With aging, our skin and fat tissue on the face and neck descend downward. The facelift and neck lift surgery restore the balance of the face and neck. The surgery removes excess skin and lifts the tissues to restore the youthful appearance, eliminating the jowls and saggy skin of the face and neck. A refreshing and natural appearance is delivered, not the “overdone” or “windtunnel” look. Facelift is performed with neck lift in most patients achieve the optimal contour.
How is the Facelift and neck lift surgery done?
The surgery is done under general anesthesia as an outpatient surgery. The incisions are well camouflaged. The incisions are typically behind the hairline above the ear running along the crease of the anterior ear and posterior ear, and then into the hairline in the back. The flaps on the face and neck are elevated. The deeper tissue of the face and neck, called SMAS and platysma respectively, are tightened to lift and rebuild the foundation of the face and neck. Excess fat under the chin and neck are also removed to improve the contour. The excess skin of the face and neck are then trimmed off and the skin is allowed to redrape without significant tension on the face and neck. This gives the optimal refreshing and natural look desired. The skin flap is then sutured closed. A drain will be placed under the skin flap in the neck on each side.
How is the recovery after a Facelift and Neck Lift?
Typically, my patients go home on the same day with assistance at home. The dressing will stay in place until I see you back in the office the next morning. The dressing will be changed in the office. The drain typically stays for 24-48 hours after surgery. Bruising will resolve by 2 weeks, swelling will take longer. It’s essential to keep your head elevated after surgery, even while sleeping to reduce swelling and optimize healing. The tightness in the face and neck are normal after surgery and will feel more natural in a few weeks as your body adjusts. There can be slight changes to the hair pattern around the incision into the hairline. While most patients resume normal daily activities in 1-2 weeks, strenuous activities are not recommended for at least 6 weeks. The healing process for a facelift and neck lift takes time. The final result is not seen until at least 6 months later as all the swelling resolve and your body settles into the new lift.
Ideal candidates are non-smoker, healthy individuals. If you do smoke/vape or use any nicotine product, you need to stop using for at least 2-3 months prior to surgery and remain nicotine free for 3 months after surgery to optimize healing. Otherwise, your risk of skin and tissue necrosis and open wound is extremely high that surgery should not be pursued.
What are the possible complications?
As with any surgery, there is risk of bleeding, infection, hematoma, fluid collection despite drain placement and after drain removal, tissue necrosis, open wound, contour deformity, scarring, asymmetry, decrease or no sensation in the surgical area, decrease or no sensation to ear, and need for further surgery. It’s essential to have your diabetes and high blood pressure under control and stop using nicotine products before and after surgery. Otherwise, your risk of skin and tissue necrosis and open wound is extremely high that surgery should not be pursued.