What is a Facelift?
A facelift, also called rhytidecomy, is a plastic surgery procedure which tightens wrinkles and sagging skin on the face and neck. The goal is a natural, refreshed facial appearance which helps you look younger, not 'done.'
How is a Facelift performed?
There are actually many different types of facelifts and the results are heavily dependent on the surgeon's assessment during consultation and techniques during surgery.
So which kind of Facelift should you get? The one that fits YOU best, even if it doesn't have a catchy name!"
During your initial Facelift consultation, it is important for you to explain just what looking younger means to you. To help us determine which procedure or combination of procedures might best produce the desired results, there has to be a good understanding between surgeon and patient. Depending on the desired changes you express, your consultation may discuss the following facelift procedures:
Full Face Lift
A full Facelift is a surgical transformation of the forehead, upper and lower eyelids, mid face, and the lower face and neck. It usually involves a brow lift, mid facelift and neck lift. These techniques can be complimented with fat injections to additionally provide volume to the dermis layer. The effect of this is to provide more fullness and youth to thin aging faces. I have found that many facelift patients who undergo a fat transfer during their procedure usually notice an improvement in their skin texture which results in more youthful, glowing skin.
A Mid Facelift is a surgical rejuvenation of the cheekbone and lower eyelid area. This can be done by surgically lifting the structures in the mid face region. This can also be performed along with fat transfer to the cheek bone and lower eye lid area.
Lower Face Lift
The Lower Facelift addresses loose skin in the jowl and neck area. This procedure involves tightening the skin of the lower face and neck. Patients interested in the neck only should consider a neck lift procedure.
Regenerative Fat Grafting (aka Stem Cell Facelift)
You may be hearing a lot about regenerative fat grafting or the term stem cell facelift. The truth is that your own fat contains a population of adipose stem cells. This has been known since 2001, when the first isolation of stem cells from adipose tissue was performed by a team from University of Pittsburgh.
Adipose Stem Cells (ASC's) do have regenerative tissue capabilities and they are the New Frontier of Plastic Surgery. Currently there are scores of FDA approved Clinical Trials using Adipose Stem Cells as a regenerative mechanism to heal tissue and inflammation.
When the procedure is performed correctly, regenerative fat grafting can provide a new source of blood supply for your existing tissue and skin. Thus, the fat not only adds volume to your face, but it also has these natural regenerative properties to help make your face look more youthful. Those stem cells explain why the skin of the face looks so much better after fat transfer.
What are the pre-operative requirements?
We require all facelift patients to get medical clearance two weeks prior to their scheduled surgery. A CBC (complete blood count) blood test and an H&P (history and physical) are the minimum requirements for healthy adults.
Prior to surgery you should also stop smoking for at least four weeks and stop taking any aspirin products for two weeks. You'll also be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before surgery.
What is the post-op recovery like after a facelift?
The facelift procedure is generally well tolerated with a period of 1-3 days of mild pain and discomfort immediately following surgery. Facelift patients will, however, need to be prepared for the swelling and bruising that can be present for up to 4 weeks.
You will need to refrain from driving for the first 4-5 days and refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least 4 weeks. Residual swelling facial numbness can take a few more months to heal completely.
What are the possible complications following a facelift?