As people age, the effects of gravity, stress and exposure to the sun can be seen in their faces. The jowls sag, deep creases form between the nose and mouth, and fat deposits appear around the neck. The presence of these issues can make a person look and feel much older than they actually are. A facelift or neck lift surgery improves the visible signs of aging in the face and neck. Occasionally there is one area that seems to be more concerning to a patient than another. Things like the “turkey neck”, “turkey gobbler” or the jowls of the lower face, or sagging of the mid face may prompt a patient to come in. Typically the face and neck can be treated as a single unit or it can be treated as two separate areas. Your plastic surgeon can determine which procedure is best for you.
- Individuals who have excess skin
- Individuals who have a loss of volume in the face and jowls
- Individuals who have excess fat in certain areas and are otherwise healthy
- Individuals who are non-smokers and are stable enough to undergo surgery
Depending on how much change you’d like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or neck lift. The traditional facelift incision is made up into the hairline behind the sideburn, in front of the ear, behind the ear and back into the posterior hairline. There is usually an incision below the chin as well. This allows for tightening of the muscles of the neck or the platysma. Liposuction is performed of the submental fat pad or the double chin area. The under layer of the muscles or the “SMAS” is tightened during this and the excess skin is lifted and excised. Skin is re-draped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is cut away. The incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures and skin adhesives are used to close the incisions.
Limited incision facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, which continues around the ear.
Neck lift surgery is best for sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and then wraps around and behind the ear ending in the lower scalp.
Length of Surgery
The facelift procedure is about a 4 hour procedure.
Recovery, Risks and Results
During your facelift recovery, you’ll wear a compressive face wrap. This will minimize swelling and bruising once the procedure is completed. This compressive wrap should be worn around the area for two weeks, 24 hours a day and then the individual should wear it for half of the day or during the evening for about two weeks. Bruising and swelling are common during this time. You can also have some temporary numbness during this time. Thin tubes may be placed to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin. It takes about 2 weeks before you’re able to go out in public. After the two-week period it’s safe to apply makeup except over the incisions. It will take 6-8 weeks for the majority of the skin to settle and it takes one year for the scars to completely mature.
The decision to have facelift surgery is personal. You will have to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks and potential complications. Potential risks of facelift surgery include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Facial nerve injury
- Persistent pain
These risks should be fully discussed with your surgeon prior to consent and surgery.
It may take a few months for the swelling in the face to subside. It will also take some time for the incision lines to mature. Daily sun protection and a healthy lifestyle will help extend the results of your facial rejuvenation. Your final result should provide you with a more youthful appearance that will help you feel more confident about yourself.