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Face lift or rhytidectomy or surgery for removal of facial wrinkles is perhaps the oldest cosmetic surgery procedure performed.
As one ages, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in the faces. Skin sags down, deep creases start to appear on cheeks, between the nose and mouth; the jaw line grows slack and jowls appear. Folds and fat deposits appear around the neck and double chin forms.
A facelift can make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence. This surgery is commonly performed after the age of 40 years and there is no upper age limit.
Operative and post operative:
This is a long operative procedure and may take 2to 4 hours. It is painless and usually performed in local anesthesia with sedation.
Incisions usually begin at the temples above the hairline, come below in a natural line in front of the ear, and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. A small incision may also be made under the chin if neck needs some correction.
Skin is separated from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The underlying muscle and membrane is tightened, the skin is pulled up, and the excess is removed. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions. Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind the ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The face and head are bandaged in firm cotton dressing to avoid swelling and provide support for about 2-3 days.
There isn't usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication. Some numbness of the skin is quite normal and disappears in a few weeks or months.
The head should be elevated for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.
Most of the stitches are removed after about 5 to 6 days.
Results and complications:
Person can resume normal social activities after about week or ten days.
This is becoming more popular now as the surgical dissection is limited and persons can attend to their routine work after 3 days. This procedure is often referred to as MACS or minimal access cranial suspension technique. This is done on out patient basis.
More recently there are many suspension threads or devices available now which can be inserted in a short time under local anesthesia. They are aimed at uplifting the loose cheeks and treating the nasolabial folds.
Results and complications:
Results are generally very good. It must be remembered that face-lift cannot stop the clock of ageing it can only roll it back. However most people after the surgery feel that their looks have gone back by about 10 years. The results of surgery remain good for about another 7 to 10 years.
There are no fatal complications. Bruising, swelling, collection of blood or haematoma under the skin, mild asymmetry, and numbness are all manageable complications. Rarely drooping of angle of mouth or other asymmetry may happen if one of the major branches of the facial nerve is damaged.