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The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties. Patients in their early 40's may benefit from a mid facelift, which corrects cheek sagging with more limited scarring.

A facelift can make you look younger and fresher and it may enhance your self-confidence in the process. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

What are the risks of a facelift procedure?

When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Many patients are concerned about visible scarring. Care is taken to avoid the stigmata of a facelift such as raising the sideburn, pulling the ear lobe down, or a stepoff in the hairline behind the ear. Hematoma (bleeding) is a complication that can occur in the early post-operative period and may necessitate a further operation to drain the collection.

Nerve injury is an infrequent complication that may become apparent after the operation. It can involve sensory or motor nerves (involving the lower lip or forehead muscles). If such a complication occurs, it usually resolves in the first few months following surgery.

Planning Your Facelift Surgery

Facelifts are individualised procedures. At your initial consultation, the surgeon will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone and soft tissue structure and discuss your goals for the surgery.

Your surgeon will check for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or a tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications, especially Aspirin or other drugs that affect clotting, such as Vitamin E.

Advice regarding pre and post-operative skincare is available from our skincare consultant. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it's especially important to stop at least a week or two before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas. If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out before surgery, so that it's long enough to hide the scars while they heal.

Don't hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.

For more information regarding a facelift at Le Vogue Clinic,or to make an appointment, feel free to contact us at any time.

Evolving trends in facelift surgery

Modern trends in facelift surgery include minimising scars and repositioning facial soft tissues to avoid the stigmata of an "operated look". Patients are also having procedures at a younger age, when surgery can be less invasive.

One of the newer procedures is the MACS Lift which was popularised in Belgium. It involves more limited scarring around the ear and the facial tissues are suspended by placement of permanent sutures. It has advantages of minimal scarring and a shorter recovery time over that of a conventional facelift.

Thread Lifts involve barbed suture placement as an outpatient procedure to attempt to lift the soft tissues of the face. This technique has gained limited popularity because the results are often variable and short lived. Dr Liew does not perfom this procedure.

The facelift surgery

Facelifting is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia. Usually an overnight stay is recommended. A facelift usually takes three to four hours, or longer if you're having more other procedures perfrmed. Other procedures that may be performed include brow lifting, blepharoplasty and rhinoplasty.

Incisions usually begin at or above the hairline at the temples, extend in a natural line in front of the ear (or just inside the cartilage at the front of your ear) and continue behind the earlobe to the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.

Midface lifts can be performed via a lower eyelid incision, or a limited temple incision. They do avoid the more extensive incisions as described above.

The surgeon separates the skin from the layer below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.

Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The surgeon will also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimise bruising and swelling.

After your facelift surgery

You should not feel significant discomfort after surgery. Some numbness of the skin is quite normal and will disappear in a few weeks or months.

If you've had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed the day after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after
1 - 2 days and you can then shower and wash your hair. Don't be surprised at the pale, bruised and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you'll be looking normal. You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery.

Most of your stitches will be removed after about 5 - 7 days. Your scalp may take longer to heal and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer.

Your surgeon will give you more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks; walking and mild stretching are fine.

At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may he slightly stiff and you'll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks and you may tire easily. It's not surprising that some patients are disappointed and depressed at first.

By the third week, you'll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a referral to see Dr Liew?

No. A referral is not necessary for a cosmetic procedure.

Do I need to take medication after my surgery?

Painkillers or antibiotics may be prescribed after your surgery. Please check to ensure nothing you are allergic to has been prescribed. Even if your pain is not severe, using your pain relief medication will make your overall experience considerably more comfortable.

How soon after my surgery will I be allowed to get up?

That depends on the kind of surgery and anaesthetic you've had. Your surgeon and nurses will let you know what to expect. Normally, you will be encouraged to be up and about as soon as possible after your operation.

Should I continue to take my prescribed medications?

In most cases, it is important to continue taking your medications, up to and including the day of your surgery. There are a few exceptions to this rule, this is why it is important to inform us of all the medication you are taking.

What should I do if I have a problem outside of normal office hours?

You will be given the hospital phone number if you have an after-hours emergency. During business hours, you can contact the clinic and speak to the practice nurse.