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Facelift

face lift in denver co | Fante Eye and Face Center A facelift tightens the tissues of the lower two thirds of the face. It’s effective for jowls, blurring of the jawline, sagging cheeks, wrinkles that run from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth, and generally for that droopy, sad look that belies our natural good spirits.  It is often, but not always, combined with neck lifting since the neck often sags and wrinkles as well.

A facelift may be all you need.  But for many people, facelifts are performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), laser resurfacing, microfat grafting, or Botox® injections. Dr. Fante will listen to your wishes and advise you as to how you can best arrive at the look you want. A facelift can take about 10 years off your apparent age.

What is a Facelift?

There are some different meanings of the term “facelift”.

  • Traditionally it meant work on the cheeks, jaw, and neck, pulling them upwards to remove sagging, wrinkles and jowls.
  • The term “full facelift” is sometimes used to mean the above, plus the brow as well.
  • In more recent years, the term has been used as a catch-all for any customized combination of procedures on the face, all of which are localized and specific. For example, you could have combinations such as:

In general, you could define a facelift or “rhytidectomy” as a surgical procedure on the lower two-thirds of the face to improve the most visible signs of aging by removing sagging skin, elevating the facial muscles and fat, tightening the muscles beneath the skin of the neck, and often removing excess fat from the neck.

Am I a good candidate for a Facelift?

If you’re:

  • Over 30
  • In good general health
  • Aren’t a longtime smoker, and
  • Willing to be realistic about the potential

you’re likely a candidate for some kind of facelift. In recent years, younger people have been asking for them, and although a younger person can heal more quickly, there’s no ideal age for a facelift.

Dr. Fante will explain all the possible procedures for your particular face and together you can arrive at the best one, or the best combination of procedures.

How a Facelift is performed?

An incision is made on each side of your face, and typically begins behind the hairline near the temple, runs down in front and inside of the ear, and back behind the ear into the hairline. Another small incision may be hidden inside your upper lip and permits Dr. Fante to work also with your cheeks for the best and most natural facial harmony.

From there, the fat and soft tissues are elevated, the muscles are tightened, excess skin and tissue removed, and the incision closed with very fine stitches or small metal clips.  Dr. Fante uses his extensive knowledge of facial anatomy to employ advanced techniques that improve the three dimensional contours of your face while minimizing potential problems.

If you have a neck lift or neck liposuction at the same time, there may be a small incision under the chin. A face and neck lift is often also be combined with liposuction for the fatty pad that gradually forms under the chin as we age. In the early days of facelifts, only the skin was tightened, leaving the tissue beneath the skin, consisting of muscle and fat, with associated blood vessels, nerves, etc. as is. That made for a “tightened” look, that expression of perpetual surprise that we all want to avoid. In present-day facelifts, the tissue beneath the skin (SMAS) is involved too, so that the results are more natural, longer-lasting, and more individualized.

It takes from 2 to 4 hours and can be done either with local anesthetic and IV sedation, or with general anesthesia.

Is anesthesia used during a Facelift?

Many people will choose general anesthesia, although IV sedation is also possible.  In any case, local anesthesia is always combined with either choice to minimize your need for medications.   You can discuss the alternatives with Dr. Fante.

What is recovery like?

Dr. Fante will give you written instructions for your recovery period. He’ll also prescribe an antibiotic for a short period and a pain medication.

  • Your lower face and upper neck will be wrapped in dressings and in a spandex garment when you leave the surgery center
  • You’ll use ice packs for the first day or two
  • Rest at home, but you don’t need to stay in bed all the time
  • You can shower and wash your hair two days after surgery
  • There’s usually not much pain but you’ll be given a prescription for pain medication just in case
  • You’ll be asked to wear the spandex facial garment, and to sleep with your head elevated, for the first week. Use pillows to prevent your head from turning while you sleep
  • Swelling and bruising subside within the first few weeks
  • Avoid vigorous physical activity such as prolonged bending, heavy lifting, and sexual activity, for at least 2 weeks.  In addition, use alcohol only sparingly for the first two weeks.
  • Most people feel a little tired but pretty well overall, and can take a walk or go out (perhaps with sunglasses and a hat!) within the first few days
  • Don’t have any dental procedures done for at least 6 weeks, unless you need some kind of emergency care.
  • Don’t use any of these things for 3 weeks:
    • Tobacco products (including nicotine gum and patches)
    • Aspirin
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents
    • Vitamin E

Sutures are removed at about one week after surgery.  Incisions will fade to white, barely visible scars which can be further hidden with makeup. They are strategically placed partly under your hair, inside your ears, and/or within the normal creases of your skin.  Temporary feelings of tightness and numbness disappear with a few weeks. Most people return to work after 10 to 14 days.  You can start wearing makeup at about 10 days, but you may not look your best for 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Recovery may take longer depending on how extensive your facelift is. There can be minimal facelifts, from which recovery is quick and easy, or facelifts combined with other procedures, which involve:

  • Longer swelling
  • Slower recovery
  • A little more risk

Will I have visible scars from my Facelift?

All incisions leave scars. Scars fade over time, although it might take most of a year for the final results to be visible.

Facelift incisions are largely behind the hairline and therefore will leave barely visible scars. If they’re also around the ear, your hair can cover them pretty well there too.

Another factor with scars is that we’re all individual when it comes to scarring. Heredity plays a role, and the exact outcome isn’t totally predictable in individual cases. However, it’s possible to repair scars that are too prominent, with further minor surgery.

How long do the results of a Facelift last?

After you recover, you’ll look more youthful and rested. Gradually as you continue to age over the next few years, the tissues will relax.  You’ll look better than you would have without the surgery for about 10 years.

Read More About Facelift Variations

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in a facelift and would like more information, contact our Denver office today! Call (303) 839-1616 to schedule a consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Fante.