Our face is the most important organ of communication, used to express our feelings. Facial mimicry allows us to express our inner feelings without words. Each expression of our face foresees the muscle contraction of the furrier muscles, thus the skin above our face muscles takes different shapes. This leads to the so-called expression wrinkles. The normal ageing process brings a loss in skin elasticity and tone on the face and neck, which makes expression wrinkles more evident and the face look more tired and relaxed and not so bright.
A facelift surgery is now more requested to remodel the features of one’s face and appreciate our image in the mirror. The term “facelift” is used to indicate a group of procedures mainly aimed at giving new tone and rejuvenating those parts of our face that now look older. Nowadays, tissue lifting does not only regard the cutis, but even the muscles below in order to bring back the original tone of the face without making significant changes to our features and allowing a longer-lasting effect.
Why undergo this surgery?
Facelift is a group of surgery procedures aimed at remodeling the cutaneous, subcutaneous and muscle tissues of the forehead, cheeks and cervical-face areas in order to have a younger looking face and reduce expression wrinkles. The motility of the face muscles remains unchanged, thus the face maintains its natural expressivity. Sometimes, the excess ageing of tissues, the great number of wrinkles and the loss of face tone can make someone lose their confidence and feel not at ease with themselves. The reasons why a patient undergoes this kind of surgery are to: - rejuvenate the face with a natural effect; - redesign the shape of the face especially near the jaw and cheekbones; - eliminate excess skin to give tone to the treated area and reduce expression wrinkles.
What needs to be done before surgery?
Speaking to the plastic surgeon before the surgery helps eliminate doubts and perplexities and understand exactly how the surgery will be made out and all options suitable for one’s case. In order to achieve the best result, all possible variables to the surgery procedure will be taken into account depending on the patient’s physical characteristics and needs. The visit is non-binding and gives one the possibility to have all the information regarding the surgery and post-surgery programme, the drugs to take, analyses and check-ups to do and costs.
How is the surgery performed?
The surgery alternatives are: - Mini-Lift (sectorial lift): minimally invasive technique made under local anaesthesia with sedation. It allows restoration of the taper and tension of the skin and muscles in one specific sector of the face – forehead, cheek or jaw. The surgery lasts between 1 and 2 hours. - Facelift: it allows the lift and stretching of the skin and muscles below using a more extended surgery. This allows the rejuvenating of the forehead, cheeks and jaw at the same time. This surgery lasts about 4 hours. In the case of a mini-lift, small incisions are made hidden in the front scalp, the area before the ears or the scalp behind the ears depending on which sector has been selected. The incision allows the disconnection of the face cutis from the muscles below. The latter are then repositioned higher and towards the back of the face. The skin is then redistributed with a minimum stretching and all excess amounts are eliminated. The surgery ends with the sutures made using internal stitches or very thin threads. A few drains; which will be removed after 24 hours - may be required under or behind the ear. Finally, a compressive dressing is placed to reduce the oedema. In the case of a facelift, the incision line is continuous and begins in the hair above the temples, continues in front of the ear, passes the earlobe, turns behind the ear and ends up in the hair near the nape. This incision allows the lifting of cutaneous, subcutaneous and muscle tissue that are fixed using internal stitches above their original position. The skin is then redistributed over the muscles below and all excess amounts are eliminated. The surgery ends with the sutures, possible placing of a drainage and a compressive dressing to reduce the oedema.
What happens after the operation?
Normally requires one day of hospitalization. Drain removal occurs 24 hours after the surgery, whilst the compressive dressing is removed 24 hours later. Stitches are removed after about 10 days from the surgery; the wounds can then be washed. Until then do not have a bath or shower. Rest and limited movements of the face are advised in the days following the surgery. Return to work is after 7 days, whilst return to sport activity is after about 30 days.
Patients normally suffer light pain, swelling, reddening and bruises in the treated area during the first days following the surgery. Post-surgery issues may be kept under control using normal painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Residual scars are well hidden in the hair in case of scalp incision and in the area behind the ear. Initially visible and red, they become almost invisible after some time.
A good outcome of the surgery depends on the patient’s initial clinical conditions, his/her healing capacity and compliance with the doctor’s post-surgery indications, namely avoid inappropriate movements and sun exposure until complete healing of the scars. The outcome is evident from the very first days after the surgery. Nonetheless, the aging process will reduce the result during the years.
What are the possible risks?
Possible though rare complications linked to the surgery are hematomas and bleeding, infections, delayed healing of the surgery wound, bad healing, change in skin sensitivity.