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What is a Facelift?

The goals of a facelift are to reduce visible signs of aging in the face and neck, including: sagging skin and jowls, hollowing of the cheeks, and loose skin and excess fat in the neck. Several factors affect aging, including the normal thinning of skin over time, loss of facial fat (leading to loss of volume), gravity, sun damage, smoking, heredity and stress. The rejuvenation effects of a facelift can be enhanced with brow and/or eyelid surgery, and fat grafting to help replace some of the volume. Surgery cannot change the skin texture or quality, so Dr. Yee often works with dermatologists to recommend topical treatments (such as medications or laser) to optimize the skin prior to surgery to get the best results from facelift surgery.

Non Surgical rejuvenation treatments like BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers cannot achieve the same results as a facelift, but they can help delay the time when a facelift might be considered appropriate, and they can complement the results of surgery. Injectable treatments and surgery cannot stop the aging process. However, you can think of rejuvenation as a coordinated plan incorporating advanced skin care and sunscreens, fillers and BOTOX, lasers/peels, and finally surgery to help you look as young as you feel.

The Best Facelift Candidates

The best candidates are men and women whose faces and necks have just begun to sag, as at that point their skin still has elasticity and the bone structure is well-defined. Most of the time, this happens in their late 40s to 60s, however for some this can happen starting in their late 30s. Sometimes facial rejuvenation can help those in their 70s or 80s, although the type and extent of procedure will be different based on age and anatomy. Mature patients often benefit more from skin resurfacing, which is accomplished through laser treatments and peels.

Dr. Yee customizes the procedure for each individual patient, based on her craniofacial surgery training and analysis of your anatomy. This personalized level of detail avoids the “windswept”, tight look of some facelifts; her goal is for you to have a natural, more youthful, and rested look, in harmony with the rest of your face. If you can bring in photographs of yourself from 10-15 years ago, this can aid in your discussion with Dr. Yee about your goals and help plan restoration.

How a Facelift is Performed

Dr. Yee performs facelifts under general anesthesia because she feels it’s the safest. Depending on the extent of surgery, your incision may be just around the ear, or extend into the hairline behind the ear, or into the temple area at or behind the hairline. These incisions are carefully selected so they are hidden from view.

The deeper tissues are lifted to reshape the cheek, and fat harvested from other areas may be injected to enhance this effect. Around the neck and chin, fat will be trimmed as needed to improve the contour. The neck muscles (platysma) are tightened. Small drains are placed and the skin is gently re-draped and sutured, with the excess removed.

Recovering After a Facelift

A facelift is performed at an outpatient surgery center, however, you should have someone stay with you afterwards, as you might need help the first few times you get out of bed. You should sleep with your head elevated to help the swelling resolve, and optimize wound healing. Getting out of bed and light exercise/walking will also help.

You will have several appointments in the first 2 weeks after surgery to check healing, and gradually remove drains and sutures. You should plan to be able to return to work around 2 weeks after surgery if all goes well. You should plan to start to resume your normal activities, at 50% intensity, at 3 weeks post-surgery.

To learn more about your options for facial rejuvenation, please call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yee.