The facelift procedure designed to treat the aging face by improving sagging in the lower portion of the face, primarily the jaw line and neck. During surgery, relaxed or sagging tissue is tightened and excess skin is removed, restoring a smoother, more youthful appearance to the neck and jaw line.
The facelift is an ideal procedure for individuals looking to improve sagging along the jaw line and/or loose skin and wrinkles of the neck. Most patients begin to recognize these facial changes in their forties. Patients undergoing this procedure are usually 45 to 65 years of age, although healthy individuals older than this may benefit. Dr. O’Mara takes care when performing the facelift to ensure a natural look after surgery by concealing the incisions as best as possible while also avoiding excess tension on the skin, which can lead to a pulled and unnatural appearance.
Dr. O’Mara performs the facelift at an outpatient surgery center using either IV sedation or general anesthesia. While surgical times will vary, the facelift procedure generally takes three hours to complete. Incisions are located under the chin and around the ears and are hidden within natural skin creases to minimize visibility. Working through these incisions, Dr. O’Mara lifts the skin and tightens the deeper soft tissue to eliminate unwanted sagging. He then removes excess fat and skin before re-draping the skin for a natural appearance. For a more youthful and improved contour, the area beneath the chin may be treated with liposuction of excess fat or by tightening the muscle bands in the front of the neck.
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The recovery after the facelift takes approximately one to three weeks. A dressing is applied to the face after surgery and will be removed the next day. Sutures and surgical clips are removed after one week. Discomfort and pain are generally minimal, though medication can be taken if necessary. Patients can expect some degree of swelling and bruising which typically fades within ten to fourteen days. Most patients find that they can resume social activities after five to seven days and, if necessary, make-up can be applied after one week to help conceal any remaining bruising. Most non-physical work can be resumed within one to two weeks while physical work and more strenuous activities can be resumed after three weeks.
Once the healing process is complete, you will enjoy your younger, more natural look for many years to come.
Lower Facelift FAQ
I get this question very frequently. There are many variations to a facelift, from the placement of incisions to how you dissect and suspend the deeper structures, to attain and maintain a long lasting youthful appearance. A mini facelift usually has shortened incisions and less dissection of the soft tissues of the face that you want to have lifted for a very long time. My general philosophy is mini facelift-mini result…unless it is a younger patient with isolated areas to treat. I would probably recommend a standard facelift, which would give you a more comprehensive, long lasting result. Many patients try to cut corners and do less, while expecting the same result, but I always say “if you don’t want to do it right the first time, you will need to set aside more time to do it right later.”
If you have good skin elasticity and in general good health, neck liposuction can be a very easy procedure to undergo with a fast recovery. If you do not need a facelift, and just liposuction, you will only have a small bandage under your chin for a week that is virtually unseen. Most patients will go back to sedentary work after 2-3 days, but there may be a minor amount of bruising in the mid to lower neck. Swelling is a minimal in almost all patients. I do not routinely have my patients wear a restrictive garment around their necks postoperatively. It usually takes three to four months to fully appreciate the results due to minor swelling.
In patients who have facial wrinkles due to soft tissue volume loss, fat auto transplantation is an alternative to traditional facelift. Fat injection is a significant part of my practice, however I mostly use it to enhance traditional facelift results. I believe that in general, less invasive methods yield less impressive results.
Every patient is different when it comes to planning rejuvenation of the neck. In general, I place a small incision beneath the chin so I can safely remove excess fat and tighten the deeper soft tissues of the midline neck for a sharper contour. For a neck lift, I place incisions in the crease behind each ear for minimal visibility. For a facelift, I place the incisions behind the ears and in front of them as well. This allows for removal of excess skin. They are concealed as best possible around the ear canal and sideburn region. I always reassure my patients that they should be able to wear their hair any style they choose once healing has occurred without the worry of scar visibility.
I almost always use general anesthesia for rhinoplasty procedures. Most facelifts are also performed under general anesthesia or IV sedation. The anesthesia I use for endoscopic brow lift is general, but I will use IV sedation for other brow lift techniques.
I perform CO2 laser resurfacing. This provides generalized tightening of the face and reduces wrinkles and acne scarring. The risks of laser resurfacing are infection of the skin, prolonged redness, lightening of the skin, and areas of increased pigmentation. Overaggressive laser treatment can lead to scarring as well. Following the specific postoperative guidelines which include topical applications, oral medications and avoiding direct sun exposure minimizes these risks.
Recent studies have shown that the thread lift does not provide appreciable long lasting results. This has led many surgeons to abandon this procedure. I personally do not perform this operation. I do however believe that CO2 laser resurfacing provides an overall tightening of the facial skin. Many former smokers who have deep wrinkles and moderate sagging of the skin benefit from full face laser resurfacing. This does, however, sometimes cause lightening of the skin, and healing time can be just as long as standard surgical facelift.
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