What is a facelift?
A facelift, also known as rhytidectomy, is a procedure of facial rejuvenation which reduces the wrinkles that form in the face and neck areas and are caused by the natural ageing process. Time is merciless; fortunately, a facelift can help people who are dissatisfied with their appearance to turn back time.
Although there are different facelift techniques, they all have several steps in common. Facelift can be performed under general or local anaesthesia, depending on the individual case of each patient. The surgeon makes incisions along the hairline as well as along the ears. Skin is then separated from the facial muscles and pulled to remove the wrinkles and excess facial skin. Deeper facial tissue and fat can be redistributed for better aesthetic results. Afterwards, face is bandaged to minimise swelling and bruising. Patients are usually discharged on the day of the surgery, however, in some cases a longer monitoring of the patient is required.
Who is a proper candidate?
As with all surgeries it is of high importance to be in a good overall health in the first place. However, the condition of the skin is specifically important for facelift surgeries. Skin should be flexible and elastic. These features might be affected by alcohol consumption and smoking. If this is the case, patients should consult health specialists about a realistic outcome of a facelift.
People with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart and blood clotting disorders are eligible for the procedure. However, such conditions can affect a person’s suitability for undergoing anaesthesia and can also disrupt wound healing during the recovery process. It is important to discuss the particular case with a surgeon so that any complications can be prevented and the desired look achieved. The facelift procedure can and should be adjusted to bring the most satisfying results.
After the Facelift
After the surgery is performed, it can take up to four weeks to fully recover. The patient should take time off work for the whole period of recovery.
Bandages are used for covering the wounds, while an elastic facial sling prevents swelling and ensures equal distribution of pressure. If serous fluid drainage tubes are used they will be removed in several days, as well as the stitches (unless dissolvable stitches were used). Bruising should fade away in a couple of weeks. However, to be able to appreciate the final results of the procedure the patient might need to wait from six to nine months until the swelling has fully gone down.
Sun should be avoided for several weeks as it can interfere with scar healing and damage the surrounding vulnerable skin. It is highly recommended to avoid driving after the surgery at least until bruising is relieved. The patient should also avoid wetting the bandages for a couple of days. Strenuous physical activity should be ceased for at least two weeks. The patient should resist applying makeup while the wounds are still healing.
Quality skin care is required to prevent early ageing and it inevitably adds to the effect of a facelift. Weight fluctuation tends to stretch the skin, hence a healthy diet and a stable weight can prolong the results.