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With time, a person may begin to notice signs of age in their face and neck, including slack skin or a loss of volume. A facelift or necklift is generally considered the gold standard for facial rejuvenation, often improving a patient’s youthful countenance by up to ten years. Facelifts reduce the appearance of ageing by tightening skin, by improving the contours of cheeks, jowls and neck, and by removing fatty tissue of the chin and neck. For maximum results, a facelift or necklift is often performed in combination with eyelid lifts (blepharoplasty), fat transfer to the face, and laser skin resurfacing.
Men and women are equally interested in maintaining an appearance of youth and energy. The ideal candidates for a facelift have loose skin of the neck and jowls, creases in the cheeks and nasolabial folds, loss of volume in the cheeks, and sometimes fatty tissue in the chin. Patients with less sun damage and non-smokers will often have better results from their surgery.
Facelifts and necklifts are performed with IV sedation or general anesthesia. Incisions are made around and behind the ears. At this point, liposuction is performed over the chin and jowl area to remove excess fatty tissue. Loose skin on the neck, cheeks and jowls is lifted to expose the underlying layers of superficial fat, known as SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system). During a facelift or necklift, the SMAS layer is important for reshaping underlying tissue. The SMAS is tightened and repositioned to improve the shape and fullness of the patient’s cheeks, neck, and jowls. Excess skin is removed and incisions are hidden in the creases around the ear. Drains are then placed behind the ear to reduce swelling in the patient’s neck and lower face. After the incisions are closed, fat grafts can be placed in the creases and contours of the cheeks and laser skin resurfacing can be performed. Patients are placed in a surgical neck support to help reduce swelling in the neck and face following surgery.
After a facelift or necklift, patients should wear a neck support for their first week of recovery. Sutures are removed after one week. After that first week, patient’s should continue to wear their neck support at night. Makeup can be applied to cover up minor bruising. Patients should massage their fat grafts and care for any areas of laser resurfacing for at least two weeks following the procedure.
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