What is a Facelift?
A facelift is a surgery that usually includes a neck lift in order to lift and tightening the sagging and drooping (ptotic) tissues of the face and neck. There are many described ways of performing facelifts, but at Heavenly Plastic Surgery, we believe that the best technique involves adequately addressing three elements – the loose skin, the strength layer below the skin (called the SMAS), and the neck plastyma muscle. Usually anything more conservative will not provide a long lasting result.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Facelift?
Patients who are good candidates for facelifts typically are healthy and have minimal to no medical problems. They should have good blood pressure control in order to minimize the risk of bleeding from the procedure.
Patients who would benefit from a facelift and necklift typically have several common characteristics. Their neck skin may be sagging, and they may have prominent neck bands (due to laxity of the underlying platysma muscle).
How Do I Prepare for a Facelift?
Typically, to get ready for your facelift, you will need to get medical clearance from your doctor. Labs will often be required, including a complete blood count (CBC), basic metabolic panel (BMP), blood clotting tests, and an EKG. Your blood pressure should be well controlled prior to surgery in order to minimize complications!
We may ask you to cleanse your face with an antiseptic wash for several days prior to surgery. Hair should not be dyed close to the time of surgery. Any jewelry on the head or neck region should be removed. Smokers are asked to quit 6 weeks prior to surgery until 6 weeks after surgery.
What is Involved in a Facelift?
An incision is made in front of the ear, around the earlobe, behind the ear, and down along the hairline behind the ear. The skin between the ear and the neck is elevated and the excess amount is removed. The neck muscles are tightened together, which helps to create a more youthful neckline. The SMAS (stronger layer of tissue under the skin) is pulled up and sutured to restore fullness to the cheeks, decrease the jowls, and create a more youthful contour. The incisions typically remain well hidden.
You may have drains placed in the neck that come out behind the ear. These will help prevent any fluid from building up in your neck after surgery. You will be placed in a headwrap after surgery to protect your incisions and to help reduce swelling.
What is the Recovery from a Facelift?
Patients usually go home the same day after a facelift. You are asked to sleep in a recliner or with the head of the bed elevated on 2-3 pillows for 1-2 weeks to help with swelling. Drains are usually removed within 1-5 days after the procedure.
Patients may complain of soreness for 1 week. Swelling and bruising are typically present for 2-3 weeks, during which time you may opt not to go to public events. After 2-3 weeks, most of the swelling will not be noticeable by other people. However, you may still notice it yourself. Full healing should occur by 6 weeks after surgery.
To access full postoperative instructions, please click here.
What are the Risks of a Facelift?
Risks from a facelift and neck lift include bleeding and infection. Infection is very rare; patients are given an antibiotic after surgery to help prevent them. Bleeding risk is higher in patients who have blood pressure issues or who do not adhere to recommended post-op instructions.
Rare complications can also include nerve damage, which may cause numbness in the ear or temporary (or rarely permanent) paralysis of some facial muscles. It is important not to smoke or be around smokers before surgery or during the healing process as it may increase the risk of skin necrosis (death), yielding a poor overall result
Risks can be minimized by adhering very closely to the prescribed postoperative instructions as given by your surgeon.
What Can I Expect from a Facelift?
Facelifts can be remarkably transformative procedures. Generally, they will improve your neck fullness and contour, addressing any area of excess sagging skin. They will improve the jowls (sagging cheeks) as well as restore volume over your cheekbones. They help to remove wrinkles by reducing excess skin in the face and neck.
Results can be improved with the addition of autologous fat grafting (taking fat from the belly and transferring it to the face) to restore volume lost with aging. Skin tone and texture can also be improved with skin resurfacing, such as microneedling, PRP injections, and fractional CO2 lasers.
Always be sure to consult with a Board Eligible or a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to determine if getting a facelift surgery is right for you! Dr. David Nguyen specializes in facelifts/necklifts and would be happy to see you in consultation to walk you through the process and discuss your results. Call 657-900-5055 for a free consultation today!