A facelift addresses loose or sagging tissue of the lower face and neck. The procedure involves several key steps including removal of extra skin, tightening of the lower facial muscle layer, as well as removal, repositioning or sculpting of facial and neck fat.
The Aging Process
As part of the normal aging process, the face undergoes several changes concurrently. There are skin changes including loss of elasticity, development of fine lines and wrinkles, and age-related skin color irregularities. Separately, there is loss of the youthful fullness and gentle convex contour that accompanies youth. In other areas, there is an accumulation of fat. This is especially common in the submental area underneath the chin. In addition, there is an apparent deepening of facial creases including those around the mouth. Jowls appear along the jawline, so that a formerly smooth jawline is replaced with sagging tissue at the mid-jaw. Some of these changes can be addressed at their early stages with non- or minimally-invasive procedures.
Candidates for Facelift Surgery
You may be a good candidate for a facelift if you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your lower face, especially with regard to the appearance of jowls, loss of muscle tone in the lower face, laxity of the lower cheeks and neck, and deepened facial creases extending along the nose and near the corners of the mouth.
In more advanced stages of facial aging or for patients seeking more substantial results, a facelift should be considered. A facelift is performed either in the office or in the operating room, depending on your preferences and Dr. Pearson’s recommendations. Through discreet skin incisions made around the ears, the facial and neck skin is lifted, allowing tightening of the deeper muscle tissues. At the same time, fat sculpting is often performed on the face and neck. In the neck, excessive fat accumulation is thinned.
Liposuction and fat sculpting of the area underneath the chin is often performed during a facelift. In addition facial sagging and jowling, facial volume is diminished during the aging process. Fat transfer (also called fat grafting) may be performed at the same time as facelift surgery. This technique uses your own living fat cells from another body site to restore regions of facial volume loss to more youthful proportions. When appropriate, fat can be transferred from the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs.
Possible Non-surgical Alternative Treatments
Subtle signs of aging may be amenable to minimally invasive methods to rejuvenate the lower face. Dr. Pearson offers a full range of nonsurgical procedures including facial skin resurfacing, Botox/Dysport treatments, and volume replacement with a variety of fillers, including a combination treatment such as The Liquid Facelift.
Recovery after Facelift Surgery
Following a facelift, you can expect a few days of swelling and soreness which is well controlled with oral pain medications. Most sutures are typically removed between days 5 and 7. Makeup can be used at this point to camouflage any bruising or scars. Swelling and bruising generally subside by 7-10 days. You can resume most normal activities after a couple of days, except for intense exercise, which may be resumed at about 3 weeks. Most people are able to return to work in 2 weeks. Facelift scars are usually not noticeable after enough time has passed for them to mature. In any case, they are easily disguised in natural skin creases and by the hair.
Facelift Quick Review
|GOALS||Improve sagging of the neck and jowling of the lower face, reduce fat accumulation underneath the chin.|
|ANESTHESIA||Local anesthesia with sedation in the operating room|
|LENGTH||Under 3 hours|
|AFTER PROCEDURE||Dressings removed after 1 day. Most sutures are removed by day 7.|
|RECOVERY||Most activities may be resumed after a couple of days. Swelling and bruising generally subside by day 10. Return to work in 2 weeks.|