Since advances in modern medicine have enabled individuals to live longer and healthier lives, many patients are considering cosmetic facial surgery as a means to transform their outward facial appearance to more accurately reflect their inner health and vitality. Facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) falls within this category of highly popular facial aesthetic enhancement procedures. It is performed to help correct problematic cosmetic facial issues, including, but not limited to facial aging.
Persistent pockets/deposits of displaced facial fat
Facial ptosis (sagging)
The appearance of “jowls” or a “double chin”
Creases along the nasolabial folds (marionette lines)
Creases beneath the lower eyelids.
The aesthetic changes that result from aging of the face are due to several natural, genetic, and environmental factors, such as:
- Sun damage
- Decreasing collagen and elastin levels
- Loss of muscle tone
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Thinning facial skin
- Loss of facial volume
The general objectives of facelift surgery are to correct these aesthetic problems by tightening the underlying facial tissues and musculature, eliminating surplus fat in the neck and face regions and excising any loose or hanging skin. Earlier facelift techniques focused primarily on the goal of basic skin tightening, which often resulted in the distortion or unnatural appearance of facial features. Modern facelift methods have rectified this problem by incorporating deeper tissue-lifting techniques, allowing surgeons to create a more naturally rejuvenated facial appearance with longer term lasting results.
Facelift procedures can be highly customizable. After analyzing your facial anatomy and listening to your surgical goals, Dr. Sinno will create a customized treatment plan to help reflect your specific needs and treatment objectives.
Facelift surgery is typically performed in an outpatient setting, under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, and lasts between two to five hours. During your facelift surgery, Dr. Sinno will make incisions in front of, and behind your ear, taking great care to ensure that your incisions will be as inconspicuous as possible. The specific details of each individual’s facelift can vary significantly. They depend upon the patient’s unique facial features and surgical goals. Your rhytidectomy procedure may or may not include liposuction of the neck and jowls, tightening of the facial musculature and the removal or repositioning of surplus facial skin.
The length of your post-surgical recovery period will depend upon the capacity of your body to heal itself, the level of surgical correction performed and the number of procedures that you have undergone. Elevating your head will help to reduce post-surgical facial swelling and bruising, which typically peaks during the first 24-48 hours, and subsides within two to four weeks.
Day Surgery OR Overnight Stay
Face lifting surgery generally takes two to five hours, after which, you may be released (depending on your medical condition and health state) to a friend or family member and may return home to continue your recovery. In some cases, Dr. Sinno may decide to keep you overnight to help you have a safer and more comfortable post-operative recovery.
Mini facelifts are usually day surgery procedures and a full facelift, especially those combined with other procedures, may require an overnight stay.
When do the bandages come off after facelift surgery?
Dr. Sinno and his team will apply a special dressing and initial bandages that should be kept dry and clean until your scheduled follow-up, which is generally under a week. At that point, the bandages will be removed and your post-operative state will be evaluated.
When can I resume normal showers and washing after facelift surgery?
The bandages usually are removed before the week after surgery. Dr. Sinno recommends that all bandages should remain dry and clean after your surgery until your first follow-up appointment. Showers should be avoided until authorized by Dr. Sinno. This is usually after all bandages are removed at the first postoperative visit. Until then, sponge baths are recommended.
White non-scented shampoo and soap are recommended to be used along with running water on the incisions after the bandages are removed and when given medical authorization to do so.
When can I resume normal activity and exercise after facelift surgery?
You will be advised to refrain from moving your arms above your shoulders immediately following your facelift procedure. This is usually advised for a two-week period.
Dr. Sinno recommends that patients refrain from all activities that may increase their heart rate or blood pressure, including exercise, sexual activity, stressful situations, etc.
However, it is recommended that patients walk and perform their usual activities within the limitation of the medical advice given and their tolerance to their comfort. No lifting more than 10 lbs. (4 kg) is recommended for at least two weeks after the surgery.
For the first week, sleeping on your back is preferred with the head of the bed elevated to at least 45 degrees, to help reduce post-operative swelling.
Patients are advised to always keep their heads above their hearts and to refrain from bringing their heads down below the shoulders. Patients are advised to bend their knees and go down to put on or take off footwear etc.., This will ensure that the head is not suspended lower than the chest level.
When can I drive after facelift surgery?
Patients are recommended not to drive when taking narcotic pain medications and when having bulky dressings that may hinder their normal reflexes and reactivity.
When can I resume wearing eyeglasses and hearing aids after facelift surgery?
Incisions of a typical facelift surgery are around the upper and lower parts of the ear. To prevent scarring, we suggest that eyeglasses and hearing aids be worn only after one week following facelift surgery.
You may experience some swelling and bruising that will peak two to three days after your surgery, and usually subsides within two to six weeks. Post-operative swelling, pain, bruising and duration may differ, depending on the patient and extent of the facelift.
You will be expected to be able to see visible aesthetic improvements in your face immediately following your facelift. These results should continue to progress over the following weeks, as the incision site heals and the swelling decreases. Swelling can take six weeks to subside. Dr. Sinno advises his patients that final results should be expected at the one year point post-operative period when all scars and incisions should be mature.
All medical and surgical procedures have inherent risks and potential complications associated with them. It is imperative that you understand the potential risks, complications and consequences that can arise after the medical or surgical procedure you undertake. This understanding will better allow you to be able to provide informed consent based on the comparison to the potential benefit of the desired procedure.
Although the materialization of inherent risks is rare and developing complications is unlikely, these are real events that can occur. Dr. Sinno will help you understand the risk/benefit profile of your desired procedure.