Once upon a time is was considered imprudent to have face lift surgery as results varied and many patients left looking worse off than they did on entering. These days however, thanks to improvements in technology and increased exposure and experience of the surgeons, success rates are constantly climbing.
A face lift procedure, or rhytidectomy as it is technically referred to as, is one form of cosmetic surgery which focuses on returning the skin around the face and neck to its former glory. They are designed to improve the aesthetic qualities of the face by tightening the skin in order to give the patient a more youthful appearance and smoother skin.
The face lift procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and depending on the type of face lift can last anywhere from two to 6 hours. In a traditional facelift the surgeon will begin by making an incision in the hair line, which will then run down past the front of your ears and then up into the hairline again behind the ears. Cuts can also be made under your chin if you want to lift a sagging jawline. Carefully, the surgeon then separates the skin from the underlying tissues. Excess fat is then removed or repositioned by the surgeon who may also tighten the muscles or surrounding tissues in the face. The skin is then lifted, where it is pulled back and tightened and any excess may be cut away.
Once the surgeon is happy with the amount of skin being tightened, the skin is stitched back to where the first incisions were originally made. The face is then bandaged to protect it, with some techniques requiring bandaging under the chin and around the neck and ears. These bandages will remain in place until you are ready to return home. Drainage tubes may also be left in place after the face lift procedure but these are typically removed the day after surgery.
There are several alternative techniques to the traditional face lift procedure. Such techniques include minimal-access cranial suspension (MACS), mid-face lift and mini facelift surgery.
Minimal-access cranial suspension is a face lift procedure that involves making surgical incisions that are smaller than in a traditional face lift procedure. It is advantageous as the scarring from this technique is less prevalent than other techniques.
A mid-face lift procedure involves an incision made in the temporal hairline. The procedure is aimed at those who have lost fullness of the cheeks and the upper lips.
A mini facelift, a form of keyhole surgery as it avoids large incisions, involves making several tiny cuts into your skin. Special operating instruments and an endoscope are passed through the cuts, and the surgeon operates by looking at pictures sent from the endoscope to a monitor. This technique also leaves less scarring and patients generally make speedier recoveries. Mini ‘weekend’ facelift procedures are generally cheaper than conventional facelifts and the procedure can be carried out and completed over a weekend.