Although aging is a fact of life, sometimes our face and neck begin to use their youthfulness a little sooner than we’re ready. The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress. A facelift is a surgical procedure that improves the visible signs of aging around your face and neck and can take years off of your appearance.
There are many signs of aging that influence a patient’s decision to undergo a facelift, which can include:
Relaxation of the skin of the face, causing sagging
Depending of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth
Fat that has fallen or has disappeared
Jowls developing in the cheeks and jaw
Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or “turkey neck”
A facelift is a restorative procedure that reshapes the lower third of the face by removing excess facial skin. It may also involve the tightening the underlying tissues. Several surgical techniques can be used, including lasers, endoscopy, and liposuction to remove unwanted fat.
Facelifts are often combined with additional procedures on the forehead, cheeks, eyebrows, and eye area to provide a natural, youthful appearance.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE?
If you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your face or neck due to visible signs of aging, you might be a candidate for a facelift. A good candidate for a facelift meets the following criteria:
In reasonably good health and does not have any medical conditions that would impair healing (such as hypertension or diabetes)
Has realistic expectations and a positive outlook
Is not a smoker
If you smoke, you will be asked to quit smoking two months prior to treatment as well as during recovery to reduce risk of bleeding. If you do not follow these instructions, your surgery will be cancelled for your safety.
The purpose of your consultation with Dr. Majewski is to evaluate whether you are a candidate for a facelift (or a different procedure) and to develop a treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals.
Dr. Majewski will ask you questions about:
Your surgical goals
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Previous surgeries, injections, or traumas in the facial area
Your surgeon will also:
Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Discuss your facelift options
Examine and measure your face
Recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of a facelift and any risks or potential complications
Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used
The consultation is the time to ask Dr. Majewski any questions you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, and expected results.
It's very important to understand all aspects of your facelift procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress - or both. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr. Majewski. You’ll feel most confident about your procedure, recovery, and results if you know exactly what to expect.
The cost of the facelift procedure varies depending on the extent of your surgery, and whether you decide to undergo other procedures at the same time. The cost of your procedure will include anesthesia fees, surgical facility costs, medical tests, post-surgery garments, prescriptions for medications, and the surgeon’s fee.
When choosing a board certified plastic surgeon for your facelift, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
You might also consider the cost of childcare or other assistance you might need during your recovery period - such as meal delivery, a cleaning service, etc. Although usually not necessary, some patients prefer to delegate some of their household responsibilities during the first few weeks of recovery so they can focus on healing fully.
In preparing for your facelift, you may be asked to:
Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Most of Dr. Majewski’s facelift cases will take place at our state-of-the-art Surgery Center at the Reserve, located conveniently right next door to our clinic. You should arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure.
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
A variety of other procedures can further enhance the outcome of a facelift. They include:
Depending on the degree of change you'd like to see, your facelift choices include a traditional facelift, limited incision facelift or a neck lift.
A traditional facelift incision often begins in the hairline at the temples, continues around the ear and ends in the lower scalp. Fat may be sculpted or redistributed from the face, jowls and neck and underlying tissue is repositioned, commonly the deeper layers of the face and the muscles are also lifted. Skin is redraped over the uplifted contours and excess skin is trimmed away.
A second incision under the chin may be necessary to further improve an aging neck. Sutures or skin adhesives close the incisions.
LIMITED INCISION FACELIFT
An alternative to a traditional facelift uses shorter incisions at the temples, continuing around the ear. "Mini-lifts" are usually reserved for patients with less skin relaxation, as the results are less rejuvenating than a full facelft.
A necklift addresses the sagging jowls, loose neck skin and fat accumulation under the chin. The neck lift incision often begins in front of the ear lobe and wraps around behind the ear, and ends in the posterior hair behind the ear.
The incisions will be closed with sutures that may dissolve or may need to be removed after a few days. Some surgeons use skin glues to seal the incisions. Once healed, the incision lines from a facelift are well concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ear.
Facelift recovery typically lasts several weeks. Before scheduling your surgery, think through what time of year makes the most sense for you to undergo this procedure. If you typically get summers off of work, then summer might be a great time for you to recover from your surgery. If your work schedule is less flexible, you might consider getting surgery around a holiday or other break - such as around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or spring break - when you will have family around to help you as you recover.
