Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
When your reflection in the mirror does not reflect the youthful vitality that resides within, a facelift seems like a viable solution. It helps enhance the harmony between your inner and outer self, ultimately helping you achieve a rejuvenated and more vibrant appearance.
In 2019, a total of approximately 6,000 facelift procedures were carried out in the United States exclusively on individuals below the age of 54.
This widely sought-after procedure entails a fusion of adipose tissue regeneration and skin tightening, yielding an organic aesthetic outcome while minimizing unsightly scars. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of a facelift and shed light on what to expect when getting one.
What Is a Facelift?
A facelift, medically referred to as a rhytidectomy, encompasses a broad category of surgical procedures designed to address the visible signs of aging in the facial or neck region by repositioning or eliminating skin, fat, or muscle. The restorative benefits of a facelift encompass the following manifestations of aging:
- Deterioration and laxity of facial skin.
- Pronounced creases or folds between the lines of the nose and the corners of the mouth.
- Descent or depletion of fat in the face.
- Descending skin on the cheeks or jawline, commonly called jowls.
- Manifestation of excess skin and fatty tissue beneath the chin, often called a “double chin.”
It is important to note that facelifts are categorized as cosmetic or restorative procedures and do not possess the capacity to fundamentally alter one’s appearance or impede the natural aging process. Moreover, they are not intended to address wrinkles, sun damage, or irregularities in skin pigmentation. Facelift procedures are highly individualized, tailored to each individual’s unique facial characteristics and desired outcomes.
Types of Facelifts
Various kinds of facelifts exist, each designed to address specific areas and concerns. These include:
- Mini facelift: A modified version of the traditional facelift, the mini facelift primarily targets the lax skin around the jawline and neck, providing a more youthful appearance in these regions.
- Mid-facelift: Referred to as a cheek lift, the mid-facelift concentrates on correcting sagging skin in the upper mouth-to-eye area, encompassing the cheeks and nose. This procedure aims to restore a more lifted and refreshed appearance to the mid-face region.
- Nonsurgical facelift: Distinguished by the absence of general anesthesia and large incisions, the nonsurgical facelift addresses signs of aging, such as sagging skin and wrinkles, without invasive measures. The nonsurgical procedures include vampire facelifts, thread lifts, and liquid facelifts, which rejuvenate the skin of the face.
It is essential for patients to effectively communicate their desired focus area to their surgeon.
How is A Facelift Performed?
Facelift surgery entails a series of intricate steps, commencing with the administration of anesthesia.
Under your surgeon’s guidance, the procedure is performed while you are under general anesthesia or IV sedation, with the selection of the most suitable anesthetic approach determined before the surgery.
The surgical incisions may be made at various locations depending on the type of facelift chosen. These locations include:
- Within the hairline at the temples.
- Encircling the ears.
- Along the lower scalp.
- Beneath the chin.
- Within the oral cavity.
The size and placement of the incisions are contingent upon the particular facelift procedure being undertaken. Facelifts typically involve repositioning or removing facial skin and fat, coupled with tightening facial muscles. The extent of these actions may vary depending on the type of facelift surgery, with the surgeon executing one or multiple techniques as deemed appropriate.
After the procedure’s completion, the surgeon meticulously closes the incisions. The closure method may involve using dissolvable stitches, conventional stitches that necessitate removal after a few days, or applying skin glue.
Cost Breakdown of Facelift Procedure
The overall cost associated with a facelift procedure encompasses several components, including the surgeon’s fee, the facility fee for the surgical center, and the anesthesia fee. It is important to note that facelift procedures are classified as cosmetic interventions; therefore, most health insurance providers do not extend coverage for such expenses. Consequently, the patient assumes full responsibility for the entire cost of the procedure.
Potential Risks and Complications Associated with Facelift Surgery
Facelift surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries the possibility of complications. While most complications can be effectively managed through appropriate care, medication, or additional surgical interventions, it is essential to note that long-term or permanent complications are rare but may lead to changes in one’s appearance. The following risks should be considered:
The formation of a hematoma, or a collection of blood under the skin, is the most common complication encountered in facelift surgeries. Hematomas typically cause swelling and exert pressure. They often develop within 24 hours following the surgery. Prompt surgical intervention is necessary to prevent damage to the skin and surrounding tissues.
Incision scars resulting from a facelift procedure are permanent; however, they are usually discreetly concealed within the natural contours of the face and the hairline. In rare instances, incisions may lead to raised scars. Corticosteroid injections or alternative treatments may be employed to enhance the appearance of scars.
#3. Nerve Injury:
Nerve injuries are uncommon but can occur during a facelift procedure. Such injuries can affect nerves responsible for sensation or muscle control. The impact may be temporary or permanent. Temporary loss of sensation or partial muscle paralysis in the face can persist for several months to a year. Potentially resulting in an asymmetrical facial appearance or restricted facial expressions. Surgical interventions may offer some improvement in such cases.
#4. Hair Loss:
Temporary or permanent hair loss near the incision sites is a possible consequence of facelift surgery. Permanent hair loss can be addressed through surgical techniques that involve the transplantation of skin containing hair follicles.
#5. Skin Loss:
Although rare, facelift surgeries have the potential to disrupt the blood supply to facial tissues, leading to skin loss. Proper wound care and medications are employed to manage skin loss. Additional procedures can be performed to minimize scarring and promote healing if necessary.
A facelift allows you to enhance your appearance and achieve a more youthful look. While facelifts cannot stop the aging process or alter your fundamental appearance, they provide personalized results based on individual goals. By understanding the intricacies of a facelift, you can make informed decisions about pursuing this cosmetic, restorative surgery and have realistic expectations of the process and outcomes.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.