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Things to Consider Before Having a Facelift

A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a facial rejuvenation procedure aimed at improving the lower face and neck. There are many different approaches to facelifts with varying amounts of skin undermining and variability in results. In this article, we will address some of the questions to ask with any facelift and some of the risks associated with all facelifts. As always, this is merely an introduction and all risks and benefits should be clearly explained by your physician before any procedure is undertaken.

The amount of aging in the face and neck and patient expectation of results will dictate the type of facelift performed. Generally,incisions for facelift procedures are performed in a way which, when healed, are barely perceptible. There are several options for incisions and it is important to ask your physician where the incisions will be – especially if you have previous surgery in the facial area. Any incision can be expected to be red for a time period – sometimes even several months – though they can generally be covered by a hairstyle or makeup after a time period. Be sure to mention to your physician if you have a history of healing abnormalities, especially keloid formation, as this can occur again after facelift surgery.

Bruising and swelling are variable after face lift surgery. Generally, the more extensive the facelift, the more bruising and swelling that occurs. The good news is that all bruising and swelling goes away. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking aspirin, other prescription blood thinners, and any herbal supplements as all of these can increase bruising.

Numbness can be expected for a time after facelift surgery. The numbness is in the area operated on and sometimes the ear as well. This is generally temporary though it can be permanent. Most, if not all of the nerves will regrow though it can take several months for sensation to return to normal. This is feeling only and does not affect the smile or other facial movement.

Depending on the extent of the facelift that is done, there is a variable risk of injuring the nerve which provides movement to most of the muscles to the face. Again, this can be temporary or possibly permanent. Even with the most extensive facelifts though, the risk is only a maximum of about 2% of the time. It is very important to speak with your surgeon about your risk of nerve injury before undergoing the procedure.

There is a possibility of changing the look of the ear as well. Depending on the facelift technique used, the ear may be pulled forward or down, though this is rather unlikely. At times, even with the best of procedures and technical operations, there is a chance of scarring which creates an earlobe which is attached to the side of the face, referred to as a pixie ear. This can be easily repaired with an additional procedure after the original facelift has healed.

As mentioned, it is very important to discuss the risks and benefits of any procedure with your surgeon before you proceed with that procedure. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any prescription or over the counter medications you are taking – including herbal supplements – as these can affect healing.