The term “face and neck lift” has only a very general meaning and, in fact, your operation will be designed to suit your individual needs. The procedures available range from the mini-lift (or skin lift) that I find rarely adequate, the Short Scar Face Lift, the MACS lift, to finally, the SMAS lift which I find the most effective in rejuvenation facial surgery despite the slightly longer duration of the procedure. The SMAS lift can be performed in combination with other techniques such as fat grafting (to add volume to certain facial areas), chemical peel (for skin rejuvenation), eyelid rejuvenation surgery, and more.
The object of the surgery is to produce a natural correction of the ageing changes, removing the lines of “wear and tear”, but not resulting in a mask-like expression, devoid of your natural lines of character or animation. Surgery can be done selectively to the neck, face, forehead and eyebrows depending on your individual needs.
The operation is a long and detailed procedure and, if done fully, will produce an excellent long term improvement for a considerable number of years. There is no optimum age for a face and neck lift, some may need it in their late thirties, others in their forties, fifties and sixties.
It is hoped to achieve your operation with almost no pain post-operatively and with little bruising. The latter depends on the individual and the health of your skin. Smoking and drinking of alcohol adversely affect bruising and the pre-operative intake of Vitamin C often helps reduce bruising. For this reason it is well worthwhile to prepare yourself for at least two weeks before undergoing surgery with Vitamin C, Arnica and Bromelain.
Scar is placed inside the hair above and behind the ear and concealed inside the ear and around the earlobe. Your scars are usually inconspicuous and heal depending on the type of your skin and the patients healing.
Usually a bandage is placed around the head and neck immediately post-operatively for the patients comfort. The eye are not blindfolded. Usually Mr Matti does not insert any drains. It is advisable to rest with your head elevated to assist in minimising swelling and bruising.
Your scars are designed to permit you to wear your hair in any style.
A bandage covers the sides of your face and the area under your chin and this is removed one day post operatively.
2-3 Days post operatively
You will return to my consulting rooms for a hair wash. Your dressing will be changed and my nurse or I will advise you on your post-operative needs.
5-8 Days post operatively
There are individual variations in the rate of healing and degree of bruising.
The fine stitches around your ears are removed, and your entire scalp stitches at the same time. Some patients are free from bruising at this stage, but it is wise to calculate on being “out of circulation” for three weeks in all, as there is so much of an individual variation of the rate of healing and the degree of possible bruising. After three weeks you may have your hair tinted. Many patients prefer to tint their hair before the procedure.
During the first six weeks after your surgery
The face and neck may feel a little tight. This is a period in which the scars naturally contract.
I strongly advise 2-3 sessions of lymphatic massage which helps to reduce the swelling and you “back into circulation” quicker.
Numbness is often present in the skin of the face and neck for several weeks after the operation. This is where the skin has been lifted. The sensation gradually returns to normal usually within 3 months. Again, this can vary from patient to patient.
Finally! Don’t expect miracles overnight. Details will continue to improve for six months as the scars soften and fade. Give yourself plenty of rest during the early weeks, and don’t talk about the operation to your friends until you have recovered and feel confident about your improved appearance. In the early days you need one or two close friends so it is better just too just confide in them.
- Excessive bruising or infection are fortunately very rare, but can occur as with any operation, and will be treated appropriately.
- Numbness of the skin in front of the ears is routine, but some patients will be aware of this in a wider area over the ears, scalp and neck. Recovery takes place, exceptions apart, as the tissues heal over the course of 3-6 months.
- The scars are normally very fine and well hidden, but in some individuals a scar may tend to thicken after 6-12 weeks and such “hypertrophic” scars. Wound healing and production of scars varies from individual to individual, and is dependant partly upon your own body chemistry. I or my nurse will advise you on wound care and the best scar prevention treatments to assist you to achieve the best scar possible.
- Motor nerve damage: This is a complication that must be mentioned in any information about facelift procedures because it relates to structures in the region where the operation is performed. It would be exceedingly rare to have permanent nerve damage affecting facial movement. In the rare occasions, where alteration of movement is noted, this recovers shortly after the locally injected medications have worn off following the procedure, or exceptionally, may take a few weeks to fully recover.
- Excessive bruising and possible haematoma are rare but can occur in patients who have been on Aspirin, have uncontrolled high blood pressure, or are a smoker. Any medication that interferes with blood clotting cam cause excessive bruising and therefore Mr Matti will advise you accordingly.
I regard facial rejuvenation surgery as a highly satisfactory procedure. During consultation we will discuss the aimed goals of the procedure, as well as general and specific details about the operation that may have not been covered here.
If you have any queries or further questions, please contact my secretary who will be only too pleased to help.
After the operation you will be visited while in hospital by myself normally or otherwise a member of my team in order to ensure a personal and confidential programme of after care. I can be contacted through my secretary or -out of hours- the Hospital switchboard should the need arise.
I hope that this information and the attention that you will receive post-operatively will keep you fully informed at all times. A more detailed discussion about the operation and possible complications adjusted to your specific needs takes place during consultation.