A facelift is an extremely powerful procedure that can significantly turn back the hands of time, and rejuvenate your face for a refreshed, youthful appearance. As we age, the skin and underlying support structure become weak and therefore begin to droop. This can create skin redundancy, which leads to deep wrinkles. Also, soft tissue volume is lost over time, especially around the midface and cheek region, resulting in a hollow look. Patients typically complain about the deep wrinkles, aged appearance, volume loss, and sagging skin that droops over the jawline into the neck (“jowls”) which turns the aging face slowly into a rectangular shape. The goal of the facelift operation is to return the face to a heart-shaped youthful architecture, restore the integrity of the underlying structures, eliminate deep wrinkles, and remove the excess tissue. After surgery, patients state they look years younger, feel renewed and rejuvenated, and improved self-confidence.
Commonly, this procedure is combined with a Neck Lift (platysmaplasty) as there is often laxity in this region that needs to be corrected in order to achieve the desired improvement in overall contour. Incisions are hidden along the hairline, extended down the front border of the ear, and continued behind the ear and back into the hairline and thus are hardly noticeable. The skin is elevated from the underlying soft tissue down into the neck. The underlying lax soft tissue is tightened back to its youthful integrity. Finally, the skin is lifted and sutured to its new position, while excising excessive soft tissue. If a neck lift is to be performed, a small incision is created under the chin in the crease line. The skin is elevated from the underlying tissue, excessive fat is removed, and the lax muscle is tightened and wound closed. Small drains are placed on each side of the face that are removed the following day.
During your consultation, Dr. Tsai will present you with all the possible options in detail and work with you to individualize treatment according to your specific goals and expectations to provide you with the best possible result. If you desire other areas of your face rejuvenation, this procedure is often combined with Browlift, Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) or Neck lift (Platysmaplasty). There is also a non-invasive option for Skin treatments performed in the adjacent medical spa or at the same time as surgery.
The facelift procedure typically takes 4-5 hours to complete. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia (fully asleep) in the adjacent surgicenter. Patients return home the same day as the procedure so transportation will need to be arranged. Your first checkup will be the following day in clinic. Advice is given to sleep at an upright angle in bed for 48-72 hours to decrease swelling and bruising to the face. Ice packs are also recommended for the first 24 hours, on and off. There maybe bruising to the face and neck region but this is normal and will resolve over the next several days. Drains are removed the day after surgery. Patients usually return to normal daily activities within a few days. Pain is tolerated with prescribed oral pain medication. Exercise is resumed approximately 6-8 weeks after the procedure.
Risks and Pre-Op Concerns
As with many other delicate procedures, active smoking is a serious contraindication for a facelift. The nicotine creates spasms and constriction of the blood vessels, and after such a fragile surgery, could potentially lead to wound healing problems. However, if smoking and nicotine use is stopped 4 weeks before and continued 4 weeks after surgery, then this procedure maybe performed safely. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to note that the number one complication in this surgery is a hematoma or a blood collection. Having your blood pressure controlled and optimized will significantly decrease the risk of this complication to occur. Dr. Tsai will review your medical history and help optimize your health before surgery in order to perform the procedure in a safe manner so you obtain the results you desire and deserve.
For more information, photos, and videos, please refer to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website for Facelift Surgery