What is Facelift Surgery?
Facelift surgeryÂ lifts and firms sagging facial tissuesÂ toÂ restoreÂ a more naturally youthful facial appearance. It is often said that having a facelift works to â€œturn back the clock,â€ helping a patient look like a younger version of him or herself. By removing excess, sagging skin, smoothing deep folds, and lifting and tightening the deep facial tissues, a facelift surgery can help a patient lookÂ not justÂ younger, but simply â€œbetter.â€
Why Have a Facelift?
As we age, skinÂ begins to lose elasticity, and facial tissues lose volume. Eventually, thisÂ results inÂ â€œjowlsâ€ on the lower face, deep wrinkles, and loose skin on the neck. While this is a natural part ofÂ growing older,Â patients who are bothered by theseÂ signs of agingÂ may findÂ a facelift to be aÂ good solution.Â If any of the following describe you, a facelift is an option to consider:
- YouÂ feel self-conscious about the way your face & neck look due to sagging skin
- You wearÂ turtlenecks and scarves not because you want to, but because you want to hide your aging neck
- When you see your reflection, you feel that your face makes you lookÂ much older than you feel
- You feel that an agingÂ appearance is negatively affecting your career or personal relationships
Following a facelift, patientsÂ frequently experience an upsurge in self-confidence, as their appearance betterÂ portrays their healthy, energetic vibe.
Types of Facelifts
Facelift surgery is individualized to a patientâ€™s needs, and a cosmetic surgeon will tailor his or her techniques accordingly.
Patients who exhibit a mild degree of jowling and sagging skin are often good candidates for a mini-facelift. This is a less invasive technique thatÂ allows a cosmetic surgeon to tighten deep facial tissues through shorter incisions, typically located along the hairline above eachÂ ear and/or inÂ the natural creases surrounding the ear. Through these incisions, structuralÂ tissues around the cheeks are lifted and tightened to correct jowling, refine the jawline, and rejuvenate a â€œtiredâ€ appearance.
Depending on the case, a mini-facelift may be performed using local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia; your cosmetic surgeon will recommend the best option for your individual needs.Â A mini-facelift can help you address unwelcome signs of aging before they become too pronounced, postponing the need for more extensive surgery for many years.
A standard or â€œtraditionalâ€ facelift will more fully address moderate to advanced aging aroundÂ the mid-face and neck. While the surgery isÂ more extensive than those for a mini-facelift, and thus more recovery time is required, the results are more dramatic.Â Through incisions located just behind the hairline, starting near the temples, and around the front of the ear, hidden in the naturalÂ folds, a cosmetic surgeon can reposition the deeper tissues beneath the skinÂ and remove excess skin to smooth creases, eliminate jowling and sagging skin under the chin, and restore a naturally youthful contour to theÂ face and neck.
How DoesÂ Facelift Surgery Work?
The exact technique a Nashville cosmetic surgeonÂ uses during a facelift depends on a number of factors, includingÂ a patientâ€™s anatomy andÂ personal goals, the extent of the facelift (mini vs. standard), and whether or not another procedure is being performed at the same time. Facelifts are typically performed using general anesthesia, although local anesthesia with sedation may be used in certain less extensive procedures.
After making the initial incisions, the skinÂ is separated from theÂ underlying connective tissue and muscles. This allows the cosmetic surgeon to reposition the deeper facial tissues, get rid of the jowls and create a firmer foundation for the skin. Then,Â excess skin is removed, and the remaining skin is gently laid back over the newly rejuvenated facial tissues, giving the face a smoother, more youthful contour without over-tightening the skin.
Can aÂ Facelift Improve My Eyelids Too?
Itâ€™s not uncommon to hear the wordÂ â€œfaceliftâ€ used when referring to any type of facial rejuvenation surgery, and understandably, a lot of people think that a facelift involves operating on the entire faceâ€”eyes, brow, cheeks and chin.Â Thatâ€™s understandable; after all,Â your eyes and forehead are part of your face too. However,Â a facelift on its own only addresses the lower two thirds of the face â€“ the cheeks and jawline.
Why is this the case? It is largely due to differencesÂ in anatomy. TheÂ skin,Â muscles and other tissues along theÂ brow andÂ surroundingÂ the eyelidsÂ are very distinct, and cosmetic surgery to each of these areas requiresÂ an entirely different set of techniques than those used during a facelift.
It is common for patients to chooseÂ to haveÂ an eyelid lift, brow lift or neck contouring at the same time as a facelift, but in these cases, a cosmetic surgeon will actually be performing two different procedures in one single operation. Likewise, patients who only wantÂ to address aging around the eyes or neck can typically achieve their goals with only an eyelid lift or neck lift, and not a facelift.
Life After a Facelift
A facelift is a complex procedure requiring exceptional surgical skill, but the recovery process is surprisingly quick for most patients. Patients typically return toÂ normal daily activities after about 2 weeks (strenuous exercise will need to wait about 4 weeks) following a standard facelift, and these time frames are normally even shorter after a mini facelift. As everyÂ patient heals a little differently, your cosmetic surgeon will give you detailed instructions for aftercare and returning to activity.
One of the primary concerns patients have following a facelift is how soon they will look presentable after their procedures, and understandably so â€“ unlike a breast or body procedure, for example, you cannot easily cover the area with clothing. Bruising and swelling are normal after a facelift, and will be at their peak about 2 days after surgery. After that, bruising and swelling will gradually get better, and should be difficult to notice after about 10 to 14 days. Even so, many patients feel comfortable going out in public about a week or so after their procedures. Your Nashville cosmeticÂ surgeon can advise you about when it is safe to wearÂ camouflage makeup.
As you ease back into your routine after a facelift, itâ€™s especially important to keep your face protected from the sun. You will be more vulnerable to sunburn for several weeks after surgery, plus staying out of the sunÂ will help scars healÂ as inconspicuously as possible. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen regularly.
How Will Facelift Results Look Over the Long Term?
When performed by an experienced, Nashville, TN board certified cosmetic surgeon, a facelift is designed to achieve results that not only look natural now, butÂ will also age naturally with you. While nothing can stop the normal aging process, after a faceliftÂ you shouldÂ always look years younger than you would have without the surgery.
However,Â there are certain things you can do to keepÂ your results looking their best.Â Maintaining a healthy, stable weight is important as significant weight fluctuations can cause skin to stretch out again. You should also adopt a consistent, quality skin care regimen to keep your skin healthy and protected from unnecessary aging.
When performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, facelift surgeryÂ is a safe procedure and an excellent way to rejuvenate your appearance.Â The best way to decideÂ if a facelift isÂ right for you is to consultÂ with a board certified cosmetic surgeon in Nashville, TN.