Facelift, Cheek Lift and Neck Lift Surgery
With the aging process, the skin becomes less elastic allowing gravity to imprint changes on the face and the neck. Skin becomes looser causing folds around the mouth, fat shifts to flatten cheeks and muscles loosen creating neck bands. A facelift (rhytidectomy) pulls up on drooping skin and sagging muscles to reverse these changes. In most patients the benefits of a facelift are most pronounced in the lower cheek (jowls) and in the neck area with a revitalized chin and neck contour. The classical facelift designed to improve both the neck and cheeks in the older patient may be individualized to suit the needs of younger patients in their late thirties and forties who tend to have more localized and earlier effects of aging and gravity’s pull. Thus, the cheek and the neck components may be performed separately or in a more limited fashion: a neck lift, a cheek lift, a “mini-lift” or an “S-lift” may be more applicable for some. Furthermore, both a classical facelift or more limited procedures can be combined with other procedures such as a forehead (brow lift) to rejuvenate the upper one third of the face. In fact, a facelift and a brow lift are often performed together. Laser resurfacing or a deep chemical peel may serve as complementary modalities to further improve skin texture and smooth out wrinkles. Fat transfer, fillers or cheek implants may be useful in the central cheek region for some patients to plump the hollowness and restore volume lost by the aging process. Whichever procedure or combination of procedures is used, a facelift should leave a natural and harmonious appearance, gracefully setting back the aging clock.
View a full list of our facial plastic surgery procedures here.
Before/After Facelift Surgery
During your consultation Dr. Zemplenyi will obtain your photographs, analyze them with you and address your cosmetic concerns. He will advise you on the various techniques available for their correction. We wish to empower you to make an informed decision about those procedures best for you and custom tailored to your individual needs. As a facial plastic surgeon Dr. Zemplenyi is well-trained and experienced to perform the multiple rejuvenation procedures listed above including their many variations. A history and physical examination by the primary care physician along with an electrocardiogram (EKG) and laboratory work is recommended for pre-operative clearance for patients above fifty years of age and as indicated by other medical problems. An additional pre-operative visit is usually scheduled with Dr. Zemplenyi to further discuss the planned surgery, to obtain informed surgical consent and to review general health issues.
Surgery & Anesthesia
Our goal is to perform all surgeries without patient recollection of the procedure and with the least amount of discomfort, nausea or other anesthetic side-effects. Patients’ comfort and safety are paramount and complete monitoring is performed for all patients undergoing any anesthetic. Since all levels of anesthesia are available in our Medicare-certified, Washington state-licensed surgical center we are able to tailor the technique to a patient’s needs and wishes. Facelifts are most commonly performed under conscious sedation anesthesia (twilight sleep) although general anesthesia may be used in selected patients, especially when combined with some of other cosmetic procedures we offer. On the other hand, mini-lifts or mini-facelifts can be performed under straight local anesthesia perhaps with administration of an additional oral sedative medication.
Shaving of hair is unnecessary for a facelift and other facial plastic procedures. Incisions, carefully designed for maximum camouflage, are made behind the hairline of the temple, in the crease in front of and within the ear, under the earlobe, and in the hair behind the ear.Thus, large segments of these incisions are hidden in the hair while the segment along ear are veiled in naturally creases, usually healing to faint fine lines. The skin and underlying tissues of the neck and cheek are lifted and tightened in two layers, and excess skin is removed. Dr. Zemplenyi routinely combines a facelift with fat removal from the neck (liposuction) through a small incision under the chin. Platysmal muscle bands of the neck are released and sutured together, re-establishing a tighter more contoured appearance to the neck. A compressive dressing is applied at the completion of the operation. Following a facelift, patients are discharged home accompanied by a responsible adult usually within one hour after surgery.
Before/After Facelift Surgery
After Your Facelift Surgery
Post-operative discomfort is quite easily controlled with oral medications, and many patients do not feel the need to use these medications beyond the first 24 to 48 hours. Application of ice compresses to the face and elevation of the head tend to decrease swelling and bruising. The compressive dressing is removed on the first day after the operation. Sutures in the hairline region are removed in seven to ten days. While the amount of bruising is minimized by our modern surgical techniques, the actual amount varies and depends on individual circumstances. Most of the swelling and bruising tends to resolve in ten to fourteen days, although some swelling, discoloration and tightness of the neck may last a few more weeks. Cover-up make-up is available through our esthetician services and can be applied soon after the surgery. Lymphatic drainage is sometimes used to accelerate the resolution of swelling. Following a conventional facelift most patients return to work in about ten days, but some return much more quickly, especially following less extensive procedures such as mini-lifts, S-lifts and neck lifts. Proper hair-styling also plays a role in the initial post-surgical cover-up. The final cosmetic result is achieved after about three to four months as residual changes resolve.
Do not hesitate to contact us at Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery where we serve Bellevue, Seattle and the entire Puget Sound area.
- What is a facelift?
- Much the same as you would, in front of a mirror, try to lessen the reflected facial aging changes, facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) allows the surgeon to pull up on the cheeks and pull back and up on neck tissues to reverse the laxity and drooping associated with gravity and the normal aging process. A facelift can improve the visible aging changes of the face and neck:
- Jowling around the jaw line
- Muscle bands and skin laxity in the neck
- Collection of fat beneath the chin causing a “double chin”
- Sagging mid-facial tissues
- Who is a candidate for a facelift?
