The face lift, medically known as the rhytidectomy, allows patients who are showing signs of aging about the face and neck to have these signs erased with no apparent signs of scarring. These aging signs include:
• Sagging in the midface
• Creases under the lower eyelids
• Creases along the nose that extend to the corners of the mouth
• Facial fat that has become loose or is otherwise displaced
• Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw line that make a person of normal weight look like they have a double chin
Other procedures performed in conjunction with a face lift are the brow lift to smooth the skin of the forehead and correct a deeply furrowed brow, and eyelid surgery to remove the signs of aging around the eyes. A face lift does not make you look differently and it does not stop the effects of aging from setting in later.
A true face lift can only be performed surgically. Non-surgical treatments do not provide the same degree of results, but may help delay the time that a face lift may become appropriate. Non-surgical treatments may also compliment the benefits of a true face lift.
BEFORE AND DURING THE SURGERY
Only a qualified cosmetic surgeon can determine if a face lift is right for you. Face lift surgery is a highly individualized procedure and should only be done for personal reasons. Generally, face lift surgery is a good option for you if
• You are generally healthy
• You are a non-smoker
• You have a positive outlook on life
• You have realistic goals for the procedure
Your surgeon will want to meet with you prior to scheduling a procedure to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a face lift. The following points cover some of the information your surgeon will want to know:
• Why do you want to the procedure?
• What is your desired outcome?
• Do you have any current medical conditions or drug allergies?
• Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
• Have you undergone any previous surgeries?
• What medications, vitamins, herbal and other supplements, and drugs are you currently using?
• Do you use alcohol and tobacco?
This is not all. Your surgeon will want to complete a physical evaluation to determine your current level of physical health. The information he or she will gather could include:
• Any risk factors you are experiencing, along with any pre-existing conditions
• Photographs that will be included in your medical record, and to aid in determining the extent of improvement
• Treatment options and recommendations
• Discussing possible outcomes of the procedure
• The use of anesthesia during the procedure
BEFORE AND AFTER
YOUR SURGEON MAY ALSO INSTITUTE:
• Dietary guidelines or restrictions
• Alcohol consumption guidelines or restrictions
• Avoiding certain vitamin supplements
INSTRUCTIONS YOU WILL RECEIVE MAY INCLUDE:
• What to do on the day of the surgery
• Using anesthesia during your procedure
• Any post-op care and treatments
BEFORE THE DAY OF THE SURGERY, YOU WILL BE ADVISED OR REQUIRED TO:
Complete routine blood tests to determine overall physical health
Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal supplements that increase bleeding
The first step in the face lift procedure is to administer the anesthesia—either intravenous sedation or local anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best method for you. Other procedures can be done at the same time as the face lift and include:
Soft tissue augmentation (this recontours the facial structure)
Skin resurfacing techniques that enhance the tone and texture of facial skin
Injections for wrinkle reduction
The incision made to begin the face lift depends on the amount of change you desire. The first is the traditional face lift which begins at the temples up in the hairline and extends down around the ear and ends at the lower scalp. This way, fat can be resculpted (or repositioned) in the face, jowls, and neck. Underlying tissues can be repositioned (and usually are repositioned). And the deep layers of the face, including the muscles of the face, are lifted as well. The skin is then redraped and fitted over the now lifted contours of the face, and the excess is trimmed away. A second incision may be required at the chin to lift the neck.
An alternative to the traditional face lift uses a shorter incision that starts below the temples and continues around the ear ending right at the hair line. This is called the limited incision. The skin from underneath the eye to the skin at the corners of the mouth can be corrected using this incision in the same way the traditional incision is used.
The neck lift uses an incision that starts at the middle of the ear and extends around the ear to the hairline. Jowls, loose neck skin, and fat accumulation under the chin can be corrected using this technique.
The surgeon uses sutures and skin adhesives to close these incisions. When these incisions heal, any scarring is concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear. When swelling and bruising diminish, the effects of the face lift will become more apparent.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE IS COMPLETE
After returning home, it is very important to follow your surgeon’s suggestions for resting and for the care of the surgical and incision sites. Be sure that you do not subject the surgical incisions to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. This can have detrimental effects to the quality of your results, as well as your general health.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual or irregular heartbeats, seek immediate medical attention. You may be hospitalized if any of these serious medical conditions occur.
The practice of medicine is not an exact science. Good results are always expected, but not guaranteed. Some situations may require multiple surgeries in order to achieve the best results. A similar procedure (like a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or liposuction) may also be required.
Your results will be long-lasting, as long as you maintain a stable body weight and general physical fitness. As your body ages, a loss of firmness or sagging may begin to reappear. Most of the improvement should remain
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