The ageing process stretches the ligaments that hold the skin of the face in position, and there is also a decrease in the natural fat that is present in the tissues. As a result of this process, the skin on the face, the brow and the neck begins to sag, and the overall challenge moves beyond the scope of cosmetic creams and potions. Patients try to avoid the visible signs of ageing including jowls, deep creases in the cheeks, wrinkles and bands in the neck, and opt for facelift and necklift surgery.
Are there any reasons for a patient to not have a facelift?
Patients who are actively smoking or on blood thinning medication such as aspirin and warfarin are at a high risk of complications such as bleeding or wound infections and delayed wound healing. It is advisable not to consume nicotine in any form for six weeks before a facelift, and to stop medication such as aspirin or warfarin ( if this is not for an essential or life-threatening condition) at the appropriate time before surgery.
What does a facelift involve?
A facelift – or neck lift – is carried out under general anaesthesia, and involves one or two nights in hospital. Following the operation there is a large padded bandage around the neck and face along with a tube drain underneath the skin to remove any blood or fluid that may collect following surgery. The drain is normally removed the day after surgery and so is the dressing around the face and neck. Patients are usually able to shower before discharge from hospital with fresh dressings and an elasticated support for the neck and cheeks. An outpatient appointment is arranged for a few days after surgery for removal of sutures.
How long does bruising and swelling last following the operation?
Bruising and swelling following surgery normally resolves within ten to fourteen days after the operation.
How much time do I need off work?
Most patients are able to return to work and to social activities within two to three weeks of their operation.
How long does the effect of a facelift last?
The effects of a facelift can last up to five to ten years following surgery. A facelift does not stop the process of ageing but can make the effect of the ageing process less obvious.
What are the complications of this procedure?
A small percentage of patients undergoing a facelift can have complications just like any other surgical procedure which include bleeding, haematoma (blood clot under the skin), infection, delayed healing of the wound, asymmetry and scars which are visible in the early post-operative stage but which normally fade over a period of months. There can also be a loss of function or injury to the branches of the facial nerve which is responsible for movements of the muscles of expression in the face. Very occasionally patients may need a small revision procedure. Depending upon the nature and extent of the procedure that you need your surgeon will discuss the potential complications with you in detail during your consultation.