Aging of the face is inevitable. As we grow older, the skin undergoes structural changes and begins to sag in the face and neck. Crow's feet at the corners of the eyes, fine and deep forehead lines, softening of the jawline and formation of jowls, deepening of the facial grove, redistribution of fat deposits in the face, fine grooves in the upper and lower lips, redundancy and banding of the neck another chin or vertical folds appear at the front of the neck are among the changes that are commonly seen. Hereditary factors, facial distribution of fat and bone, weight changes, smoking, other personal habits, gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the way faces age.
Facelift is an operation that addresses aging changes of the face and neck region: drooping features of the lower face such as sagging cheeks, deep folds, prominent jowls, deepening of the grooves, redundant skin and fat in the neck, drooping of the brow and forehead, and hollowing of the face. The operation is tailored to fit the needs of the face and correct the deformity. During these procedures different techniques are used to correct the drooping skin, fascia or superficial muscles of the cheek and neck, the abnormal fat deposits in the cheek and neck. Depending on the region of concern, a facelift can be minimized to either a cheeklift or a necklift. Despite a multitude of techniques aimed at removing wrinkles, the most thorough and long-lasting form of facial rejuvenation is rhytidectomy, or facelift. While less invasive procedures address only skin wrinkles, the facelift addresses drooping features of the lower face such as sagging cheeks, deep folds, prominent jowls, and the 'turkey gobbler' neck. In certain conditions a facelift is combined with facial resurfacing using lasers or certain forms of peels in order to correct both sagging and superficial wrinkles.
Understanding Facelift surgery
Facelift surgery can be done under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. Incision is made in the area of the temple area within the hair, it continues around the lobe and behind the tragus in order to avoid a show of scar, then behind the ear into the scalp. The skin is elevated in order to expose the redundant fat and muscle. The extent of elevation is determined by the degree of sagging and the architecture of aging, the amount of fat, bone and type of skin. Excess fat in the neck is removed, the banding in the neck is treated surgically and the musculoaponourotic system in the face is elevated and tightened with internal sutures. The brow is repositioned. The skin corner of the eye and crows feet is also undermined in cases where this needed. All oozing is controlled, drains are positioned and excess skin is removed and sutured in a plastic fashion.
In men the incision is rearranged to fit the hair distribution and in certain cases hair follicles or removed in order to avoid hair growth close to the ear.
Following the surgery, a dressing to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made is applied. Surgery can take from two to four hours.
What To Expect After The Surgery
Most patients have mild pain or thightness after surgery, medications are described to control this sensation. Some degree of swelling and bruising is usually present, and your surgeon. Dressing has is usually removed two to three days. The surgeon will also instruct you to keep your head elevated when lying down, to avoid as much activity as possible, and to report any undue discomfort.
If a drainage tube may have been inserted during surgery, it is usually removed on the first or second day after surgery. All sutures and staples are usually removed within five to 10 days following surgery. Surgeons generally recommend that patients avoid vigorous activity
Recovery from facelift surgery usually takes two to three weeks, most patients go back to work in two weeks. Scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. Scars are easily disguised in natural skin creases, by the hair, or, in persistent cases, by makeup until total healing has occurred.
It is important to stop smpking before and after facelift surgery, since this has a great impact on healing.
For further information, please refer to publications on facelift by Dr Fuleihan available on this site.