Facelift Newport Beach
During the aging process, facial soft tissues descend in the midface, jowel and neck area. This creates the deep nasolabial folds, tissue hanging below the jaw, neck banding, and extra laxity in neck skin. All of these issues are addressed with different forms of a facelift, midface lift, or necklift. Re-suspending the tissue in a natural manner will counteract the years of gravity and progressive skin laxity to give a more youthful appearance.
The surgery itself can be performed in a multitude of ways. The biggest problem currently is with the dozens of names surgeons are putting on their “patented” facelift. There is the “lifestyle lift”, “weekend lift”, “s-lift”, “short-scar lift”, “mini-lift”, and many others. In general, as with many rejuvenating procedures, the more work that is done and the more involved the procedure, the better long-term results you can expect. I perform what is called the “deep plane” facelift and this allows the best manipulation and re-suspension of the soft tissue. It also moves the skin with the deeper tissue and prevents the ‘pulled’ look of many more superficial facelifts.
The other important thing to note is that surgery can re-position the tissue and soften the larger folds within the tissue. It is not good for fine lines, wrinkles, and pigment changes. It is necessary to consider the skin in its entirety when evaluating the aging face. Many times laser resurfacing procedures are combined with facelift surgery to address the intrinsic quality of the skin.
One of the most important things prior to undergoing either a face or neck lift is to be within about ten pounds of your realistic ideal body weight. As you have seen, when people have things like the lap band or gastric bypass surgery, they develop significant skin laxity because they have lost all the underlying fat. If you are 20+ pounds above your ideal weight and then lose it after surgery, the underlying tissue will deflate and the skin may sag once again. Many people set weight loss goals with a facelift as the end reward.
The other thing in regards to healing and outcome of the surgery is smoking. If you are a smoker, the risk of skin healing problems increases many times. It is important to stop smoking at least a month prior to the surgery, and continue to abstain 6 weeks after. The smoke directly affects the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, and this decreases the ability of wounds to heal. This can lead to poor scarring, increased risk of bleeding after surgery, and decreased overall results.
The first night you will stay in the surgery center with a nurse. They will help you with pain medication, placing ice on the face, etc. I will see you the following morning and remove the bandages to examine the incisions and make sure there are no collections of blood. You may or may not be re-wrapped and go home that morning. We recommend having someone at your house to help you for the first few days, as you will just be uncomfortable. The sutures are removed about 10 days after surgery, and at that point, a majority of the swelling from the first few days is gone. You will be a bit black and blue for another week, but you will be fine going in public and doing your normal activities. The healing process takes time and it is not uncommon for the incisions to stay a bit red and bumpy for up to two months before they start to calm down. You will also notice a gradual improvement in the jawline and neck, as the tissue suctions back onto the underlying muscle. You will be seen in our office many times in the postoperative period and our office is always available to answer any questions you may have. I recommend giving yourself at least 3 months to heal before any big event – this helps with the planning process.
The cost of a facelift depends on a number of factors. Many times a facelift is combined with things such as skin resurfacing, liposuction, or a midface lift. Your specific situation will dictate the overall cost.
After the surgery you will be bandaged for a few days. You will be swollen and bruised. After about 7-10 days, the swelling and bruising will subside. You will look fine to go out and about after the sutures are removed at ten days. You may still be a bit bruised at that point and the swelling will be mild. The swelling will continue to improve over the next many months. In general, the results continue to improve over six months. I recommend not having surgery within two months of any event where you will be photographed.
The scarring is usually very minimal after a facelift. There is only one place in front of the ear that will remain visible. The incision remains slightly red and bumpy for six weeks, then it begins to flatten out and the coloration improves. During this time it is important to keep sunscreen on the area to avoid pigment abnormalities. There are scar medications that can be used as well.
During surgery, the skin is elevated from the underlying tissue. This leads to disruption of the sensory nerves. These sensations should all return to normal but may take a few months overall. Many times there is numbness and tingling for the first few weeks, then some shooting sensations for a few weeks following. These will continue to improve. They should all be resolved by the four to six month mark.
This is a highly debated topic. I believe that the best age for a facelift is when the skin on your neck and lower face bothers you enough to come in for a consultation. It used to be something people in their 50’s and 60’s would undergo, but now patients are thinking ahead and undergoing surgery in their 40’s and 50’s. A facelift can re-suspend the tissue and the new scar tissue created will cause your face to age at a slower rate than if you didn’t have surgery. This means that if you have a facelift early, you will continue to age slower than your peer group.
There have been many advances in technology to help address the skin laxity as we age. There are ultrasound, radiofrequency, and laser technology that improves collagen and helps tighten tissue. These technologies have their limitations and never approximate surgical results. They are a good alternative for the patient who has a very small amount of skin laxity and wants to delay the time they would need to have any surgical procedures.