Candidates for surgery
Ideal candidates are people who are in good health and are experiencing natural wrinkling and sagging of the skin around their face and neck. The most common patients are between 40 and 60 years old, but a facelift can be performed on people in their 80’s as well. Candidates should have realistic expectations and also understand the limitations of the procedure. Other quality traits include adequate skin elasticity and an underlying bone structure that is both strong and well-defined.
To assure a successful operation, it is equally important that a candidate is able to heal and recover properly. For this reason you should discuss any pre-existing medical conditions and/or current diseases with your local plastic surgeon during the initial consultation. It is highly advised that smoking is avoided before and after the procedure due to its negative effects on the healing process.
What to expect after surgery
Immediately after surgery, the patient’s face will be bandaged. It is normal to feel somewhat groggy and tired due to the anesthesia and sedatives used during the operation. Patients can generally return home on the same day of their procedure, but they will need to arrange for someone to drive them.
During the initial recovery period the most common side-effects are aching, bruising, and swelling. These can be relieved with pain medicines and simple cold compresses. Items such as a compression garment can be worn around the affected area to greatly reduce swelling and promote proper healing.
Typically, the initial recovery period lasts about one month, with the first few days being the most intense. During this time the patient will need to take precautions to avoid disturbing the incision area and the facial tissue itself. Everyday routines such as bathing, grooming, and sleeping will need to be done with care. It is also important to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
It is not uncommon for the entire healing process to take as long as six months. Most visible scars should blend in to the surrounding skin within a year. And although the results of a facelift are permanent, the face will naturally continue aging after the procedure. Patients can expect to enjoy the results of their facelift for as much as ten years