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Sagging Facial Skin and Jowls Can Be Fixed With a Facelift

Sep 10, 2008
As people age, effects of gravity, sun exposure, Father Time, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth, the jaw line grows slack and jowly, folds and fat deposits appear around the neck. One should know that the facelift can't stop the aging process. It can only "set back the clock", improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess fat, tightening underlying muscles and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can also be done along with other procedures such as forehead lift, eyelid surgery or nose reshaping to enhance the overall appearance of the face.

Suitable candidate for a facelift:

* A man or a woman whose face and neck have has begun to sag but whose skin still has some elasticity.
* Many patients are in their forties to sixties. But a facelift can be done successfully on people in their thirties, seventies or eighties as well.
* A facelift can make you look younger and fresher and may enhance your self confidence in the process. A facelift won't give patients a completely different look - just a younger and refreshed version of themselves.

Risks involved:

* When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, the complications and risks involved are minor. By closely following the doctor's advice you can reduce your risks.
* A hematoma is a collection of blood under the skin that most be removed by the surgeon.
* If injuries to the nerves that control facial muscles happen, it is usually temporary.
* Infection and reactions to anesthesia are possible but uncommon.
* Smokers have a difficult time healing and are strongly encouraged to quit before undergoing this type of surgery.

Planning your surgery: The surgeon will evaluate your face, including the skin laxity and underlying bone and discuss your goals for the surgery. The surgeon will check for medical problems such as high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. You will be asked to stop smoking for at least a few weeks before and after the surgery as it inhibits blood flow to skin and healing process. You will also be asked to stop taking aspirin as it affects the blood's ability to clot. If your hair is very short, you can let it grow a bit before surgery so that it hides the incisions while they heal.

A facelift is usually done on an out patient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize the patient for a day when using general anesthesia. Most facelifts are performed under local or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss the pros and cons of each option and help you decide what's right for you.


A facelift surgery usually takes several hours. Every surgeon performs the procedure in his or her own way. Some complete one side of the face at a time and others move back and forth between the sides. The incisions usually begin starting in the hair line at the temples, extending down in the natural line in front of the ear, and continuing behind the ear lobe to the lower scalp back into the hairline. A small incision is sometimes made under the chin if the neck is being worked on at the same time.

The surgeon separates the skin from the fat from the underlying muscle. Fat is either trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve contour. Then the underlying muscle and membrane is tightened the skin is pulled back while excess skin is removed. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions. Metal clips may be used on the scalp. After the surgery a drain tube is placed under the skin behind the ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The head may be loosely wrapped in bandages to help minimize bruising and swelling.

Post operative procedure:

Discomfort and pain can be minimized with pain medication. Numbness of the skin is quite normal and will usually disappear in about a month. To keep the swelling down, your head should be kept elevated for a couple of days. Drain tubes and bandages will be removed after one to five days. Your face may appear bruised and puffy but in a few weeks you will look normal. Stitches will be removed after 7-10 days. The incisions in your scalp will take longer to heal. Patients are back to work at about ten days after surgery. By the third week you will look and feel much better.

Instructions to be followed:

* Take it easy for the first week after surgery as you will be tender and numb. Be gentle with your face and hair.
* Avoid strenuous activity for two to three weeks.
* Avoid steam baths and saunas for several months.
* Get plenty of rest in order to allow your body heal.

Your new look:

Even after the swelling and bruises are gone the hair around your temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough for several months. The scars are hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. They will fade with time and are scarcely visible. Having a facelift does not stop the clock. Your face will continue to age with time but you will look noticeably refreshed.

Mini-Face Lift
You may be a candidate for a mini facelift if you have loose or excess skin around your check and mouth area. Mini facelifts are intended for people who have a small to moderate amount of loose skin and wish to have a refreshed look. Your surgeon makes the incision inside and around the ear and into the hairline. The length of this incision is minimized and tailored to every patient and is a shorter incision than a standard facelift. Excess skin and tissue are pulled back and removed and once healed the incisions are hardly noticeable. Most surgeons perform mini facelifts under local anesthesia with light sedation or general anesthesia if you prefer. You may go home the same day. Patients usually return to work within 1 week following the procedure and can resume normal activity within 3-4 weeks.
About the Author
LookingYourBest.com is an online resource for facelifts in San Diego. To learn more, please visit http://www.kearneymd.com/lajollafacelift.html and http://www.lookingyourbest.com/facialplasticsurgery/articles/Facelift-Rhytidectomy.
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