A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that makes your face look more youthful. This procedure works to reduce sagging of the cheeks and jawline, giving the face a sculpted appearance that is usually associated with youthfulness. However, a face lift will not decrease fine lines and wrinkles. To reduce sagging around the neck, a neck lift is usually conducted as part of the face-lift procedure.
How Long Will a Facelift Last?
A facelift will last for about 10 years after which your skin will start sagging again. This goes to show that results are not permanent. However, a facelift has a longer effect compared to injections, which may last for eight months to two years.
Reasons for Getting a Facelift
With age, skin becomes less elastic while fat deposits increase or decrease in some areas. Due to these changes, face-lift could be an appealing solution. A face-lift can improve the following:
• Sagging skin around the cheeks
• Hanging skin around the jowls
• Deep creases around the nose and mouth
• Excess fat and sagging skin around the neck
• Double chin
Preparations for a Facelift
A plastic surgeon will conduct the following tests before scheduling your procedure:
• Medical history and physical exam – the surgeon will ask questions regarding any past or current medical conditions, previous plastic surgeries, and complication from a previous surgery among others. Your surgeon will conduct a physical exam to check for any concerns regarding your ability to undergo a facelift.
• Medication review – you will be required to provide information on medications you take regularly such as prescription drugs, herbal medications, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins.
• Facial exam – your plastic surgeon will take photos of your face from various angles and examine the shape of your face, bone structure, fat distribution, as well as the quality of your skin.
• Expectations – the surgeon will ask you about your expectation for the face-lift outcome. At this point, your surgeon will discuss with you what your facelift will address and what it won’t.
Who Is Fit for a Facelift?
After your consultation with your surgeon, you will know whether you are a good candidate for a facelift or not. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, good candidates for a facelift include:
• Healthy individuals with no medical conditions that may affect healing
• Individuals with realistic expectations and positive outlook
The Facelift Procedure
Once you are approved for this procedure, you will be instructed to:
• Stop taking some medications and when to stop
• Wash your face and hair with germicidal soap the morning of the surgery
• Stop eating at mid-night before the day of your face-lift
• Have a friend or family member take care of you during recovery
A facelift procedure can either be done in an outpatient surgical facility or a hospital. The procedure can be conducted under general anesthesia, which keeps the patient unconscious throughout the surgery. Alternatively, the surgeon may opt for sedation and local anesthesia, which numbs the areas to be operated on. Your surgeon will discuss this with you during the consultation.
A facelift procedure generally entails lifting the facial skin and tightening the tissues and muscles underneath. Fat deposits in the face and neck are either removed or redistributed, depending on what the surgeon sees fit. After the underlying features are repositioned, the facial skin is re-draped and the excess skin removed. The resulting wound is then stitched or taped.
The procedure usually takes two to four hours, but may take longer if there are other cosmetic procedures included.
Once your facelift procedure is done, you may experience:
• Mild to moderate pain
• Drainage from the incisions
Contact your surgeon if you experience adverse effects such as:
• Shortness of breath
• Intense pain on one side of the face (24 hours after surgery)
• Irregular heartbeats
• Chest pain
Facelift Recovery: What to Expect?
Before you reap the fruits of your facelift procedure, first you have to recover. In fact, you may have to wait a few months to fully appreciate the results. The recovery process is unique to every individual, thus it may take less or more time.
During this week, you are required to follow the postoperative incision care instructions to the letter. Here, you will be required to keep your incisions clean to prevent infections. Arrange for support from family and friends, especially on the day of the surgery as you may feel sleepy and unsteady. You will also need to take your pain medication for your pain.
A follow-up visit maybe scheduled on the second day. Your surgeon will change your surgical dressings and evaluate your incisions and swelling. Rest is also recommended for this week and by day six, you will be feeling better without using the pain medication.
Swelling and bruising may still be there during this week. You may also experience numbness, tingling, or tightening, which are quite normal. At the end of this week, you may be able to go back to light activities such as walking. If your surgeon approves, you can also return to work.
Week 3 and 4
During these weeks, the removal of sutures will be conducted. You may still have some residual tightness and swelling, but you will feel much better. At this stage, you may start seeing the improvement in your facial contours. You can also get back to intense activities such as exercising.
After Day 30
A month after your facelift in NYC, you should be able to get back to your normal life. Minor swelling and bruising will fade eventually.
Will My Insurance Cover a Facelift Procedure?
Most health insurance companies do not cover the cost of cosmetic surgery that aim to improve appearance such as facelifts.
Who Is a Bad Candidate for a Facelift?
If you have serious health issues such as diabetes, a bleeding disorder, heart disease, or high blood pressure, you may not be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery. Also, if you are a smoker or alcoholic, you may not be fit for this procedure.
What Are the Risks of Facelifts?
• Nerve injury
• Hair loss
• Skin loss