- A facelift is an option for men and women who wish to regain the more youthful look that increased skin folds and sagging facial tissues now conceal. Most of our patients are individuals in their late 40s through 60s who are bothered by the effects of aging changes on the facial contour and neck profile. Patients should not smoke and be physically healthy to avoid post-operative complications. Furthermore, candidates should have realistic goals for procedure results since facelift surgery will not alter fundamental facial characteristics.
- How can I prepare for facelift?
- Taking care of your well-being will make both the surgery and recovery easier. Thus eating a healthy diet, performing regular cardiovascular exercise, avoiding smoking and keeping weight under control will promote uncomplicated healing. If you are on blood pressure medications, your hypertension should be under good control. You need to avoid blood thinners including aspirin for about ten days prior to surgery. Herbal supplements and vitamin E should likewise be avoided for that amount of time prior surgery to minimize the possibility of bleeding. We dedicate our pre-operative visit to review and counsel patients about all pertinent precautions. We require an electrocardiogram and a clearance by your primary care physician if you are over sixty and sometimes younger, as dictated by your particular health circumstances. Laboratory testing may also be indicated. You will receive and our staff will review pre-operative instructions about medications and food intake for the night before and the morning of surgery. It is also important to arrange for post-operative care with someone to pick you up after the procedure and stay with you the night following surgery. Post-operative visits will be arranged and Dr. Zemplenyi is always on call at any time after surgery for questions and concerns.
- What kind of anesthesia is used during a facelift?
- At the Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery we are dedicated to making your procedure as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible. Though we always attempt to comply with special patient requests, we recommend performance of facelift surgery under twilight sleep or general anesthesia. For general anesthesia we use experienced, board certified anesthesia providers who are dedicated to safety and comfort in our outpatient surgical setting.
- Where are facelift incisions placed?
- Locations of Incisions: The locations and extent of facelift incisions are tailored to the areas you would like to see rejuvenated. Incisions in a traditional facelift are hidden in the hairline behind the temple, continue in and around the natural crease of the ear, ending in the scalp behind the ear. For lesser amounts of lift in younger patients, the S-lift involves less extensive incisions in front of the ear with less tissue tightening and skin excision than in a traditional facelift. Its results are likely to be less long-lasting. Patients whose main concern is neck laxity, may benefit from a neck lift with an incision curving around the crease in front of the ear to the scalp behind the ear. An incision underneath the chin (submentoplasty, corset platysmoplasty) may also be necessary to tighten neck muscles. Tightening Muscle and Re-draping of Skin Whichever of the above procedures is performed, the underlying tissues are tightened and the excess skin is precisely and carefully removed and then draped over the underlying tissues. With meticulous suture technique, in most individuals, the incisions heal to a barely visible thin line, well concealed in natural facial creases.
- What is the recovery time for facelift?
- When your facelift is completed, a bandage will be placed around your face to minimize facial swelling and bruising. A thin tube may be placed to collect any fluid or blood accumulations in underlying tissues. The bandage and drain are usually removed the next day and sutures in seven to ten days. There may be tightness or some discomfort, which in most patients, is easily controlled with oral pain medication, usually for no more than 24 to 48 hours. Ice packs and elevation of the head help minimize bruising and swelling. These gradually resolve over two weeks, although in some, the discoloration and neck tightness may last longer. Patients can usually resume normal activities within one to two weeks. Over three to four months after the facelift procedure, the skin re-drapes over the newly tightened underlying tissues to reveal the rejuvenated facial contour.
- Post procedure care for facelift?
- Head elevation with cold compresses will minimize swelling and discoloration to speed recovery. Lymphatic drainage can sometimes be used to further accelerate resolution of post-operative edema. After sutures are removed, our esthetician services can suggest camouflage makeup and proper hair styling which also plays a role in post-surgical cover-up. You will receive written and verbal post-operative instructions after your surgery. It is important to arrange for post-operative care with someone to pick you up after the procedure and stay with you the night following surgery. Post-operative visits will be arranged and Dr. Zemplenyi is always on call at any time after surgery for questions and concerns.
- What are the risks with a facelift?
- In our certified and state-licensed surgical center patient safety and comfort are our main concerns. The risk to your general health from cosmetic surgical procedures including a facelift is very low. However, no surgery should ever be taken lightly, and fastidious precautions related to the entire surgical operative care must be followed. As with other cosmetic surgeries, facelift risks include: unfavorable scarring, wound healing issues, numbness, facial asymmetry, facial nerve injury with resultant weakness, infection, blood accumulation (hematoma), fluid accumulation, need for revision, bumpiness of skin, skin loss. Rare sequelae can include deep vein thrombosis, cardiac, pulmonary and anesthetic related complications.
- How much does a facelift cost?
- The cost of a facelift varies with the extent of the procedure and the type of anesthesia used. There appears to be geographic variation in the cost as well. At the Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery in the Seattle and Bellevue area, our normal price range for the complete facelift package, including professional, facility fees and anesthesia is between nine to eleven thousand dollars.