Facelift: Everything You Need to Know
A face lift is a surgery that can help improve signs of aging on the face and neck.
Find a trained, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your face lift. This helps to ensure a certain level of expertise, education, and certification.
As with any surgery, there are possible risks to be aware of, including anesthesia risks, infection, numbness, scarring, blood clots, cardiac complications, and poor results. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of surgery in order to make an informed decision about whether this is right for you.
Your geographical location may determine how easy it is to find a trained, board-certified provider.
The procedure is done in a surgical center or hospital, and you can go home the same day.
Recovery time is generally 2-4 weeks long.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, the average cost of a facelift ranges between $7,700.00 and $11,780.00.
Sometimes it takes more than one face lift to achieve your desired results.
After the swelling and bruising go away, you’ll be able to see the full results of the procedure.
Taking care of your skin and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can prolong the results of your face lift.
What is a facelift?
As we get older, skin and tissues naturally lose their elasticity. This leads to sagging and wrinkles. A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that lifts and tightens these facial tissues.
A facelift can involve removing excess skin, smoothing out folds or wrinkles, and tightening facial tissue. It doesn’t include a brow or eye lift, although these might be done at the same time.
A facelift is only focused on the bottom two-thirds of the face and often the neck. People get facelifts for a lot of different reasons. A common reason is to help disguise signs of aging.
Good candidates for facelifts include:
healthy individuals who don’t have medical conditions that can interfere with wound healing or recovery from surgery
those who don’t smoke or misuse substances
those who have realistic expectations of what the surgery entails
How much does a facelift cost?
The average cost of a facelift was $7,448 in 2017, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That doesn’t include hospital or surgical center costs, anesthesia, or related expenses, so the final cost may be higher.
Your individual cost will vary depending on your desired results, the expertise of the surgeon, and your geographical location.
How does a facelift work?
During a facelift, your surgeon repositions fat and tissue under the skin to:
help smooth out creases
remove excess skin that’s causing “jowls”
lift and tighten the facial skin
What’s the procedure for a facelift?
Facelifts vary depending on your desired results.
Traditionally, an incision is made in the hairline near the temples. The incision goes in front of the ear, down in front of and hugging the earlobe, then back to the lower scalp behind the ears.
Fat and excess skin may be removed or redistributed from the face. The underlying muscle and connective tissue are redistributed and tightened. If there’s minimal skin sagging, a “mini” facelift may be done. This involves shorter incisions.
If a neck lift is also going to be performed, the excess skin and fat will be removed. The skin of the neck will be tightened and pulled up and back. This is often done through an incision just under the chin.
The incisions often have dissolvable sutures or skin glue. In some cases, you might need to return to the surgeon to have stitches removed. The incisions are made in such a way that they blend with your hairline and facial structure.
You’ll often have a surgical drainage tube after surgery as well as bandages wrapping your face.
Are there any risks or side effects?
There are risks to any medical procedure, including a facelift. Risks can include:
pain or scarring
hair loss at the incision sites
problems with wound healing
What to expect after a facelift
After the surgery, your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication. You may or may not have some pain or discomfort along with swelling and bruising. This is all normal.
Your doctor will give you instructions on when to remove any dressings or drains and when to make a follow-up appointment.
Once the swelling goes down, you’ll be able to see the difference in how you look. As far as your skin “feeling” normal, this usually takes several months.
Typically, give yourself about two weeks before resuming a normal level of daily activity. For more strenuous activity, like exercise, wait about four weeks. Everyone is different, though, so ask your doctor when you can expect to be able to resume your usual activities.
To help extend the results of your facelift, moisturize your face daily, protect it from the sun, and live a generally healthy lifestyle.
The results of a facelift aren’t guaranteed. You might not get your desired results from one surgery. Sometimes a subsequent surgery is necessary.
Talk with your doctor about what you can do to help ensure a successful facelift and what you can reasonably expect from the surgery.
Preparing for a facelift
Preparing for a facelift is similar to preparing for surgery of any other kind. Before the surgery, your doctor will ask for blood work or a presurgical evaluation. They may ask you to stop taking certain medications or adjust the dosage before the procedure.
Your doctor might also ask you to:
Discontinue use of aspirin, anti-inflammatory pain relievers, and any herbal supplements to reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising.
Apply specific products to your face before the procedure.
Whether your procedure takes place at a surgical center or hospital, you’ll need someone to drive you to and from the surgery since you’ll likely be under general anesthesia. It’s a good idea to arrange for someone to stay with you for a night or two after the surgery as well.
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