What Is a Facelift?
A facelift (also known as rhytidectomy) is a cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces signs of facial aging to give you a natural, rejuvenated appearance. Although a facelift cannot stop the aging process, it can help you look significantly younger, and the results can last as long as a decade.
Why Should You Choose Facelift Surgery?
Have you noticed that the skin of your face is loose and sagging? Does your face have deep folds around the mouth? Maybe even significant face jowls and hollows?
If you have answered YES to some or even to each of these questions, a facelift may be the right procedure for you to breathe new life into your facial appearance.
If a facelift is performed on the right candidate, the satisfaction and results could be great. Some of these benefits include:
refreshed, younger appearance
looking less tired
sagging skin is tightened
excess skin is removed
redefining the contours of your jawline
it could be combined with other facial cosmetic surgeries
natural-looking results which may last up to 10 years
correcting neck bands + “Turkey gobbler” definition
Bear in mind – while a facelift can help you significantly with sagging skin, wrinkles, and excess skin on the face and neck, it will not address some other issues, such as fine wrinkles. These types of wrinkles usually cover the entire surface of aged skin, and they can be reduced using laser resurfacing.
This is the main reason why you should always discuss your expectations and desired outcome of the surgery, and listen to the advice of your surgeon.
Signs Of Aging – Understanding Facial Aging Process
Our faces age in a complex way. You may have already heard about terms that go alongside aging such as sagging skin, loose skin, wrinkles, redefining jawline, and elasticity…As we get older, some natural processes occur.
The first sign of aging may be your skin losing elasticity. That consequently causes your skin to sag and form wrinkles. Skin also becomes thinner with age, making it more difficult to maintain volume in certain areas of the face such as lips or cheeks. The muscles around your eyes lose firmness as well.
Three main factors contribute to aging:
changes in the skin
loss of facial volume
pull of gravity
Changes in the skin make it prone to wrinkling and stretching.
Loss of facial volume contributes to the loss of youthful contours. The creation of a gaunt face (a face that looks very thin and bony) also happens commonly with age.
Gravity pulls on the skin, fat, muscles, and other tissues, displacing them downward. Skin begins to hang down from the neck and lower face. Fat pads in the cheek push down on the mouth, contributing to deep facial folds or descending along the side of the face to create jowls.
The aging process can be accelerated by environmental factors as well. Smoking cigarettes and sun exposure are on the top of that list, ultimately leading to visible signs of aging.
At What Age Should You Do a Facelift?
When should you do a facelift is a question often asked, and the truth is that there is no the same answer to it. However, it can depend on several factors, some of them being the age of the patient, their job, lifestyle, and genetics…
Most plastic surgeons do not perform a facelift under the age of 40 unless there is noticeable remarkable aging. Performing a facelift procedure as the patient is in their middle age has many advantages. First, the surgery is not as extensive and the incision can usually be confined to the area in front of the face, what is generally referred to as a ‘short scar facelift”. The results are usually very good because the skin still has relatively good elasticity, and the results should last longer. One can feel rejuvenated early on without feeling anxiety when it comes to the aging process.
As the patient ages into the ’60s and ’70s, a facelift is usually indicated. Facelift in these years results in a more drastic, noticeable change.
Period Of Noticeable Aging
Some people retain a youthful appearance well into middle age or older because of lifestyle, health, and genetic factors. If aging changes are minimal one may elect to hold off on any surgery. It may even be helpful to have a “liquid facelift” which consists of fillers and Botox to achieve improvement.
Of course, when there is extensive jowling, neck bands, and “turkey gobbler deformity”, extensive Face and Neck Lifting is required, involving longer incisions. This will result in marked rejuvenation, although can still appear very natural when executed properly.
While mostly everybody wants to look younger, patients in certain fields can benefit more than others. People in the media as well as in the entertainment industry generally need to have a rejuvenating procedure earlier on because of the nature of their job. They are often in the public eye. Additionally, in order to compete with other candidates and employees in similar work environments, they need to appear younger. This also applies to middle-aged patients who must rejoin the workforce and need to go to interviews.
