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Face lift - before, during and after

When considering a face lift be sure that this is the route you wish to take. A face lift cannot be reversed and may not give you the desired results. Many people believe in growing old naturally. However, others cannot live with themselves and for them having a face lift is a saving grace!

Be sure that you are the right candidate for the operation. You cannot undergo this surgery if you have any doubts. Age is not much of a factor, and most people who opt for facelifts are between the ages of 40 and 80 years old.

There are risks involved - every individual will respond differently. Some may recover immediately while others may suffer from complications. These complications do not often occur and are usually minor. They include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin which will need to be removed by the surgeon), injury (usually temporary) to the nerves which control facial muscles, infections and of course reactions to the anesthesia. Other factors may also come into play. For example, poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers.

Once you have decided to go ahead with a face lift procedure, it is up to your cosmetic surgeon to determine if you are in fit condition. He will evaluate your health and then your face structure, blood, skin, bones, etc. Your surgeon should be made aware of any illness, condition or medication used. Also remember to inform your surgeon if you do smoke or take any drugs, prescription or not. All these things play a role!

Follow the guide your cosmetic surgeon gives you before your surgery. Everything you consume will have an effect on this procedure and therefore the surgeon must be sure that you stick to the required diet. This means smokers will have to give up smoking prior to the cosmetic surgery. The surgeon should also know if you are aware of previous bad reactions to anesthesia.

A cosmetic surgeon will usually perform a facelift while you are under general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the process. However, it is possible to use a local anesthetic, combined with a sedative, which will make you feel drowsy. During the surgery you will still be awake but your face will be relaxed and numb to any feeling. You may still feel the occasional tug and some discomfort.

This will go on for several hours, depending on the exact procedure being performed. If you want very extensive surgery, including blepharoplasty and rhinoplasty for example, the surgeon may opt to do so in two separate sessions. Every cosmetic surgeon will do the surgery their own way. The exact point of incisions and sequence of events will depend on your facial structure and all those things which your surgeon has already previously evaluated. Whether he starts from top to bottom or visa versa is completely due to the surgeon's own technique.

Generally the cosmetic surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat is then trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon will then tighten the underlying muscle and membrane, pull the skin back and remove any excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.

After your facelift surgery there usually isn’t too much pain or discomfort. If you do experience either then you will receive prescribed medication to deal with this. Of course if you experience severe pain or swelling you should immediately consult your surgeon. If your skin is feeling a bit numb, don’t panic as this is quite normal and will only last a few weeks.

After your face lift surgery you should have someone drive you home and also help you out for a day or two. Your head should be kept elevated and you should keep still to keep the swelling down. Drainage tubes, if used, are removed a day or two after surgery. Bandages are removed one to five days after the surgery. Stitches are removed about five days after the surgery. The metal clips in your scalp will be removed a few days after that. Don’t expect to see immediate results once your bandages have been removed. Instead you will be faced with a pale, puffy and bruised picture of yourself. In a few weeks you will be looking normal again.

You will start feeling normal after a day or two, but remember to take it easy. Be especially gentle with face and hair, as this area is now very sensitive. As your skin is numb but slowly regaining feeling it can also be very tender. Just as before your surgery, your surgeon will give you guidelines to entering back into your normal lifestyle. This will all depend on your previous lifestyle of course, but you will need to take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise for a while. Be sure to follow all steps given.

Given time all will be healed and you will be able to appreciate the results of your face lift. You should be happy with your appearance, but remember that a face lift does not stop you from aging. Your face will continue to age at its own pace, but of course your face lift will have made a big difference. Some people opt to have another facelift a few years down the line. But even just one facelift will make a difference in years to come.


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