Facelift, technically called rhytidectomy, is one of the most performed plastic surgeries. It gives the face a youthful appearance through removing or reducing the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of the face caused by age and gravity. The aim, although differing from patient to patient, is to eliminate:
Sagging in the midface
Deep creases below the lower eyelids
Deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth
Fat that has fallen or is displaced
Loss of muscle tone in the lower face may create jowls
Loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw can make even a person of normal weight appear to have a double chin
In the recent years, more and more patients get facelifts in their late 40’s and early 50’s, when the signs of old age are still subtle and less apparent. This is natural as people tend not to wait until deep lines and extreme sagging. Moreover, as the surgery gets more subtle with younger patients, the recovery time shortens and higher expectations can be fulfilled more easily.
There are many techniques used, which will be determined depending on factors, such as, expectations of the patient, the age, possible recovery time and areas to improve. Some of the most common techniques are as follows:
Traditional facelift: This technique is the most comprehensive technique, correcting the whole face and neck. The incision is made along parts of the hairline and around the ear, and under the chin. The skin is pulled back, the sagging tissue and muscles are tightened and excess skin is removed.
Mini Facelift: This technique is very similar to the traditional facelift technique, but does not include the neck.
Mid-facelift: This technique aims to tighten nasolabial folds and/ sagging cheeks. The incisions are etiher through the lower eyelid or cheeks and are invisible. It is less drastic in nature.
MACS (Minimal Access Cranial Suspension lift): In this technique the incision is smaller than that in a traditional facelift, however, it also aims to tighten the underlying muscle and tissue as well as remove excess skin.
S-Lift: This technique tightens the neck line through an incision in front of the ear.
SMAS (Superficial Musculo Aponeurotic System): This technique elevates the whole layer of muscles and ligaments.
Deep Plane Facelift: Although similar to SMAS, a deeper plane of the face is dissected.
What to expect after a Facelift:
Most patients have only mild to moderate pain for 1 -2 days after the surgery, which can be controlled with pain medication. The face will feel tight, and there will be some bruising and swelling that might increase in the first couple of days. Some surgeons put a fluffy dressing or an elastic wrap to reduce the swelling. The recovery time depends on many factors, including the extensiveness of the technique, the age of the patient, but generally:
• Swelling and bruising will start to dissipate in the first week of the surgery.
• The patient can start going out and about, and driving within a week
• Makeup can be applied after a week.
• Daily activities are not limited after the first 2-3 days, but it is advised to rest as much as possible in the first week after the surgery.
• Most patients are able to return to work within one week
• 80% of the swelling and bruising will resolve after the first two weeks.
• Fitness and heavy lifting should be avoided in the first three weeks
• The patient should definitely not smoke before and after 2 weeks of the surgery is crucial. Alcohol intake should be avoided one week before and after the surgery and should be limited within the first month of the surgery, as alcohol tends to increase swelling.