Let’s dive right into details of what is a facelift? What can it do for me? Am I a suitable candidate? Can it address my concerns? Am I ready and well-informed?
Everyone gets older so does our skin and tissues. However, the extent and when it occurs differ according to age and also a result of various genetic and environmental factors including our sun exposure and smoking habits.
Ageing can affect parts of the face at different stages – early or later stage. Hence, it will be helpful to remember that facelift surgery isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution and in fact, your doctor must have sound knowledge and experience in order to analyse, determine, plan and execute the technique that suits you best and positively improve those features in relation to the entire face.
Facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy is a surgical procedure used to rejuvenate the face and neck for a more youthful appearance. Facelift primary focuses on the bottom two-thirds of the face and often the decolletage. Other procedures such as brow lift and eyelid surgery can therefore be performed in conjunction with the facelift procedure. In addition, fat transfer or use of fillers may be suggested in order to volumize the face while skin treatment such as peels, dermabrasion and laser may be offered to enhance the skin quality and texture.
Of course, it isn’t the solution for everything. Whilst it can rejuvenate and enhance your appearance, a facelift does not change the primary appearance and will not stop the ageing process. As we continue on in life and gravity is in play, ageing will carry on.
As a rule of thumb, of course, it is best to have a review with a certified and experienced doctor. A good candidate is one who is in pink of health without underlying medical conditions that may affect the healing process, non-smokers and one who have realistic expectations of what the surgery entails.
In this article, I will not go in-depth into the ‘terms’ of facelift procedures as noted by many surgeons that these ‘terms’ are vague and differ from surgeon to surgeon. The best is still to speak to your surgeons, discuss your expectations and specific terms for the procedure.
A typical patient journey will definitely begin with a consultation. At this stage, it is important that your doctor go through in detail your family and personal medical history, medication you are currently on(if any), possible contraindications and also present all possible options for you. Assessing if you are a suitable candidate, knowing your expectations and goals, and if you aren’t suitable, are they any other possible alternatives to consider without hard-selling other alternatives to their benefits. Photographs will also be taken for careful examination and comparison.
Preparing for surgery
Pre-procedure preparation requires a period depending on your lifestyle. You will definitely need to stop smoking prior, discontinue blood-thinning medications, anti-inflammatory pain relievers and other herbal supplements to reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising. Whether your surgery will be done in a surgical centre or hospital, the procedure will require you to be under general anaesthesia. And it will be best to have someone that can be with you or at least to drive you home. Alternatively, your doctor may ask you to stay for a night or two as well.
Be aware of all possible risk
As with all surgery, there are risks. These includes ( and are not limited to):
- Anaesthesia risk
- Cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Facial nerve injury
- Pain, scarring and prolonged swelling
- Wound healing problems
- Hair loss at the incision site
- Skin irregularities and discolouration
- Unsatisfactory results such as asymmetry, unfavourable scarring and other visible deformities at the incision site.
These risks must be fully discussed prior to your consent and it is critical that you address all your concerns and questions before making a decision.
How long will recovery take?
The recovery process and follow-up is a big part of your surgery journey. Following your facelift surgery, a bandage might be placed around your face to minimise swelling and bruising. You might expect to have tubes to drain off any excess blood or fluid. Aftercare instructions will be given specifically by your doctor and if any oral medication is required. Be sure to know the length of recovery, medications needed, stitches/dressing/bandages you will require and how long before they can come off. How quickly can you resume face washing/makeup and how long before you can resume normal day-to-day activities.
Results are definitely the end goal. Whilst most patients may require approximately 14 days before they can look presentable to the public, it will take at least 60-90 days for your face to feel normal in terms of texture and sensibility. You should be able to see the improvement once swelling and bruising subside. It is critical to follow your surgeons’ instructions and be consistent in follow up to ensure the success of your surgery.
Choosing your surgeon
From just a brief outline of what you should know prior to your decision, you can see how much your surgeons play a critical role. Of course in the surgery, pre-procedure and post-procedure are equally as important as the surgery itself. We had the privilege to speak to so many patients who constantly come to us for advice, the most common dilemma is choosing the right surgeon and clinic. Many are confused as to “whom should I choose?” You definitely can trust ECAMS Alumni/Members and ECAMS Certified Doctors who have met the rigorous standards of training by world-renowned faculty whose clinic is also an Aesthrix Star Clinic. This means that the faculty that students trained with is one of the best surgeon trainers in the world. The curriculum set for the doctors challenges each to their fullest potential in order to finally pass and achieve their certificate.