What is a facelift?
Commonly known as a facelift is a procedure which aims to smooth the texture of your facial skin and reshape the underlying facial tissues. This is done by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and redraping the skin of the face and neck.
Who does this procedure suit?
Those who feel their current facial skin texture and shape does not reflect their age or how they feel. Gravity and the natural aging process is unavoidable. Signs of aging often begin with fine lines which develop into wrinkles, furrows, creases, bags, folds and jowls in the face and neck. This can be accelerated by sun exposure, smoking and stress, resulting in a tired, old and depressed appearance even if the person is of a young age. These individuals may be affected strongly by this appearance leaving them with low self-esteem. Even though a facelift won’t make you look 21 again, it can improve most visible signs of aging and give a fresh, rejuvenated appearance without changing the face’s normal expression.
What results will I expect?
A facelift will create smoothing of facial skin from forehead to neck, a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles and furrows, and a smooth jawline without jowls. You will likely appear younger and well rested. The aim of face lift is to make you feel and look as good as possible and is tailored to the individual. It’s important however, to remain realistic in what a facelift can achieve for you. Some deep wrinkles, furrows and folds won’t disappear, especially if they have been longstanding for many years.
What’s the first step to take?
During your first consultation your surgeon will discuss what you’d like to achieve, any expectations you have, questions about the procedure, medical history and current medication. Your face and neck will be carefully examined so that the surgeon knows your individual skin quality. We will provide as much information as possible so that you feel comfortable and informed, and if you feel overwhelmed in any way we encourage you to make a second consultation so that you feel confident with your decision.
How do I prepare for surgery?
If you have had previous issues with bleeding or you bruise easily please inform your surgeon as soon as possible. To reduce risk of bleeding and bruising please make sure to:
- Avoid pain relieving and Vitamin E two weeks before surgery. Panadol, and vitamins B and C are safe to use.
- Avoid smoking before surgery to avoid post-operative coughing and delayed healing.
- Inform us immediately if you’ve had any infection (cold or flu) the week before your surgery.
- Inform us if you have any serious acne or pimples the week before surgery, and/or you have a history of facial herpes.
- Hair coloring may be used 1 week before surgery but must be avoided for 4 weeks after surgery. You should consider hairstyles that allow coverage of your ears and forehead to help hide early bruising and scars.
What happens on the day of my surgery?
We will guide you to prepare for surgery so that your procedure and recovery go smoothly. On the day, shampoo your hair and cleanse your face thoroughly to remove all traces of makeup. Do not apply any moisturizer, makeup or hair products after cleansing. Bring your toiletries, any medication needed and loose clothing. Also bring a pair of sunglasses and a scarf to wear home.
What should I expect during surgery?
Your anesthetist will discuss the use of either a general anesthetic or light sedation with a local anesthetic (you will be awake but won’t remember the surgery afterwards). During surgery, an incision is made in the required area, excess fat is removed, muscle layer is tightened, skin is redraped with a little tension over the tightened muscle layer, excess skin is removed and then sutured into position. Fatty tissue in the neck may also be removed through an incision under the chin and a narrow tube and strong suction applied which is passed back and forth through the fat underneath the skin.
What should I expect after surgery?
- As with all surgeries, there will be some pain experienced afterwards. To ease discomfort our staff can provide prescription pain relief.
- It is usual to plan about 3 weeks of post-op hibernation due to the blue to yellow bruising and swelling. This gradually settles over 2-3 weeks. Using makeup in this time will make it easier for you to venture out after about 2 weeks. You may also feel some tightness or numbness in the face and neck and this will settle down in time.
- It is necessary to sleep elevated on a few pillows to help minimize swelling. A folded towel under the neck may also assist.
- Your sutures are placed in your hairline and around your ears (easily covered by hair) and will heal well over a few weeks. The scars will go through the normal healing process of initially being red and itchy, then red and lumpy, and eventually fading over 6-12 months.
- Shampoo your hair every second day to help keep the incision lines clean and dry. Be careful with drying, use a hair dryer on low heat or a cotton bud.
- It is common to experience some emotions such as guilt, worry and low self-esteem as you recover. This is temporary and a good time to seek advice from our beauty therapist and hair stylist who can provide useful tips.
What are the possible side effects?
- Pigmentation – may occur in those with thin, hypo-pigmented, transparent skin.
- Decreased or increased sensation – common in the skin around the cheeks, chin and neck. Numbness may also occur around the ear and hairline. This often resolves in 8-12 weeks.
- Hairline alteration – may occur in the side-burn areas. In males, beard patterns may therefore change however is temporary.
- Scarring – often minimal however healing varies between patients.
- Broken capillaries – may occur and is more common in those where this condition already exists.
What are the risks and complications with this procedure?
- Infection – is rare however antibiotics help to minimize risk.
- Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis – extremely rare however is life threatening and a risk with all surgeries. Please report any excessive leg swelling, heat or tenderness immediately.
- Skin death – very rare however skin grafts can increase healing. Quitting smoking also helps to minimize risk.
- Nerve damage – rare however it is often transient and can return to normal after 6 weeks.
Please call our office if you experience any of the following: excessive pain or bleeding, abnormal swelling or fever during the first 24 hours.