Due to its constant exposure to the elements — far more than everywhere else on your body except your hands — the face is prone to showing the signs of sun damage and general aging before the rest of the body. Stresses, environmental irritants, decreasing collagen production, and skin that is losing much of its elasticity all play a role in creating wrinkles, lines, and creases on your face and neck.
To counteract these issues, a facelift is the most dramatic solution.
What is a facelift?
Also known as rhytidectomy, a facelift removes fat and tightens skin and muscle, giving your face a younger, fresher look. A facelift can improve the visible signs of aging on your face and neck, such as deep creases along the nose and lower eyelids, a loss of volume in the lower face, loose skin and excess fat deposits under the chin and jaw, and sagging in the middle of your face. Sometimes, a facelift can be combined with a brow lift and eyelid surgery in order to achieve more dramatic results. A facelift can also be limited to the neck (called a neck lift) if most of the patient’s concerns center there.
What can I expect from a facelift?
Your expectations need to be realistic. A facelift won’t make you look like a celebrity; it will simply reverse some of the signs of aging, taking from five to ten years off your face. Facelifts remove unwanted fat deposits and sagging areas on your face. Patients worry about scarring, but since Dr. Trovato makes his incisions in inconspicuous places, such as behind the hairline and in natural folds of the face and ears, your scars can fade to near invisibility over time.
Are there any risks associated with facelifts?
As with any other surgical procedure, facelifts come with risks. These risks can include bleeding and infections, poor wound healing, weakness associated with possible facial nerve damage, and temporary or permanent hair loss near your incisions. Further complications can include fluid accumulation in the face, prolonged swelling, skin discoloration, and unfavorable scarring.
Knowing the risks of your facelift beforehand is extremely important. These risks can help you determine if you want to go forward with the procedure or opt for other possible treatments.
What happens after the surgery?
Immediately after your facelift, your face will be bandaged. Dressings will be removed usually after one to two days. Tubes may also be present to help drain excess fluid under your skin. They will also be removed with your bandages. Stitches will come out in five to 10 days. Cold compresses will help minimize swelling and bruising, as will keeping your head elevated and still as much as possible.
At first your face will feel stiff and will probably look and feel strange to you. This is normal, but you should be prepared for it. You will likely have some numbness in your skin. This can last for a few months after surgery.
Depending on your healing rate, Dr. Trovato will provide more details on timeframes for healing, resuming exercise, and the like. Most people, however, can return to normal activities in two to three weeks.