October 27, 2020

Fancy a facelift?: Surgical procedures

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Do you fancy a facelift? The old joke is when I went into hospital for a facelift the surgeon took one look at the one underneath and quickly placed the old one back.

Why do people fancy having a facelift? Is it because they want to stop the aging process? I have news for them. Nothing can stop that. However, if you have plenty of money plus motivation, cosmetic surgery can reverse at least some of the ravages of time. A lot of people are willing to pay highly for a more youthful appearance.

According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2004 more that 150,000 people in the USA had a facelift.

Skin goes through many changes as we get older. Cells divide slower. The dermis, or lower layer of skin, gets thinner. It is comprised of several different types of tissue, including elastin and collagen. Elastin gives the skin its elasticity, and collagen keeps the skin taut. Eventually both of these proteins begin to break down, causing the skin to loosen. The loss of elasticity makes the skin and underlying tissue more susceptible to the effects of gravity. Instead of springing back when pulled, the skin sags. Additionally, the muscle and tissue composition under the skin changes, leading to wrinkles.

Facelifts are also known as rhytidectomies. There are several facelift procedures, but simple facelifts do not result in the “wind-tunnel” effect or “surprised look” that is sometimes caused by more extreme facelifts. Recovery from a simple facelift is easier and has fewer complications than the more extreme variety. There is also less chance of bruising and stretching and they are considerably less expensive.

When considering a facelift, consultation is done with the surgeon to determine your qualifications and type of procedure appropriate for you. You will be asked about your history, be given a physical exam and administered a blood test. Be forewarned, many doctors will not do a facelift on people who smoke or have smoked, as this may have serious complications.

Sometimes the best results of the facelift procedure are attained by combining several surgical procedures, such as liposuction, brow lift, fat transfer, blepharoplasty, laser, or chin and cheek implants – all depending on the patient’s needs.

During a simple facelift procedure, the surgeon will make incisions that follow the contours of the ear, but hidden in your hair. This will produce modest, permanent scarring in most cases. The best improvement with a facelift is seen in the jowl area and under the neck, while the folds around the mouth, commonly known as nasal-labial folds, are not usually improved much with a simple facelift.

During surgery, after the ear contour incision is made, the skin is undermined – pulled upwards and back toward the scalp line. The excess skin is removed and is stitched or stapled into place. This is a typical, simple facelift.

A newer technique is the “deep plane facelift”, which involves going under the muscle of the face and pulling it along with the skin to essentially make the facelift last longer. Some doctors choose a laser or chemical peel before the surgery is performed, however it should be a light treatment only – anything too deep adds serious risks. Recovery and risk for deep plane facelifts are more extensive than for a classic facelift.

Because the muscles and skin are being manipulated, it is common for there to be some bruising, and the deeper the procedure, the more bruising will occur. For deeper and more complex surgeries, the pain, swelling and risks can also rise. However, it has been shown that some of the deeper procedures produce a longer-lasting result, which may be favourable to some patients.

Facelifts can provide excellent and dramatic results. They can reduce the appearance of age and increase self-esteem in many people. Healing times vary and it is important that you enter into your surgery knowing that the full results can take weeks to appear. But rest assured, when healing is all said and done, you will present a younger and smoother looking face to the world – with the results  apparent years after your facelift surgical procedure.

Women tend to have better results than men do in a facelift; however, men are sometimes good or even better candidates for the procedure than women are. Sometimes after surgery, men may have to shave in new places, as beard growing skin may be slightly repositioned.

The effects of a facelift will not last forever – your skin will continue to age and be affected by gravity. You may want to have another facelift surgery five or ten years later for maintenance or improvement.

A facelift can’t completely erase the signs of age, and it can’t fix all problems — for example, sagging eyelids, eyebrows, or skin discoloration. To correct these problems, a patient would need to undergo other procedures (such as an eye lift, brow lift, or chemical peel).

Information is consistent on facelifts across the board. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved that you must discuss with your doctor before surgery. Your own health record and practices can and will affect your candidacy for surgery. Be sure to be truthful with your physician to avoid as many side effects and risks as possible.

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