St. Louis Facelift Specialist
From their premier, St. Louis plastic surgery office, the talented surgeons of BodyAesthetic Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Center treat facelift patients. In the paragraphs below, the facelift procedure is described.
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; deep wrinkles are prominent, especially in the cheeks, and the skin sags; the jaw line grows slack and is less well-defined; skin folds and fat deposits appear around the neck. A facelift (technically known as rhytidectomy) improves the most visible signs of aging by removing or repositioning subcutaneous tissue, excess fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can be done alone or along with other procedures such as a forehead lift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
The result of a facelift is a younger and refreshed look. The best candidates for a facelift are men and women whose face and neck have begun to droop but whose skin still has good elasticity and well-defined bone structure. Most patients are between the ages of 40 to 70, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their 70s or 80s.
Facelifts are very individualized procedures because no two faces are exactly alike. In your initial consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone structure, and the severity of wrinkles and folds. He will also discuss your goals for the surgery and explain the type of facelift most appropriate for you.
Facelift : The Surgery
Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the base of the ear to just inside the cartilage at the front of the ear, and continue in the crease behind the ear and into the lower scalp. If the neck needs lifting, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
In general, the 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 fascial tissue and elevates the skin upward and back, then trims off the excess.
The stitches used to secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions are typically removed after 5 to 7 days. Because your scalp may take longer to heal, the stitches in your hairline may be left in a few days longer. Your head will be wrapped loosely in bandages after surgery to minimize bruising and swelling, but they will be removed the following day, as will two small drains placed during surgery. When the bandages and drains are removed, you may shower and wash your hair. Although your face will be pale, bruised, and puffy at first, you'll look much better in a week or so. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
What To Expect After A Facelift
There usually isn't significant discomfort after surgery, but your surgeon will give you a prescription for pain medication. (Severe or persistent pain or sudden swelling of the face should be reported to your surgeon immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal, but it will disappear in 3 to 6 months.
Your head should remain elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery to reduce swelling. Once you're up and about, take 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. Your surgeon will give you specific guidelines for gradually resuming normal activities.
About 85% of the swelling will be gone in about 3 weeks, but the final results of a facelift may not be fully apparent for up to 6 months. Initially, your face will probably look and feel strange, with your features distorted from the swelling and facial movements slightly stiff. The scars from a facelift are usually hidden by hair or in the natural creases of the face and ears, but they will fade over time and should be scarcely visible.
Results of a facelift are not permanent and you'll continue to age with time. However, the effects are lasting in the sense that you have "turned back the clock." Seven to ten years after a facelift, you'll look basically the way you did before surgery.
Length of surgery
3 to 5 hours, depending on the type of facelift performed
Usually 1 night in the hospital. If multiple procedures are performed, you may chose to spend a second night.
The Side Effects
Temporary bruising, swelling, numbness and tenderness of skin; tight feeling, dry skin. For men, permanent need to shave behind ears, where beard-growing skin is repositioned.
Injury to the nerves that control facial muscles or sensation(usually temporary but may be permanent). Infection, bleeding, poor healing, or excessive scarring. Asymmetry or change in hairline or ear position.
Back to work: 10 to 14 days.
More strenuous activity: 2 weeks or more.
Bruising: 2 to 3 weeks. Limit sun exposure for several months.
Duration of Results
Usually 7 to 10 years.
In addition to facelift, the board certified plastic surgeons of BodyAesthetic also offer other facial rejuvenation procedures at their cosmetic surgery center. Visit these pages in the website to learn about how these gifted physicians treat liquid facelift, threadlift, eyelid lift, and skin resurfacing patients. You can also learn about the body contouring and breast procedures available in St. Louis, including tummy tuck, breast lift, and breast augmentation.