Facial Procedure FAQ's - Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery

Facial Procedure FAQ’s

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What does a full facelift include?

A full facelift addresses the laxity of the cheek, jowl, and neck area that occurs with aging. Incisions are placed around the ear and into the hairline behind the ear as well as a small incision beneath the chin. Done well, these incisions are difficult to visualize once healed. The underlying structure of the face is called the SMAS. This represents the subcutaneous fat, fascia and muscles that make up the facial structure. With aging, these structures develop laxity and downward decent. Frequently there is also associated loss of facial volume. The combination of facial volume loss and laxity results in the changes that we see with aging. Correctly restoring back this aging process and achieving a natural result, involves lifting the laxity and replacing lost volume. Lifting is done by properly releasing the facial ligaments and tightening the platysma in the neck and lifting the SMAS in the face. When facial volume is depleted, then the patient’s fat, usually harvested from around the belly button, is used to replenish the lost volume. The correct combination of lifting and volumizing results in a natural healthy appearance.

How long will a facelift last (full facelift or mini facelift)?

There are many factors that go into answering the question as to how long a facelift lasts. First, following a properly done facelift, the patient will always look better than if they had not had the procedure, however aging will continue moving forward. The factors that affect the aging process after the procedure are both intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors are related to a person’s genetics and overall health. Patients with lighter skin usually have thinner skin and less collagen and this leads to earlier breakdown and laxity. Patients with darker skin, such as Mediterranean genetics, have thicker skin and more fibrous tissue which resists aging changes. Extrinsic factors include all of the environmental influences. This includes sun exposure and damage, nutrition, smoking, weight gain or loss, sleep, and stress. A patient can be very influential in maintaining their results by managing these external factors.

What is the best age for a facelift?

Typically, a mini facelift is done for patients in their 40’s while a full facelift is for patient’s in their 50’s or older. Age however is not an ideal indicator for the appropriate procedure. This depends on the patient’s facial structure and is unique for each individual person. Also, there is no specific age limit for a facelift. It is dependent upon the patient’s overall health, facial structure, and overall expectations and goals.

What will my recovery be like?

Fortunately, minimal pain is associated with a facelift. The average recovery time is 10-14 days, and most patients need two weeks before returning to work. Sutures will be removed within ten days, but avoid working out or raising your blood pressure for a full three weeks after.

Mini Facelift

What does a mini facelift include?

A mini facelift is a procedure that is limited to lifting the cheek and jowl area. It does not address significant neck laxity. It is a procedure that is ideally suited for patients in their 40’s and potentially early 50’s. The major benefit of the mini facelift is that it restores facial volume and position of cheek laxity with a minimal incision and significant reduced recovery time from traditional facelift. Typically, patients are able to return to work or social activities after a mini facelift after one week.

What will my recovery be like?

The recovery time for a mini facelift is 7-10 days, and does not involve any sutures or dressings. You can go back to work within 7 to 10 days, but should not workout until three weeks after the procedure. Minimal pain is involved with a mini facelift, and there is less bruising or swelling than a full facelift.

Mid Facelift

What does the procedure entail?

A mid facelift is able to address the changes in your jowl and neck area, along with the lower eyelid and cheek. This procedure elevates the soft tissue from the mid-cheek back to the upper-cheek and lower eyelid area. Mid facelifts take about two hours, and you will wear a dressing around the cheeks and neck for the initial 24 hours.

What will my recovery be like?

Your sutures will be removed within ten days, and recovery will take between two to six weeks. You will be able to start working out again after three weeks, and can shower and wash your hair after 48 hours. Though some swelling and/or bruising is common, little to no pain is associated with a mid facelift.

Neck Lift

What does the procedure entail?

A necklift involves and incision beneath the chin and behind the ear and hairline. Typically, fat is removed from the neck and subcutaneous areas, the muscles are tightened, and the excess skin is removed. The procedure is done under local with IV sedation and there is a compression dressing and overnight. Sutures are typically removed at day seven and ten and social activities may be resumed at day ten.

What will my recovery be like?

A compression dressing is only necessary the first night after the procedure. It is important to minimize activity for the first week following the procedure. Sutures will be removed at day seven and ten and typically patients are able to resume social activities at that time.

Am I a good candidate for necklift?

Selecting the appropriate patient for neck lift is essential. The ideal patient has mild to moderate neck skin laxity and fullness and lack of definition to the submental neck area.  The ideal contour in the neck area is a defined and angular neck and jawline.  Lack of definition has multiple underlying etiologies. The first is significant subcutaneous fat. This can be determined by pinching the neck skin to determine how much subcutaneous fat exists immediately beneath the skin. Second is a deeper fat pad called the digastric fat pad. This is the most important and most common reason for lack of definition of the neck. This is a fat pad in the deeper musculature of the midline of the neck. This is extremely important because fat reducing procedures such as liposuction, fat freezing or injections will not affect the digastric fat pad. If there is fullness in this fat pad, it is essential to address the problem with a surgical neck lift. Non-surgical procedures will not result in significant improvement and will lead to low patient satisfaction in this situation. It is essential to obtain a consultation with an experienced facial plastic surgeon that can make the correct diagnosis and offer the correct treatment.

With correct patient selection, patients can expect significant improvement in neck contour. The procedure involves an incision beneath the chin and behind the ear, liposuction of the subcutaneous fat beneath the neck skin and reduction of the digastric fat pad and suture tightening of the neck musculature.

How do I prepare for a neck lift?

It is ideal to optimize skin quality prior to the procedure. This can be accomplished with topical skin therapies to optimize skin contracture following the procedure. However, it is essential to understand that significant skin laxity will not resolve with a neck lift and may require a facelift.

Can I get a neck lift without getting a face lift?

Proper patient selection is the key to obtaining excellent results. Patients with significant skin laxity in the neck area are not good candidates for isolated neck lift and do require a facelift. A facelift addresses the lower facial and neck laxity and may be required to obtain natural long lasting results.

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