Dr Kuldeep Singh, Senior Consultant, Department of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
Often it is noticed that with an advancing age and a stressful lifestyle, people tend to lose their facial skin tissues. Wrinkles and fine lines around the nose and mouth area start showing up and gradually jowls begin to form and weak skin bands appear and people start to feel low in confidence. In recent years, cosmetic anti-ageing procedures have gained mainstream advancement. Some people choose less invasive techniques to rejuvenate their facial appearance like injections and dermal fillers, which are useful in early stages but some choose to have facial rejuvenation surgery like Face Liftment surgery or Facelift surgery.
What is Facelift?
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a procedure in cosmetic surgery which is used for making the facial appearance look more youthful and healthy. Earlier this surgery involved the tightening of excessive facial and neck skin, but the modern version of the surgery available today can tighten the loosened facial and neck muscles and remove excessive facial skin and excessive facial fat.
Age related changes that can be reduced by a facelift surgery includes the following:
- Improvement of the contour of the lower jaw
- Softening of lines from nose to corners of the mouth
- Sagging appearance of cheeks
- Sagging skin and excess fat in the neck (double chin and weak bands)
Research suggests that in comparison to the facial injections that last for eight months to two years, a face-lift surgery typically lasts for several years.
Who can go for it?
The best candidates for the face liftment surgery are those who demonstrate the signs of facial aging as mentioned above. Good candidates for facelift can include:
- Healthy individuals with no underlying medical conditions
- People who don’t smoke or consume alcohol
- People who have realistic expectations of what surgery entails
Benefits of Facelift Surgery
- Tightening of the facial muscles and sagging skin
- Re-contouring of jawline and Neck
- Beneficial for men too
- No set age bar for adults
- Can be paired with other rejuvenation procedures like Brow lift
- Surgical scars which are well hidden and difficult to see
- Natural- Looking results with long lasting youthful skin
Risks or Side-effects associated with Facelift Surgery
Any medical procedure have some risks or side-effects associated with them. Facelift surgery too has the some of them:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Prolonged swelling
- Problems with wound healing
Above complications can be managed with appropriate care, medication, or surgical corrections. While long-term, permanent, or rare complications can cause significant changes in appearance. These include:
- Nerve Injury
- Hair loss at incision site
- Skin loss
Certain underlying medical conditions or lifestyle habits can also be one of the reason for increased complications. The following factors may present a significant risk or result in unfavorable outcomes basis which a doctor may not advise to go for a face-lift procedure:
- Blood-thinning medications or supplements– These medications or supplements are used for thinning the blood which can affect the body’s ability to clot and increase the risk of hematomas after surgery.
- Medical Conditions– Underlying medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure increase the risk of poor wound healing, hematomas and heart complications.
- Smoking is a very serious risk factor and 2 weeks of stopping smoking before surgery and 2 weeks after is a mandatory.
- Weight Fluctuation – A history of repeated weight gain or loss can affect the shape of face or condition of skin due to which the outcome of the surgery cannot be satisfactory.
Procedure: Before and During
As suggested by a cosmetic surgeon, the whole procedure should be done in hospital. Before the procedure is commenced, the patient to be operated is administered general anesthesia and sometimes it can be done under local anesthesia with sedation.
During the procedure for tightening the skin, underlying tissues and muscles, fat in the muscles is sculpted, removed or re-distributed. Facial skin is then re-draped over the newly repositioned contours of the face, excess skin is removed and finally the wound is stitched or closed and taped. Usually an overnight stay is advised.
A face-lift surgery generally takes twice to four hours but it might take longer if overskin cosmetic procedure is combined at the same time.
After Face-lift, one can experience:
- Mild pain ( As adequate pain relief medication is given)
- Drainage from the incisions
If any of the following symptoms persist, contact the doctor immediately:
- Severe pain in one side of the face or neck within 24 hours of surgery
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart beats
In the first few days of the surgery, a doctor may ask you to follow these instructions:
- Resting with elevated head
- Taking pain medication as prescribed by doctor
- Applying cool packs to the face to ease pain and reduce swelling
Post-surgery the follow-up appointments might be required for the next two months. These appointments are required for the removal of bandages, removal of stitches, assessing the wound and monitoring of the progress.
Self-care after Surgery
Self-care at the home during the final weeks of recovery can help the wound in recovering better, thus reducing the risk of complications. This can include:
- Following wound care instructions as directed by the surgeon.
- Not picking up at crusting scabs that develop on the wound.
- Following instructions on the usage of soaps and shampoos.
- Wearing clothes that fasten in the front (rather than clothes that are pulled over the head).
- Avoiding excessive pressure or motion on and around the incisions.
- Avoiding to use makeup.
- Avoiding vigorous activities and sports.
- Avoiding direct exposure of the sun on the incision for 6-8 weeks and using a sunscreen of SPF 50 or higher thereafter.
- Avoiding to colour, bleach or perm hair for at least six weeks.
Though a face-lift procedure can provide a youthful appearance to a person, but the results are not permanent, they last only for several years and depend on person’s lifestyle and how rapidly or slowly one continue to age. If you are planning to take the procedure, it is good to have some prior knowledge regarding the same.