As a result of the ageing process, facial muscles slacken and the skin begins to lose elasticity. This creates folds and lines in the face and sagginess to the skin, which causes some people to become unhappy with their appearance. A full facelift lifts and tightens loose facial skin in order to smooth out wrinkles and give a more youthful appearance. A full facelift does not prevent the face from ageing, but can maintain an effect for between 7 to 10 years following surgery.
What does the operation involve?
A facelift operation can last up to 6 hours depending on the procedure and is normally carried out under general anaesthetic. During a traditional facelift an incision is made in the hairline at the temple, down past the front of the ears and then back up into the hairline behind the ears. The skin is then lifted, pulled back and excess skin left overlapping is removed. If the jaw line is also sagging the incision will stretch underneath the chin. Any excess fat is removed, muscles tightened and the incision is then closed with stitches and in some cases, metal clips.
What to expect post surgery?
Specialist post–op care:
> Polyfax antiseptic ointment to be applied to the scars in the scalp and in front and behind the ear twice a day for about 2 weeks.
> Ice compress for the 2 days whilst in hospital.
> Sleep with head slightly elevated on a few pillows for the first 2 weeks and avoid bending the head down.
> TED stockings to be worn for 2 weeks.
> No restrictions on exercise but avoid strenuous activities for about the first 2 weeks.
> Moisturise all scars for at least 3 months.
> Avoid direct sunlight for the first 3 months.
Please click here for more general post-operation care.
What are the risks?
Common side effects:
> Pain, swelling and bruising that can last up to a month.
> Scarring usually fades but won’t completely disappear and the hairline may be raised in front of or behind the ears.
Uncommon but potential complications:
As with any operation problems may arise with an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding, blood clots or infection. Complications can occur during or after the procedure.
Risks specifically related to facelift surgery include:
> Haematoma – if bleeding occurs under the skin, further surgery is sometimes required.
> Damage to facial nerves that may cause numbness in the face.
> Hair loss around scars.
> There is a risk that the face is left uneven after surgery and may require a further operation to