As we age our skin progressively loses its elasticity and starts to sag causing laxity and folds. The deeper tissues of the face, namely the fat and muscle layers, also develop laxity and contribute to this downward migration of tissues.
This sagging of the skin and deeper tissues produces the following common signs of facial ageing:
Full Face & Neck Lift Surgery can take around 4- 5 hours and S-Lifts or Mini-Lifts around 3 hours. For your comfort and safety, all are performed in a hospital and you need to stay for 1 or 2 nights after your surgery.
Depending on the type of Facelift you need, either General Anaesthesia, or a combination of Local Anaesthesia and Intravenous (Twilight) Sedation, is administered by our Specialist Anaesthetist.
Our Surgeon will review you the following day. If you have had no bleeding or other problems, your dressings and bandages will be replaced with lighter, more comfortable ones and you can then return to your home or hotel and recuperate there.
Pain for most patients is surprisingly minor and easily relieved with simple pain relievers.
As would be expected, there will be some bruising and swelling of the face but this largely settles within 3 weeks. In addition, the face can feel a little tight or numb but these also settle over time.
Patients should allow around 3-4 weeks before resuming work and social activities.
Scars are initially pink and unless you have olive, brown or Asian skin they should fade to white in about 12-18 months. In the meantime, makeup can be applied to hide them.
A Standard Face & Neck Lift is indicated when there is significant skin laxity over both the face AND lower neck. The incision begins in or next to the hair at the temple, extends down in front of the ear, curves around the ear lobe, runs up behind the ear and finally crosses into the hair at the back of the head.
The skin is then lifted off the underlying sheet of muscle known as the SMAS and the SMAS is then tightened. This tightening of the SMAS is what lifts the sagging skin and facial tissues to produce a more rejuvenated and youthful appearance. The excess skin produced by the lifting of the SMAS is then trimmed off. Finally, the incisions are sutured (stapled in the hair) and a pressure dressing is applied. The sutures and staples are removed around 7 days later.
In years gone by, only the skin was pulled back and the SMAS was ignored. This not only produced short-lived corrections, it also put excessive tension on the skin which delivered a ‘wind-tunnel’ appearance. Nowadays, most face-lift surgeons agree that the underlying SMAS is the principal tissue to be tightened and the key to avoiding the ‘wind-tunnel’ look is to then lay the skin back gently without any tension before removing the excess. This combination of tightening the SMAS but not the overlying skin is the secret to producing a very natural rejuvenation without an obvious over-stretched ‘surgical’ or ‘wind tunnel’ look.
Mini-Lifts are only suitable for those whose neck skin looseness does not extend below the level of the thyroid cartilage (the Larynx or ‘Voice-Box’). Once there is significant skin laxity below this level, a Standard Lift will be necessary in order to correct the loose skin on the lower neck.
A Mini-Lift is simply a less extensive version of a Standard Lift. In a Mini-Lift the incision extends downwards from the temple as it does in a Standard Lift but it finishes at the ear lobe. The remainder of the procedure with tightening of the SMAS is similar to a Standard Lift.
This ‘catchy’ marketing term has come to be popularly used to describe any Facelift less extensive than the Standard Lift. However, in reality, it is only a minor variation of the Mini-Lift because the incision still finishes at the ear-lobe like a Mini-Lift.
In our opinion, the S-Lift has a number of disadvantages which include:
This is another variety of limited ‘lift surgery’ where only the neck skin needs to be lifted. The incision starts at the ear lobe and runs upwards on the back of the ear and up into the hair behind the ear. It is the same as the ‘back half’ of a Standard Face & Neck Lift. On its own, it is indicated for those less common instances where only the neck skin needs to be tightened.
Brow Lifts are indicated when the brow has significantly descended. It can be done alone or as part of a Standard Face Lift procedure. Sometimes, brow descent can be a contributory factor, or even the sole cause, of ‘heaviness’ or ‘hooding’ of the upper eyelids. Brow lifts can be performed in several ways:
These are more involved Facelift techniques where the deeper tissues under the SMAS are also lifted. However, because many important nerves and major blood vessels lie under the SMAS, they are more exposed to inadvertent injury during a ‘Deep Plane’ Facelift. Although the duration and degree of correction is greater with this type of Facelift, many surgeons believe that the increased risks of nerve and vessel injury outweigh its potential benefits.
Irrespective of the type of Facelift needed, if you also have fatty deposits in the jowl areas or under the chin you will also need liposuction of those areas at the same time. Facial liposuction is done via one or more tiny, inconspicuous incisions under the jawline.
In patients with a very loose Platysma Muscle on the front of the neck, the Platysma also needs to be tightened. This is done through an additional, inconspicuous 4cm incision under the point of the chin.
Not infrequently, patients presenting for Face/Neck Lift Surgery often have pre-conceived misconceptions on how they will look after surgery. Accordingly, it is important that you have a thorough understanding and a realistic expectation on what the surgery can and cannot achieve. In other words, if you expect more than a Face & Neck Lift can possibly achieve, you could be disappointed in spite of an excellent surgical result.
Realistically, you must bear in mind that:
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.