RHYTIDECTOMY - FACELIFT
What can I expect from a facelift ?
Facelift is a surgical procedure that tries to reverse some of the changes that occurred on our faces as time takes its toil.The natural aging process, forces of gravity, exposure to the sun, smoking and genetic influences are all factors that can cause our skin to sag, wrinkle and form deep creases between the nose and mouth. Folds and fat deposits also appear around the neck and mouth, producing a tired and puffy look.
A facelift can help you look 5-10 years younger and fresher by removing excess fat, skin and tightening facial muscles. The best candidate should have strong and well-defined facial bone structures, fairly elastic skin and is a non-smoker.
What happens during a facelift ?
A facelift requires an incision which begins beyond the hairline at the temples. This incision will then follow the natural line in front of each ear, curve behind the earlobe and back into the hairline on the back of the head. If visible cords are present in the neck, a small incision will also be made under the chin.
Skin is initially separated from the fat and muscle layers so that excess fat may either be trimmed or suctioned. Muscles are tightened using stitches to improve the contour of the jawline and neck. The skin is then pulled back and any excess skin will be removed. Incisions around the ear will be closed using sutures whereas those found in the scalp will be secured with metal clips.
This operation is usually carried out either under general or local anaesthesia. You will also be required to stay overnight in the hospital during which a drainage tube will be inserted behind your ear to remove any blood collection there.
What are the risks and complications ?
Since all surgical procedures can have complications, a rhytidectomy is no exception.
The most common complication is the collection of blood under the skin known as a hematoma. This must be removed by the surgeon during the post-operative period.
Other mild complications also include temporary injury to facial nerves that control the muscles.
Before the surgery ... ...
You will be asked to avoid all food and drinks 6 hours before the surgery. As smoking can lead to poor healing of the skin, you are strongly advised to stop smoking at least 1 week before and 1-2 weeks after the surgery.
If you have very short hair, you might like to grow them out before the surgery so that scars can be hidden by the hair. Remember to make prior arrangements for someone to bring you home after the surgery and take care of you a few days after surgery.
What happens after the surgery ? It is very important that you protect your rejuvenated skin from the harsh effects of the sun by wearing a broad-brimmed hat or using a sunblock of at least SPF 15.
Bruising and swelling are normal and may take up to 2-3 weeks to subside. Sutures will be removed in about 5 days after the surgery and you may experience some numbness in your skin before that. Remember to keep your head elevated during the first few days after the surgery to keep the swelling to the minimum.
You should be able to return to work after 1 week but you should refrain from all strenuous activities for at least 2-3 weeks following surgery.