Considering a facelift but need more details? Click here to learn all about the differences between facelifts, mini-facelifts, brow lifts, and neck lifts.
In 2015, a whopping 15.9 million patients opted for surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures in the States!
If the thought of getting a lift procedure has ever crossed your mind, it isn't surprising considering how common they are.
On the face of it (pardon the pun) the operation seems a tad unnatural, so it's often the subject of a lot of questions. For example:
How do they work?
How long's the recovery period?
How long will the effects of the surgery last?
Is it painful?
Is there more than one kind of facelift?
These are some of the most common questions associated with facelifts, and we're going to tackle all of them throughout this blog post.
Let's dive on in.
What's a Facelift?
For those of you who don't know, as we get older our skin will begin to lose its elasticity. So, over time, our face is prone to developing deep wrinkles, and saggier looking skin.
Therefore, a facelift aims to tighten or remove any sagging or wrinkled facial and/or neck tissue from across the bottom two-thirds of your face.
This lift procedure is ideal for anyone who wants to carry on looking like a younger version of themselves.
Here's a short video from Dr. Andrew Miller, one of our expert surgeons here at Allure Plastic Surgery:
There's More Than One Lift Procedure
The most common misconception about facelifts is that there's only one type of lift procedure.
We're here to set the record straight and tell you there's at least four you should know about if you're considering this procedure.
The kind of lift you'll require will depend on a couple of factors.
Namely, how much excess skin you have, and what you want to look like as a result of your surgery.
1.) the Full Facelift
Let's start with the 'full facelift.'
This is the most extreme lift procedure out of the four discussed in this article.
Your surgeon will make a few incisions just behind your hairline (close to your temples) and will then gradually work their way round to the front of your ears.
This is done to ensure that no incision is noticeable on your cheeks. As the cut is taken behind the ear, the incision stays completely inside the crease and away into the hairline so it's completely hidden.
Then, your cosmetic surgeon can realign your deeper tissues located under your skin and get rid of any excess skin.
By doing this, they're able to smooth out any creases on your face and get rid of any jowls under the chin and neck.
Naturally, out of all four of these procedures, there's a slightly longer recovery time. However, after that's passed, patients will notice a lot of improvement across their face.
2.) the Mid-Facelift
The mid-facelift tends to focus on the center of the face. This is particularly effective if you're conscious about the sagging in your cheeks or the deeper wrinkles found around your mouth.
3.) the Lower Facelift
If you're only concerned about saggy skin across the bottom half of your face (and as long as the upper half of your face is in excellent condition), a lower facelift is probably the best option for you.
However, only opt for this if you're confident you don't need any work done across the middle of your face- otherwise, you'll get an unbalanced and unnatural look, and it'll be obvious you've had cosmetic surgery.
4.) the Mini-Facelift
The best way to describe this lift procedure is by likening it to a smaller 'full facelift'. This is an excellent way of eradicating any unwanted signs of aging before they become too ingrained.
The benefit of nipping these issues in the bud with a 'mini-facelift' is that it drastically decreases the likelihood of requiring more extensive surgery later down the line.
As part of the operation, the surgeon will use much smaller incisions. This is what makes this method less invasive.
The surgeon typically makes these cuts across the hairlines above both ears and/or the creases surrounding the ears.
A 'mini-lift' will focus on tightening the skin around the cheeks and jaw.
Once the surgeon has made these incisions, they're able to lift and tighten the tissue surrounding the cheeks. This is essential if you're hoping to correct any jowls and refine your jawline.
However, this lift procedure doesn't offer any muscle correction. Therefore, the results aren't permanent. The effects tend to last approximately five years.
You might be interested to know, that depending on your own personal circumstances, this procedure may be able to be performed using just a local anesthetic.
However, it's possible to entirely under while the operation commences. During your consultation with your surgeon, they'll advise you as to which option is the best for you.
Will My Eyelids Be Operated On?
In short, no they won't.
Typically, people assume that having a facelift means operating on the entire face, including the eyes- and they're not.
Facelifts only tackle the lower two-thirds of your face (your cheeks and jawline).
This is because our facial anatomy massively differs depending on which part of the face you're talking about.
Therefore, a completely different set of techniques are necessary if you wish to operate on them.
Hence, if you're looking to correct the appearance of your eyelids, you'll need to opt for an eyelid lift. Conversely, if you're looking to smooth any wrinkles found on your brow, you'll want a brow lift.
If these other procedures are something you'd like more information on, we recommend speaking to your cosmetic surgeon about this during your consultation.
This is the best way to explore all of the options available to you.
Choosing a Cosmetic Surgeon
Like any operation, you want to be sure you can trust the surgeon who's handling your procedure.
This undoubtedly leads to the question: how do I choose a cosmetic surgeon?
