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Face Lift

LEARN MORE ABOUT FACE LIFT PROCEDURES

A face lift can turn back the hands of time to reflect a more youthful outward appearance and improve your self-confidence and self-esteem. Aging is a natural process, but many times the reflection in the mirror does not match how youthful we feel on the inside.  Natural aging of our faces may cause us to appear older than we are and change our facial expression to one of fatigue or scowling.  A face lift can rejuvenate our appearance and restore a more youthful, vibrant expression.

EXPERIENCE & SPECIALIZATION FACIAL SURGERY IS IMPORTANT

Dr. Woods  is a facial surgery specialist.  He has twenty-three years of surgical  experience in which he has refined his expertise and skill with an accomplished aesthetic artistry to restore a more youthful, natural appearance that women and men of all ages are seeking.  The face lift procedure, more than any other cosmetic procedure, requires specific expertise and training of a facial specialist.

YOUR CONSULTATION

During your consultation, Dr. Woods will talk with you about your goals, what you should expect from your face lift, realistic outcomes, the procedure itself, and the recovery process.  He will recommend surgical options that are best suited for your desired results, age, and medical history. The Consultation gives you a chance to ask questions, share your concerns, and discuss important considerations that are involved in choosing to have a face lift.  You also will have an opportunity to look at photos of previous face lifts performed by Dr. Woods and discuss.

PROCEDURE OPTIONS

There are procedure options available to select the best face lift procedure for you.  These choices will be affected by  your age, general health and habits, and your desired results. Dr. Woods is committed to providing each patient the most outstanding, natural looking result possible with the least amount of down time.

FACIAL STRUCTURE

In evaluating your face prior to your face lift, there are a number of considerations which Dr. Woods will
assess to determine the best incision locations and optimum techniques that will provide you with the best possible result.

INCISIONS

The condition and extent of skin laxity will determine whether the incisions are placed
in the hair or along the hairline. The size and shape of the cartilage structure in front
of the ear canal (tragus) will determine if the incision will go behind this
structure or before it in a natural skin crease.

The amount of jowling and the position of the nasolabial fold will determine the angles used to reposition the SMAS. The laxity of the platysma muscle is assessed to determine whether an incision under the chin
will be needed to correct the vertical banding in this area. And finally, the amount and
location of the fatty components of the neck and face to be suctioned and contoured
will be quantified.

All of these factors are unique to each person and will determine how and where incisions should be made to provide the best, most natural looking result.

TECHNIQUE

For the majority of patients, the incision for the midface lift starts in the temporal hair
(side burn above the ear) to preserve the position of this hair tuft while hiding the
incision in the hair. The incision follows the contour of the ear as it joins the face,
along the edge of the tragus (cartilage in front of the ear canal), and then around the
ear lobe in a natural skin crease.

The SMAS is then accessed through this incision after elevating the skin. Redundant
SMAS is removed to prevent bunching and then elevated and properly re-positioned to
raise the jowl above the jaw-line and help flatten the tissue which has dropped from
the cheek into the nasolabial fold.

The incision behind the ear is hidden in the crease as it extends upward and then
crosses over to the hair behind the ear. If there is extensive skin and soft tissue laxity
requiring a greater amount of skin removal, the hairline incisions would be placed
along the hairline. This preserves the natural contour of the hairline and provides the
most direct angle to remove excess skin under the chin. If skin laxity is not
excessive, then the incisions can be maintained in the hair without significant
distortion of the hairline.

Elevating the skin behind the ear and into the neck will give access to the back border
of the platysma muscle to be anchored behind the ear. Once this muscle is tightened
on both sides, a sharper chin/neck angle will be established. This is the key to a
smooth contour in this area. Excess fat and fibrous tissue can be removed or sculpted
to enhance this shape of the neck.

If the bands in front of the neck (formed by the leading edge of the platysma) are
severe, then an incision under the chin in a natural skin crease is created, the skin
is elevated and the leading edges are sutured together to tighten the muscle and
correct this problem.

Once the deep tissues of the face and neck have been tightened and replaced in their
most youthful position, the excess skin is removed and secured with the proper
amount of tension. The incisions are closed with dissolving stitches, drains can be
placed, and a pressure dressing applied.

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

While face lifts are a common surgical procedure, each surgery has inherent risks.  Although rare, the most common problem encountered with a face lift is related to excessive bleeding shortly after the surgery. This can create too much tension on the skin and impair normal blood flow to the skin edges and compromise proper healing.

To prevent this from occurring, meticulous care is taken to control bleeding
intra-operatively using good surgical technique, cauterization, drains, and
compression dressings. It will be important for you to strictly adhere to pre- and post-operative instructions, as that will help diminish these risks.

The risk of infection is a possibility, but this is significantly diminished due to the
superior blood flow of the soft tissues of the face. Excellent sterile technique,
antibiotics during and after the surgery, good hemostasis and surgical
technique combined with good wound care will decrease the likelihood of an
infection.

HEALING

Every patient heals differently. The healing process varies considerably and there are some things
which are outside the control of the surgeon. However, everything about the healing
process which we can impact is maximized. This applies to meticulous surgical
technique and good postoperative care. Preparation for the surgery with various
supplements, good diet, avoidance of blood thinners, smoking habits, and alcohol
consumption are just a few of the things that we address in order to achieve the best
possible outcome.

More serious complications are rare, but can include nerve injuries, salivary gland leaks,
poor healing of the skin or incisions, prolonged sensation of numbness and tightness,
and asymmetries.

RECOVERY TIME

Recovery time is primarily dependent upon how much swelling and bruising you have
initially.

FIRST FEW DAYS

After three days, the swelling and bruising has reached its pinnacle and will
begin to diminish as your recovery continues. The primary goal is to manage the initial
days aggressively, so that the recovery time is shortened. Adherence to preoperative
instructions, excellent operative technique, and good postoperative management will
help accomplish this goal for you.

The dressings and any drains are typically removed the following day and you can
shower your hair safely on the second day after surgery. The incisions are kept clean
with peroxide and covered with vitamin-E for the remainder of the week or longer if
necessary.

1-2 WEEKS

In the second week any residual swelling and bruising will
start fading away. At the one week mark, most patients are quite presentable and can
manage any persistent bruising, swelling, and incision redness with make-up and
hair styling.

WHAT DISCOMFORT MIGHT I FEEL?

This is typically not a painful procedure, but some people will experience tightness in
the neck and face which can create the sensation of swallowing and chewing
difficulties. This sensation diminishes over the weeks, as the muscles relax and the
tissue swelling dissipates. Pain medication is provided in the event the discomfort is
excessive.

Numbness in the cheek, neck, and ears can persist for couple of months, but this
ordinarily returns to normal in three months. The incisions begin to fade after a few
weeks, but can take several months before they take on the normal coloration of the
surrounding skin. Eighty percent of the swelling is gone in six weeks, and the
remainder will gradually dissipate giving you further refinement in the weeks and
months to follow.

NORMAL ACTIVITY RESTRICTIONS

Heavy lifting and strenuous activity is to be avoided for two weeks.  After two weeks, you can return to a normal routine. Avoid rapid head motion from side to side for 4-6 weeks to allow the neck tissues to firmly heal.

Most of the stitches are dissolving, but a few may have to be trimmed at 7-10 days.

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