Because your face is one-of-a-kind, your facelift procedure needs to be fully customized to address your unique needs. Dr. Monteiro will create an individualized approach to correct the effects of aging on your face. His techniques can refresh your look and soften wrinkles without appearing tight or unnatural.
Please ask Dr. Monteiro about anything you don’t understand in the information contained below.
If you are considering a facelift
As people age, the effects of gravity, exposure to the sun, and the stresses of daily life can be seen in their faces. Deep creases form between the nose and mouth; the jawline grows slack and jowls develop; folds and fat deposits appear around the neck. It is now common for both women and men to opt for facelifts.
A facelift (technically known as rhytidectomy) can’t actually stop the normal aging process. What it can do is “set back the clock,” improving the most visible signs of aging by removing excess or replacing deficient fat, tightening underlying muscles, and redraping the skin of your face and neck. A facelift can be done alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as a forehead or brow lift, eyelid surgery, or reshaping the nose or chin
The best candidates for a facelift
The best candidate for a facelift is a man or woman whose face and neck have begun to sag, but whose skin still has some elasticity and whose bone structure is strong and well-defined. Most patients are in their forties to sixties, but facelifts can be done successfully on people in their seventies or eighties as well.
A facelift will make you look younger and fresher, and it may enhance your self- confidence in the process. But it can’t give you a totally different look, nor can it restore the health and vitality of your youth. Before you decide to have surgery, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Monteiro.
Before the procedure
A facelift can improve the cheeks, jowls, and neck
If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least a month before and after surgery to minimize your risks; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing process.
A limited facelift may occasionally be performed in our office with just local anesthesia, but more commonly in an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia for longer and combined procedures.
All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk.
When a facelift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities, and the outcome is never completely predictable.
Complications that can occur include: hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin that must be removed by the surgeon), injury to the nerves that control facial muscles (usually temporary), infection, and reactions to the anesthesia. Poor healing of the skin is most likely to affect smokers. You can reduce your risks by closely following your surgeon’s advice both before and after surgery.
Planning your surgery
Facelifts are very individualized procedures. In your initial consultation Dr. Monteiro will evaluate your face, including the skin and underlying bone, and discuss your goals for the surgery.
The doctor will check for medical conditions that could cause problems during or after surgery, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, or the tendency to form excessive scars. Be sure to tell Dr. Monteiro if you smoke or are taking any drugs or medications – especially aspirin – or certain vitamins,or other drugs that affect clotting.
If you decide to have a facelift, Dr. Monteiro will explain the techniques and anesthesia he will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the risks and costs involved. Don’t hesitate to ask him any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
Preparing for your surgery
The doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly. If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least a month before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas. If your hair is very short, you might want to let it grow out before surgery, so that it’s long enough to hide the scars while they heal.
Whether your facelift is being done on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you must arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a day or two if needed.
Where your surgery will be performed?
A facelift may be performed in a surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis, but some surgeons may hospitalize patients for a day when using general anesthesia. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be monitored after surgery, and may also require a short inpatient stay.
Types of Anesthesia
Some facelifts are performed under local anesthesia, combined with a sedative to make you drowsy. You’ll be awake but relaxed, and your face will be insensitive to pain. (However, you may feel some tugging or occasional discomfort.) Dr. Monteiro may choose to administer a general anesthesia. In that case, you’ll sleep through the operation.
A facelift usually takes several hours or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure done. The exact placement of incisions and the sequence of events depends on your facial structure and your discussions with Dr. Monteiro and the technique that he feels is best for you.
Incisions usually begin above the hairline at the temples, follow the natural line in front of the ear, curve behind the earlobe into the crease behind the ear, and into or along the lower scalp. If the neck needs work, a small incision may also be made under the chin.
Facial, neck tissue and muscle may be separated; fat may be trimmed or suctioned and underlying muscle may be tightened. In general, the surgeon separates the skin from the fat and muscle below. Fat may be trimmed or suctioned from around the neck and chin to improve the contour. The surgeon then tightens the underlying muscle and membrane, pulls the skin back, and removes the excess. Stitches secure the layers of tissue and close the incisions; metal clips may be used on the scalp.
After deep tissues are tightened, the excess skin is pulled up and back, trimmed and sutured into place Following surgery, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin behind your ear to drain any blood that might collect there. The surgeon may also wrap your head loosely in bandages to minimize bruising and swelling.
After your surgery.
There isn’t usually significant discomfort after surgery; if there is, it can be lessened with the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Monteiro. (Severe or persistent pain or a sudden swelling of your face should be reported to your surgeon immediately.) Some numbness of the skin is quite normal; it will disappear in a few weeks or months. The doctor may tell you to keep your head elevated and as still as possible for a couple of days after surgery, to keep the swelling down.
If you’ve had a drainage tube inserted, it will be removed one or two days after surgery. Bandages, when used, are usually removed after one to two days. Don’t be surprised at the pale, bruised, and puffy face you see. Just keep in mind that in a few weeks you’ll be looking normal. Your stitches may dissolve, or may be removed in about a week. Your scalp may take longer to heal, and the stitches or metal clips in your hairline could be left in a few days longer.
Most of the scars will be hidden within your hair and in the normal creases of your skin.
Getting back to normal
You should be up and about in a day or two, but plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. Be especially gentle with your face and hair, since your skin will be both tender and numb, and may not respond normally at first. Dr. Monteiro will give more specific guidelines for gradually resuming your normal activities. They’re likely to include these suggestions: Avoid strenuous activity, for at least two weeks (walking and mild stretching are fine); avoid alcohol, steam baths, and saunas for at least a month. Above all, get plenty of rest and allow your body to spend its energy on healing.
At the beginning, your face may look and feel rather strange. Your features may be distorted from the swelling, your facial movements may be slightly stiff and you’ll probably be self-conscious about your scars. Some bruising may persist for two or three weeks, and you may tire easily. It’s not surprising that some patients are disappointed and depressed at first. By the third week, you’ll look and feel much better. Most patients are back at work about ten days to two weeks after surgery. If you need it, special camouflage makeup can mask most bruising that remains.
Your new look
The chances are excellent that you’ll be happy with your facelift – especially if you realize that the results may not be immediately apparent. Even after the swelling and bruises are gone, the hair around your temples may be thin and your skin may feel dry and rough for several months. Men may find they have to shave in new places-behind the neck and ears-where areas of beard-growing skin have been repositioned.
You’ll have some scars from your facelift, but they’re usually hidden by your hair or in the natural creases of your face and ears. In any case, they’ll fade within time and should be scarcely visible. Most of the scars will be hidden within your hair and in the normal creases of your skin. Most of the scars will be hidden within your hair and in the normal creases of your skin.
Having a facelift doesn’t stop the clock…your face will continue to age with time, but you should continue to look younger than if you had not had the facelift at all. You will likely want to continue with other treatments in the years following your surgery such as skincare, fillers, or botox injections to maintain your best appearance, and you may want to repeat the procedure at some point in the future