Face Lift and Neck Lift: complete facial rejuvenation
As we age, changes in the elasticity of the skin and the underlying soft tissue framework of the face, called the superficial musculoaponeurotic system or SMAS, result in the most common signs of aging: lines and wrinkles, loose and excess skin, loss of volume, horizontal neck banding, double chin and turkey neck. Today there are many different options on the cosmetic market promising to eradicate these conditions and shave years off your appearance in the process. While many of these products do an adequate job of facial rejuvenation, their permanency and efficacy pale in comparison to a traditional face lift. In truth, nothing can compare to or offer the results of a face lift, except, well, a face lift.
What is Face Lift?
A face lift is an invasive surgical procedure performed under deep sedation or general anesthesia. Face lifts are often mistaken for a simple tightening of the skin, but a modern face lift is much more than that. A modern face lift involves tightening the underlying muscles and tissue of the SMAS, and the removal of excess skin. The remaining skin is then redraped, resulting in a more youthful appearance. At Amadi, this is done via what is called a deep plane face lift.
What is the difference between a face lift and a neck lift?
A face lift, or rhytidectomy, is intended to address wrinkles and saggy skin on the face, specifically the cheeks, lower face, jowls and jawline. A neck lift, or platysmaplasty, focuses primarily on the skin of the neck and under the chin. Because aging of the face and neck often go hand in hand, these two procedures are usually performed in conjunction with one another for a complete facial rejuvenation.
What conditions does a Face Lift address?
A face lift corrects lines and wrinkles in the face and neck, loose or excess skin, loss of volume in facial features, and sagging jowls.
How is a Face Lift performed?
A deep plane face lift is an out-patient procedure done under general anaesthetic that should take between three and four hours. After the patient is anaesthetized, incisions are made in front of the ear and just into the hairline, along the natural crease of the earlobe. The skin and SMAS is then lifted and tightented together using tension bearing sutures, then redraped and excess skin is removed.
Because the incisions are placed where the face and skin crease naturally, and into the hairline, the resulting scars from surgery are virtually undetectable.
Face Lift recovery: What can you expect?
Initial face lift recovery usually requires one to two weeks of downtime.
Make sure to have a ride arranged post-procedure as you will be unable to drive at this point. You will be sent home with sutures or staples at the incision site, covered by dressings and gauze wrapped around your head and neck, as well as an elastic bandage around your chin to the top of your head. The elastic bandage is removed at your first follow-up appointment, which is usually one day post-surgery. You may have a drain in place to help discharge any excess blood and fluid. It is extremely important to follow your doctor’s post-operative care instructions in keeping these areas clean.
You will feel some pain and discomfort for about four to six days post-op, and may have difficulty opening your mouth for several days. Your doctor may prescribe a mild painkiller to help you through the first week of recovery.
You should expect to see some swelling and bruising, but this will reach its max around day 4. Your bandages will usually be removed at your second follow-up appointment and sutures or staples taken out after one week.
Some patients feel ready to return to work after one week of recovery, but many wait until the majority of swelling and bruising have dissipated, usually after about two weeks.
It may take up to four to six weeks to get back to your regular routine.
When will I see the results from my face lift?
Once the bandages are removed you will see some results, but results will continue develop as healing progresses and it may take up to one year for full results to appear.
A neck lift specifically addresses problem areas such as jowls, double chin, “turkey neck” and horizontal neck banding.
How is a neck lift performed?
A neck lift is also done under general anesthesia or deep sedation. The operation should take one to two hours and can be done as an in-or out-patient procedure. During a neck lift, an incision is made below your chin. The muscles of the neck are then lifted and tightened and excess skin and fat is removed.
Fat can be removed one of two ways, by liposuction or surgically, depending on where the fat is located.
Neck lift recovery: What can I expect?
As with a face lift, you will leave your appointment with bandages at the incision sites, and usually one wrapped around your face and neck to minimize swelling and bruising. The bandage around your neck and face will most often be removed at your first follow-up appointment.
You may also have a drain to help discharge excess fluid and blood.
The most common discomfort reported when recovering from neck lift surgery is tightness in the neck. This sensation is temporary and will relax over the weeks following your procedure. You will likely experience some pain and discomfort for the first 24-48 hours for which your doctor may prescribe painkillers. This too will subside over the first week.
Initial recovery from a neck lift procedure usually requires two weeks of downtime after which you can return to normal activity. Full healing usually takes about three to four months. You will be able to see some results immediately, with the full result becoming visible after swelling has completely gone down, which may take several weeks.
Can face lifts and neck lifts be performed independently or must they be done together?
Aging of the neck and face are natural processes that happen to everyone at one point or another. While the aging of the two are often concurrent, some people notice or are bothered by one more than the other. For this reason, it is possible to have a face and neck lift done simultaneously for a complete face lift, or as standalone procedures. Because both procedures have extensive recovery times, it is often recommended to have both done at once, to minimize downtime.
How long do face and neck lifts last?
Both face lift and neck lifts last about 10-15 years. It is important to remember that though these procedures will improve your appearance, aging is a natural process that cannot be halted entirely. Your face and neck will continue to age, but at a rate much slower than had you not had the procedure.
Who is a good candidate?
A good candidate for a face lift is someone who is in good health, both mentally and physically. Invasive cosmetic surgery can have the benefit of improved self-esteem but it is crucial that the patient enters into the procedure with realistic goals and expectations, otherwise the results can have the opposite effect.
Age is not necessarily a determining factor in candidacy, as everyone ages differently. More important than your age, are your genetics and your overall physical health. That said, most face lift patients are between the ages of 40 and 70.
Risks and complications:
As with any procedure, a face lift comes with risks. Although complications are rare, they include:
To help reduce the risk of any of the conditions mentioned above, it is important to be forthcoming with your surgeon about your current health, any conditions you may suffer from, including issues with healing, and any medications you are on. It is also crucial that you find a reputable surgeon with years of verifiable experience and training, such as Dr Amadi.
What is a mini lift?
A mini face lift is just what it sounds like: less involved than a complete face lift. A mini face lift can be done in conjunction with a mini neck lift, or on its own. The procedure tends to address the lower half of the face and involves the removal of excess skin and fat, but does usually not include the tightening of the SMAS.
Who is a good candidate for a mini face lift:
A mini face lift may be a good option for patients in their late 40s to mid 50s who are beginning to see more moderate skin laxity and wrinkling and who are no longer getting the desired results from other treatments such as Botox or dermal fillers.
Alternatives to face and neck lifts:
There are also options available for patients who would like to undergo aesthetic surgery, but are not ready to have a complete face lift such as mini lifts, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), brow or forehead lifts, and temporal lifts. Other minimally invasive options include MyEllevate (also known as the “Zoom Lift”) and FaceTite. MyEllevate and FaceTite are excellent alternatives for patients who are new to cosmetic surgery or who are just beginning to see signs of aging such as mild-moderate skin laxity.