What is a Facelift?
A facelift (also known as a rhytidectomy) is a restorative surgical procedure done primarily to offset the effects of aging. Compared to injectable fillers, facelifts offer a more permanent solution to visible creases, wrinkles, and sagging skin. They are also cheaper in the long run since temporary solutions add up in costs after several years of treatment. As such, more and more people are opting for mini or full facelifts to offset the signs of aging.
In the past, plastic surgeons would tighten the skin too much, leaving their patients with an unflattering, stretched look. Fortunately, strides in the medical field have allowed plastic surgeons to effectively rejuvenate their patient’s skin while maintaining a graceful and natural appearance.
Cutting-edge technologies that aid in making facelift procedures more efficient include precise preoperative planning methods and the evolution of biological products for tissue reconstruction. Instead of simply pulling back and cutting away excess skin, plastic surgeons now lift and reposition the underlying facial muscles. This is done to avoid giving your face a pinched look, and will prolong the benefits of the facelift.
What Does a Facelift Fix?
Although a facelift improves skin draping and support, it does not remedy problems that involve the hollows, tone, and texture of the skin. What it does address are those consequences of aging that bring about laxity in the facial area.
Several other factors contribute to sagging skin apart from aging. Sun damage, insufficient collagen production, inadequate moisture, and drastic weight changes all contribute to the deterioration of your skin’s elasticity, causing it to sag. A facelift will lift and firm sagging facial tissues, rejuvenating the face in the process.
One of the most common skin problems that middle-aged people face is wrinkles. These inevitable creases appear because our skin loses its capacity to readily spring back into position every time a muscle underneath it moves. An expertly done facelift can erase decades from a person’s face by removing wrinkles.
Facelifts can also address the signs of aging in the lower parts of the face, such as the chin, making it an equally effective means of solving heavy jowling. Jowling is the term used to describe sagging skin on the jawline or below the chin. Much like sagging skin on the upper portions of your face, jowling is influenced by lifestyle, genetics, and the unavoidable decline in collagen production.
How Does a Facelift Work?
Before undergoing any medical procedure, patients need to be armed with sufficient knowledge about what will happen to them and what results they can expect. Being well-informed will also help alleviate any anxiety the patient might experience prior to the procedure.
You should consult with your plastic surgeon first and air out what it is you really want to get out of the cosmetic procedure. At this stage, you will be undergoing preliminary examinations and discussing the procedure with your doctor until finally agreeing upon the most appropriate course of action to achieve your goals. This step is very important since it is where the preoperative plan of the procedure will be based on. It is also an opportunity for you to ask about the technical aspects of the operation to ease any lingering hesitations.
During consultation visits, your full medical history will be recorded to ensure that no complications would arise once you proceed to surgery. Any present medical conditions, allergies, and past operations will be taken into account to ensure your safety and overall satisfaction.
Depending on the type of facelift track you’ve opted for, treatment can last from two to four hours with either local or general anesthesia. The typical approach is to make an incision on your hairline to avoid noticeable marks on your face, but a cosmetic surgeon may also cut near your temple, ear, or on the more visible parts of your face if necessary. Fat and muscle realignment will then take place, followed by careful stretching of the skin. After achieving a smooth and seamless look, your doctor will stitch your skin in place and remove any excess tissues and fat.
Some level of pain and discomfort should be expected after undergoing a facelift. Patients typically experience tightness, swelling, and bruising that may last anywhere from five days to three weeks, while numbness usually persists longer, lasting up to six weeks. Because of this, it is in your best interest to plan the surgery in such a way that you are able to take at least a few days off after the operation.
As for the scars, you may have to wait at as long as 12 months before they completely heal. During your facelift recovery period, it is recommended to have follow-up appointments with your attending plastic surgeon. Doing so allows the doctor to track your healing progress and keep an eye out for possible errors or unforeseeable complications.
While facelifts are more or less permanent, they do not stop the aging process. That is why it is imperative that you employ maintenance measures to ensure that you get the best out of the procedure for as long as possible. Such measures include:
- Protecting your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- Sticking to an appropriate skincare routine
- Undergoing complimentary treatments
- Consulting with your plastic surgeon
What are the Different Kinds of Facelifts?
Many different kinds of facelifts are made available today thanks to advancements in medical technology. Each type is custom designed to fit a specific need or preference of a patient and may range from non-invasive to invasive.
A liquid facelift is a non-surgical alternative that brings about temporary rejuvenation to the skin. Just like its surgical counterparts, a liquid facelift can correct wrinkles, redefine your face shape, and add youthful volume to target areas. This type of procedure makes use of liquid injectables in conjunction with Botox to reduce sagging. By filling up the empty spaces from the inside of your skin, you restore plumpness and recontour drooping facial features.
Innovative approaches have made it easier for surgeons to rejuvenate the male face without compromising its masculine appearance. Male facelifts don’t differ from traditional facelifts in terms of method. The area in which they differ is the stricter need to achieve natural-looking results. This is driven by the general trend of the masses to react negatively to overdone male faces.
A mid-facelift targets the lower eyelids and cheeks. The procedure is often done to elevate the cheeks by repositioning fat and muscles to more strategic locations. For that reason, a mid-facelift is sometimes called a cheek lift. Once the incisions have been made, your surgeon will adjust the fat and muscle tissue, hoisting up the middle of the face to tighten the skin and smoothen its appearance.
The mini facelift is rapidly becoming one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures. Aside from addressing the most prominent signs of aging and leaving minimal scarring, post-surgery side effects are also considered to be more manageable. The main goal of the mini facelift is to renew the appearance of the lower third of the face extending up to the neck.
This type of facelift is designed specifically for people who are not satisfied with a previous procedure. Others opt for a revision facelift after undergoing a successful procedure in the past but are in dire need of a follow-up procedure. Revision facelifts require tremendous skill and technical creativity from the plastic surgeon to effectively remedy the undesirable effects of previous procedures.