Some people are overly conscious of their appearance and need to look their best regardless of their occupation. They can benefit physically and mentally from earlier rejuvenation surgery such as a facelift. In these cases, it is very important for the surgeon to carefully review the plan and purpose of the procedure(s) to make sure that the patient has realistic expectations.
Facelift Surgery Procedure
Three main regions of the face are addressed with facelifts:
the midface (from the eyes to the mouth);
the lower face and neck area.
Commonly midface and lower facelifts or neck lifts are combined into a single procedure, although a targeted midface lift can be used for people who only need a facelift in this area. Brow facelift is normally performed as a separate procedure, often as a complement to eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
Most incisions for facelifts are concealed in the hair and around the ear. Brow lift incisions encircle the forehead, with the number of incisions depending on the amount and type of lifting necessary. If significant lifting in the neck area is required, a small incision under your chin may also be necessary. Scars typically heal very well, and with their placement, they are very well concealed.
To ensure long-lasting and natural-looking results, the modern facelift works on the muscles, fat, and skin together. A facelift provides results that do not look stretched or that change your appearance significantly, other than making you look younger. The muscles and skin are loosened and then replaced in a more youthful position. Excess skin is removed. Fat can be removed, replaced (with fat grafting), or repositioned, depending on your needs.
Facelift Recovery Time – What To Expect After Facelift Surgery
Facelift surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning that you will leave the plastic surgery center a few hours after the procedure.
Bruising, Bandages, and Stitches Removal
Your face will be in bandages in order to reduce bruising and swelling for one to two days following the procedure. Stitches will begin to remove around five days after surgery. You should expect complete stitches removal 7-10 days after facelift surgery. Once your stitches start removing, you can cover bruises with makeup. Swelling and bruising will subside within a few weeks.
You may experience tightness or numbness in the facial area that may persist for several weeks. You may also notice some itching or burning sensations as your skin heals.
After your facelift, especially if it was combined with other procedures such as a neck lift or brow lift, you will be advised to take it easy for several days. You may experience some pain and discomfort following this procedure. This can be controlled with certain medications prescribed by your doctor.
Return To Work And Strenuous Activity
Your surgeon will advise you of any restrictions on your activities, including when you can return to work. You’ll need to rest and avoid strenuous activity for several weeks after the procedure. It is preferable not to exercise too much while you are healing. The reason for this lies in the fact that excessive sweating could irritate your face.
Walking Every Day
As soon as your plastic surgeon gives you permission to do so, start walking every day for at least 20 minutes to help speed up the healing process, prevent blood clots from forming in your legs, and reduce swelling in your face.
How To Prolong the Effects Of Your Facelift?
There are certain things you can do daily to help prolong the effects of your facelift:
Moisturize the skin of your face regularly
Use cosmetic products that are right for your skin type
Cover your skin from the bad effects of the sun
Eat healthy as much as possible and hydrate yourself
Pay attention to the quality of your sleep
Go to follow-up consultations and listen to the instructions given by your doctor
Facelift – Before and After Photos
Facelift results can give you a more youthful appearance over the entire treated area by reducing loose, hanging skin, some facial folds, and the overall slack appearance of your face.
Here you can see both men and women patients from our plastic surgery center in New York City with before and after results:
Schedule a Free Facelift Surgery Consultation Today
The best way to decide whether a facelift is a good cosmetic surgery procedure for you is to schedule a facelift surgery consultation with Dr. George Lefkovits today. This is your opportunity to talk about the procedure in detail as the surgeon will explain what kind of results could you expect to achieve based on your facial anatomy, skin type and condition, as well as lifestyle habits.
To learn more about what facelift can and cannot do for your appearance, please call (212) 750-9494 and schedule an appointment with our board certified plastic surgeon Dr. George Lefkovits at Park Plaza Plastic Surgery Center in Manhattan, New York.