The face lift procedure tightens saggy neck skin and redefines the jawline. Fat can also be removed from beneath the chin when necessary. These changes of aging need to be significant enough for the operation to be worthwhile. In my opinion it is rarely justified before the age of 55. In my hands it takes three and a half hours under a general anaesthetic and an overnight stay in hospital.
A face lift requires an incision in front and behind the ear and into the scalp in the temple region. These scars are all very inapparent. The skin and the layer beneath the skin (SMAS – Subcutaneous Musculoaponeurotic System) are undermined and tightened.
The platysma muscle, a thin sheet beneath the neck skin, which is partly responsible for vertical bands in the neck, may need to be tightened in the midline via a short transverse incision under the chin. Fat beneath the chin can be removed.
Post operative care
You wake up with only your face showing through the bandages. The bandages are removed the next morning and you can shower immediately and wash your hair. Some swelling and bruising is normal so you will need to plan to stay “out of sight” for a couple of weeks!
Most people say that the post-operative period is not very painful. I may provide you with an elastic chin support which I like you to wear continuously for the first week and whenever you are at home for the next two weeks.
The main risk specific to this operation is to the branches of the facial nerve, the nerve that works all the facial muscles. Careful attention to undermine the tissues at a plane superficial to the facial nerve branches ensures than the facial nerve is not injured. Another nerve (great auricular nerve) lies quite superficially below the earlobe.
Again, careful attention to undermine superficially in this area avoids injuring this nerve. While not so important as the facial nerve, injury to the great auricular nerve results in a numb earlobe.
Other risks are common to all operations.
out of town?
Ideally a consultation should be face to face but is certainly possible to arrange a telephone consultation. If you can email the photos first so much the better. If it is clear what procedure is required then the in-person consultation can be the day before or the morning of the surgery.