve a more pleasing outcome for you.
You must abstain from smoking at least two weeks before surgery as this is the main cause of reduced healing as it decreases circulation.
Perhaps think of a facelift as a reward for yourself after weight loss or giving up your smoking habit and use your end goal as a personal incentive!
What are the limitations?
A facelift works better for the lower half of the face, particularly the jaw line and neck. If you have sagging eyebrows and wrinkles upon the forehead then you should perhaps consider an endoscopic brow lift but a full consultation with your surgeon will point you in the right direction. Loose skin with finer wrinkles, freckles or rough areas may benefit more from something less invasive such as a chemical peel or laser resurfacing.
What are the consequences?
Following a facelift there will be some swelling and bruising, but pain is minimal. The drain is removed on the ward the following morning. Usually most patients can go home the day after their surgery, and return to the clinic after a week for removal of stitches and clips.
The timing for returning to work will be decided at your first post-operative visit, but it is best to plan to be off for two weeks. By this time the bruising and most of the swelling will have settled. Full recovery and return to exercise will be about six weeks.
Complications could include infection, bleeding, poor scarring, slow healing and very rarely, damage to the facial nerve. Good health and abstaining from smoking will all aid the healing process and our comprehensive aftercare will ensure that any concerns you may have will be resolved and any questions answered.