Are thinking of having a face lift?
As people get older, the effects of gravity, sun and stress become visible on their faces. The wrinkles between the nose and mouth become deeper and the cheeks and neck area become looser. face lift or rhytidectomy cannot stop this process of ageing but it can “reverse the clock” in the sense that this mark of ageing becomes less visible after the surgery where extra fat is removed, the muscles under the skin are reconstructed and the skin on the face and the neck is tightened. A face lift can be done by itself or parallel to other procedures, such as a forehead lift, eye plastic (blepharoplasty) or nose plastic (rhinoplasty).
The information on this page can answer some basic questions if you are wondering about a face lift, when it can help, how it is performed and what results to expect. You might not find answers to all your questions as many things are individual regarding plastic surgeries. That is why it is advisory to ask the doctor if you need any further information..
Is a Face lift the right solution for you?
A face lift is suitable for people that have visible signs of ageing, with loose skin but still some elasticity and firm bone structure. Most patients are between 40 – 70 years of age but the operation can be performed on older patients as well.
A face lift can give you a younger and fresher look and therefore enhance your self esteem. It cannot however totally change your appearance or give you back the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have a face lift you should valuate your expectations and discuss them with your doctor.
Side effects are rare when an experienced plastic surgeon performs face lift surgeries and are usually minor if they happen at all. However, certain factors differ from one person to another, such as general health conditions and the healing processes. Problems that can occur are among other things hematoma which happens when blood clots under the skin and has to removed by the doctor, temporary lack of control of those muscle that control facial movements and bad reaction to anaesthesia
To determine a Face Lift
A face lift surgery is very individual operation. During the first visit to the doctor your face is examined, the skin and the bone structure underneath and discusses your expectations regarding the surgery. The doctor wants to know certain things that can affect the outcome of the surgery, for example untreated high blood pressure, problems with blood clotting and earlier experience from micro tissue creation
You should let the doctor know with precision whether you smoke, take medicine regularly including /aspirin that has blood thinning effects. Discuss your expectations with your doctor. You should expect him to be honest about the benefits and the risks of the operation. During the first visit the doctor will explain what anaesthetic methods he chooses to use, where the surgery takes place and how much it costs. Top of page.
Preparation for a face lift surgery
The doctor gives you advice on how to prepare for the operation regarding food and drink, smoking and the medicine you might use. Usually the rule applies to fast from midnight before the surgery. It is best to not smoke at all 4 weeks before the surgery as smoking reduces blood flow to the skin and can affect the healing process. It is possibly a good idea to let your hair grow if it is short to cover the scars. If you catch a cold or some sort of infection the surgery has to be cancelled. Make sure that somebody can pick you up from the hospital / the medical centre and can assist you for one to two days after the surgery Top of page.
Surgical facilities, anaesthesia and the operation
Before the surgery is performed the patient receives a intravenous sedative and is then anaesthetized. A face lift can take hours to perform, especially if it done parallel to other procedure(s). Sometimes however, it is a better to have some weeks apart between operations. The location of the incisions depends on the construction of your face but in most cases they are done above the ear in where the hair grows and then just in front of the ear and then behind the earlobe then to the hair roots again (see picture). Sometimes a small incision is done underneath the chin. In some cases fat is removed from neck and chin if necessary. The doctor stretches the muscles and the skin and then stitches the incisions that have been made. In some cases a small tube is placed behind the ear to release excessive fluid that could possibly accumulate. The doctor then wraps bandages around the head to decrease the risk of swelling and bruising. You will also get a prescription before leaving the medical centre for pain killers and antibiotics to prevent infection. Top of page.
After the surgery
Usually people do not feel very bad after this surgery – severe pain or swelling is unusual so you should call your doctor if this is the case. The skin can be numb and that is normal; this numbness disappears in a few weeks or months. It is a good idea to have a more elevation under your head X when lying down. Also it is necessary to slow down and take it easy to avoid the risk of swelling.
If the doctor has put a cylinder in the incision it is removed after a few days. Bandages are usually removed after 2-5 days. You shouldn't´t be discourages when you look into the mirror to see your face pale, bruised and swollen. In a few weeks your face will be back to completely normal, and very possibly a bit more than that. The stitches disappear by itself. It is recommended to use some curative/healing creams 2 or 3 times a day after the surgery. Top of page
You will feel better in about three days but you are advised to take it easy the first week after the surgery. It is safe to have a shower and wash the hair two days after the surgery but be careful around the wound. Most patients have returned to work within a week or ten days. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for a few weeks, for example running, bending forward, difficult household task, sex or other things that could raise your blood pressure. Patients should avoid heat or sunshine for the next months after the surgery. The most visible symptoms after the incision should disappear in about three weeks. Lesser bruise or swelling can be hidden with a makeup. Just after the operation you will probably feel more tired than usual but you will feel increased energy when the new look starts to kick in and your health improves. Top of page.
The new appearance
Most patients are content with the result of the forehead lift. Sometimes they do not appreciate how a wrinkled forehead makes them look younger and less worried and how their general look improves. Even though a forehead lift does not stop the progression of time it can reduce the visible symptoms of aging for years to come.Top of page.