Gravity, environmental effects, and natural aging can take a frustrating toll on the face with sagging tissue and wrinkles that can make us look very different from when we were younger. This is why the Facelift is such a popular cosmetic surgery procedure. In the hands of experienced surgeons like Dr. Clinton or Dr. Pearce, you will look naturally younger, not too tight or overdone. Today’s techniques make Face Lifts almost undetectable. People notice you look better, but they aren’t sure why.
Also called Rhytidectomy, a Facelift significantly improves sagging jowls, loose skin and fat of the neck, deep nasolabial folds, and marionette lines, from the midface and lateral brow to the upper portion of the neck. Some patients combine their Facelift with Eyelid Surgery, a Forehead/Brow Lift, or Rhinoplasty (nose surgery) in order to rejuvenate the entire face. For fine surface lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage, we recommend Laser Skin Resurfacing.
Birmingham, AL plastic surgeons, Dr. Clinton and Dr. Pearce have performed countless successful Facelifts. One of the reasons for their success is the one-on-one attention they grant every patient. They are both great listeners and are empathetic to your concerns. Most importantly, they have the training and experience to evaluate your case carefully and create a unique surgical plan for you that addresses the specifics of your face.
What Happens During a Facelift?
A Facelift is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under a light general anesthetic. There can be flexibility in anesthetic choices depending on your unique characteristics.
The procedure can have many variations related to incision placement and length, layers of dissection of tissue, focus of the lifting process of the skin and underlying muscle layers, and other procedures performed at the same time. The classic incisions, however, are in discreet areas within the hairline and/or behind the ears. Sometimes, another incision is required under the chin.
Excess skin is excised, and liposuction may be used to remove fatty tissue. In more advanced cases of aging, excess SMAS (supporting deeper tissue of the face) may be removed and sometimes used as a graft to fill deeper lines. The skin and underlying tissue are then redraped for a tighter, lifted, more youthful look.
After the appropriate time in our recovery area, you can go home with the help of a friend or family member. You should not drive for 24 hours, due to the effects of the anesthesia.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from a Facelift?
Some bruising, swelling, tightness, tingling, burning, itching, and general discomfort are expected after surgery. Swelling is usually the last side effect to go away completely. The scars will improve over time, and we will give you instructions to speed their healing. Drain tubes within the incisions may be necessary for one day. These capture post-surgical fluids.
If you experience pain, you can take oral medications. Non-prescription meds are often sufficient, but if you need something stronger, please use the prescription provided.
You must avoid heavy lifting and any strenuous activity or “straining” for two weeks, and you will need to sleep on your back for a couple of weeks. Elevating your head with pillows will help to reduce swelling.
Most patients return to office work within 10-14 days, but we will discuss this with you based on your individual case. We will provide you with a post-operative plan to help you return to all normal day-to-day activities as soon as possible.
Results from a Facelift are long-lasting, but they can be affected over time by environmental factors and the natural aging process.