There are many changes that occur on the face due to ageing. A facelift is a cosmetic surgery that seeks to repair some of these changes, to boost appearance. In the medical terminology , this procedure is known as ‘rhytidectomy’.
The facelift procedure focuses on the tissues beneath the skin after pulling back the skin. The procedure works on the contour of the face to revive youth and vitality. A facelift procedure may also include a neck lift, known medically as ‘platysmaplasty’. A neck lift remedies the loose and sagging skin in the neck region and works on the fat deposits.
A facelift procedure has some limitations which other types of cosmetic procedures can address. A facelift cannot repair subtle wrinkles on the skin. It cannot undo skin damage from sun exposure. The procedure cannot address problems associated with colour of the skin. It cannot repair creases around the nose or the upper lip.
Although a facelift procedure brings significant changes and enables a more youthful appearance, the effects are not permanent. The effects may wear off and the skin can begin to sag after a decade of the facelift procedure, due to the effects of ageing.
Benefit of facelift procedure
Middle age brings about many changes to the skin and appearance. A facelift restores youth to the face by minimising folds and wrinkles on the skin. The procedure also works on the jawline to enable a more youthful look.
Those with sagging cheeks can experience a rejuvenated appearance after this procedure.
Facelift procedure can be performed using two techniques:
- Traditional facelift surgery
- Laser assisted facelift surgery
Traditional facelift is an invasive procedure and will require incisions to hold the skin tight on the significant areas of the face.
Laser assisted facelift surgery is a minimally invasive procedure involving fewer incisions. The patients that undergo this procedure recover much faster compared to those that undergo traditional facelift surgery.
Both the types of facelift procedures serve different purposes. Both traditional facelift and laser assisted form of this procedure are good to do away with excess skin. However, there are existing differences in the way the procedure is performed and the treatment.
The choice of the type of facelift procedure will depend on the reason for the facelift and which part needs correction. Patients can make an informed decision after talking with the cosmetic surgeon.
Alterations to the appearance and shape of the face are an inevitable part of ageing. The skin which appeared tight and elastic in the youth gradually loses these attributes during middle age.
Fat deposits show up in certain regions of the face. In some areas, the fat deposits reduce. Facelift attempts to remedy these age-related changes on the face.
Some of the overriding reasons for a facelift are as follows
- Sagging cheeks
- Fat deposits in the neck region and loose skin
- Presence of jowls, which is surplus skin on the lower jawline
- Deep folds in the area from the corner of the mouth to the side of the nose
This is an important stage before the surgery. Patients may have unrealistic expectations from a facelift procedure. During the preparation phase, the surgeon takes the opportunity to understand the expectations of the patient.
This is a good time to discuss and clarify all the concerns with respect to the procedure with the surgeon. The main goal of this session will be to explain clearly the achievable objectives of the surgery.
Questions about prevailing medical conditions as well as those in the past will figure prominently during the consultation. The cosmetic surgeon will share vital information with the patient as well as update medical records with the patient medical history.
Knowledge of previous surgeries, any complications during or after the surgery, habits, lifestyle, genetic conditions and medicines being taken will be recorded. Further, information regarding the use of alcohol, drugs, or smoking will be noted in the medical file.
What follows next is a physical examination to evaluate the extent of readiness for the facelift procedure. The bone structure of the face will be studied in detail. Quality of skin and fat distribution across the face will be noted.
An examination of the face in detail is a must. Further, the surgeon also captures photographs of the face from different angles. Close-up pictures of the face will also be added in the patient’s medical documents.
This information helps the surgeon plan the facelift procedure
Traditional facelift procedure
The traditional facelift procedure can be done in a hospital, or at a surgical room in a cosmetic clinic and may take anywhere between two to four hours, or even longer depending on all that needs to be done.
In some patients the surgeon uses a combination of local anaesthesia and sedation to numb only a chosen area. In certain cases, general anaesthesia is used. The surgeon may make the incision in either of the following ways:
Make an incision which starts at the temples and goes all the way behind the lower scalp crossing the front of the ears
In case the patients need a neck lift, the incision may begin below the chin.
Sometimes the surgeon makes a shorter incision that begins above the ear at the hairline and restricts itself to around the ear. The incision will not extend to the lower scalp at the back of the head.
The traditional facelift surgery is unable to repair the fine lines on the cheeks or around the jawline. There may not be much improvement on the wrinkles either. Even the lesions and damage due to sunburn on the skin will remain the same as it was before surgery.
Once the surgery is over, the specialist uses bandages to cover the cuts. This also helps reduce swelling and bruising. The surgeon may also position a small tube behind the ears below the skin to enable draining out of excess fluid and blood.
Laser assisted facelift
Laser assisted facelift procedure is a safe and effective procedure that does not need general anaesthesia. It is a skin tightening procedure that is completed in a very short duration of 30 to 90 minutes. Patients needing simple corrections on the face and a quicker downtime for recovery are best suited to opt for this procedure.
In this procedure, the surgeon makes smaller incisions. There is no necessity to do away with excess fat and muscles on the face using a scalpel.
The collagen constricts when the laser heats up the skin. This makes the skin firm and tight. The laser also stimulates production of collagen and elastin in the skin.
