Addressing the aging face is challenging. With injectable products (e.g. Botox®, Juvederm®, Restylane®), chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and good skin care, some of the stigmata of the aging face can be minimized, softening the patient's appearance and staving off more aggressive interventions. A facelift is at the other end of that scale, being about the most invasive facial rejuvenating procedure. Facelifts traditionally address deformities of the lower face, cheeks and neck. A facelift can be done by itself or it can be combined with other procedures including injectables, peels, laser skin resurfacing, a browlift and/or blepharoplasties (eyelid rejuvenation procedures).
Traditionally, a facelift involves incisions on both sides of the face which start in the hair above the ear, then travel around the contours of the front of the ear to the groove behind the ear and then out into the scalp skin behind the ear. An additional incision is often performed beneath the chin. The skin is lifted off the face and the fat layer beneath the skin (the submuscular aponeurotic system or SMAS) is manipulated to try to treat the jowls and facial lines. The superficial muscle of the neck and the fat layers around it are also addressed to combat any neck deformity (e.g. a turkey neck). Finally, both the neck skin and the facial skin are re-draped to provide a smoother, more youthful appearance. Concurrently, any persistent hollows or depressions in the face which make the patient look older exist are treated with an injection of the patient's own fat.
Unlike injectables, in which many patients will return to work on the same day as their procedure, the recovery course for facelift patients is longer. Most patients will refrain from returning to normal activities for at least a week or two to let the telltale signs of the facelift - the bruising and swelling, subside. Small amounts of swelling will persist for weeks following surgery and some patients find that variable areas of the face exhibit waxing and waning swelling. Bleeding is another worrisome complication and must be dealt with quickly. Almost all patients will experience some temporary numbness in their cheeks. Usually this fades over a few weeks to a couple of months. Weakness of the muscles that move the face can be seen in some patients too. Usually, with time, this problem resolves by itself as well.
Please contact Dr. Campbell's office should you have any questions or if you wish to book a consultation appointment.