The face lift cosmetic procedure is the fifth most popular plastic surgery procedure performed each year with the majority of patients being women obviously, which is understandable since women are judged on appearance more than men. There are many different types of face lift procedures and almost all types work. While this cosmetic procedure is popular, the extensive recovery time as well as the complications and risks usually push those considering this procedure to look into other wrinkle minimizing techniques such as Botox.
Face Lift Cosmetic Surgery Risks and Complications
1. As with any surgical procedure, there is always the risk of infection and the development of blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs leading to fatal results.
2. Bleeding is also a major risk during and after this procedure. A great deal of blood can collect under the skin (hematoma) which could actually damage the skin if not treated promptly. Hematomas occur more in men than women and usually arise within the 24 hour period after the surgery. Once a hematoma arises, the patient will be required to be taken to the operating room immediately.
After the cosmetic face lift procedure, the head must be kept above the level of the heart for at least 3 weeks. Lying on your face or picking up something off the floor can very quickly lead to bleeding including hematomas.
3. Scarring is to be expected with any face lift procedure but the quality of the scarring is determined by how you heal naturally as well as the skill level of the face lift surgeon you use. So bad face lift scars is a risk if you undergo this cosmetic procedure.
4. Nerves located in the face may suffer injury during the procedure which is why you need a highly skilled surgeon who fully understands the anatomy in order to reduce this risk of nerve damage.
Types of Cosmetic Face Lift Surgery Procedures
1. SMAS Lift
The superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) lift is the most common technique used. The SMAS represents the collection of muscles as well as the fibrous tissue that covers the area from the forehead to the neck. This layer can be lifted by the surgeon which can also help to reduce the jowls.
Starting from the eyebrow area, an incision is made that goes all the way to the ear (front, inside and behind) and ending in the hair. The skin is then lifted until he or she reaches the nasolabial folds. The skin on both sides of the face is lifted until they connect underneath the chin. If fat needs to be suctioned out underneath the chin, another incision may be made in the chin.
After this skin lifting is performed, the SMAS layer of tissue is then also lifted. Paying attention to the direction of the wrinkles on the skin as well as the color of the skin, the skin is then pulled and any excess skin cut away.
Stitches that are very strong are then required to keep the new face in place. These stitches are usually made behind and above the ears using fine stitches as well as dissolving stitches in some areas. Dermabond glue may also be used on areas that may scar badly if stitches are used such as some areas behind the ears. Staples which are gentler than stitches are then used in the scalp. Once this is completed, the chin incision if any is closed and a dressing applied.
2. Mini Face Lift Surgery (S-Lift)
Mini face lift surgery usually involves shorter incisions and the skin is not lifted as aggressively as with a full face lift. When you do not have a lot of excess skin, a mini face lift surgery is advised, as only a small amount of skin is removed which then requires minimal tightening.
3. Mid Face Lift Surgery
Face lift surgery is really considered a neck lift especially when you consider the steps in the common SMAS lift. Because of this, it does not do much for the nasolabial folds or sagging cheeks. The mid face lift surgery procedure is meant to solve these issues but is very complicated to perform.
The mid face lift cosmetic procedure also known as the cheek lift commonly requires an incision underneath the eyelids. The cheek is then separated from the bone below as well as the skin above. The cheek is then lifted so that it is at a higher level. This is more complicated in practice than in theory.
4. Endotine Mid Face Suspension
With this procedure, a piece of Velcro-like material is placed on the top of the cheekbone.
Incisions are created on the hairline or in the mouth and then the cheeks are lifted and placed on this piece of Velcro-like device which helps to place sagging cheeks on a higher level. This Velcro-like device will then dissolve in about a year but the scar tissue that develops around this device (from the body’s response to this foreign object) helps to keep the cheeks in place which makes this a great and promising procedure however the long term effects are still unknown as the procedure was only approved in 2003.
5. The Endoscopic Face Lift
Through a high tech device known as an endoscope which is a tube that features a camera on its end, cosmetic face lift surgery is then performed using small incisions. However, most face lift procedures require large incisions especially if a lot of skin is to be removed.
In addition, many face lifts that only require small incisions can be done without the need for an endoscope.
6. The Threadlift or Featherlift
This is also known as the one stitch face lift and uses barbed stitches in much the same way as fishhooks that are then embedded into the cheek fat. In order to elevate the cheeks, the stitches are physically lifted which helps to lift sagging cheeks.
The risks of this procedure are low since no tissue is cut. Can also be used to lift the jowls, nasolabial folds, brows, etc.
While acupuncture which uses needles that are inserted into the skin in various areas of the body including the face is a key aspect of traditional Chinese medicine and has been effective in treating many health conditions, there just isn’t much scientific support for acupuncture face lift being able to improve one’s appearance. But many people still swear by this procedure to help them look younger.
Acupuncture face lift costs between $1,000 and $2,000 over five weeks for 12 treatments. Each treatment usually takes an hour to complete. After these twelve treatments, monthly maintenance is required.
There are many other types of procedures to lift the face with various surgeons tweaking each procedure here and there to suit their purposes. Each surgeon will usually consider the technique he or she uses the best cosmetic procedure. In selecting a surgeon you simply need to compare the techniques used by the different surgeons, their skill level, the complications and risks, the recovery time, etc, before you decide what technique will work for you.
Face Lift for Men
Only a small fraction of men undergo face lift cosmetic surgery each year because there are many associated problems with this procedure for men. First of all, the procedure removes the area of skin that is hairless that is between the ear and the sideburns. While this is not an issue for women, it gives men a bizarre look.
Secondly, makeup is usually required for many weeks and even months after the procedure to hide the scars behind and in front of the ears. Lastly, women in addition to makeup also use their longer hair to cover the scars behind the ears.
Having short hair and being averse to wearing makeup makes the this cosmetic procedure a complicated procedure for men in addition to the various inherent risks of this cosmetic procedure.
How Long Does the Face Lift Procedure Last?
On average, the results of this procedure last about seven years. The aging process continues even after the procedure so the continued effects aging is to be expected. But the results do last a long time. In addition, a 60 year old woman who had a face lift 10 years previously will not look as ravaged by time as a 60 year old who never had this procedure done.
Face Lift Surgery Cost
The cost of a face lift will vary from one surgeon to another as well as also being based upon the techniques used. For instance the cost of a mini face lift or mid face lift will vary significantly from that for a full face lift.
While you can expect the cost of a face lift to be about $7,000 on average, in actuality, it can vary from about $4,000 to as much as $20,000.