Laser assisted facelift helps repair wrinkles and the fine lines around the jawline and cheeks. This procedure can remedy the damage as a result of exposure to the sun. It also rejuvenates complexion. The laser beam does away with the laugh lines and stimulates the growth of collagen.
Post facelift procedure
After a facelift procedure, patients may complain of the following:
- Moderate pain
- Fluid or blood oozing from the incisions
What are the symptoms of serious complications of a facelift procedure?
Patients will need to consult the specialist in the event of the following symptoms after the facelift surgery.
- Severe pain in the face or neck especially within a day of the surgery
- Breathing trouble
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
As with any surgery, facelift also has its share of risks. Even though complications are rare, the flip side is some of them can result in significant changes to the appearance. The silver lining is some of the complications that are not so serious, can be remedied with surgery, medicines and care.
The following are some of the risks of a facelift procedure:
- Some patients can lose hair at the place where the incisions were made. This can be temporary and, in some cases, permanent. Fortunately, this can be remedied by doing a hair follicle transplant on the area where this is a hair loss.
- Accumulation of blood below the skin is a common risk of facelift surgery which patients may experience in the 24 hours following surgery. To prevent damage to skin and tissues, doctors perform another surgery.
- Some patients experience a condition called sloughing, where there is a problem with the blood supply to the tissues on the face. This results in skin loss. If there is a deep scar, the doctor may perform a surgery. In case the condition is not that serious, medications may be prescribed.
- There could be some permanent scars after a traditional facelift surgery. These may be in an inconspicuous area of the face such as covered by the hairline. Medication and corticosteroid injections does help in reducing the visibility of these scars.
- Injury to the nerves is a rare complication of facelift surgery. Patients can experience either permanent or temporary damage to nerves which may result in temporary paralysis. This can cause distortion in the face. In severe cases surgery comes to the rescue, otherwise the condition settles of its own in few months.
- Adverse reactions to anaesthesia can also happen during facelift surgery just like any other surgery. Risk of bleeding or infection is also a possibility. This is why specialists always evaluate the risk of a patient from the medical history and take necessary precautions before the surgery.
When do specialists discourage a facelift surgery ?
Patients may be suffering certain medical conditions or may be on supplements and medications that may increase the chances of things going wrong during or after a facelift surgery. Some of the risk factors are listed below and specialists discourage such patients from undergoing a facelift procedure.
- Some patients experience frequent fluctuation in their weight. This can have a negative impact on the skin. It may change the shape of the face too. Doctors do not perform a facelift surgery on such patients, since the outcome will not be as expected.
- Presence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes can decelerate the healing process. In case patients suffer from hypertension and it is not controlled properly, it can lead to heart problems. If patients suffer from blood clotting problems, the surgeon does not perform a facelift.
- Smokers may increase the chances of complications after a facelift surgery. Mostly, the wound may not heal fast and there are chances that patients may suffer hematomas as well as skin loss.
Certain medicines, such as blood thinners, like aspirin can increase the risk for patients after this surgery. Certain supplements can also cause complications. If patients are consuming NSAIDs (non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), the risk of post-surgery complications is much higher.
Cost of facelift surgery
The cost of facelift surgery is dependent on the following factors:
- Cost varies according to type and location of the cosmetic clinic. The rates vary according to state and city
- Type of facelift surgery
- Anaesthesia type
- Consultation fee that is inclusive of both pre- and post-surgical sessions
- Presence of any underlying medical condition
- Cost of medicines
In India, the cost is segregated on the extent of facelift needed. The price is quoted under categories of mini-facelift, facelift, brow lift, neck lift, treatment for wrinkles, and many such specific cosmetic treatment procedures.
- The cost of a mini-facelift can cost anywhere between INR 50,000 – INR 1,00,000
- An extensive facelift may fall between INR 1,50,000 – INR 2,00,000
- Treatment for wrinkles alone may cost anywhere from INR 5000 – INR 50,000
- Neck lift may cost in the INR 50,000 – INR 90,000 range.
Post –op care and things to keep in mind
- Patients must take all the medicines without missing any
- Keeping cool packs on the face is a good way to relieve pain and swelling
- The head must ideally be in an elevated position to reduce swelling
- All follow up appointments are a must and a review even after two months of surgery is important
- The specialist may remove the bandages after three days of the surgery. Doctors provide an elastic facial sling to compensate
- The specialist examines the wound after seven days and may remove the stitches at that time
- Do not scratch or pick the crusting scabs
- Take care not to subject the wound to soap or shampoo in the initial days of the surgery.
- Follow the surgeon’s instruction regarding the use of soap and shampoo
- Keep make-up and chemicals away for sometime
- Do not put any pressure on the incisions as they need to heal
- Refrain from straining or engaging in physical activity for a few weeks
- Do not expose the wound to the sun till full recovery
- No hair treatment or application of bleach, or hair colour
- No beauty treatments to the face for a few months
Facelift procedure using laser is minimally invasive, and effective enabling a youthful appearance. Patients may benefit from having all the services such as consultation with an eminent specialist, help with diagnostic tests, support during surgery, post-op support, under one roof.
goficure enables a complete package of services right from consultation, surgery to post- op care and recovery for patients desiring to undergo a facelift procedure. The service also manages the logistics of transportation for the patients before and after surgery.
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