You know it is time to consider a facelift when you look in the mirror and see your mother or father staring back at you. Where did that neck come from; it wasn’t there yesterday. What is this jowl thing? I didn’t sign up for this.
The changes usually start in the late 40’s or 50’s. Some of the changes can be treated with Botox or fillers but by the time the extra skin starts sagging in the neck or the jowls declare they are permanent features, a facelift is the best alternative.
There is much misunderstanding of what a facelift entails. It may be better named a “lower facelift” or “neck lift” since it only treats the lower part of the face and neck.
A facelift improves the visible signs of aging in the face and neck such as:
- Loose skin and excess fat under the chin and jaw
- Turkey neck
- The squaring of the lower face by the addition of jowls
- Creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth and into the chin
Although this discussion is just about facelifts, the procedure is very often combined with eyelid surgery and a brow lift.
The facelift incisions begin in the hair at the temples, continues around the front and back ear and end in the lower scalp behind the ear. Fat may be sculpted by liposuction or redistributed from the face, jowls and/or neck. Underlying tissue is repositioned and often the deeper layers of the face and muscles are also lifted. The skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away. A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck by removing fat or tighten the muscles.
When the surgery is complete, we wash your hair and place dressings that wrap your whole head for mild compression and support. We will remove the dressing the next day.
The procedure is most often performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. It takes three to four hours to perform. The procedure produces permanent scars that are well-concealed within the hairline and the natural contours of the face.
Expected Side Effects:
- Numbness – some permanent
We do everything we can to decrease the risks of surgery. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with any surgery. Some of the risks specific to facelift are:
- Poor healing resulting in conspicuous scarring or skin loss
- Bleeding or fluid collection under the skin, which could require more surgery
- Possible revisional surgery
- Hair loss at the incision site
- Facial nerve injury with temporary or permanent weakness of facial muscles
- Skin loss
- Facial asymmetry
- Blood clots in the legs leading to clots in the lungs
- Death related to anesthesia
Learn More About the Procedure
Click below to learn what to do before and after the procedure.
At this visit, we will: Take your payment and answer any questions you may have regarding the procedure. At this time, Dr. Frost may not be available, but if you would like to speak with him again, please let us know and we will schedule this visit when he is available. Provide you with any prescriptions that you may need for after surgery. We encourage you to have these prescriptions filled prior to your surgery to avoid having to stop at the pharmacy after your procedure. Please let us know if you have any specific pain medication requests, and we will try to prescribe the medication that works best for you. Make arrangements for any necessary pre-operative evaluations that need to be performed, such as blood tests, pregnancy testing, EKG, etc.
Diet and Medications:
Please, DO NOT eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight prior to your surgery. This is VERY important. Your surgery will be CANCELLED if you eat or drink anything after midnight. The only exception is a sip of water with any medications that you must take. Generally, you should take high blood pressure and heart medications. Do NOT take arthritis medications and do NOT take diabetic medications (including insulin), unless specifically instructed to do so.
Bathing and Clothing Prior to Surgery:
Please take a shower and use antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing such as a front button shirt and loose pants since these items are easier to put on and take off after surgery.
Take it slow and easy with your diet. Start with clear liquids and simply advance as tolerated. It is normal to have some nausea from the anesthetic and pain medication, but by taking it easy, this should quickly resolve.
Take it easy, Walking is good, bouncing is bad. A good rule of thumb is: “If it hurts, don’t do it.” You may feel like you cannot stand up straight. Feel free to walk bent-over for the first week or so. You will be able to stand straight (and proud) soon. As you start to feel stronger, you may gradually increase your activity. Do not plan to drive for 2 to 3 weeks since restricted movement may limit your response time in an emergency. Do not do any abdominal exercise for at least a month to six weeks. Actually, if we tighten the muscles enough, you may never do another sit-up again!
There is discomfort after any surgery. The goal of pain medication is to prevent pain, so do not wait until you are really hurting to take your medication. Follow the directions on your prescription to stay ahead of the pain and experience the highest level of pain relief possible. Narcotics can cause constipation, so drink plenty of water, eat fruit and use an over-the-counter laxative, if needed.
Post-Operative Dressings and Bathing:
Leave your head wrap on and keep your head elevated. We will remove the dressings the day after your surgery. You will look terrible and your hair will look worse! You may go home and shower and shampoo that day. Bring a scarf or wear a hoodie and sunglasses; you won’t want to be seen in public for a week or two. The bruising is usually worst at about three days and then begins to gradually fade. We will remove sutures in stages over the next two weeks.
There will be changes over the next few months following your surgery, so do not judge the results too early.
Our goal is for you to be informed. If you have a question, please call our office at 850.474.8333.