Face and neck lift


Lifting is a technique aimed to improve the most visible signs of aging, tensing the muscles of the face, deleting the excess of fat, and redistributing the skin of the face and neck. The loss of young contours may be associated to the thinning of the skin, loss of the facial fat, sun damage, smoking, genetic inheritance, and stress. It is performed mostly in patients aged 40-60 years old.

Stretching is always performed in an operating room, from a clinic or a hospital. The surgery can be performed with general anesthesia, the most usual procedures, or local anesthesia and sedation, depending on each particular case (more or less extensive surgery, personal wishes of the patient, etc.).

The exact placement of the incisions varies according to the structures of the face and the technique used. Incisions are initially done at the level of the temples; thus, they can be hidden with the hair. Incisions are then extended following the natural line, just in front of the ears and behind the earlobe towards the back of the scalp.

If it is necessary to working on the neck, a small incision can be made behind the chin. The skin is usually separated from the fat and underlying muscles. The fat can be removed or liposuctioned around the neck and chin to improve the shape of the face. Then the underlying muscles are tensed and, finally, the skin is removed, eliminating its excess.

Once the surgery is performed, a small tube behind the ears can be placed for a few days to drain any liquid that may accumulate. A light bandage is also usually placed.

The procedure lasts several hours, and the hospitalization depends on the type of anesthesia used. Most cases are performed with general anesthesia, so the patient must remain hospitalized until the following day. Although the results are long-lasting, many patients can repeat the treatment after 5 or 10 years. It is recommended to keep your head high for a few days in order to reduce the inflammation. After 10 days or 2 weeks you will be able to return to work.

Some complications may occur such as hematomas, motor or sensitive nerve injury, infection, unsightly scars, and anesthesia reactions. Risks can be reduced by carefully following the instructions of your plastic surgeon, both before and after the surgery.

How long does the procedure last?

It usually lasts between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the procedure.

Is hospitalization required?

It depends on the type of anesthesia used, but you will usually spend one night after the surgery, being discharged the following day. The type of anesthesia will depend on the complexity of the surgery.

How is the recovery?

Compressive bandage during the first 6-10 hours postoperatively, local cold, and a compression garment for neck and cheeks during the first 10 days. The stitches will be removed every week. You must take analgesics and have your blood pressure well controlled. It is convenient to keep the head elevated for a few days after the surgery in order to reduce the inflammation.

In the first evaluation, your surgeon will explain you in detail the processes of intervention and recovery.

Who is a good candidate for lifting?

Patients are usually between 40 and 60 years old, women and men, whose face and neck begin to “fall or drop down” but whose skin still retains some elasticity. It is also performed successfully in patients aged between 70 and 80 years old.

¿When will I be able to return to normal life?

You usually will feel a little discomfort after the surgery. The feeling of numbed skin disappears in a few weeks or months. The appearance of the face will be normal after a few weeks. Most of patients are well after 2 days, however resting should be maintained during the first week. The majority of patients return to work between 10 days and 2 weeks after the intervention.

Are the results long-lasting?

Lifting is a long-lasting treatment; however, the passage of time will continue affecting your features. Therefore, some patients will undergo a new lift after 5 or 10 years.

Can complications occur during the procedure?

When lifting is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, the complications are infrequent and minor. Some complications may occur such as hematomas, temporary or permanent damage to the nerves controlling facial muscles (very rare), infection, and anesthesia reactions. Scarring problems are more common among smokers.

How is the preoperative period?

In the first visit, the face, including the skin and the underlying bony structures, will be evaluated. Surgical possibilities will be then discussed.

You should consider that lifting does not stop the aging process.

How is the surgery?

The placement of the incisions and the steps of the surgery vary greatly depending on the degree of involvement of the structures of the face and the technique preferred by your surgeon. The initial incisions are usually done at the temples, hidden in the hair; they are extended following the natural line in front of the ears and on the neck. A small incision can also be made behind the chin. Then, the skin is separated from the fat and underlying muscles. The fat is removed; the underlying muscles are tightened, and finally, the excess of skin is eliminated.

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