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Most patients of the facelift procedure are in their forties to sixties, however, facelift surgery can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well. Although this procedure can refresh your look and make you look younger, it’s important to understand a facelift is not intended to change the way you 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 your surgeon.
Ideal candidates are men and women who do not smoke and are in good overall health. Patients with underlying medical conditions that could hinder the healing process may not be able to safely undergo a facelift surgery.
Patients with mild to moderate signs of facial aging may be better candidates for a non-surgical “liquid facelift.” With a liquid facelift, Dr. Lille uses a patient-tailored combination of injectable fillers and neuromodulators to smooth wrinkles, restore volume, and enhance facial contours.
“I had a facelift that took years off my age and made me feel years younger. The results were perfect. Very natural looking and after a couple of weeks I was back at work and looking great! People are always in disbelief when I tell them my age. I highly recommend Dr. Sean Lille.”
Facelifts are very individualized procedures. In your initial consultation in our comfortable Scottsdale office, Dr. Lille will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone, and discuss your goals for the surgery.
Dr. Lille will check for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell Dr. Lille if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting.
Dr. Lille and his staff will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on diet, smoking, and the ingestion of certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least 6 weeks before and after surgery since smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas and cause large areas of skin to die.
Depending on the medical history and age of the patient, an overnight stay may be required to help and assist in recovery. Dr. Lille will go over each individual’s medical history and determine the ideal condition for each patient.
Dr. Lille performs his full facelifts under general anesthesia where you’ll sleep through the operation. Dr. Lille uses Board-Certified Anesthesiologists who will call his patients before their surgeries.
A facelift, or rhytidectomy, usually takes several hours-or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure done. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depend on your facial structure and your specific requirements. For patients having primary facelifts for the first time, incisions are placed behind the hairline, in the ear and extending behind the ear into the back hairline.
For those having secondary facelifts, the incision is identical except for the temporal hairline where the incision will be moved to the front of the hairline to eliminate sideburn displacement.
If the neck displays separated muscle bands, and excess fat, a small incision is also made under the chin.
In general, the skin is separated 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 in a different vector from the skin to provide a more natural result, and removes the excess.The SMAS, or submuscularaponeurotic system, is a layer beneath the skin which invests the facial muscles. By tightening the SMAS, the jowls are lifted, the neck is tightened, and the cheeks are elevated. This “deep” or “2-layer” facelift is an improvement over earlier skin-only techniques.
Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The face will be wrapped with a dressing around your head loosely to minimize bruising and swelling.
There isn’t usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to your surgeon immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Your head will be 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 more normal.
Most of your stitches will be removed after about one to two weeks.
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first 2 weeks 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.
Avoid strenuous activity, including sex and heavy housework, for at least two weeks; 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 two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
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, your hair 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.
Having a facelift 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 facelift are lasting; years later, you’ll continue to look better than if you’d never had a facelift at all.
Scarring You’ll have some scars from your facelift, 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.
The price of your facelift will reflect the surgical techniques required, the duration of the surgery, and the complexity of resolving your cosmetic concerns. Anesthesia and facility fees will also affect the overall cost of your rhytidectomy.
Dr. Lille meticulously plans each patient’s facelift procedure to account for their unique anatomy and desired outcome, so the cost varies from patient to patient. Once Dr. Lille has created your personalized treatment plan, the details of your procedure and the associated fees will be reviewed with you.
If you are considering a facelift in Scottsdale or simply want to explore your options for facial rejuvenation, a consultation with Dr. Lille is the best way to get the information and answers you need. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.
A: No one can say for sure how long the results of a facelift last. It often depends on lifestyle, eating habits, genes and the age when surgery was performed. The clock is turned back, but keeps on running.
Ten years later, you will look better than if you never had facelift plastic surgery. Many patients never have a second facelift, while others may desire further plastic surgery seven to 15 years later.
A: After rhytidectomy surgery, your plastic surgeon will discuss post-operative camouflage techniques with you prior to your surgery, but be assured that while almost everyone has some sort of temporary side effect such as bruising and swelling, there are makeup techniques that both men and women can use almost immediately to disguise them.
Generally speaking, makeup techniques can be used soon after facelift plastic surgery to cover discolorations, and to hide incision lines after the stitches have been removed and the incision is completely closed. Camouflage cosmetics include three basic types of products: concealers to hide incision lines and discolorations; contour shadows to disguise swelling; and color correctors to neutralize color in reddened skin.
Color correctors disguise yellowish discolorations or the pinkness that follows chemical peel and dermabrasion. Lavender neutralizes or removes yellow, and green has a similar effect on red. It will take a little patience and practice to master camouflage techniques, but most post-op patients feel its well worth the effort.
A: When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic 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. Lille’s advice both before and after surgery.
A: Dr. Lille addresses the face in four compartments. The first dimension is the superficial skin that manifests in the aging process with excessive skin pigmentation or sun spots and fine line wrinkles.
Often these can be addressed in office procedures such as chemical peels, Botox injections and soft tissue fillers like Juvederm. Soft tissue fillers and Botox are temporary and fine wrinkles are very amenable to laser resurfacing. Wrinkles around the mouth can be done at the same time as facelift; however, other areas of the face must wait for at least 6 months to avoid damaging the skin tissue viability. After addressing the first dimension of the face, I move to the second dimension which involves the excessive skin. This is addressed by redirecting the pull of the skin and removing the excess amount over the incision line.
It is important to re-orientate the pull in certain lateral vectors and directions otherwise a poor result can occur by revealing a wind tunnel face look or elimination of the side burn or too much pull on the corner of the earlobe making it a pixy ear deformity. The third dimension is repositioning deep facial tissues such cheek fat pads, jowl fat pads and excessive loose facial and neck muscles. The fourth dimension is replacing lost volume along the face such as the fat.
A: Results vary depending upon the age of the individual as well as the advancement of the aging signs, but generally speaking, a facelift can turn back the clock as much as 7-15 years.
Ancillary procedures such as fat grafting to areas of facial tissue loss, eyelid lifts, brow lifts and laser skin resurfacing can be added if required which can turn back the clock even more. Despite reversing the clock, the clock keeps on ticking and aging continues, but regardless after ten years the patient will still be ahead if nothing was done at all.
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