Facelift Procedure by Dr. Lee, San Diego
What Can A Facelift Do For You?
Facial wrinkles are part of life's inevitable aging process. Stress, smoking, sun exposure, and genetics compound the aging process. These conditions lead to drooping of the eyebrows, and excess skin on the upper and lower lids. In addition, the cheeks become more flattened, the lips thin, and jowls form on the lower jaw. The neck is also affected as vertical bands form and excess skin develops.
A facelift can help "set back the clock," improving these signs of aging. Underlying muscles are tightened and placed back where they belong, and the skin is redraped on the face and neck. Because facial aging normally involves the entire face, complementary procedures such as a forehead lift or browlift, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, and cheek and/or chin implants may be added to yield a balanced, rejuvenated appearance.
As we age, we also lose volume in our faces. In order to achieve the best improvements, facial rejuvenation often includes BOTOX® and fillers or fat injections to add a youthful fullness to the cheeks and lips, and to help fill out skin folds on the sides of the mouth.
Modern facelifts use techniques to restore a youthful, full and vibrant look to the face. Older facelifts focused simply on tightening of the skin.
This procedure is performed by your triple board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Gilbert Lee, who has been voted by the San Diego Medical Society "Top Doctor" for the past 6 years running. Read more about Dr. Lee's qualifications on his CV.
Facelift Surgery Photos
These facelift photos were taken of patients in San Diego who received facelift surgery at Changes Plastic Surgery. Visit our online facelift photo gallery for more before and after pictures.
This 62-year old woman complained about facial aging. Dr. Lee perfomed an endoscopic browlift, corset platysmaplasty, perioral dermabrasion, mid facelift and lower face and necklift. The "after" picture was taken 3 months post-op.
Determining Your Candidacy for a Facelift
The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.
A facelift can help you look younger and rejuvenated, and can enhance your self-confidence in the process. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your desired look, and the procedure(s) that will best achieve this result.
Preparing For Facelift Surgery
Along with your plastic surgeon, you play an important role in optimizing your outcome. Effective pre-operative skin care can expedite your recovery and enhance the surgical results. Skin heals better when it is properly cleaned and hydrated. The best time to begin pre-operative skin care is when the surgical decision has been made.
Your surgeon may prescribe skin care products and a specially designed regimen that will help prepare your skin by putting it in the best possible condition for your procedure(s). For example, pre and post-operative facials can help prepare the skin and expedite its healing after surgery.
Facelift Potential Risks
When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent. Dr. Lee is a board-certified plastic surgeon, and the procedures are performed in a state licensed and Medicare certified surgical center, along with skilled anesthesiologists. These credentials help ensure the highest standards of care and your utmost safety.
Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities. The outcome is not completely predictable.
Potential complications associated with facelifts include hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon), injury to the nerves that control facial muscles (usually temporary), infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers. You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon's advice both before and after surgery.
Facelift Procedure Description
A facelift can take three to six hours depending on which components of the face require correction. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events will be outlined by your surgeon. Incisions usually begin inside your sideburns, extend inside your ear (just inside the cartilage at the front of your ear), and continue behind the earlobe in the crease behind the ear.
The surgeon then separates the skin from the underlying fat and muscle. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The underlying muscles are then tightened and the skin is pulled back, with the excess skin removed. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions.
Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any fluid that might collect there. The surgeon may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
Facelift Post-Surgical Care
As with any surgery, there may be some discomfort during recovery that can be managed with medication prescribed by your surgeon. Some numbness of the skin is quite normal. It will disappear in a few weeks or months.
Your doctor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery in order to keep the swelling down. If you had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed in two to four days.
Most of your stitches will be removed after about five days. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline may be left in a few days longer.
Most of the scars will be hidden within your hairline and the normal creases of your skin.
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb.
You will be given more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. You will need to avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine). Avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for several weeks, and limit your exposure to the sun for several months. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to heal.
At the beginning, your face will be swollen, but that too is part of the natural healing process. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, but during your follow-up visits, your surgeon will monitor your progress.
By the third week, you'll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. Makeup can be applied after approximately 10 days.
Your New Look
Most patients are pleased with the final results of their facelift and not only look rejuvenated, but feel better about themselves, as well. This procedure has a very high satisfaction rate and is an excellent way of "looking as young as you feel."
"If there was a man who deserves a huge "thank you" it is you. After we spoke yesterday and I learned that if I wasn't happy with the outcome of my procedure that it was 'changeable', you cannot begin to comprehend the release I felt of days of tension and anxiety. I was so amazed by my relief; it was only then that I realized how anxious I had been. Anxious that my son would be shocked and feel, when next we meet in November, that he had 'lost' his mother. But the most amazing thing of all is that this morning to my surprise, with the draining away of a week's worth of anxiety, was the draining away of a bit more of the swelling. And for the first time, I could see what you saw through the swelling, the beginnings of a beautiful face.
He looks ageless
And has the steady hand
Of a young man,
But he possesses
Ages of honed skill
And the eye of a Master.
-Thank you, Dr. Lee, Diane"
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