Face lift overview - Should I have a face lift?
The best candidate for a face lift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and who’s bone structure is strong and well-defined. The age demographic is often between 40 and 70 years. A face lift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self-confidence in the process. Before you decide to have a face lift think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. To view some of our recent before and after facelift images please see our gallery.
What are the risks of a face lift procedure?
Many patients are concerned about visible scarring. Care is taken to avoid the stigmata of a face lift such as raising the sideburn, pulling the ear lobe down or a step off in the hairline behind the ear. Hematoma (bleeding) is a complication that can occur in the early postop period and rarely may necessitate a further operation to drain the collection.
Nerve injury is an infrequent complication that may become apparent after the operation. It can involve sensory or motor nerves (involving the lower lip or forehead muscles). If such a complication occurs, it usually resolves in the first few months following surgery.
Planning your face lift surgery
A face lift is a very individualised procedure. In your initial consultation, Dr Cooper will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone and soft tissue structure, and discuss your goals for the surgery. Computer simulation using your image is helpful in the consultation.
Advice regarding pre- and post-operative skin care is available from our aesthetic nurse. Smoking is an absolute contraindication when considering face lift surgery. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
For more information regarding a face lift in Perth or to make an appointment, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Evolving trends in face lift surgery
Modern trends in face lift surgery include minimising scars and repositioning facial soft tissues to avoid the stigmata of an “operated look”. Patients are also having procedures at a younger age, when surgery can be less invasive.
The face lift surgery
Face lifting is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia. Usually an overnight stay is recommended. A facelift usually takes three to four hours or longer if you’re having other procedures done. Other procedures that may be performed include fat augmentation, brow lifting, laser resurfacing, blepharoplasty and rhinoplasty. Incisions usually begin at or above the hairline in the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the ear and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
The surgeon separates the skin from the layer below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions.
Following surgery, a small, thin tube is temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The surgeon will also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimise bruising and swelling.
After your face lift surgery
You should not feel significant discomfort after a face lift. Some numbness of the skin is quite normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months. If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed the day after surgery. Bandages are usually removed after 1-2 days and you can then shower and wash your hair. You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery.
Most of your stitches will be removed after about 5-7 days. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer. Your surgeon will give you more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks; walking and mild stretching are fine.
At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may he slightly stiff, and you’ll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks.
Thread lifts have been popularised as a relatively non-invasive, low cost, minimal downtime alternative to facelifting. They are far from low cost and are not effective in the long term. Most face lift surgeons do not offer to perform them.
Generally it’s best to recuperate at home where things are familiar and you can access help. Some people elect to go away for their recuperation and that’s fine as long as you have adequate access to wound care and help with daily chores.
Following your surgery you will be prescribed pain medication which may be an analgesic or an anti-inflammatory or sometimes a combination and this prescription is given to you by your anaesthetist . Should you have concerns about post-operative pain relief then you need to address these with your anaesthetist.
Plastic surgeons undergo extended rigorous training which involves at least 7 years post graduate study. As part of that program they learn about cosmetic surgery. Under current legislation anyone can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon provided they are a doctor. However, unless you have a higher specialist qualification in plastic surgery you are not allowed to call yourself a Plastic Surgeon. Dr Cooper is a qualified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who performs cosmetic surgery.