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Facelift

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The range and sophistication of procedures to restore a youthful appearance to the ageing face has advanced considerably in the last few years. The traditional ’face lift’ that tightened and only re-draped the skin is now only rarely indicated. Better understanding of the changes in soft tissues and muscles of the face has stimulated the development of a range of procedures that are tailored to the needs of each individual.

The aim of a selected procedure is to produce a brighter, fresher more youthful appearance without a ’tight’ or ’operated’ look. Equally, it is important that bruising and swelling in the postoperative period are minimal and the recovery period is short. Most patients can return to social and professional activities after about two weeks. All procedures result in scars discreetly placed in the hairline and skin creases. Generally, these fade quickly and are not noticeable. Some techniques do not require a scar behind the ear and endoscopic surgery (keyhole) can avoid  facial scars, in some circumstances. Some numbness in front of the ears is usual but normally disappears after a few months.

If you want more information on Facelifts, please call us on 02392 264073.

What happens during a Face Lift operation?

Your first discussion with Mr Mellor should set out what you expect from a face lift and how you would like to look afterwards.

Careful discussions regarding the reasons for wanting a facelift and your suitability for this type of surgery are very important at this stage. Make sure that you obtain as much information as is possible to help you to make a fully informed choice.

It may be that a facelift is not the most suitable procedure for you, or that you may need further cosmetic help in addition to the surgery in order to achieve the results that you desire.

A medical history will be taken, to ensure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have this operation.

You will then be given time to consider fully all the implications of the proposed surgery and a second out-patient appointment will be only be made if you have elected to proceed with surgery. (If you are still not completely sure a further consultation appointment can be arranged.)  At the next appointment, you would sign a consent form, which means that you have understood the future benefits and possible risks associated with the procedure.  Photographs of your face will be taken for clinical records and stored securely under data protection laws, also they remain “medical in confidence”.

Anaesthesia

Facelifts are usually performed under a general anaesthetic, although a local anaesthetic along with a sedative to make you drowsy can also be used, so that you remain awake but feel very little discomfort during the surgery.

As in any surgical procedure, the use of a general anaesthetic carries a small additional risk that Mr Mellor will discuss with you. Precautions will be taken to reduce the small risk of deep vein thrombosis.

The operation

If you make a decision to go ahead with a facelift the surgery will be in hospital with at least a one night post operative stay and often two. The entire operation can take  three  hours or more, depending upon other concurrent procedures, such as eyelid surgery.

Although there are many variations to the facelift procedure, generally a cut is made in your hairline at about the site of your temple. It then goes right round and behind your ear and finally into the hairline where it is hidden. This “frees” the skin so that the surgeon can pull it tighter and up and backwards. Once the skin has been pulled into its new position, any excess skin is trimmed off. More frequently nowadays the operation is preformed with no or a small incision behind your ear.

In many instances, the deeper facial tissues may also need to be repositioned in order to restore a more youthful line to your face. If necessary, a small cut beneath the chin allows fat to be removed from the saggy areas under the chin with the use of liposuction or by direct excision. The wounds are closed with stitches on the face and neck with occasionally metal clips on the scalp.  A pressure dressing is applied overnight to protect the entire area where the cuts were made and help reduce the risk of bleeding. Temporary suction drainage tubes are also used to help reduce swelling.

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How long will it take to recover from a Face Lift?

Most patients return to work 10 to 14 days after the surgery, if there are no prolonged side effects.

What are the risks and potential complications from Face Lift surgery?

There is some pain and discomfort for several days following surgery but this can be variable. Often the feeling is mainly tightness rather than severe pain. Facial swelling is usually at its worst 24 to 48 hours after surgery, and it may take several weeks before all puffiness goes down.

Most bruising will disappear within two weeks. You will also experience some numbness in the facial area, which may last for several weeks or longer. Your stitches will be removed a week after surgery, with occasionally some areas, such as behind the ears, maybe left a few days more.

As with any operation, there are risks or side effects associated with a face lift (or rhytidectomy), such as reactions to the anaesthetic, bleeding, haematoma, asymmetry and nerve damage.

Haematomas are collections of blood under the skin and, if small, can be absorbed of their own accord over several days. Drainage may be required for larger haematomas.

Injury to the nerves that control facial muscles is usually only temporary and very infrequent.

Asymmetry means that there is some difference in the result of the surgery in different parts of the face. This is very uncommon and often reflects a natual asymmetry present life long.

Post-operative infections, although very rare, can occur.

Operation scars are permanent. They do fade over time and are usually hardly noticeable, as they are often hidden, either by your hair or the natural creases in your skin. Occasionally, however, scar tissue may widen and become thicker in the healing process making it more noticeable.

What should you do after a Face Lift operation?

It is very important that you follow the advice carefully after a facelift.

Post-surgery advice :

  • Contact the team immediately if you notice any signs of infection or if you experience increased bleeding or a sudden increase in pain.
  • Make sure that you have someone to take you home and who can look after you for at least 24 hours following this procedure;
  • You will be advised to keep your head propped up at night in order to reduce swelling for a few days;
  • Use recommended painkillers as required;
  • You will need to return for stitches or staples to be removed a week after surgery;
  • You should avoid any strenuous exercise for at least two weeks following surgery. Mr Mellor will usually advise you when you can return to normal activities.

 

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