After all, any facelift requires the doctor to understand the sophisticated methodology necessary to pull off a lift procedure.
Plus, they need to possess extensive knowledge of facial anatomy.
Unfortunately, not all cosmetic surgeons get taught about facelift procedures as part of their residency training.
Therefore, if you're considering going under the knife, it's crucial you do your homework before settling on a surgeon.
We recommend asking these questions to help you with your research:
Ask any potential surgeons about their training and experience in facial cosmetic surgery. Ask questions regarding their depth of experience, years of great results evidenced by many before and after photographs and patient testimonials. Inquire as to how many facelift procedures they've performed.
If they have experience conducting this procedure ask if it's possible to see a few before and after snaps. This is essential if you wish to evaluate the quality of their work.
You should also make sure the surgeon specifies the gender they're most familiar working on. This is because the facial anatomy varies massively between the two sexes.
We also urge you to undertake the following tasks:
Read reviews from previous patients.
Don't limit yourself to one consultation, shop around and book to see a few surgeons before making your final decision.
Try to find out which surgeons, doctors select for their facelifts.
Last but not least, we can't emphasize enough how important it is to opt for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon.
This dramatically increases the chances of hiring the services of a thoroughly trained and experienced surgeon.
How Do I Prepare for My Lift Procedure?
You won't have to worry about this too much because your plastic surgeon will give you a list of pre-op instructions.
This will most likely include all the medications you need to stop taking before your lift procedure.
This is necessary because of certain drugs that thin the blood. This consequently causes more bleeding during surgery- naturally, this could forge a more dangerous situation.
Other practicalities you need to prepare for include; arranging for someone to take you home afterward because you'll be unable to drive.
We also recommend getting a friend or family member to stay with your for at least the first 48 hours after your surgery (in the rare event you experience any complications.
TOP TIP: If you're worried about the swelling you'll experience during the aftermath of your lift procedure, try eating a low-salt diet. Previous patients have said this helped them minimize the swelling.
What's the Recovery Process Like?
You'll be pleased to hear that despite the complexity of a lift procedure, the recovery time is relatively quick.
Typically, most patients are up and running within two weeks of their operation.
However, you'll have to delay any strenuous exercises for about a month. Please note these time frames are usually shorter if you opt for the mini facelift.
You should also be aware that every individual will heal slightly differently, so be sure to listen and follow any instructions your surgeon gives you regarding your aftercare.
Usually, most patients are primarily concerned with how long it'll be before their face looks aesthetically presentable.
This is certainly understandable because unlike most other operations, you can't cover up your face as easily as you go about your day!
Naturally, bruising and swelling is completely normal after a lift procedure. These side effects tend to look their worst two days after surgery.
After a couple of days pass, the bruising and swelling will gradually cease and will be barely noticeable in around 10 to 14 days.
However, we often find lots of our patients feel comfortable leaving the house after about a week's worth of recovery.
Rest assured, your cosmetic surgeon will be able to advise you on when it's safe for you to apply makeup to cover up any bruising.
Finally, we just want to mention how important it is to protect your face from the sun, especially after a facelift.
This is because your skin is far more susceptible to burning (even after several weeks pass).Plus, keeping away from the sun will help your scars to heal.
We recommend wearing UV-protection sun-glasses, a high-factor sunscreen on your face, and a wide-brimmed hat if you're planning to venture into the sunshine.
How Long Will the Effects of a Facelift Last?
Unfortunately, no matter how skilled or experienced your surgeon is you won't be able to eradicate the signs of aging as time goes on completely.
However, a good-quality facelift conducted by an industry professional should aim not only to tackle the 'problems' you have now but to also adapt as the years progress.
This means that although nothing can stop the natural aging process, a facelift should always make you look years younger (in comparison to if you hadn't of had the surgery).
However, if you want to prolong the effects of your lift procedure you should consider doing the following:
Maintain a healthy weight. This is essential because significant fluctuations in your size can cause your skin to stretch out again. Therefore, increasing the likelihood of your skin to sag.
We also recommend adopting a thorough skincare routine. This is also imperative for keeping your skin healthy and reducing the appearance of aging.
If you're unsure which products to use, we suggest speaking to your surgeon. They'll be able to steer you in the right direction.
Would You Like More Information About the Facelift Procedure?
If this article has prompted questions about any lift procedure, please feel free to reach out and contact us.
Once you've filled out the contact form, one of our team of friendly professionals will get in touch with you soon as soon as they can.
Rest assured, no question is too big or too small- so please send in all of your inquiries.
Also, if you enjoyed this blog post, we're confident you'll love our other articles. Over on our blog, we cover handy hints and tips on everything from cellulite to breast enhancement surgery. Enjoy!