The Facts About Facelifts: Is One Right for You?
A facelift is surgery to tighten face skin and muscles and give the face a smoother and more youthful look.
A face-lift is a surgery that stretches and tightens facial muscles and skin to smooth out wrinkles. Excess facial fat and skin are also removed to help make the face look younger. Often, implants or collagen are used in the chin or cheek.
A face-lift can often improve the contour of your lower jaw and jowls and soften "laugh lines," the deep lines from your nose to the corners of your mouth. It can sometimes lessen the effect of time and gravity on the face.
How is it done? The face-lift can take anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, depending on the type of face-lift you have. Typically, the surgeon makes an incision near the temple and around the ear.
The surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle. The muscles and sagging tissue are tightened and excess skin is removed. The remaining skin is pulled back into place. A small incision may be made under the chin if a neck lift is done. The incision is closed with sutures, or with metal clips on the scalp. Most people go home after 1 or 2 hours in the recovery room and recover in 2 to 3 weeks.
Are you a candidate for a face-lift? Deciding if you should have a face-lift is a serious process. A face-lift is surgery. It involves thousands of dollars and weeks or months of recovery. Also, as with all medical and surgical procedures, there are serious risks.
Some possible complications related to face-lift surgery include:
Nerve damage with resulting numbness and/or weakness of face Infection Reaction to anesthesia Heavy scarring Unnatural appearance Need for more surgeries
Most people 50 years or older should get clearance from their doctor before a face-lift. You may not be a good candidate for a face-lift if you are very overweight or have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart or lung disease. Many doctors suggest that you stop smoking before they will consider surgery.
Many factors affect results. These include skin type, ethnic background, skin elasticity, bone structure, and how quickly you heal. The skill of your surgeon also matters. Discuss all these factors with your doctor.
How much does a face-lift cost? The total cost of a face-lift can be as much as $20,000 or more. It depends on the extent of the procedure, where you live, and who the surgeon is. Insurance carriers generally do not cover surgery that is purely cosmetic, so you will probably have to pay for this out of pocket. The results are not permanent, but can last 7 to 10 years.
How should I choose a surgeon? When choosing a surgeon for a face-lift, find out if he or she is board certified in cosmetic or plastic surgery or another appropriate specialty, such as an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT (otolaryngologist). Then ask the following questions:
How many face-lift procedures does the doctor perform each year? How many years has the doctor been doing face-lifts? What is the doctor's re-operation rate? Where will the surgery be performed? Are there before and after pictures you can see? What is the doctor's complication rate?