Face-lift FAQs

Face-lift FAQs

Results – Is a face-lift worth it?

The main aim of a face-lift procedure is to achieve a healthier and more youthful appearance. Smoothing out loose or dropping skin, however, is not a permanent solution and cannot prevent the natural aging process.

Drooping and other signs of aging can still occur in time after having a face-lift (or any other kind of cosmetic procedure) done. Time and environmental factors such as sun exposure, as well as lifestyle habits will all have an influence on how quickly the skin ages.

Having a face-lift procedure, however, does achieve dramatic results and can ‘take years off’ their appearance. For many this dramatically reduces any anxiety they may have about growing older and improves self-confidence levels immensely.

Most signs of aging are thus dramatically reduced with this kind of cosmetic surgery, but it is not a fix for sun damage or facial wrinkles (especially around the eyes, nose or lips). Skin damage is best treated with other treatments and procedures.

Research has suggested that within 5 to 6 years after a procedure, at least 21% experience a relapse. The majority (at least 76%) of face-lift patients still look more youthful (with other signs of natural aging) than they would have had they not had the surgery.

The skill and experience of a surgeon also has some impact on how well a face-lift procedure works. The more experienced and skilled, the better the chances of a successful result with minimal risk of complications. A skilled surgeon will be well aware of how to work with male and female patients.

Both men and women can experience distorted earlobes post-op, or a startled look if too much skin is removed during the procedure.

Why is a face-lift for a man more complex to perform?

A male typically has a much richer blood supply than that of a woman in order to support the naturally thicker skin. In general, all men have thicker skin throughout the body. This makes the procedure a little more time consuming for a surgeon. A man’s beard will also need to be factored in to the time necessary to complete surgery as well as the placement of incisions.

A surgeon will typically add on about 45 – 60 minutes’ worth of time to a face-lift procedure for a man than he or she would a woman.

Incisions made are a little different for a man than they are for a woman, especially when it comes to the area near the ears. For a woman, these incisions are made in the curvature of the ear (at the side of the face as it meets the jawline).

The same incision does not work as well for a man who would normally shave the same spot For a man, the incision will need to be made a little further in on the face, making it more visible. For a surgeon, this can take longer to close up (suture) as extra care needs to be taken to stitch as carefully and neatly as possible for optimum healing.

Close-up of surgeon hands drawing markings on the face of a man preparing for cosmetic surgery.

Why is it not possible for a face-lift to completely correct wrinkles and facial lines?

It is not possible for surgery to ‘iron out’ the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is a common misconception which should not be sought out if this is the primary aim. A face-lift is not an appropriate procedure for aging skin and correcting its quality. A face-lift can only achieve a youthful look for ‘sags and bags’.

Fine lines and wrinkles are better suited to chemical or laser facial treatment or the use of cosmetic fillers, which specifically target these problems. The quality of skin cannot be corrected with surgery, any more than a wrinkled shirt can be pulled to remove creases as a substitute for having it ironed.

A surgeon will assess the problem areas of the face carefully and ensure to advise what can and can’t be done with this surgical procedure. Other areas of concern, such as wrinkles, may be referred to another specialist who is equipped with more appropriate tools to achieve the best results. If any attempt is made to stretch the skin as a means to remove fine lines, chances are that a person will only achieve a ‘just come out of a wind tunnel’ effect, which will not be appealing at all.

What is a weekend face-lift?

A weekend face-lift, also known as a mini face-lift or S-lift, is also a surgical procedure (carrying the same amount of risk), but involves less manoeuvring and repositioning of the face, as well as the removal of less tissue, than a more traditional (full) procedure.

A mini procedure concentrates of rearranging tissue either on the mid-portion of the face, or the lower third (not both). This allows a surgeon to focus on set areas (target and treat specific problem spots) of the face instead.

Smaller incisions are usually made and the use of other techniques, such as an endoscope, and other miniaturised instruments to lift and reposition tissue and skin.

Thus, the biggest differences between the two types of procedures are the size of incisions made, how many are made (at least 3), and the amount of skin and tissue removed. If problem areas don’t appear as large portions of the face (i.e. they are more localised) a mini procedure may be considered to achieve the desired result.

A mini procedure is less of an expense and recovery can be considerably shorter than a full procedure working with larger portions of the face. The downside is that results don’t typically last as long - approximately 5 to 10 years as opposed to as many as 15 years.

Some have opted for a mini procedure as a ‘touch-up’ when sagging occurs years after having a full surgery. The procedure is effective in removing minor sagging or bags around the jawline, cheeks or neck. This procedure is not normally done to correct problems around the forehead or eyes.

What is a vampire face-lift?

In recent years, the vampire face-lift (not to be confused with the vampire facial) has been made popular by a variety of high profile celebrities. Despite the name, the procedure is not a surgical one and should not be classified as a face-lift.

Instead it is a facial rejuvenation treatment that involves injectables and does not make use of general anaesthesia, surgical incisions or stitches (sutures).

This treatment harnesses the body’s natural growth and healing potential, found in the blood (hence the name) to rejuvenate skin.

For this procedure, the patient’s blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge to separate the cells and extract the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is the substance that enables clotting, stimulates collagen production and facilitates tissue regeneration and healing. Once the PRP is extracted, it is mixed with calcium chloride to form a thicker substance known as platelet-rich fibrin matrix (PRFM) an injectable hyaluronic acid dermal filler like Juvederm® or Restylane and injected into strategic areas of the face with the aim of adding volume to the cheeks and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

The benefits of this procedure are that it is minimally invasive and skin regeneration lasts for months and up to a year after the procedure. It is not, however, beneficial for those with advanced signs of aging, who would benefit more from traditional cosmetic surgery procedures such as a face-lift.

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