The ageing process can have a huge effect on your face. As we get older, our faces are more prone to wrinkles and sagging due to decreased levels of collagen, reduced elasticity and lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and sun exposure.
Facelifts, also known as a rhytidectomy, are one of the most commonly requested cosmetic surgery procedures. Various techniques can be used to lift up and pull back the facial skin, and a facelift can completely transform your face, leaving it looking younger and refreshed.
We are a culture that celebrates youth, and facelifts are becoming increasingly popular year after year. Whether you feel as though your face doesn't match the rest of your body or you just want to look younger, a facelift will make your face feel smoother and tighter. The facelift uses techniques to reduce or remove any sagging skin which is usually most noticeable around the eyes, the mouth and the jawline. It will smooth lines and wrinkles and give you a more awake and youthful appearance.
Facelifts are usually carried out using a general anaesthetic although some mini facelifts are performed under local anaesthetic or sedation. The procedure can take from two to four hours and will usually require an overnight stay at your medical centre. When you wake up, you can expect to have dressings on your face and drainage tubes attached. You may experience some pain and tightness, but painkillers will be provided.
There are a lot of different types of facelifts, but here is a general step by step guide of what will happen during a typical facelift surgery:
1. Your surgeon will make incisions above the hairline on either side of your head. The cuts will extend past the front of your ear, underneath the earlobe and to behind the ear.
2. Cuts will also be made underneath the chin if the jawline is being lifted too.
3. The skin will be pulled upwards and backwards, with any surplus skin removed.
4. The skin will be stitched into its new position.
5. Bandages are applied to the face in order to reduce swelling and minimise bruising.
This procedure describes the traditional facelift. Keyhole surgery is sometimes used in order to tighten muscles and remove excess fat, and this is usually more suited to brow lifts and upper facelifts. The recovery time and scarring is better in this case, but your surgeon will be able to best advise which method is right for you.
Other variations of the traditional facelift include:
Many patients opt for facelifts because they are deeply unhappy with their appearance. You might lack self-confidence because you feel you look older than you should, or you might just want to reverse the clock and bring a more youthful and refreshed look to your face. During consultation with a facelift surgeon, you will ascertain where your problem areas are and how best the doctor should perform the surgery in order to achieve optimum results. Some patients opt to combine their facelift with neck lift surgery, but you will be able to discuss the desired result with your doctor during your consultation.
Facelifts are a popular procedure, but you should ensure you are fully aware of the risks and potential side effects and discuss your expectations fully with your surgeon before you decide to undergo the treatment. You will be given a general anaesthetic for your facelift surgery. This might make you feel drowsy and disoriented when you wake up. You will also wake up with bandages on your face which can be unnerving, but this is perfectly normal. Discomfort after surgery is usually relatively mild and will be controlled using pain medication, if necessary.
You may experience some numbness of the skin after surgery, and this will likely subside after a few weeks to months. Bruising will likely be visible for two weeks, and it might take up to six to nine months to see the full effects of the facelift.