Facelift Basics: What You Need to Know

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While facelift techniques vary depending on the surgeon, essentially they are all built around the same theory.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women undergo plastic surgery yearly to improve the wrinkles in their faces, tighten their jaw lines, reduce sagging skin or eyelids, improve skin discoloration, and more. The procedure is typically known as the facelift, and while many people have heard about it, few know exactly what the process entails. Because it’s important that clients are informed about the surgery, we provide the following information to serve as a basic overview of the surgery. It’s important to note, however, that each face is different, so each surgery is a little different too. The basics remain the same though.

To start, it’s important to know the physical aspect of the surgery. Doctors start the procedure by injecting anesthesia that renders patients unconscious while the surgery is performed. Then a small incision is made, beginning around the hairline and extending from the temple to the earlobe. The doctor then separates the fat and muscle underneath and performs liposuction when necessary to remove excess fat cells. Next, the surgeon will pull the skin tight over the face. This smoothes out the skin, eliminating wrinkles, and allows the doctor to trim excess skin away. Next, the skin is sutured or surgical glue is used to close the incision. The goal is to restore tight skin reminiscent of youth.

A facelift is also not one dimensional. There are different procedures that can be used in conjunction to target any area of the face. An eyelift, for example, removes excess fat and loose skin that reduces the droopiness of the eyelid. In contrast, a brow lift is performed by removing the muscles and releasing the tissues in the forehead to gain a higher positioned eyebrow. Essentially, a facelift, and other procedures that accompany the surgery, consists of tightening the skin by removing or rearranging excess tissue.

Depending on the type of procedure, the entire process can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. This also depends on the extent of the tissue, contours of the face, the amount of muscles, and other factors. Downtime also varies depending on the procedure. The mini-lift, a term used to describe a less-invasive and less complex procedure, is dubbed the “weekend facelift.” It gets its name from the minimal amount of downtime that is required. A patient can get a mini-lift on Friday and be back in work on Monday. Other procedures such as the mid facelift, in which the surgeon pulls the fat pads in the cheeks up and over the cheekbones to tighten sagging skin, may require several days to a couple weeks of downtime. Any bruising or swelling should also subside in a few weeks.

Risks are also generally low. In many cases, a plastic surgeon won’t perform a facelift if the risks are too high. Some risks may include infection, scarring, tissue death, bruising, swelling, reaction to anesthesia, and nerve damage. A good plastic surgeon will go over in detail any risks that are present.

Contact Dr. Ambe today for more information on cosmetic surgery procedures.

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