FACE LIFT (Rhytidectomy)

What is Facelift?

As you age you may experience sagging of the skin and/or muscle, deflation in certain areas of the face and neck (temple, cheekbones,jawline etc), excess fat deposit along jawline and below the chin (double chin) and effects of sun damage such as irregular pigmentation, red spots and fine wrinkles around your eyes and mouth. Smoking in particular causes all these changes to appear prematurely.

Facelift is a surgical procedure which aims to correct the above changes. It is performed under general anaesthesia. The incision or cut usually follows the hairline along the side burns, just in front of the ear and then loops around just below the earlobe to the back of the ear. The extent of incision may vary according to the severity of aging changes.( Short scar face lift is performed when there is hardly any aging changes in the neck. Here the cut is made only in front of the ear.) Then the underlying muscle is tightened with stitches, areas of deflation is enhanced by fat grafting, fine wrinkles around the mouth are treated by dermabrasion or laser, and finally the skin is pulled back and the excess trimmed.

Can I undergo Face lift?

If you have deep creases next to the corner of your mouth (smile lines), deflation and sagging of the cheek, loose folds of skin along the jawline,vertical bands in the middle of the neck and wrinkling in the neck then you are a good candidate for face lift.

What to expect after surgery? These are approximate guidelines and may vary from patient to patient:

Generally facelift surgery causes only discomfort rather than pain and is well controlled by painkillers. As the skin and deeper tissues have been pulled tight, you will feel pulling sensation and tightness on both sides of the face which gradually eases of over a period of a week or so. The tissues around your face will feel hard initially. This is due to post surgery swelling and will become softer as the swelling subsides over a period of approximately 4 weeks.

When can I get back to normal routine?

You can increase the level of activity with each passing day and as per comfort level. heavy exercise, gym, swimming and intimate relationship can be started 4 to 6 weeks post surgery.

Work requiring client interaction can be resumed in approximately 2 weeks time as it takes that much time for swelling or bruising to subside to an extent that it can be hidden with foundation.

What precautions I need to take before or after face lift?

Shampoo and shower is permitted 2-3 days post surgery. Steam and sauna: should be avoided for 6 months. This is because the sensation in treated areas can take upto 6 months to recover.

Religiously use sunscreen on treated areas if they are getting exposed to sunlight. this has to be continued for 1 year.
Smoking 4 weeks before and after surgery can increase the risk of complications.

What are the alternatives to face lift?

1. Fillers: Fillers are synthetic injectables which are used on face to enhance areas of deflation like cheek, chin or lips , to fill out depression such as under the eye and to fill out lines such as the smile lines. So on the face it is suitable alternative to fat injection. filler injections have the advantage of not requiring hospitalisation as they can be done in clinic setting. Also filler do not last beyond 12 to 18 months and repeat injections are required.

2. Non surgical tightening: Thermage or Ultrasound are non invasive technique of tightening of face and neck skin.They use heat energy to stimulate and tighten the tissue. They require multiple sittings and are not exactly painless. They may be useful for very early signs of ageing.

3. Laser and chemical peel: They are usually indicated to improve pigmentary changes,vascular spots or fine wrinkles of the facial skin. Usually they are used few months before or after facelift surgery.

4. Thread lift: Recently “threads with hooks” (barbed sutures) have been devised to lift the sagging face skin through a small puncture. However its long term results and complications are not known. Generally the effect of thread lift does not last for more than a few months and also it is banned for use by US FDA. Currently they are being only used in some european countries and parts of Asia.
Whether the above techniques will be effective in your case can be determined only after detailed consultation with your physician.

What can go wrong?

Majority of patients do not experience any adverse events. However, like any medical or surgical treatment face lift surgery may also be associated with certain risks and uncertainty.
All these can be explained during the consultation with the surgeon.

What results to expect?

Aim of facelift surgery is to improve visible sign of aging, to refresh and rejuvenate your face and make you appear younger by several years.

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Dr. Sandip Jain