Advancements in facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, have helped to make this treatment more mainstream. Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons are striving for a more natural looking results, while also focusing on minimizing scarring and downtime. With these changes, more and more people are choosing to get facelifts. They fulfil a need that minimally invasive procedures cannot, namely in their ability to significantly transform the lower face and neck areas.
What is a facelift?
As we age, skin and tissues, especially in the face, begin to lose their elasticity, which leads to sagging and wrinkles. A facelift works to reduce the signs of aging using a surgical procedure that lifts and tightens tissues in the face. It can involve removing excess skin, smoothing folds or wrinkles and tightening facial tissues. It is focused on the bottom two thirds of the face and may be combined with a platysmaplasty (neck lift), or a brow and eye lift. While there are many reasons for getting a facelift, the most common is to disguise the signs of aging.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Facelift
The number of people choosing to have a facelift increases every year as they become more comfortable with the idea of surgical anti-aging interventions. However, in some cases, it might not be the ideal choice; these are the Pros and Cons:
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked facelift questions in your area:
How is facelift done?
There are two popular facelift procedures, a “SMAS” lift and a “deep plane facelift”. Both offer excellent, natural looking results and the procedure recommended by your surgeon will depend on what will work best for you, and their level of expertise in both techniques.
This surgical procedure targets the lower two thirds of the face, addressing sagging skin, jowls, excess fat, and loss of volume in the cheek area. It is less invasive than other options, and recovery time is faster.
In the procedure, the skin is lifted off the SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) and the muscle layer. The SMAS is then tightened (SMAS plication) or reduced (SMASectomy).
Deep Plane Facelift:
With a deep plane procedure, the skin and SMAS are lifted together (not seperated) and tightened. Deep plan proponents say that the results of this procedure offer better results that have a more natural look and last longer.
The SMAS and deep plane lifts deal with the SMAS layer in distinct, different ways but studies have shown that there are no major differences between the two procedures in patients under the age of 70 (even when compared over 10 years).
The type of facelift that you surgeon will choose to perform depends on your skin, the angles of your neck, and what outcome you want from the facelift. It will also depend on the technique that your surgeon feels most confident using.
What can a facelift fix (and what are the limitations)?
A facelift addresses laxity in the lower face, but it has limitations. Age and menopause cause the skin to slacken, and the supporting structure of fat and muscle begins to collapse resulting in droopy cheeks, sagging jowls and more. A facelift supports and reshapes flattened cheeks, but it can’t fix the skin’s tone or texture, hollows nasolabial folds, fine lines and age spots. It also doesn’t help with any areas of concern in the upper third of the face such as crow’s feet, dropping eyelids or frown lines.
Who is a good candidate for a facelift?
The age range for people seeking a facelift ranges from mid-40s to people in their 80s. Candidates should ideally have visible signs of aging such as jowls, laxity in the face and neck, banding in the neck and descent of the cheeks, and they should want to address these concerns. The person should be in good health and not have any underlying medical conditions.
What can you expect during a facelift procedure?
Depending on the type of facelift, and where your surgeon operates from, your facelift will be done in a hospital or accredited outpatient facility either under general or local anesthetic.
If you have elected for a SMAS lift, the surgeon will begin by making an incision in front and behind the ears. They will then separate the skin from the SMAS, then reposition it and tighten with sutures. After this, they will trim the excess skin and close the incisions.
With a deep plane lift, the surgeon will create a skin flap on each side of the face, including skin and SMAS, they are then lifted and repositioned together. Sutures are then placed in the SMAS layer.
The procedure takes between one and a half to four hours, and you will need someone to be available to take you home afterwards.
How fast do you recover from facelift surgery?
After the operation, you will go home in bandages which are usually removed after the first day. You will then need to care for the wounds, and won’t be able to shower until the drains are removed. It’s important to limit exercise for four weeks after the surgery.
The swelling will be most noticeable 48 – 72 hours after the procedure, and will subside around a week to ten days after the operation. At this point the stitches will be removed. The swelling should go down to normal at around the two week mark which is when most people will return to work.
Does a facelift include a neck lift?
In most cases, it will. Here the surgeon will lift the skin off the neck’s platysma muscle, and it will be tightened with sutures. The muscle can usually be accessed through the same incisions, but if the skin is severely lax or the platysmal banding is very noticeable, an incision under the chin may be necessary.
How much does a facelift cost?
Since there are a number of procedures that fall under facelift surgery, the cost of a facelift in your area varies widely. It will also depend on the surgeon’s level of training and experience. When you go in for an initial consultation, ask for a breakdown of all the costs, including those that you can expect to incur over and above your plastic surgeon’s fee. These costs include hospital costs, anesthesia, follow-up appointments and any pain medication.
Note that facelift surgery is considered to be an elective cosmetic procedure and as such is not covered by insurance.
What advancements have been made?
The short answer is many…
What is the best age for a facelift?
The optimal age for a facelift depends on the person. Most individuals who opt for facelift surgery are between the ages of 40 and 70, although people in their mid-40’s tend to see the best results. The goal of a facelift is to preserve the face, addressing the signs of aging. Thus, the earlier it is done, the better and more long-lasting the results can be.
How long does a facelift last?
The results of a facelift procedure fade over time as your body continues to age. Most people find that a facelift lasts between 5 and 10 years, but the rate of decline is dependent on a number of factors. These are the most important:
How can you prolong the results of a facelift?
There are six things you can do to extend the effects of a face lift for as long as possible:
What are the risks of a facelift?
There are some risks to facelift surgery including: