Facelift is one of the most commonly requested procedures that Dr. Ward performs and he is proud to offer only the most effective, proven, and safe techniques that give a natural, non-operated look.
As we age, the tissues of the face and neck relax and descend. This descent of tissue results in excess tissue of the lower cheek (the jowls), a loss of the normal jawline contour, and loose skin of the face and neck. A facelift refers to a procedure that aims to lift, tighten, and restore the face to its more youthful position. There are numerous variations of the facelift technique that can be employed to accomplish this goal and each technique has its pros and cons. The technique that Dr. Ward uses is tailored to the individual patient, but, in general, he uses a technique that is designed to maximize the amount of time that the results will last (usually 10-15 years). His overall philosophy is one that emphasizes a natural and non-surgical result.
A mini-lift is a variation of facelift that goes by many other names, such as “Lifestyle Lift, Quick Lift, Swift Lift, weekend lift, lunch lift, local lift, short scar lift. It is actually one of the oldest techniques used for face-lifting and is aimed at patients with less severe signs of facial aging and with only minimal neck aging. This procedure can be performed in the office under local anesthesia or with light sedation.
Of course, like any surgery, there are risks associated with facelift surgery. Choosing an experienced, board-certified surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery, like Dr. Ward, will help minimize the results of complications during your surgery.
A liquid facelift refers to a non-surgical treatment that stimulates the effects of a facelift. Botox, Sculptra, and other fillers are utilized in various combinations to achieve a rejuvenating effect on your face. Botox may be used to temporarily lift the eyebrows and erase forehead lines while sculptra or other injectable fillers are used to restore volume in the cheeks and around the mouth. Jowls can be softened, lips can be enhanced, and definition can be restored to the cheekbones and jawline. Although a liquid facelift is a temporary fix and not a substitute for a surgical facelift, it can be very effective at providing a significant improvement in your appearance.
Many people seek a liquid facelift prior to a big event such as a wedding or a class reunion. The procedure is done in office and takes about an hour. The most common side effects are mild transient swelling and bruising. Results will be immediate and will continue to improve over the first two weeks. We recommend this procedure is done 3-6 weeks ahead of your scheduled event to allow time for maximum results and bruising and swelling to subside.
Since the results will not last more than 6-12 months, touch-ups will be necessary to maintain the procedure’s beneficial effects.
When choosing a surgeon to operate on your face, most experts would agree that experience is the most important factor to help maximize the chances of a good result. Many surgeons perform facelift surgery and may even be board certified to perform the procedure, but may not have had much training in the procedure. Ask your surgeon how many facelift procedures they performed in residency. There are many plastic surgery residency programs where the residents finish their training having performed only a few facelift procedures. In addition, even if the surgeon received facelift training, it may not be a central portion of their practice. For example, a plastic surgeon might perform many surgeries, but those surgeries might be mostly breast augmentation or liposuction, which are drastically different from facelift surgery. The bottom line is that you want to be sure your surgeon has the utmost training and experience in facelift. You should choose your facelift surgeon with the upmost care.
Another thing to consider about your facelift or mini face lift is what goals you hope to accomplish. Sometimes patients know they don’t like their current face, but can’t put this concern into words. To help determine the specifics that might bother you about the face, such as a loss of jawline contour, jowl formation, sagging neck, deep creases, or wrinkles, consider objectively looking at your face in the mirror and see what you would change if you could.
Take notes about what bothers you and bring those to the consultation with Dr. Ward. These notes can be invaluable in identifying issues that bother you and will help ensure that you don’t forget any concerns during the consultation or before surgery.
The consultation is the chance for you and your surgeon to meet and get to know each other. This relationship is important for several reasons. You should feel comfortable with your surgeon to ensure that you are on the same page before surgery and that you will feel comfortable voicing any concerns or questions before and after the surgery.
Dr. Ward will evaluate your face and talk to you about your desired results. He will give you honest and realistic expectations and inform you of any potential risks involved. These risks can vary based on each individual person so it is important to be honest and up front during your consultation. Risks associated with facelift include bleeding, infection, swelling, scarring, nerve damage (loss of sensation or facial weakness), poor cosmetic result, bruising , amongst others. These risks are all uncommon, but are important for patients to know about prior to surgery. Our aim is to decrease the probability of each of these complications from happening and will do whatever we can to prevent them from happening.
In general, insurance will not pay for a facelift, but in some cases, such as facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), skin cancer, or other facial deformities, the procedure may be at least partially covered by insurance.
You will have photographs of your face taken, which is also often required by different insurance companies.
Follow up after facelift is important and you will be seeing your surgeon frequently following the procedure. This is to help ensure that you are healing properly and that you are happy with your results. We are committed to making sure you heal properly and that you are happy with the result. If you are not happy, we WANT TO KNOW! It can take 18 months before you are fully healed and we will monitor you carefully during this period to ensure proper healing.
Prior to the procedure, you will have a pre-operative history and physical exam performed to ensure that there are no health concerns prior to your procedure. You will be given instructions on what to do before, during, and after the day of surgery and you will be given prescriptions for medications that you will need to take after the procedure.
In general, you should avoid anything with aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other medication, such as Advil, Motrin, any blood thinners, some herbal supplements etc for 3-4 weeks prior to the procedure and 2 weeks after the procedure. This helps reduce the bleeding during the procedure and the degree of bruising that you will have after the surgery.
The procedure will be performed either in our private surgical suite or in an operating room under an anesthetic that is designed to (1) maximize the safety of the procedure, (2) ensure your ultimate comfort during the procedure, and (3) minimize your recovery and get you back on your feet and back to normal life as soon as possible. Unless there are other complicating medical issues that you have, the procedure is always performed as an outpatient surgery allowing you to avoid staying overnight in the hospital and go home and recover.
For our out of town patients, special arrangements can be made for you to stay overnight with medical oversight.
After surgery, you will have a dressing on the face that helps decrease the swelling and bleeding from the procedure. This is usually removed by our staff after 24-72 hours depending on the patient. You will also come in to the office to have sutures removed 6-10 days after the procedure. We will then see you at one month and then every few months afterward so we can follow your progress and ensure you are healing properly.
Bruising may occur, especially on the cheeks, the neck, and under the eyes. This usually goes away by around a week, but may persist for about two weeks. Your cheeks, eyelids, and neck will be swollen. The majority of the swelling will subside in the first few weeks, however there can be swelling that can last for several months. Patients can return to work whenever they feel up to it. For some patients, that might be 3 days after surgery; for other patients, it might be 10-14 days. We usually like our out of town patients to plan to stay until one week after surgery to ensure the face is healing properly before you travel home.
In the weeks and months following surgery, we will closely monitor your healing. This is extremely important, because we will need to monitor for any unusual scar tissue that may develop. If these changes occur, we will be able to treat them appropriately.
The final thing to expect after surgery is an experience that will leave you happier than you were before the surgery! We aim to make every part of the experience as pleasant as possible and are confident you will be glad you had your procedure performed.
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