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Face Lift


Putting your best face forward can be more important than putting your best foot forward.

Many thousands of people each year are having facelifts that change their lives dramatically. Most patients are between forty to sixty years old. Some who are between sixty and eighty also derive a great benefit from the surgery.

An easy way to see if you are a candidate is to look at yourself with a handheld mirror sitting up on your bed and then looking at yourself laying down flat on the bed. If what you see lying down makes a big improvement over the way you look sitting up then you would very likely enjoy the results of a facelift. If the difference seems very small to you, you will be disappointed with a facelift surgery because the effect of surgery is equivalent to removing the pull of gravity on your facial tissues.

There are many types of incisions used for facelifts. In the diagram, the most common one is seen going from above the ear to the front of the ear and then behind the ear into the scalp. Through this incision the cheek skin as well as the neck skin and the temple skin can be loosened and pulled back. The underlying muscles of the face and the neck can also be tightened. Under the chin an incision can be made to suck out the fat as well as to put stitches tightening the stringy muscles. There has been newer technology such as the use of endoscopes to aid in facelifts. However, the patient will have to be examined by the doctor to see which method is most suitable. Always keep in mind that there are world class surgeons using different methods and the method that the surgeon is most comfortable with will produce the best results in his hands.

Postoperatively the face is numb except at the incisions because the skin has been lifted up away from the sensory nerves. It will take up to six months for normal feeling to come back and for the final result of the operation to be seen. There will be bruising and swelling for the first couple of weeks. Even though the aging process continues patients are usually happy with their appearance for many years following the surgery.

There are occasional complications such as weakness of facial muscles, accumulation of blood postoperatively, as well as skin necrosis especially in smokers and if the skin is pulled too tight.

At the consultation for the surgery, the patient should ask to see before and after pictures of patients that the surgeon has done. It would be good to see good results as well as average results so that the patient and the surgeon will together develop realistic expectations.

The cost of facelifts can vary from $3-4,000 all the way to $25,000 based on how extensive the surgery is, which part of the country it is done at, and which surgeon is doing it. It is safer to choose surgeons that are appropriately trained and certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery.