A facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedure designed to combat visible signs of aging on the face to give it a more youthful appearance. It is a popular procedure in the U.K. particularly among women, who account for 93% of all facelifts performed in the country in 2017.
As humans age, their skin gradually lose elasticity. The facial tissues under the skin will also slowly lose their volume. Over time, the body will compensate for the changes by creating wrinkles around high movement areas (around the eye and forehead), jowls and fat deposits on the lower face, and loose skin behind the ears and on the neck.
Many will become self-conscious over the changes to their face, which will cause myriad mental and psychological effects, including loss of confidence and body image issues. The effect can also negatively affect personal, social and professional relationships.
Since there is only so much that makeup and hairstyles can do, a facelift may be the only viable alternative for some women.
Before and After, Facelift (eyebrows elevation, eyelid operation and lips rejuvenation). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Successful facelifts can trigger a sudden boost in self-confidence, sense of well-being and energy. However, which types of facelifts should you choose?
The deep plane lift is the best, most comprehensive and most expensive form of facelifts. It is designed to improve the appearance of people whose face suffers from extreme facial sagging, wrinkles and large deposits of fat.
The result of a deep plane lift is quick and dramatic, particularly in the mid-face region. In extreme cases, patients sometimes become unrecognisable except to family members and close friends. Hollywood actress Renee Zellweger’s dramatic facial change is a good example of this (although she strongly denies any suggestion of cosmetic surgery).
Although it is an expensive procedure (upwards of £10,000 at reputable clinics), the effect can last for up to 15 years, which makes it a cost-effective investment to many.
A superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) lift focuses on the top layers of skin and the tissues immediately below them, mainly around the middle to lower face and neck areas. The procedure is performed through an incision made at the hairline. Cosmetic surgeons will use the incision to remove excess tissues and redundant skin. SMAS lifts are targeted for patients with mild to medium aging symptoms.
Short scar facelifts is a term used to describe a broad range of lifts made through small incisions made at multiple locations around the face. The most frequent type of incisions are the S-shaped and cranial suspension lift (MACS), which are typically made just in front of the ear or at the temple. The procedure is used to resolve minor issues such as isolated wrinkles and deep smile or frown lines.
Endoscopic facelifts is a complicated and expensive procedure with very limited returns. Multiple incisions are made on the patients face to allow tiny cameras to be inserted under the skin. They will then be remotely manipulated to take and transmit video images of the patient’s internal facial structure to an external monitor. Armed with this information, cosmetic surgeons will be able to perform cheek lifts.
The midface lift targets the middle third of a patient’s face. The procedure is effective at lifting sagging cheeks and restoring nose to mouth tightness.
This is a relatively new non-invasive procedure which involves injecting stem cells, harvested from fat cells, into sunken and flat areas of the face such as cheeks, temples and lips. The procedure is significantly more expensive that traditional fat augmentation, while yielding almost similar short term results.
This non-surgical procedure involves manual injections of fillers made from collagens, sugar and hyaluronan. Dermal fillers are chiefly used to reduce wrinkling owing to their wrinkle-smoothing properties.
Fine thread contour (FTC) therapy is a non-invasive procedure used to tighten and lift sagging skin tissues by inducing the production of collagen in the body.
Facelifts, especially non-invasive ones, are very low risk procedures. Nevertheless, patients should be aware of possible complications that could arise from facelifts.
• Infection: Post-surgical wounds that are not looked after or exposed to the air can attract bacterial infections. Please ensure wounds are regularly dressed and kept dry.
• Hematoma: The most frequent post-operative complication is hematoma, or bleeding. It affects between 1 and 15% of patients, especially those suffering from high blood pressure.
• Nerve injury: Trained and licensed cosmetic surgeons are very aware of the risk of nerve injuries, both temporary and permanent, during surgery. This is why patients should never go to beauticians or unlicensed therapists for facelifts.
• Hair loss: Incisions made on the hair line can lead to permanent hair loss. Again, make sure the procedure is performed by a trained surgeon to minimise any potential risk. What’s the point in looking younger when you have small bald spots on your upper forehead?