What is face lift surgery? Is it a mere skin tightening procedure?
Face lift surgery is NOT a just a skin tightening procedure. To create a naturally younger appearance without leaving a pulled look or “wind blown appearance”, modern face lift procedure involves:
– removal of the excess skin from the face and neck
– proper re-suspension of muscles and elevation of the facial fats that have fallen into the upper lip, cheek fold and into the jowl areas
What are the complementary procedures commonly performed with face lift?
Often, it is done in conjunction with brow lift, neck lift, eyelid surgery, nose re-shaping and fat transfer.
What are the benefits of undergoing a face lift?
The result of face lifting is so dramatic – it can easily take 10 to 20 years off of the patient’s age. However, aging process is progressive. Eventually the procedure may need to be done again after 10 to 15 years. “Turning back the clock” for 10-20 years has a profound effect in terms of state of mind and quality of life.
Physically, visible effects can be summarized as follows:
Re-creation of a fuller cheek due to proper re-suspension of muscles and fats
Significant reduction of facial wrinkles and excess skin
Remarkable improvement of deep folds specially those above the upper lip (nasolabial fold)
Noticeable reduction of hanging skin at the jaw lines
Creation of a youthful, triangular facial shape with the exposure of mandibular border
How is the procedure done?
Face lift is usually an outpatient procedure which takes approximately 2 to 3 hours under general anesthesia. Incision starts within the hairline at the temple position, and extends downwards until the front of the ears, then circles through the earlobes until the back of the ears where subcutaneous separation will be performed at first. Separation, suspension and fixing of the connective tissues at deeper parts and muscles will be done before tightening the cuticle. Excess skin is finally cut off prior to suturing the incision. The incision lines are designed to be inconspicuous when it is healed.
What is recovery like?
Patients experience post-operative tightness, swelling and bruising but there is surprisingly little pain. Majority of the swelling and bruising will be gone in about 3 weeks. Discomfort will be relieved by taking the prescribed pain medications. Cold compress has to be done every 2 hours for the first 24 hours after the surgery. Antibiotics shall be given to avoid infection and help keep the swelling down. Laying down with head up on at least 3 pillows also help reduce swelling. The incisions will continue to ooze for about 3 days. The patient shall be asked to see the surgeon after a day or two to change the dressing, clean up the area, apply topical antibiotics and make sure that things are going well.
How soon can a patient go back to work?
Some patients with desk bound jobs go back to work 10 days after the surgery. However, for those with strenuous job, it may take 4 to 6 weeks. Most people resume their normal work in 2 to 3 weeks.
How soon can results be seen?
Significant improvement can be seen right away when majority of the swelling and bruising is gone by the 3rd week. Skin contraction will start by week 4 and will continue until about 6 months. The final result will be evident on or before the 6th month when all the swelling has resolved and skin contraction is complete.
What are the candidates for this procedure?
Good candidates for this procedure are those who are generally healthy, psychologically stable and with realistic expectations. Patients are advised to inform the surgeon of their medical history, illness and medications.
What are the possible complications?
Complications occasionally occur. One of these is the inadequate re-suspension of the facial tissues. This happens due to the fading away of facial fats through time. In this case, a fat transfer is recommended. Other risks include asymmetry, nerve sensation, infection, unfavorable scarring, and blood and fluid collection.