Face Procedures

Facelift surgery

With Dr Alaina Taylor

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Facelift surgery can turn back the years of facial aging, improve facial shape and contour and restore a more youthful appearance to the face and neck. Facial aging causes loss of skin elasticity, loss of facial fat volume, muscle atrophy and stretching and bone recession. As result it can seem as though our faces are “falling off.”

Facelift surgery can turn back the years of facial aging, improve facial shape and contour and restore a more youthful appearance to the face and neck. Facial aging causes loss of skin elasticity, loss of facial fat volume, muscle atrophy and stretching and bone recession. As result it can seem as though our faces are “falling off.” As the underlying foundation recedes, the overlying layers, all undergoing age related changes, start to droop and sag into the lower face and neck. Facelift surgery rejuvenates the face and neck by removing excess skin, tightening and lifting the underlying muscles and restoring volume.

Facelift surgery is for men and women with signs of facial aging including, deep wrinkles, loose sagging skin on the face and neck, prominent nasolabial folds, jowl formation and neck bands (platysmal bands). The age range is variable but most importantly this procedure is for patients who are generally very well. Patients with underlying medical problems, smokers and patients taking blood thinning medication may not be suitable. As always with surgery, nutrition is crucial so patients must be following a healthy diet and ideally participate in regular exercise.

Dr Taylor’s approach to face and neck lift surgery is to restore rather than alter the natural contours and subtle features of the face, whilst avoiding tell-tale signs of facelift surgery.

The procedure

Facelift surgery is performed in an accredited hospital facility under general anaesthesia. It takes approximately 3-5 hours depending on other procedures which may be included such as eyelid surgery, and involves 1-2 night stay in hospital.

Incisions are made on both sides of the face, within the hairline just above the ear, passing down in front of the ear, around the ear lobe, passing into the hairline at the back of the head. The scar is well hidden in natural creases. A skin flap is raised to access the underlying supporting tissues, including the SMAS layer, (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) which are tightened or resuspended using a combination of techniques. The skin is then lifted, pulled and ‘redraped’ over the face and the excess is excised. Lipofilling (fat grafting) to restore volume is incorporated when necessary. Drains are inserted and generally removed the next day.

A “Mini Facelift” or “Short scar facelift” can be performed for those patients whose main concern is the lower face extending to the jaw but not involving the neck. A mini facelift takes less time, has a smaller incision and generally a shorter recovery time. Whilst this might sound more appealing, it is important to choose the correct procedure to achieve the outcome which will have both longevity and a great result, so Dr Taylor will discuss your situation with you and provide you with the best recommendation.

Other procedures such as a brow lift, neck lift or eyelid surgery may be performed concurrently.

The recovery time is approximately 2-3 weeks, during which there will be some swelling and bruising which will resolve over time. A compression garment is worn to facilitate the process. Once the acute bruising and swelling has settles, it takes a few months for swelling to completely resolve and for the final result to be evident. Dr Taylor will recommend a skincare regime, which is important to optimise your skin tone and condition. Non-surgical skin rejuvenation program such as radiofrequency skin needling may be recommended in conjunction with your Facelift, to achieve the most remarkable result.

Risks and complications

Facelift surgery involves common side effects of surgery including some pain and discomfort, bruising, swelling. There will be new scars which will soften and fade over time. Changes in skin sensation can occur and are usually temporary.

Risks and complications can include bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, skin necrosis, poor scarring (eg keloid or hypertrophic scars). Nerve injury can occur during face lift surgery. The facial nerve branches, which provide innervation to the muscles of the face, can be bruised. This can cause some weakness which takes a few weeks to recover. Very rarely these branches may be cut. The greater auricular nerve supplying sensation to the lower ear skin is very close to the skin and is at risk of being divided, particularly in patients who have had previous facelift (including thread lift) procedures.

Pricing

Facelift procedures do not attract a Medicare or Private Health Insurance rebate. Pricing includes surgical fees, surgical assistant fees, hospital fees (threatre time and overnight stay), surgical garments, anaesthetist fees and GST.  A detailed quote will be provided to you following consultation with Dr Taylor.