Face Lift - Cosmetic Surgery Guide

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A face lift, also known as rhytidectomy is usually used to reduce several signs of aging. A facelift can help to smooth stretched-out skin on the face as well as tightening the tissue underneath; helping your face appear firmer and younger looking. Facelifts can deal with many issues such as sagging skin, deep creases below the eyelids, creasing of the nose or mouth, displaced fat, loss of muscle tone in lower areas and any fatty deposits under the chin.

There are several different types of facelift. These differ depending on how invasive they are, the types of incision used and which area of the face they deal with. The most popular types of facelift include;

Superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) lift - This procedure is done by lifting the top layers of skin and the deep tissues of the neck and face. As you age these tissues have a tendency to lose elasticity and sag.
Deep Plane lift - Using similar techniques to the SMAS but with the surgeon going even deeper. In some cases the skin may be removed but usually the muscle tissue and skin will simply be reshaped. After tightening, the skin will be put back in place using sutures or staples.
Short Scar Facelift - As opposed to a normal facelift in the Short Scar method the incision made doesn't extend behind the ear. Although the incision is small surgeons are still able to tighten skin and work on tissues.
Endoscopic Facelift - This cutting-edge facelift makes use of a probe with a tiny camera attached inserted into very small incisions. This lets surgeons view under the skin. As these don't require anesthetic or an overnight stay they are usually less expensive than a traditional facelift.
Mid Facelift - In this procedure the fatty layer which occurs over your cheekbone is repositioned. This operation is usually done along with the SMAS lift or deep plane lift.
Thread Lift - Also known as the feather lift, this is amongst the least invasive of all facelift procedures. No skin is cut away during the procedure and the lift is achieved by use of fibrous tissue.

A traditional facelift surgery takes around two or three hours and in most cases requires a couple of days in hospital afterwards. But, as mentioned, some surgeries will take less time and others much longer. Depending on which surgery you go for the anesthesia used will be either local or general. In almost all procedures the surgeon will make incisions within natural creases with cuts usually occuring behind the earlobes, above the hairline at either temple and down to the lower scalp. Placing incisions in these particular areas help to hide the scars. Following this the surgeon will separate skin from the tissue underneath in order to access the connecting tissue and, depending on the surgery, the muscle as well. Facelifts are often performed alongside other procedures including eyelid surgery, forehead lifts and neck lifts. After the procedure you may require drainage tubes which the surgeon inserts in order to drain any excess blood that may collect.

Following your operation there is typically some discomfort; you may experience bruising or swelling in the eyelids and several other areas. And in some cases the drainage tubes will need to stay in place for a number of days. The bruising and swelling usually takes a few weeks to subside and it's recommended you avoid any strenuous activity within the recovery period.

As with all surgery there's a risk of complications arising. In rare cases there can be a bad reaction to anesthesia used and in others additional surgery is required to fix a complication during the initial procedure. Other risks include infection developing or fluid accumulating. Nerve damage may cause numbness or other changes in sensation and in some cases a discolouring of the skin may occur. Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary or cardiac complications and hair loss have also been reported.