If you're considering a face lift
As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jaw line grows slack and jowly; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck.
A face lift (technically known as rhytidectomy) can't stop this aging process. What it can do is "set back the clock," improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and re-draping the skin of your face and neck. A face lift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
If you're considering a face lift, this brochure will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask New arkansas face lift surgeon, Dr. Elkins about anything you don't understand.
The best candidates for a face lift
The best candidate for a face lift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but face lifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.
A face lift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence in the process. But it can't give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Elkins.
The ENDOTINE Forehead device is designed to help distribute tension and reduce areas of high stress, providing your physician with greater aesthetic control of your brow height and shape
An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, within the lower eyelids or under the upper lip. An endoscope, or surgical telescope, may help to reposition tissues and elevate midfacial muscles. Skin resurfacing techniques may be performed in conjunction with the surgery or as a separate procedure to improve skin tone and texture.
A face lift can improve the deep cheek folds, jowls and loose, sagging skin around the neck that come with age.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk
When a face lift is performed by a qualified cosetic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.
Complications that can occur include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon), injury to the nerves that control facial muscles (usually temporary), infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers.
You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr. Elkins's advice both before and after surgery.
Types of anesthesia
Most face lifts are performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You'll be awake but relaxed, and your face will be insensitive to pain. (However, you may feel some tugging or occasional discomfort.)
Some surgeons prefer a general anesthesia. In that case, you'll sleep through the operation.
The face lift surgery
A face lift usually takes several hours-or somewhat longer if you're having more than one procedure done. For extensive procedures, some surgeons may schedule two separate sessions.
Every face lift surgeon approaches the procedure in his or her own way. Some complete one side of the face at a time, and others move back and forth between the sides. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depends on your facial structure and Dr. Elkins's technique.
Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, follow the natural line in front of the ear, curve behind the earlobe into the crease behind the ear, and into or along the lower scalp.
Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the ear (or just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear), and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
Facial, neck tissue and muscle may be separated; fat may be trimmed or suctioned and underlying muscle may be tightened.
In general, the face lift surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.
After deep tissues are tightened, the excess skin is pulled up and back, trimmed and surured into place.
Following face lift surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The surgeon may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
After your face lift surgery
There isn't usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Elkins. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to Dr. Elkins immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Your doctor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.
If you've had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to five days. Don't be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you'll be looking normal.
Most of your stitches will be removed after about five days. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer.
Most of the scars will be hidden within you hair and in the normal creases of your skin.
Getting back to normal
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first.
Dr. Elkins will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They're likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing.
At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may be slightly stiff and you'll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. It's not surprising that some patients are disappointed and depressed at first.
By the third week, you'll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
Your new look
The chances are excellent that you'll be happy with your facelift-especially if you realize that the results may not be immediately apparent. Even after the swelling and bruises are gone, the hair around your temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough for several months. Men may find they have to shave in new places-behind the neck and ears-where areas of beard- growing skin have been repositioned.
You'll have some scars from your face lift, but they're usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case, they'll fade within time and should be scarcely visible.
After surgery, you'll present a fresher, more youthful face to the world.
Having face lift suregery doesn't stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time, and you may want to repeat the procedure one or more times-perhaps five or ten years down the line. But in another sense, the effects of even one face lift are lasting; years later, you'll continue to look better than if you'd never had a face lift at all.