- Is a Facelift for You?
- Making the Decision for a Facelift
- What to Expect After Facelift Surgery
- Follow-up Care
- Request an Appointment
Aging of the face is inevitable. Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. As the aging population grows, it is obvious why rhytidectomy, or a facelift, has become the third most desired facial cosmetic surgical procedure.
At the Johns Hopkins Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our physicians approach the aging face in a holistic manner. There are three aspects we address in every patient:
- Sagging skin
- Volume restoration
- Skin care
By analyzing where volume has been lost and gravity has caused pulling or sagging, our surgeons can correct the aging face by replacing volume and gently pulling specific areas. Our physicians are also strong proponents of excellent skin care in combination with surgery to treat the aging face.
Facelifts address one of the three major aspects of the aging faces; sagging skin. The goal of a facelift is to raise the excess skin from the face to diminish wrinkling and sagging in the face and neck. Some fat may be removed and underlying muscles and connective tissue are tightened.
Volume restoration has been found to dramatically improve our results. Injectable fillers may be used, or fat may be transferred from other places on the body.
Important factors to be discussed with your surgeon include:
- Skin type
- Ethnic background
- Degree of skin elasticity
- Individual healing rate
- History of previous surgeries
- Realistic expectations for surgery
Your surgeon will also discuss having a realistic attitude about the results of a facelift with you. A facelift cannot stop aging, nor can it literally turn back the clock. What it can do is help your face look its best and give you a healthy look and a more youthful appearance. A side benefit is that many patients experience increased self-confidence.
Before deciding on a facelift, you should discuss with your facial cosmetic surgeon whether the overall effect will be more successful if additional changes are made in other parts of the face. Many patients get additional procedures performed at the same time as a facelift. The most common procedures are rejuvenation of the eyebrows and eyelids. Some patients undergo chin augmentation, or rhinoplasty, at the same time.
Some people may choose to have a mini-facelift. The “minilift” is a procedure that is presented under a variety of names. A version of a facelift, the area of tissue dissection is kept to a minimum. Not every patient is a good candidate for a minilift. However, some patients gain quite a bit of rejuvenation from a short incision and limited dissection.
The advantages are reduced healing time, with less bruising and swelling. Some patients can even have this performed without general anesthesia, in the office procedure room. Your physician can advise you on whether this procedure is right for you.
What you should expect:
- During the preliminary consultation, your surgeon will take a thorough medical history, as well as assess your mental and emotional attitudes toward the surgery. Because a realistic attitude is crucial to the success of the surgery, the surgical procedure and realistic expectations will be discussed.
- Your facelift specialist will examine the structure of your face, skin texture, color, and elasticity.
- Photographs will be taken so the surgeon can study your face.
- Individual risks will also be examined, especially those related to medical situations such as high blood pressure, a tendency to scar, smoking, and any deficiency in blood clotting.
- After the decision to proceed with a rhytidectomy is made jointly by you and your surgeon, the surgeon and staff will describe:
a. The technique indicated
b. Type of anesthesia recommended
c. The surgical facility
d. Any additional surgery
e. Possible complications
f. Costs of the procedure
Note: These are general guidelines. Please ask your doctor to fully explain what your expectations should be post-surgery.
- Even though most patients experience very little pain after surgery, the surgeon will still prescribe medication.
- Some degree of swelling and bruising is unavoidable, and your surgeon may instruct you to use cold compresses to keep swelling to a minimum.
- If a dressing has been applied, it will be removed within one or two days.
- The surgeon will also instruct you to keep your head elevated when lying down, avoid as much activity as possible, and report any undue discomfort. Though there are few risks in facelift surgery and thousands are performed every year, some risk exists in any surgery.
- In some cases, a drainage tube may have been inserted during surgery. This will be removed on the first or second day after surgery.
- All sutures and staples are usually removed within five to 10 days following surgery. Surgeons generally recommend that patients avoid vigorous activity for a few weeks after surgery.
- Patients should prearrange for post-surgery support from family and friends.
Follow-up care is vital for this procedure to monitor healing. Obviously, anything unusual should be reported to your surgeon immediately. It is essential that you keep your follow-up appointments with your surgeon. Your physician will want to see you one day, one week and one month after surgery.
Read more about what you should do before and after your facelift procedure.
To request an appointment or to get more information about the Johns Hopkins Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, please call 877-546-4530.
Illustration courtesy of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery