As time goes by, gravity and the repetitive contraction of the facial muscles cause changes to occur, giving the face a tired appearance. The skin becomes looser and wrinkles become more pronounced. The jaw line loses its sharp definition, and the tissues of the neck sag. A face lift, also known as rhytidectomy, is designed to reverse the effects of aging by repositioning the structure of the face in their proper position and removing redundant skin and fat. This is accomplished through inconspicuous incisions around the ears and under the chin.
A face lift is often combined with other procedures such as eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), forehead lifting (brow lift), or skin resurfacing.
Click to see more facelift before and after photos
At the time of your initial visit, we will gather a thorough medical history with particular emphasis on underlying medical problems or conditions that could affect the outcome of the procedure. A detailed physical examination and analysis of all your facial features will be performed. This will allow us to have a clear understanding of how to achieve the results you desire. Complications following face lift are infrequent and usually minor. Individuals vary greatly in their physical reactions to surgery, their healing tendencies, and their potential for scarring.
Complications that can occur include: Hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin) that occasionally needs to be surgically drained. Injury to the facial nerve that controls the muscles of the face (this is very rare with our technique, and when it occurs it is almost always temporary) Poor wound healing, including some skin death usually in the area around the ear. This is usually seen in smokers, and for that reason, we will not perform a face lift unless the patient is committed to discontinue cigarette smoking for at least four weeks prior to the operation and two weeks afterwards. Serious wound healing complications can occur even in people exposed to second hand smoke.
Scars from a face lift are usually very inconspicuous, but in some people who already have a tendency to form thick scars, they may be more obvious. Treatment is available to minimize the appearance of thick scars. It is very important to mention any history of poor quality scars or keloids at the time of the initial consultation.
The procedure usually takes about three to four hours, depending on the extent of your particular surgery. Small drainage tubes are typically placed behind the ears to drain any excess fluid in the first 24 to 48 hours. A non-constricting bulky dressing is placed for comfort and to minimize swelling and bruising. Patients usually go home the same day, but depending on the level of comfort and the extent of the individual's procedure, it is not uncommon to stay in the hospital overnight. If you do go home the same day, it is imperative that you arrange for an escort to accompany you. If that is not possible, we can make arrangements for your safe transportation back home. In the first 48 hours after surgery, it is important for you to rest and do as little as possible in order to minimize the risk of bleeding and/or bruising. You should sleep with your head elevated on two pillows to keep the swelling down. On the second or third day after surgery, the dressing and drainage tube will be removed.
Depending on your particular procedure, we will discuss with you the timing of the removal of the sutures. Although you will be up and about by the second day, you should plan to rest as much as possible and avoid strenuous exercises for the first two weeks after surgery. Sun exposure should be avoided for the first several months.
If you are interested in facelift plastic surgery or have any questions for Dr. Adams, call 505.327.1754 for a consultation.