1. What is a Facelift?
The traditional facelift, often referred to as a rhytidectomy by facial plastic surgeons, rejuvenates the lower face by removing excess fat, tightening the neck muscles and underlying tissues of the lower face, and removing drooping skin. This procedure can be combined with multiple other procedures, such as the temporal lift, the endoscopic brow lift, the midface lift, upper and lower eyelid surgeries, and chin implants, among others. For those with early or very minor changes due to aging, the mini-facelift may be a viable option. Should you desire non-surgical options, the liquid facelift may be the choice for you.
2. Who is a candidate for the Facelift?
There are many different versions of the facelift, and certainly your general health plays a role. In general, those who are best suited for the facelift are seeking to regain the more youthful, vibrant, and uplifting look they remember having, thereby matching their outer appearance to how they truly feel. Having appropriate expectations and undergoing a thorough evaluation by Dr. Chow is essential to determining if a facelift is right for you.
3. What are some alternatives to the Facelift?
As noted above, early changes in aging may be addressed by the mini-facelift or the nonsurgical liquid facelift. The best way to determine which option is appropriate for you is to visit the Chow Center for Facial Plastic Surgery and discuss your cosmetic concerns with Dr. Jen Chow personally.
4. What is not addressed by the Facelift?
The traditional facelift is for the neck and lower third of the face. The middle third of the face, just beneath the eyes, may not change significantly, and certainly the forehead and brow is not affected by the traditional facelift. Other procedures, including the endoscopic brow lift and the midface lift, which are often performed at the same time as the facelift, can rejuvenate these areas.
5. What type of anesthesia is used? Do I need general anesthesia for the facelift?
No, the facelift can be performed under local anesthesia, in which the procedure is done while the patient is awake but comfortably numbed to minimize discomfort. That said, most patients choose to have “twilight” sedation or even general anesthesia.
6. Where is the facelift performed?
The facelift can be done in the office if no anesthesia is used or in a qualified and fully accredited outpatient surgery center.
7. How long does the facelift take?
The length of time needed to fully address your face varies depending on the exact procedure(s) performed by Dr. Chow. In general, men have larger faces than women, and may therefore take slightly longer. For the average, uncomplicated facelift, operative time is usually around three hours.
8. Will the facelift hurt afterwards?
Most patients say that the facelift is uncomfortable rather than painful. You will be provided with prescription pain medication, but many do not need to use narcotics after surgery.
9. Where are the incisions made for the facelift?
Beginning beneath the temporal tuft of hair (or sideburns for men), the incision wraps around the natural curves of the ear before extending into the hairline behind the ear. Because these incisions fall naturally between two separate components of the face, they are generally very well concealed.
10. How long will recovery take?
Most patients are presentable about ten days after surgery. Any swelling and/or bruising that may still be present at this time can be covered with makeup or clothing (collared shirts, turtlenecks, scarves, etc.). Most sutures are removed within the first week after surgery, and surgical tape (steri-strips) may be used to minimize the chance of widening scars. Your own hair and ears will cover most of the incisions, keeping them well hidden while they heal. Incision lines will initially be pink, then fade as they continue to heal.
11. How old do I have to be before having a facelift? Is there an age where I am too old for a facelift?
Although the majority of patients are between forty years of age through their sixties, a facelift can be performed in any adult when appropriate given the aesthetic changes that have taken place in the face and the general health of the patient.