What Anesthesia is Used for a Facelift?
We perform our facelifts under local anesthesia with MAC sedation, very similar to that of a colonoscopy. While we do not use general anesthesia, our patients are completely asleep and feel absolutely nothing during the procedure awakening only when we’re done with no memory at all of the surgery.
This combination of MAC sedation and local anesthesia is overall ‘lighter’ and hence safer than general anesthesia with substantially less postoperative nausea and vomiting (as much as 40% less).
What Happens After the Facelift Surgery? Is There any Pain?
For the first 18 or so hours after surgery, we place our patients in a bulky dressing to reduce any immediate postoperative bruising and swelling. At the time of the first visit, the day after surgery, we remove the bulky dressing replacing it with a washable, removable, lightweight, facelift garment to be worn at nighttime. The incisions require no special care after surgery. Most of our patients can shower and shampoo their hair on the first or second postoperative day.
Our patients have very little pain afterwards and rarely require more than one of the pain pills we prescribe. Most can return to very light daily activities the day after surgery. Numbness of the cheeks in front of the ear and tightness in the face in general are quite normal and subside quickly.
Our facelifts are outpatient procedures. Following the surgery and after a short stay in our recovery room, our facelift patients are discharged directly home, accompanied by a responsible adult. As with all our major procedures requiring intravenous sedation, we require someone to pick you up after surgery and stay with you for the first night. For those who have no one to help them for the first night following surgery, or for those who prefer it, we can arrange an overnight stay in a nearby convalescent facility.
What is the Downtime Following a Facelift?
We remove all sutures and staples seven to ten days after the procedure. For most patients, any significant swelling has largely disappeared by that time. Almost all of our patients are quite presentable prior to suture removal, usually by the sixth or seventh postoperative day, and can resume more normal activities by then. If it occurs, bruising is usually minimal and rapidly descends into the lower neck where is can be easily covered up by a high collar.
Depending on what type of work you do, you should plan to take at least a week off to heal after facelift surgery.
When Do I See the Doctor after the Facelift Surgery?
We see all our facelift patients on first day after surgery. At that time, we remove the bulky dressing and any drains placed, redress the incisions, and replace the dressing with a comfortable, lightweight, removable facelift garment. Usually no subsequent visits are required prior to removing the sutures and staples beginning on the seventh postoperative day. After removing the staples and sutures, the next visit is in two to three weeks after surgery.
When Will I See the Results of the Facelift Surgery? Are the Scars Noticeable?
Our goal is to restore your face to the way you looked you ten or so years before. We do not want to change your appearance, just refresh and rejuvenate it. After our facelifts, we never see the ‘windswept’ look characteristic facelifts of the seventies, as the tension of the lift is on the tissues beneath the skin, and not the skin itself.
You will start to see the results of the facelift within a week. How you look a month or two after surgery is how you will look for the next five to ten years depending on your personal habits and heredity. It should be noted that no cosmetic surgeon can guarantee how long the beneficial effect of surgery will last.
A truly accomplished and experienced surgeon leaves scars that are virtually undetectable and after years of performing facelift surgery, Dr. Fisher’s scars fall into that category.
How Long Will the Beneficial Results of a Facelift Last?
Our goal is to restore your face to the way you looked you ten or so years before. We do not want to change your appearance, just refresh and rejuvenate it, giving you a natural unoperated look.
You will start to see the results of the facelift within a week. How you look a month or two after surgery is how you will look for the next five to ten years depending on your personal habits and heredity. It should be noted that no surgeon can guarantee how long the beneficial effect of this surgery will last.
Are There any Risks or Complications of Facelift Surgery?
There are risks and complications associated with any surgery. However, when our simple instructions are followed, they are fortunately few and far between. Very rarely, bleeding in the operated area can occur immediately following surgery requiring us to reopen some of the incisions to stop it. Infection is possible, but to date – we have not seen this is any of our patients. Loss of skin behind or in front of the ear is also possible, but our technique makes this highly improbable. Damage to a branch of the facial nerve controlling certain facial muscles of expression can happen, but this is very rare and almost always resolves.
Our overall safety record to date is impeccable and our complication rate is exceedingly low.
What is a “Mini” Facelift?
People vary greatly in how they age and what they need to rejuvenate their faces. Sometimes, if there is not a great deal to do to improve the neck, we can utilize a smaller procedure commonly known as a ‘Mini-lift’. The difference between this and full facelift is the extent we have to go behind the ear to tighten the neck skin and extent we undermine the skin of the cheeks and neck. In a ‘mini-lift’, we generally do not go behind the ear very far, nor undermine the skin of the neck. Both mini-lifts and full facelift address the cheeks and jowls in the same manner just to a different degree. Recovery time with the ‘mini-lift’ is slightly less than a full facelift. Whenever possible we opt for a less extensive surgical procedure, however, in our experience, most people we see require a full facelift to get the results they want.