The exact timeline of your recovery period will vary depending on the extent of your procedure - but you should prepare yourself mentally for a recovery period with limited activity for a few weeks to months. Although every patient recovers differently, here is a general recovery timeline of a typical liposuction patient:
Week 1: While it’s important to take it easy during the first seven days of recovery (and to have a caretaker with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery), any extra fatigue/nausea you experience during the week will likely be due to your pain medication rather than the facelift itself. Though your swelling/bruising should peak at three or four days after your surgery, odds are you’ll feel good enough to get up and move around the house as early as one or two days past surgery.
Dr. Majewski will prescribe pain medication to help manage whatever discomfort you may feel after your facelift. Taken on schedule and according to instructions, you can effectively control any stiffness/soreness in your neck, ears, or face so that you’re able to do some low-key activities, like light housework. Getting your body moving and your circulation going is important, as it will help you to recover more quickly.
Be sure to follow the daily incision-care routine as outlined by Dr. Majewski (as well as any other post-op care instructions you were given) to help ensure a speedy and successful recovery from facelift surgery. The sutures/stitches that are holding your incisions in place may be itchy, but taking good care of them will help alleviate the discomfort.
It’s also OK to see more swelling/bruising on one side of your face than the other, as each is a separate surgery site. However, if you notice a severely distorted bulge on either side of your face or neck, call your surgeon immediately to assess the issue. Do the same if you develop a high fever in the days following your recovery.
Week 2: It’s perfectly normal to see a bit of bruising/swelling on one or both sides of your face and neck, around your eyes or even behind your ears into the second week of your recovery. Some patients report strange sensations (i.e., tingling, burning, numbness or tightness) due to the swelling/bruising – this is also normal. Again, you should see the bruising/swelling start to dissipate on or around the fourth day of your recovery from facelift surgery, but the real progress is made in the second and third weeks post op. Although things will start to improve at this stage, you still have a week or two to go before you can expect all the visible bruising/swelling to be gone – and keep in mind that it takes a full year to see final results.
Unlike the sutures/stitches in your hairline, Dr. Majewski will use staples to hold together any incisions made in hair-bearing skin, removing these one week after your facelift. You should still be taking it easy at this time and avoiding any heavy/strenuous physical activity – but that doesn’t mean staying in bed all day. Though you may not want to be seen at work, the gym, or a public event just yet, you’re encouraged to do light activities like walking in order to keep your energy up. If you’re a bit self-conscious about the bruising/swelling that remains on your face and/or neck, our aestheticians can show you how to apply makeup just up to the edge of your incisions.
Weeks 3-5: In weeks 3 and 4 of your recovery, your incisions will start to improve. They were likely bunchy and puckered while the sutures/staples were still in place, and now they will start to settle down. Although most patients are ready to be seen at work two or three weeks after surgery, you may still have some swelling in isolated areas, or look a little tight. This is normal and will improve with time. The healing process varies dramatically from patient to patient.
You’ll look and feel much better three weeks after your facelift – good enough to get back to many activities, like work and exercise, as long as they aren’t too strenuous or pose a risk of injury. As your incisions continue to heal, they may appear pink or light red – this is temporary, and Dr. Majewski can recommend specific treatments that will work best for you.
With proper scar care, scars will usually fade as much as they will after about one year. It is important to begin scar care as soon as the wound closes to ensure the scars fade as much as possible. Dr. Majewski will provide his recommendation for a scar gel that will encourage your scars to heal quickly. As with all scars, keep your scar out of direct sunlight. Always apply sunscreen if your scar will be exposed to sunlight - the SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 35 formula is specifically formulated for post-procedure sun protection.
The visible improvements of a facelift appear once swelling and bruising subside. Your final result should not only restore a more youthful and rested appearance, but also help you feel more confident about yourself.
ARE RESULTS PERMANENT?
The results of your facelift will be long lasting, provided you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. You can think of a facelift as a way to reset the clock on your aging process - studies have shown that patients may look up to 10-12 years younger following facelift surgery.
It does not, however, stop the clock - following a facelift, the natural aging process will continue. As your body ages, it is natural to lose some firmness, but as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will continue to enjoy your results for years to come.
Before & after photos coming soon.
Ready to Get Started?
You can use our online scheduler to set up your consultation at any time.