- Face-lift (Rhytidectomy)
- Are there different types of face-lift procedures?
- Reasons a face-lift is considered
- What happens during your first consultation for a face-lift?
- What risk factors and complications are associated with a face-lift?
- How is a face-lift procedure done?
- After a face-lift - What to expect during recovery
- Face-lift FAQs
Reasons a face-lift is considered
Aging can have the effect of making a person’s face a little more rectangular in shape. Face-lifts, as a cosmetic procedure offer people the opportunity to achieve a more youthful appearance to the lower portions of their face (making it appear more heart-like).
As we age, our faces can become ‘hollowed’ (hollow-looking) or appear to be storing fat in undesirable places along with crepe-looking skin. Cellular elasticity and fat volume changes can be lost with age, especially around the cheeks and eyes, giving a more drawn appearance. The skin then naturally develops folds and begins to sag or droop.
Factors which can speed up the aging process also have an effect on the skin, sometimes well before it naturally should. Natural aging processes are heavily influenced by various environmental and behavioural factors, such as air pollution, sun exposure, poor nutrition habits (including extreme dieting programmes), overuse of alcohol, smoking and stress.
The most common reasons a person may consider a face-lift are:
- Loose facial skin, especially around the jowls (lower jawline)
- Sagging or sunken cheeks
- Deeper creases or lines around the lower eyelids (hollowed looking eyes), chin and lips (thinning lips)
- A loss of definition in the face
- Excess fat in the neck
- The development of visible platysmal bands (bands of skin around the neck)
What makes you an ideal candidate for a face-lift?
Various factors will be assessed by a surgeon prior to booking a face-lift procedure. The most important of all is a meeting of expectations. A surgeon can only achieve what is realistically possible and a potential candidate not only needs to be well aware of this, but desire a realistic result too. Knowing potential limitations is also important to realistically understand and be comfortable with before proceeding with this surgery. If expectations are realistic from the get-go, chances are the preparation process can commence.
Various factors will be assessed to pre-determine whether a face-lift procedure can achieve the best results or if an alternative treatment option may be better. These include:
- Elasticity of the skin: A surgeon will want to assess the skin and level of elasticity to check whether it is likely to be able to conform to the new contours following the procedure. Some natural suppleness and flexibility is needed for this, as well as for the healing process.
- Bone structure: A well-defined underlying bone structure is also important in order to be able to provide support. This helps to achieve more satisfying results. Individuals with less distinct features may not be able to achieve the best results with a face-lift procedure. Instead facial implants could be considered either as an alternative or in combination with a lift procedure if the surgeon feels it is achievable.
- Overall health condition: A surgeon will wish to know a complete medical history in order to make a realistic assessment for face-lift surgery. If a person has any pre-existing medical conditions, these must be disclosed, as well as if any medications or supplements are being taken. A surgeon will also note whether a person is ‘physically fit’ enough to handle the ‘trauma’ of such a surgical procedure (i.e. is physically able to handle both the surgery and recovery period).
What factors may not make you an ideal candidate?
A surgeon may not recommend face-lift surgery (or take caution) if any of the following comes to light during a consultation:
- Serious medical conditions (mental and physical), including hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes – these can increase the risk of severe complications.
- Tobacco use and cigarette smoking – this can interfere with the healing process. If a person wishes to have a face-lift they may be requested to stop smoking altogether ahead of time, as well as during recovery.
- The taking of aspirin or other blood-thinning medications – these will need to be stopped at least one week prior to surgery as they can increase the risk of bleeding and blood clotting.
- A history of weight gain and loss (repeated) – Skin that is repeatedly stretched can become loose prematurely once again. A surgeon will be cautious about recommending a face-lift if this becomes apparent during a consultation.
What else should you consider beforehand?
Medical health insurance providers do not typically cover the cost of a cosmetic procedure even through it is regarded as a major surgery. If not performed for functional reasons, cosmetic procedures will generally need to be privately paid for in full. This will include the surgeon’s fee for the procedure, the operating facility (hospital or clinic), the anaesthesiologist’s fee, prescribed medications, and other services (such as a follow-up post-surgery).
In some instances, a medically functional reason may be partially covered. It is advisable to check this with a medical health insurance provider beforehand if applicable.