After a certain age, many people begin to notice a tired, droopy facial appearance, characterized by loose skin around their neck, cheeks, and jaw. Sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle can accelerate this aging process, giving otherwise vibrant men and women a look that doesn’t reflect how they feel.
This is why face lifts (or a “rhytidectomy”) have enjoyed such immense popularity in recent years, as innovative techniques emerge that provide natural, long-lasting results. In board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Ellen Mahony, you have a doctor and advocate with whom you can discuss several different options for your facelift. Each of them can reposition your facial skin and muscles to reverse the visible effects of aging and give you a rested, healthier look.
Your face lift procedure will be custom-tailored to your unique skin condition, your underlying facial contour, and, just as importantly, your aesthetic goals. Many people worry that a facelift will make them look pulled or overdone. Dr. Mahony makes sure that your results will look natural by performing, at minimum, a two-layer lift so that all of the tightening isn’t just done on the facial surface but also addresses the deeper layers of the face.
It’s important to remember that a facelift is not just about tightening the “fabric,” your skin, but the quality of the fabric! That’s why we recommend preparing your skin for a facelift with a Vampire Facial series. This innovative, in-office procedure uses your body’s own biologic materials to “wake up” the stem cells deep within the dermis, stimulating them to produce more collagen, repair the elastin fibers and increase blood flow
Ellen can also perform other facial rejuvenation procedures along with or after your facelift, including threadlifts, eyelid lifts, brow lifts, and chemical peels. You may also want to discuss the benefits of volume enhancement, through fillers, implants and soft tissue augmentation, or the innovative concept known as a “liquid facelift”. And, if desired, you can make a Connecticut face lift part of a more comprehensive Menopause Makeover.
Rest assured, a facelift can offer an elegant change in your appearance, and help restore the youthful jaw line and neck contours that have been concealed with age.
Are there any situations when you don’t recommend a facelift?
Yes, absolutely. There are many factors to take into consideration when recommending and not recommending a facelift for a potential patient. Some of the most common reasons I steer patients away from one is that it’s too early and other less invasive options like ALMI, Threadlifts or even simple fillers are the right option for where their face is in its aging process. I also don’t recommend this procedure if someone is in particularly poor health with a circulatory problem or a heavy smoker. These conditions not only impede recovery but also increase risks and potentially inhibit good results.
I love to sit out in the sun during the summer. Should I avoid completely after a facelift? What will happen to the incisions?
Oh, believe me, I LOVE the sun as well and did my fair share of baking in it throughout my (unwise!) youth. But unfortunately, the sun is not good for the skin – especially the skin that you are investing in with a facelift! I recommend that all of my facelift patients take even more care to protect their face from the sun and use a medical-grade sunscreen like EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 (Tinted & Untinted) or EltaMD UV Sport SPF 50 which we sell in our office. Any surgical site is prone to burn after surgery and likely to develop hyperpigmentation. For these reasons, it is very important to avoid sun after surgery.
How will I know when I’m ready for a facelift?
As an example, injectable fillers are great for blending in transition areas between the lower eyelids and cheek or cheek and chin, or adding volume to the midface cheek bones. These ‘transition’ areas develop as the skin begins to show its laxity. Eventually however, the laxity progresses and not only are there abrupt hollows where these transitions began, but also there are visible folds of skin at the junctions between facial segments. Usually at this point the jawline has lost its definition in the skin redundancy. Regrettably, at this point fillers are not very successful in camouflaging these signs of aging and in some cases, can magnify them. In comparison, a facelift can both reposition the facial tissue, restore anatomic volume and remove excess skin – better investment of time and finances.
What’s the difference between a mini- facelift and a full facelift?
That’s a great question and one I am asked all the time! It’s very confusing. I think there are just a few things you need to know and ask about. First, is it a skin- only lift or will it include the deeper tissue as well? I favor a 2 layer lift, I believe it reduces the dreaded “wind tunnel” look and also lasts longer. Another question is the length of the incisions and placement. When the skin laxity is only modest, the lift incisions can often be limited to the face only. This ‘shorter’ incision extends from the sideburn down to the earlobe- often referenced as a mini-lift or short scar lift. A longer incision that extends behind the ear is best when the lax skin is draping down over/below the jaw line- the extra incision length is for insetting the additional loose skin.
The recovery looks painful and long…what can I expect??
I’m happy to tell you that most people who come here are feeling pretty good in 2 weeks! Some bruising and tightness necessarily come with the territory but pain and a lengthy recovery are unusual. I like everyone to wear a facial garment as much as possible for about 5-7 days, it’s removable. And, although I often place a drain at the time of surgery, it comes out the next day. Showering is fine the day after surgery as is washing your hair. For a 2 week period I like to restrict your activities to avoid bending and lifting- nothing greater than 5 pounds.
If I have a facelift will I look pulled or too tight?
For a few days, your face may feel tight and look tight. But as the tissue relaxes and the swelling resolves, the ‘tight’ sensation quickly diminishes.
How long will my facelift last?
Keep in mind that ‘nothing lasts forever’ and if you are a candidate for a lift, chances are that you have many years of aged, weather exposed skin behind you…with that said, it is reasonable to expect about 5-8 years. Factors that will influence this duration are your health, your age, your weight, the quality of your skin and steps you take to protect your face in the future.
Will a facelift get rid of all my wrinkles?
No. A facelift addresses the presence of excess, lax skin only. Depending on the type of wrinkle, some maybe addressed at the time of surgery with an add-on procedure.
Tell me about the numbness associated with a facelift?
Anytime an incision is made, the very tiny nerves that pass through the superficial skin/tissue are necessarily divided. This even happens with a cut to the knee or hand. It takes time for these small nerves to create new connections and heal. Because the face is so much more sensitive, most people have a greater awareness of this diminished sensation associated with facelift incisions. This is usually temporary.
Where are the incisions located for a facelift?
I like to use an incision in a crease in front of the ear and sometimes extend that incision around the earlobe and behind the ear.
Do hairlines shift after a facelift?
It can shift in the sideburn area, the temple area and the hairline behind the ear. I like to discuss the likelihood of this possibility in advance of the surgery.
Do all scars after a rhytidectomy (facelift) heal to a fine thin line?
That’s certainly the goal. The quality of scars/healing is a function of skin type, prior history of thick or heavy scars, health and tissue tension.