Although considered an invasive procedure, a facelift (or rhytidectomy) can restore your skin’s youthful appearance. Many people have turned to this form of cosmetic surgery to resolve wrinkles and sagging skin, which forms along the jawline, cheeks, and forehead. Obviously, these changes in skin appearance are par for the course with aging, but for many people, they can be a source of insecurity.
The natural aging process causes a loss in collagen and elastin, which causes the skin to appear loose. Adding to the problem, the number of fat deposits in the face that contribute to youthful skin decreases as we age. That said, a facelift is a great way to improve skin appearance while giving your self-confidence a much-needed boost. In this article, we will take a closer look at what a facelift procedure entails and how long the results will last.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING A FACELIFT?
Before detailing how long facelift results can last, let’s take a moment to go over what the procedure entails. Foremost, facelifts do not address superficial skin problems like fine lines and wrinkles or damaged caused by sun exposure. In these cases, nonsurgical treatments like retinoid creams, for example, may be a better choice to improve skin texture, pigmentation, and slight skin imperfections.
That aside, a facelift procedure is one whereby a cosmetic surgeon will elevate the top layer of skin and tighten the underlying dense connective tissues and muscles that naturally loosen with age. To further improve skin appearance, many surgeons will also redistribute or sculpt fatty deposits in the face to address deep folds and wrinkles. To start the surgical procedure, the surgeon will need to make one of the following incisions:
Traditional facelift incision – This incision is one that begins at the temples in the hairline and continues on a downward path, going around the front of the ears before ending behind the ears near the lowest part of the scalp.
Limited incision–Unlike the traditional facelift incision, a limited incision is much shorter. These incisions will start at the temple in the hairline before wrapping around the ears, marking the end of the incision.
Neck lift incision–Unlike the traditional facelift and limited incision, the neck lift incision is one that begins at the front of the ears as opposed to the temples in the hairline. The incision then extends around the ears before stopping at the lower part of the scalp. A smaller incision is made beneath the chin.
To complete the facelift procedure, the surgeon will remove any excess skin and reposition the remaining skin, with dissolvable stitches securing the work. While timeframes can vary, these types of stitches will usually dissolve within 3 to 5 days; however, sometimes, it can take several weeks.
HOW LONG WILL FACELIFT RESULTS LAST?
Several factors can determine how long facelift results will last, including how well the patient heals following surgery. For best results, patients are encouraged to follow self-care recommendations that will help prevent infection and speed healing. Common recommendations include
- Following wound care recommendations provided by the surgeon
- Avoiding the temptation to pick at the wound
- Not wearing makeup
- Avoiding strenuous activities
- Using sunscreen when outdoors
- Avoiding harsh shampoos and soaps
Obviously, this list is not all-encompassing; it is a list of common recommendations given to patients who have undergone a facelift or other forms of cosmetic surgery. Ideally, patients should speak with their physician regarding any concerns they may have relative to self-care after surgery. That said, following the recommendations outlined in this article and those provided by your surgeon can significantly reduce your risk of infection and may contribute to longer-lasting results from your facelift.
ARE FACELIFTS SAFE?
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with undergoing a facelift procedure. Although rare, facelifts can trigger certain complications, some of which may be long term and may include
Scarring—The incisions that are made to facilitate the facelift can cause permanent scarring, which often takes the form of raised scars at the incision site.
Nerve injury—While rare, there is a potential for temporary or permanent nerve damage while undergoing a facelift procedure. If this happens, you may experience a loss of sensation in certain facial muscles.
Hematoma—facelifts can sometimes cause blood to pool underneath the skin that can cause swelling. If left untreated, a hematoma can damage connective tissue and the skin.
Skin loss – While healing, it’s possible that facial tissues may not receive enough blood, which can sometimes be a byproduct of scarring and procedures involved in performing the facelift. If this happens, there is a possibility of losing skin.
In summation, a facelift is a great procedure for individuals interested in improving the appearance of their skin. On average, facelift results can last upwards of 10 years as long as reasonable steps are taken to maintain the health of the skin, like using sunscreen and avoiding harsh skin care products. If you’re thinking about undergoing a facelift procedure, do your due diligence and choose the right cosmetic surgeon to help minimize complications and to achieve the best results possible.
If you’re in New York or the Tri-State areas, consider visiting Dr. Andrew Jacono, a premier cosmetic surgeon who specializes in mini-lifts and several other facelift procedures. Dr. Jacono has been ranked as one of the best plastic surgeons in New York time & time again.