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Face lift facts
- Facelift surgery helps to make the face appear younger.
- Results last approximately ten years.
- Recovery time is usually one week but activities can begin the day after surgery.
- Pain and discomfort are usually minimal.
- Additional procedures to supplement the facelift may be necessary for the best results.
What is facelift surgery
A facelift is a surgical method that removes excess facial skin to make the face appear younger. However, the aging face not only loses skin elasticity and develops looser skin, but also loses fat and muscle tone. Additional procedures that may be necessary to achieve the best results include: necklift, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), liposuction, autologous fat injection, removal of buccal (cheek) fat pad, forehead lift, browlift, chemical or laser peel, and malar (cheek), submalar or chin implants.
How is facelift surgery performed?
A traditional facelift procedure is performed through an incision starting in the hair or hairline above and in front of the ear (the temporal region). The incision is extended downward in front of the ear, comes under the ear and then upward behind the ear ending in the hair or hairline behind the ear. The skin and fatty tissues are then lifted off the underlying muscle and fascia (connective tissue) as far forward as is necessary to correct the loose skin problem. The underlying muscle and fascia can be tightened with sutures if the surgeon feels it is necessary. The skin is pulled back and upward and the excess skin removed. The wound is then closed with sutures and skin staples. Some surgeons leave a drain in the wounds to remove excess blood. Bandages are then applied. There are surgical techniques which go into deeper tissues rather than under the skin and fat. The results are similar.
What are complications of facelift surgery?
Although infrequent, the risks and complications of facelift surgery include:
- Bleeding, hematoma, bruising
- Neurological dysfunction (loss of muscle function or sensation), which is usually temporary
- Widened or thickened scar
- Loss of hair (around the incision site)
- Asymmetry (unevenness between two sides)
- Skin necrosis (loss of skin from tissue death)
Facelift is very satisfying to most patients. It achieves a youthful appearance which lasts approximately 10 years. The surgery is performed in an outpatient setting. This can be done in the outpatient surgi-center or even in a well-equipped physician's office. Pain and discomfort after surgery are minimal. Once the dressings are removed after approximately 3-5 days, the patient can resume social activities using makeup to cover bruising and hair over the ears to hide the sutures.
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"Facelift." U.S. National Library of Medicine. Reviewed Oct 13, 2015.
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Skin & Makeup QuizAre you doing right by your skin? Take the Skin and Makeup Quiz to learn how to make the most of your beauty regimen.
Black EyeThe most common cause of a black eye is due to an injury to the face or head. Most black eye injuries are minor and heal on their own, however, some may lead to significant injury. In addition to trauma to the face, cosmetic surgery can cause a black eye(s) as a side effect. People should be aware of the situations in which medical care should be sought immediately for a black eye.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure in which drooping of the lower and/or upper eyelids is reduced by removing excess skin, muscle, and fat. Complications of the procedure include bleeding, infection, dry eyes, an inability to fully close the eyes, eyelid skin that folds in or out abnormally, abnormal skin discoloration of the eyelids, and a pulled-down lower lid lash line or a possible loss of vision.
Brow Lift Cosmetic SurgeryA brow lift or forehead lift tightens the sagging skin in the forehead region. There are two methods of lifts: the classic lift and the endoscopic lift. Recovery from the brow lift procedure depends upon the method performed.
Chemical PeelChemical peels are performed to reduce fine lines, treat wrinkles, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat some types of acne, and reduce age spots. During the treatment, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. The skin blisters and eventually peels off.
Cosmetic Surgery PicsThinking about getting plastic surgery? Check out before and after pictures of popular cosmetic surgery procedures, including: liposuction, tummy tuck, breast implants, rhinoplasty (nose job), neck lift, and more.
Facial Nerve Problems
Bell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although scientists do not know the exact cause of Bell's palsy, they think it may be due to nerve damage from an infection, for example, the flu, common cold viruses, and more serious infections like meningitis. The symptoms of Bell's palsy vary from person to person, but can include:
- Mild weakness to total paralysis
- Dry eye
- Dry mouth
- Eyelid drooping
- Mouth drooping
- Dry mouth
- Changes in taste
- Excessive tearing in one eye
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). "NINDS Bell's Palsy Information Page." Updated: Apr 16, 2015.
PubMed Health. "Bell's Palsy."
NIH. National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. "Bell's Palsy."
Laser ResurfacingLaser resurfacing involves directing concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. This procedure may be used to reduce wrinkles, blemished, or acne scars. There are two types of lasers commonly used in laser resurfacing: carbon dioxide and erbium. Treated areas heal in 10-21 days. Possible complications include milia, hyperpigmentation, and swelling.
LiposuctionLiposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat that is difficult to get rid of with diet and exercise. Liposuction does not prevent weight regain. Liposuction has a good safety record; risks of the procedure include infection and skin discoloration.
Neck Lift Cosmetic SurgeryLearn about neck lift surgery - what the surgery is, how it is performed and complications including swelling, bruising, tightness, tingling, numbness, infection, fever, and unusual discharge from the incision site.
Skin PictureThe skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. See a picture of the Skin and learn more about the health topic.
Surgery QuestionsSurgery is the branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or injury. Prior to surgery you might consider asking your surgeon questions about the operation (procedure).
WrinklesWrinkles, whether they be fine line or deep furrows, typically appear on areas of the body that receive a high amount of exposure to the sun. Smoking, light skin type, hairstyle, the way you dress, your occupational and recreational habits, and heredity are all factors that promote wrinkling. Medical treatments for wrinkles include antioxidants, moisturizers, alpha-hydroxy acids, and vitamin A acid. Cosmetic procedures that treat wrinkles include dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, glycolic acid peels, laser resurfacing, Botox, and fillers.