Facelift Surgery / Rhytidectomy: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best age to have a facelift?
The best candidate for a facelift is usually a person in their fifties, but this can vary with each individual. A person with poor skin elasticity, sagging skin and a noticeable relaxation of the neck and jowl is a candidate for a facelift. If someone is bothered by their facial appearance, a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Hernandez could help them find a solution to their facial rejuvenation needs.
2. How is a traditional facelift different from a mini facelift?
The so called “mini facelift” is limited in scope when compared to a traditional facelift. In a “mini lift,” the skin and muscle dissections are less extensive, which is why the results they produce are usually not as long lasting as those obtained with a traditional facelift. This is why the best candidate for a mini lift is someone who has previously undergone a facelift and only needs restoration of that work.
3. How can I avoid getting a pulled-up look from a facelift?
Board certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Hernandez perform surgery with a keen awareness of the individual’s facial anatomy and underlying structures. A facelift from a qualified plastic surgeon will not result in a stretched or windblown look because the contouring is achieved by lifting and repositioning the underlying facial structures, not by stretching the skin. This is the marked difference between a board certified plastic surgeon and other “cosmetic doctors” who offer “quick” surgical solutions with minimal down time.
4. Are there non-surgical alternatives for a facelift?
Certain facial deficiencies such as loss of volume in the mid-face, cheeks and certain areas around the mouth where wrinkles are common can be addressed with fillers and injectables. In consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Hernandez, you will be informed of all available facial procedures that may address your areas of concern. However, no treatment or procedure would be as complete and long lasting as a traditional face lift. This well-proven procedure requires lifting and removing excess skin while repositioning the muscles and anatomy underneath.
5. What other procedures can I combine with a facelift for a younger look?
Nowadays, fat grafting is commonly performed alongside a facelift to fill in the compartments of the face that may have been depleted of natural volume. Patients who look tired and deflated due to a loss of facial fat, collagen or hyaluronic acid can restore some of that natural youthful volume on their faces with fat grafting. Other procedures that Dr. Hernandez commonly performs during a facelift are eyelid surgery, brow lifts, chin implants, lip lifting and laser resurfacing. Additionally, dermal fillers and injectables may be used after surgery for a finishing touch.
6. How much younger will I look, and how long does a facelift last?
Generally, facelifts in which the underlying muscle is properly repositioned last from eight to twelve years and make people look ten years younger on average. How patients care for themselves will determine the longevity of the procedure. Factors that can help sustain a youthful appearance after surgery are: protecting the skin from sun exposure, frequent use of moisturizers, and maintaining a healthy diet and stable weight.
7. How long is the recovery time?
Recovery time from a facelift usually takes between two and four weeks, depending on the individual’s needs and the extent of the procedure. Some patients can go back to work after two weeks, but if a patient has had a laser resurfacing treatment along with their facelift they would need a slightly longer recovery time. It is best to wait at least four weeks before resuming a full schedule of work and exercise.
8. How long should swelling and numbness last after a facelift?
Not everybody experiences numbness after a facelift but those who do might experience loss of sensation around the ears or the earlobe itself. This condition, which is temporary, may last from a few weeks to a few months. After surgery, there may be mild swelling that is visible for about two to four weeks. The internal swelling of the face may last longer but is not visible.
9. How can I avoid bruising after a facelift?
Some bruising and discoloration of the skin for the first two weeks after a facelift is normal. Patients who have a tendency to bruise, such as those taking aspirin, vitamin E, herbs, alcohol and blood thinners, may be more prone to noticeable bruising. It is important that patients discontinue all of these products for four weeks prior to surgery. To minimize bruising, Dr. Hernandez recommends that patients take Bromaline and Arnica Montana, which aid in post-surgical healing.
10. How much pain will I have after facelift surgery?
Pain is not usually experienced after facelift surgery. Some may feel slight discomfort at the drain sites in the back of the ears and perhaps a sensation of tightness in the neck area. Most patients only need over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol® to help with any discomfort they might experience. Prescription medications are provided in case they are needed.
11. Will I have visible scars from a facelift?
Dr. Hernandez takes great care to place incisions where they are not visible, and where the light does not reflect on them. During a facelift, Dr. Hernandez hides incisions inside and behind the ears. These incisions are referred to as retro-tragal and post-tragal incisions. Additional incisions are carefully hidden at the hairline over the mastoid area.
12. May I bring my spouse or significant other with me to the consultation?
Dr. Hernandez encourages patients to bring their spouse to the initial consultation and also during their visit for pre-operative instructions. It is important that all parties involved be informed of the care that will be required after surgery for a smooth and uneventful recovery.
13. Who will provide anesthesia?
Anesthesia is always provided by a board certified M.D. Anesthesiologist. This well-trained medical doctor monitors the patient very carefully throughout the surgery and during the immediate recovery phase.
14. How will my Pre- and Post-Operative care be handled?
Dr. Hernandez is personally present during all phases of patient care for a complete hands-on approach. The doctor oversees and supervises all care provided by the nursing staff and personally guides everything from the pre-operative examinations to the final post-operative visits. She will be with you every step of the way. Dr. Hernandez believes that communication between a doctor and patient is an essential part of achieving the results you desire.