With ageing, there is loss of fat and subcutaneous tissue, causing the skin to sag. This causes the face to sag, with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles making one look tired and old.
A surgical procedure done to tighten and lift the sagging facial skin is called a facelift (Rhytidectomy). It improves the overall appearance of the face and creates a naturally radiant and youthful look. It tightens the jawline and the loose skin around the neck.
The best effect of a facelift is on improving the contour of the lower half of the face, mainly the jaw line and neck. Some surgeons may advice you to combine a facelift surgery with an endoscopic brow lift to improve sagging eyebrows and the wrinkles on the forehead. Loose skin with fine wrinkles, freckles and rough areas will benefit more by chemical peel or laser resurfacing.
If you need to loose weight, it should be done before the operation. Avoid taking tablets containing aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for at least two weeks before surgery as they increase the risk of bleeding. Let your surgeon know if you are on any other regular medications, especially if any medications which affect the clotting of blood.
It is done under a general anaesthetic and may involve one day’s stay in hospital. Usually, an incision is made along the hairline in front and behind the ears. This incision area is chosen so that the tiny scars will be hidden within the hair and the natural creases of the face. The skin is lifted off the underlying tissue, the excess fat repositioned and facial muscles tightened. The skin is then stretched and sutured back and any excess skin removed. Post surgery the face is wrapped in bandages to reduce oozing and bleeding and also prevent infection. Drains (tiny pipes) may be left under the skin to drain any excess oozing, usually for 24 to 48 hours.
There may be some bruising and swelling of the face and neck after surgery. Any pain is easily managed by simple analgesics. The numbness of the skin of the cheeks resolves within a few weeks or months. Avoid strenuous activity, saunas and massage for at least two weeks. Camouflage make-up can be done to help mask the bruising.
A facelift is a skilled procedure and should be done by a surgeon who has undergone a full training programme for cosmetic surgery and has sufficient experience in this field.
Dr. Anup Dhir, at Image medical centre has done many successful facelift surgeries.