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The skin on our faces seems to drip down to the neck, like a melting candle, as we age. Since none of us can reverse the effects of gravity or time we all, eventually begin to notice the sagging cheeks and jowls. Most women, over the age of about forty, begin to pull at their faces to try to imagine the effect that a facelift would have upon them. They then question what is actually involved with a facelift and how long will the effect of surgery last. It is critical to remember that a facelift is not just the lifting of the facial skin and does not replicate what the fingers do to the face in the mirror. As we age, we lose the elasticity of the skin. Gravity, the effects of the sun, and smoking cause permanent damage, which results in ‘the melting candle effect’. The intention of the surgery is to restore and enhance the innate features of the face without distortion or evidence of scars. This surgical change does not last forever. Faces continue to age even after surgery, but the aging process begins from a more youthful appearance. You will never look like you did before the surgery and many people never need another facelift; that decision is entirely up to you.

The classic facelift was developed in Europe around the turn of the century; this lift involved only the pulling of the skin rendering that taut, pulled appearance like standing behind a jet engine at full throttle. That type of lift is rarely performed today. Instead, the modern facelift involves a tightening of the underlying structures improving the laxity of the cheeks, neck and jowls, and the skin is rejuvenated without pulling.

When a facelift is considered, of course an experienced, well-qualified plastic surgeon will be selected. The interview with your surgeon is very important for you to have your questions answered and to develop a comfortable relationship. Your surgeon will ensure that you have the right motivation and information to proceed. You should be willing to stop smoking, engage in a reasonable exercise and nutritional program, and avoid severe sun and tanning light exposure.

View Our Post Facelift Surgery Before and After Photos

The surgery is generally performed in an out-patient setting with sedation for anesthesia. The operation includes an elevation of the skin from the soft tissue, beneath. In the cheek and jowl areas, fixation of the delicate tissue and fat, beneath is accomplished with specialized suture material. In the neck, the thin muscle, just under the skin, is tied in the middle and fixed behind the ears to support the lift. In this way, the foundation is provided for the skin of the face to be favorably repositioned. The scalp above and behind the ear is closed so that the hairline is restored. A light dressing is applied without tension.

You will be seen by your doctor the day following surgery and then weekly until you are fully healed. The first few days post-operatively, you will be doing very little, other than healing, drinking plenty of fluids and resting with your head elevated to reduce the swelling. Facial skin heals very quickly because of the very rich blood supply, so the skin stitches are removed within the week of your surgery.

Following surgery to maintain glowing skin, the most important skin care instructions, include the avoidance of cigarettes and sun, continuing a good diet and exercise program and getting plenty of sleep, thereby reducing stress to the lowest level possible. Remember: ‘it is the confident woman that we see as beautiful. Beauty comes from within and shines outward.’

Marcia V. Ormsby, M.D.

Did You Know: Patients who have facial surgery with Dr. Ormsby also receive complimentary pre & post op skin care treatments with surgery – click here to learn about skin care treatments