Facelift has been considered synonymous with cosmetic surgery for a long time. The aging process will affect all of us with some looseness of the facial skin and the neck area. For some patients this can be quite exaggerated and may not fit the personality, lifestyle or work / social requirements.
A thorough examination by a professional is important to understand the patient's problem and explain the potential ways of improving them. Facelift is not just tightening the skin. Modern techniques will concentrate on re-adjusting the looseness of the facial muscles as well as tightening the facial skin but additional procedures like: brow elevation, eyelid surgery, targeted fat transfer to hollow areas below the eyelids and cheek, chin implants, nose re-shaping (rhinoplasty) can be added to enhance the overall appearance of the face.
A comprehensive facelift requires incisions in front and behind the ear - partly running into the temple. There are newer and modified versions of a facelift which require a lesser extent of incision. A 'MACS' (Minimal access cranial suspension) lift would limit the incision within the temple and the front of the ear. A 'Silhouette lift' (visit website), a less invasive technique, uses short incisions hidden within the temple. In some patients with significant loose skin and muscles of the neck, in addition to a comprehensive facelift incision, a small incision beneath the chin is sometimes used to tighten the neck muscles (Platysmaplasty). The most appropriate technique is best decided after a professional consultation.
Most of the face lifting techniques, to some extent, separate the skin and the underlying fat from the facial muscles. The weak facial muscle structures are then re-adjusted to obtain additional tightening of the lower face, jaw line and neck. The excess skin will be trimmed and re-draped without excess tension. A drain may be needed for the first 24 hours. A supportive bandage is usually applied for a few days after the surgery.
As with any facial aesthetic procedure, there is likely to be some bruising in the treated areas notably in the cheek, jaw line and the neck. If additional procedures have been performed it is likely to result in bruising around the eyelids and temple area as well. The sutures will be removed between 5-7 days time.
In heavy smokers there is a very high chance of delay in wound healing. It is advisable therefore to discontinue smoking for at least two weeks before and after surgery. There is likely to be some numbness in the lower half of the ear and in parts of the face. This is usually temporary but occasionally may be permanent. Rarely, parts of the facial muscles may feel weaker for a short time. If any damage to the facial nerve has occurred this weakness may be for a long term.