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What is a face/neck lift?
A facelift is an intervention, which diminishes the number of facial folds and wrinkles resulting from aging. This is achieved by redraping the skin and sagged soft tissues, as well as by resection of skin excess. In contrast to MACS-lifting, facial undermining is more extensive in this procedure, reaching the nose in an effort to correct deep nasolabial folds. Consequently, skin excess is usually more profound, as will be the scar reaching the hair bearing area behind the ear.
Fat deposits and wrinkles at the neck can be corrected during this intervention as well. Wrinkles at the forehead, the eyes, or at the upper or lower lip are not corrected by means of this intervention.
Please inform your surgeon if you use medicines that alter or affect blood coagulation, such as Marcoumar or Sintrom. The use of Aspirin (acethylsalicylacid) containing medicines needs to be terminated14 days before the intervention.
Smokers are strongly advised to quit smoking 2 weeks before and continue not to smoke at least 4 weeks after the intervention. Continued smoking has profound adverse effects on wound healing. As the surgery is always done under general anesthesia you have to be sober no later than 12 o'clock p.m. on the day prior to the surgery.
In general, you will stay in the hospital the night after the surgery. During the intervention skin and deeper layers are mobilized and tightened. Fat excess in the neck is removed by means of liposuction; sometimes a separate small incision is made below the chin. At the end of the intervention suction drains are left in the wounds in order to remove excess of blood and fluid and a compressive dressing is applied that is left in place until the next day.
After the intervention
At home, try to do as little as possible during the first three days. If you want to sleep do so with your upper body elevated in an angle of 60 degrees. Prevent bending forward or lying in a horizontal position as these behaviours increase swelling. Swelling and discolouration can be reduced by means of the application of cool packs. Do never apply ice directly to the skin.
Bandage and drains will be removed the day after surgery. Showering and hair washing is then allowed. Your face and neck will appear swollen, and discolorations may be present. It will take two weeks for these phenomena to diminish. Meanwhile you will suffer very little of pain. Scars will appear in front of the hairline (sometimes within the hair bearing area), in front of the ear, behind the ear extending into the hair bearing area. Initially, these scars will appear red, but they will fade within a year and become unnoticeable.
Possibilities and expectations
The goal of facelift is to remove facial wrinkles caused by aging as natural as possible leaving as few scars as possible. Wrinkles that normally appear during facial expression, such as smiling, will remain.
The natural aging process of your skin will continue. Having a facelift can not stop this process, so that progressive loss of skin elasticity will continue and skin redundancy will return. The effect of facelift lasts in most cases approximately 10 years, after this time period you might want to consider a second facelift.
Risks and complications
With a facelift intervention the same operative risks are associated as with any other surgical intervention. The most frequent complication is bleeding; infection may occur exceptionally. Sometimes persistent swelling or prolonged local indurations may be seen. These complaints will finally disappear. Initially, your face will sense numb. However, within a few months normal sensitivity usually returns.
In exceptional cases a branch of the facial nerve responsible for facial movements can be damaged. Mostly, such damage is reversible leading to complete regain of normal facial movement. Unfortunately, in some cases recovery will only be partially, and restore movements of the forehead or the lower lip. Consequently, permanent weakness may be observed.
Scars after face-lifting will usually appear unnoticeable. However, sometimes wider scars may be observed, as well as scar thickening, especially in dark skin individuals. Additional treatment may be needed.