A Facelift refers to the surgical procedure that removes excess skin, tightens and lifts the sagging cheeks, the jowls and neck area. There are many techniques that are performed. These techniques all have advantages and disadvantages. Some provide a longer lasting result; some techniques are better for the fuller face and other techniques are better for the thin face. Recovery also differs.
Dr. Michael J. Lee performs a variety of different types of Facelifts to help address and improve different types of faces. These techniques include the Deep Plane Facelift, the Short Scar Facelift, the SMAS plication Facelift. Please ask Dr. Lee about the different procedures and what procedure you will be best for you.
Who is a good candidate for a Facelift?
Dr. Lee can provide a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical techniques: Individualized techniques for individual faces and expectations with an emphasis on natural results and hidden scars.
Contrary to popular opinion, age is not the most important criteria. Premature aging and changes in the jowl area or neck can occur in the mid thirties in some patients or not until the seventies for others. General good medical health, reasonable expectations, and visible physical deformities are the most important criteria for Dr. Lee. Smokers are at particularly higher risk for infection, scarring, and wound problems and should quit smoking at least 3 weeks prior and 3 weeks after the procedure. Techniques are modified to help decrease the risk of infection, scarring and wound complications.
What is the recovery process like after a Facelift?
Most patients have minimal to moderate swelling in the cheeks and may have areas of slight bruising in the neck. They also have a sensation of tightness in the face and neck. Pain is rarely a problem and most take pain medication for only a few days. These symptoms improve within 7-10 days although some may have swelling that lasts up to two weeks. Patients can wear makeup or concealer on their incisions within ten days.
After surgery, patients sleep with two pillows to elevate the head for 5-7 days and are restricted from heavy lifting or exercise for two to three weeks depending on how quickly each patient heals.
Although the speed of recovery depends on the type of Facelift, expect to feel and look your best at around three weeks after surgery.
Where are the incisions placed for a Facelift?
Incisions can be placed in the sideburn hair or slightly in front of the sideburn and travel in front of the ear, behind the ear and into the hairline. Dr. Lee takes care to hide the incisions in slight folds of the skin as well as shadows of the face to “hide” the scars. Sometimes incisions need to be placed underneath the chin to address loose muscle underneath the neck or liposuction of fat in the neck area. Dr. Lee will show you where your incisions will be at your consultation.
What are potential Facelift complications?
Complications from Facelift surgery are rare. The most common complication is bleeding which is most often treated the evening of the surgery or the next day in the office. Other risks include infection, skin healing problems, and scarring. Most of these complications can be treated with antibiotics and creams and often do not require further surgery. One of the more rare complications are nerve injuries which can temporarily weaken muscles of the face; permanent injuries to muscles of the face are even more rare.
How long do the results of a Facelift last?
Facelift procedures tend to last for ten to fifteen years. Some people with heavy and full necks or jowls may have earlier recurrences and need a touch up procedure within one to two years. Dr. Lee will do a complete evaluation and will let you know if you are likely to have an earlier recurrence.
What is the difference between a Deep Plane Facelift and a SMAS Plication Facelift?
The most common debate among plastic surgeons are whether the thick tissue (known as fascia or SMAS) that cover the muscles need to be actually lifted from the muscles to provide a long lasting result or whether this fascia can be just sutured tight without lifting from the muscles.
The Deep Plane Facelift lifts the fascia off of the muscles and the SMAS Plication sutures this fascia higher on the face to provide the lift and tightness. Both offer advantages and disadvantages.
The Deep Plane surgery can provide some volume to the cheek areas and some feel that it lasts longer than the SMAS Plication Facelift. The Deep Plane Facelift has a longer recovery and has a slightly high risk of nerve injury and damage to the deeper tissues. The SMAS Plication surgery has a faster recovery and lower risks of injury the deeper tissues and does not create as much fullness in the cheeks as the Deep Plane surgery. Some feel that it does not last as long.
What is a Short Scar Facelift?
The Short Scar Facelift describes the length and position of the incision. The incision begins in the sideburn area, goes down the front of the ear and ends at the bottom of the ear. This means there is no incision behind the ear.
There were many women who had only a small amount of jowl formation or neck descent and objected to the long incision in the back of the ear which sometimes can be seen when the hair is pulled back or is short. This Short Scar Facelift prevents that.
Does the Lunchtime Facelift work?
There are many different office techniques that plastic surgeons and dermatologists have been defining as a “Lunchtime” Facelift. Because of this common term, there is a lot of variety of results. All Lunch Time Facelifts are not the same.
In general, shorter procedures with shorter recovery tend to have less obvious results and are less likely to last. For the face, deeper structures need to be addressed to provide longer lasting results.
What is a Liquid Facelift?
This term refers to injections of a variety of fillers into the face to plump areas that have depressions such as the smile lines of the mouth, the corners of the mouth and right in front of the jowl area. Some people also have depressions underneath the eyes or under the cheekbones. Filling these areas with RESTYLANE®, JUVEDERM®, PERLANE®, or RADIESSE® can improve the aging changes of the face.
Are Secondary Facelifts (or a Repeat Facelift) more difficult?
A Repeat Facelift can be done safely and as early as a year after surgery. It requires care to prevent shifting of the hairline in front of and behind the ear. It may also require fat grafting to prevent line formation in the face or thinning of the skin.
If you have already had a Facelift and wish to have another one, consult Dr. Lee to learn more about a repeat procedure.
What about the Male Facelift?
More and more men are deciding to undergo Facelift procedures. The risk of bleeding tends to be higher for men because of the hair along the sides of the face. This is easily treated if it occurs. Men are also likely to have some hair shifted to below the ear after the facelift procedure. Because of these differences, Dr. Lee designs his incisions slightly differently for men.
Other than these small differences, the procedures are performed the same and have similar results and longevity.
Contact Dr. Lee today for a Facelift consultation!
If you are interested in a Facelift, contact Michael J. Lee, M.D. today to schedule your cosmetic consultation.