Length of operation: from 3 to 5 hours
Type of Anaesthesia: General
Length of stay in hospital: normally one night
Recovery time: 10 to 14 days for the bruising and swelling to subside. Full recovery is between 3 to 6 months
Time off work: 2 to 3 weeks after operation
About facelifts: Some of the most common reasons for an ageing face are gravity, heredity and sun exposure. Some of the visible signs of ageing in the face and neck are sagging in the mid-face, deep creases along the nose extending to the corner of the mouth, loose skin and excess fatty deposits under the chin and jaw and loss of muscle tone in the lower face causing jowls. A facelift is a surgical procedure to restore a more youthful and vital appearance by lifting up the facial skin and tissues and/or the underlying muscle, to make the face tighter and smoother. However, it is important to remember that while a face lift can help refresh your appearance it will not erase permanent creases, particularly around the lip area. Additional procedures are available to address this issue.
Suitable candidate: If any one or a combination of the following conditions trouble you – loss of a well-defined jaw line or jowls, cheek laxity, bands in the neck, deep creases in the cheek – then you would be an ideal candidate for facelift surgery.
Reasons not to go ahead: patients on blood thinning medicine, active smoking, overweight patients.
Pre op: The consultation with your surgeon will be your opportunity to discuss your expectations, learn about the surgery and ask queries or clarify any doubts you might have. The surgeon will perform an examination in order to be able to assess your individual needs and discuss the results in length with you.
On the day: If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will receive advice about what to do and what to avoid, prior to surgery. Following the operation, there will be a large padded bandage around the neck and face and small drainage tubes, which are inserted underneath the skin during surgery to remove any blood or fluid that may collect following surgery.
Post-op: Both the dressing and the tubes are normally removed the day after surgery. 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.
The patient will receive a complete list of postoperative care instructions before leaving the hospital including how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with the surgeon. You will also be advised to avoid certain activities like taking aspirin, as it is a blood thinning agent, and avoiding any vigorous sport/exercise for 5-7 days following surgery.
The sutures in front of the patient’s ears will usually be removed around 5 days after surgery. Other stitches are dissolvable and remain for approximately 2 weeks. There may be staples, in the scalp, which are usually removed at 7-10 days.
Convalescence: The scars will usually be very faint at first. However they can be expected to thicken and redden for a few months after surgery before they return to a more natural skin colour and texture. Bruising should mostly disappear after 2 weeks, although it may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate and up to 6 months for incision lines to mature. It is normal to experience numbness in the face and this will generally take up to 1 to 3 months to subside.
Risks and complications: A small percentage of patients can have complications just like for any surgical procedure.
Infection: can be usually be treated with an antibiotic.
Haematoma (blood clot under the skin) or bleeding: a re-visit to the operating theatre may be necessary.
Delayed healing of the wound: particularly true in case of diabetic patients or those who smoke. This needs to be discussed with the surgeon during the consultation stage.
Asymmetry and scars: usually visible in the early post-operative stage; normally fade over a period of months.
Loss of function or injury to the branches of the facial nerve .
Effects of the procedure: A face lift does not completely stop the ageing process, but it does slow it down. You are likely to enjoy the effect for many years, in that you will not look as old as you would have done if the facelift had not been carried out.
A facelift gives you a youthful and a refreshed look.
All results will be affected by your heredity and lifestyle factors.