It used to be that facelifts were for celebrities, but today many people are opting for facelift procedures to fight undesirable signs of aging. If you’re considering having a facelift, it’s important to know what’s involved and how to choose the right plastic surgeon for your facelift. Here’s what you need to know about facelifts, so you can make an informed choice about the surgery and get the beautiful results you want.
What Is a Facelift?
Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift is a type of surgery on the middle and lower portions of the face and the neck to combat aging and its associated effects of gravity. Excess or sagging skin is removed, and deeper facial tissues are tightened to smooth folds and restore a younger, more rested look to the face.
Are There Different Kinds of Facelifts?
There are multiple types of facelifts that involve varying levels of invasiveness depending on the patient’s desires and unique facial concerns. Depending on the clinic, these procedures may have different names, including trademarked ones. At Sunder Plastic Surgery, we offer three different types of facelift surgery:
- Mid-facelift – This lifts the middle portion of the face, often overlooked in traditional facelifts, to eliminate the tired, hollowed-out appearance and deep folds around the mouth that many people have. It can be combined with other facial cosmetic surgery procedures for a balanced and natural look.
- Mini lift – This surgery is ideal for people who are just starting to see the signs of aging and want a less invasive procedure with a shorter downtime. It’s perfect for lifting the tissues of the jawline and lower face.
- Butterfly Lift™ – Dr. Sunder developed this scar-free, minimally invasive procedure that uses the patient’s own cells to regenerate collagen and fight aging in a natural way.
What Happens Before a Facelift?
Before your facelift, you will consult with the surgeon to go over exactly the changes you want and what the facelift can accomplish, so everyone is on the same page about the results. Pictures may be taken for comparison afterwards. You’ll be given pre-op instructions for your particular type of surgery, such as not eating for a certain number of hours if you are to undergo general anesthesia and not taking medications that could increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
You will also be screened to make sure you’re a good candidate for the procedure. You should not be a smoker, and your skin and tissue should be healthy enough to withstand the surgery. You’ll be asked about and possibly tested for any serious medical conditions that could make surgery more dangerous, like cardiovascular or pulmonary disease or problems healing from operations in the past.
How Long Does Facelift Surgery Take? Will You Need Anesthesia?
The length of the surgery depends on the procedure you choose. You should plan on anywhere from an hour to several hours, based on your type of surgery. Your surgeon will let you know about this when you schedule the facelift.
The kind of facelift you opt for also determines where your procedure will take place and whether or not you need anesthesia. Less invasive surgery is often done nowadays in the surgeon’s office, rather than in the hospital. And some procedures require little to no sedation at all, depending on what you feel comfortable with.
What Should You Expect During the Facelift Post-Op Recovery Period?
As you might have guessed, the type of facelift you choose also determines much about your recuperation time post-operatively. Your doctor will review the recovery period with you, so you know what to expect. Some common restrictions, especially for more invasive procedures, include:
- Not being able to wash your face or hair for some time after the procedure
- Not wearing makeup while you heal
- Not being able to perform strenuous activities, including exercise and certain family or household tasks
- Sleeping in a specific position to minimize adverse effects
- Staying out of the sun
You may have dissolvable stitches, skin glue, or sutures and/or tubes that need to be removed by your surgeon in a few days. Expect to also have some bandaging, particularly if you have a more comprehensive surgery under anesthesia, and you’ll be taught how to change any dressings that need regular freshening.
Your doctor may recommend or prescribe pain medications for you, and you’ll be instructed to drink plenty of water and eat healthily. While some swelling, numbness, bleeding, or oozing is to be expected with certain procedures, you’ll be advised to contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Excessive blood loss
- Extreme pain not relieved by medication
- Prolonged swelling
- Hematoma (blood collecting in one spot)
- Pus or a fever (indications of infection)
- Shortness of breath (a sign of pulmonary embolism)
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Chest pain
Plan on having at least one follow-up visit with your surgeon, so they can make sure everything is healing properly.
What Else Should You Know About Facelifts?
Here’s more information you should know about facelifts:
- Your insurance will not cover the procedure, so you’ll have to pay for it out of your own pocket. This might include other costs besides your surgeon’s fee, such as anesthesia, dressings, and hospital expenses.
- A facelift can’t stop your face from continuing to age, nor will it remove age spots or some signs of aging and sun damage. It’s important to have realistic expectations about your surgery and the possibility that you might want additional procedures now or in the future.
- There’s no guarantee that your facelift will give you perfect results. The possibility of complications exists, such as scarring, nerve damage, infection, hairline hair loss, and reactions to anesthesia.
How Do You Find the Best Plastic Surgeon for Your Facelift?
You can minimize the likelihood of plastic surgery complications and increase your chances of gorgeous results by selecting the right surgeon. Always ask about your surgeon’s qualifications and experience performing your desired procedure. They should have before-and-after photos of other patients to show you. And they should be board certified, which holds them to the highest standards of care for cosmetic surgery patients.
Dr. Sarmela Sunder is double-board certified by both the American Association of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. A leader and innovator in facial cosmetic surgery, she welcomes the opportunity to consult with you about your facelift options at her Beverly Hills office. Schedule a consultation online, or call us at 310-765-5110 with your questions about facelifts.