What is facelift and necklift surgery?
A facelift is an operation to tighten and lift the loose skin of your face below the eyes. (Anything above the eyes is a browlift.)A necklift tightens and lifts the skin of the neck.
Why have a facelift or necklift?
As you age, your skin gets less elastic and droops, and your facial muscles slacken. The natural fat under the skin also sags, making you look older. The rate this happens at varies from person to person, and is probably determined by your genes. The stresses of daily life, the effect of gravity and exposure to the sun also affect your face. Drastic weight loss can also age the face. The rate your face ages does not necessarily reflect the rate that the rest of your body and mind is ageing, and you may feel that the face you see in the mirror is not the one you should have.
A facelift gives the best results if your face and neck have started to sag but your skin still has some elasticity and your bone structure is strong and well defined. Most people who have facelifts are in their 40s to 60s, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their 70s or 80s.
It should not be obvious that you have had a facelift, but you should look younger, healthier, lively and cheerful.
What will happen before my operation?
You will meet your surgeon to talk about why you want surgery and what you want. The surgeon will make a note of any illnesses you have or have had in the past. They will also make a record of any medication you are on, including herbal remedies and medicines that are not prescribed by your doctor. Your surgeon will examine your face and neck, and may take some photographs for your medical records. They will ask you to sign a consent form for taking, storing and using the photographs.
The surgeon will measure your height and weight to make sure that it is safe to do an operation. If you are overweight, or planning to become pregnant, your surgeon may suggest delaying your operation.
A facelift improves the lower half of the face, particularly the jawline. If you have sagging eyebrows and wrinkles on your forehead, your surgeon may suggest a browlift. Loose skin with fine wrinkles, freckles and rough areas will benefit more from a chemical peel or laser resurfacing, which can be performed with a facelift, browlift or necklift.
How is the surgery performed?
A facelift involves raising and repositioning the skin and soft tissue of the face. During the operation, cuts are made on both sides of the face in front of the ear, extending up along the hairline, just in front of or behind the cartilage, and around behind the earlobe, into the crease behind the ear and then into the lower scalp. Occasionally, the surgeon may need to make a small cut under the chin for the necklift part of the surgery.
Sometimes only the skin above the neck is lifted (a facelift only).
Sometimes the neck muscle and the skin over it is just tightened by stitching them together (a necklift only).
Sometimes the neck muscle and the skin over and above it are tightened and then lifted and stitched tightly to the solid structures in front of and behind the ear (a facelift and necklift).
Excess skin is then removed, and the remaining skin is sewn into position.
Fat and tissue is redistributed, and is sometimes added to the face.