Facelift Information


A good candidate for a face-lift: has sagging skin in the face and neck, has skin that still has some elasticity, is in good health, maintains a stable weight, and has realistic expectations.

If you do not meet all of these criteria, but meet some of them, you may still be a good candidate for a facelift. If you have good skin tone, it is more likely that your skin will respond well to the surgery.

You are also at increased risk for complications if you have diabetes, poor circulation, heart, lung or liver disease, smoke, have a family history of blood clots, take certain medications, etc. You'll want to discuss your medical history thoroughly with your physician before you choose to undergo surgery.

Initial Consultation

At the initial visit, your doctor will likely ask you to describe in detail what you would like improved. Be specific about what you would like done. If your surgeon fully understands your expectations, she'll be able to determine whether your goals are realistic. Your physician will examine your skin, hairline, and structure of your face to determine which techniques will be employed, where incisions will be made and what results can be achieved. Your skin type, thickness and texture, your age, if you are a smoker and pre-existing sun damage will all effect ther final result.



Basic Procedures


Anesthesia: General or Sedation
Location: Hospital, surgical center or office
Surgery time: 2-4 hours.

A face lift will remove excess skin and tightens the soft tissues of your face, chin and neck. It can improve the jawline, sagging cheeks and loose neck skin. To get an idea of the results you might have, place your fingers on the center of your cheeks and press the skin up and back. Skin folds can be tightened and reduced, but not eliminated. If you softly pinch the skin in front of your ear, you'll see how much skin be excised during the procedure.

A face lift cannot improve your forehead, eyelids, eyebrows, wrinkles around the mouth or your skin texture. Some patients also undergo a forehead lift and eyelid surgery at the same time of the face lift to create a uniform appearance. To reduce wrinkles, smooth skin texture and tone, you may also want to consider laser resurfacing, chemical peels, botox injections and dermabrasion.

Depending on your face and problem areas, your surgeon may choose a two-layer face-lift, a skin-only face lift, a deep (subperiosteal) face lift, neck lift, laser or endoscopic lift.

In a two-layer face-lift (the most common procedure and generally the most effective), incisions are usually made in the contour of the ears, beginning in front of and extending around the earlobe and back into the hairline. After the incisions are made, the skin is separated from the facial muscles and skin fat (the doctor may remove excess fat) and the skin is pulled up and back to tighten the muscles of the face and neck. The surgeon may tighten the underlying tissue, the submuscular aponeurotic system (SMAS), that tightens the neck and lifts the cheeks. The skin is then pulled back and any excess trimmed off.

The incisions are then closed with stitches and metal staples may be placed in the scalp. If you have elected to smooth your chin and neck, there may also be a small incision hidden underneath your chin. A small drain tube may be placed under the skin to collect excess blood and prevent swelling. The incision is then sutured closed. The head is then bandaged to prevent fluid collection.

If drainage tubes have been placed, the doctor's office will give detailed instructions for emptying the drains at home.

To read an excellent article on facelifts, check out emedicine.com.