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The natural aging process leads to more or less pronounced changes in the face and neck, which can clearly affect your appearance.
The skin’s elasticity decreases, the muscles and subcutaneous skin become slack and there is a gradual shift in the volume of the face. As a result, mimic and static wrinkles become increasingly pronounced and the skin tissue collapses under the influence of gravity.
In cases of less pronounced age changes, the use of aesthetic medicine can be sufficient but in advanced cases a surgical procedure is often the better alternative.
With a facelift, the signs of aging can be partially reversed. You will look fresher and brighter and feel younger.
What actually happens during the surgery?
A typical facelift, which meaning standardized procedure for all cases, does not exist. The procedure for a facelift always depends on the individual problem zones that need to be corrected. For example, in a forehead lift, the eyebrows are lifted, the upper eyelids are firmed, and lines and wrinkles are smoothed. A temple lift additionally tightens the lateral parts of the eyes. A cheek lift not only smooths the wrinkles in this region, but also brings the soft tissues, which have collapsed downwards, back. During a neck lift, the neck and jaw contours are tightened primarily, however excess fat under the chin can be removed simultaneously if needed.
If necessary, the lifting of one or more facial regions can be supplemented by further procedures. For example, a facelift is not expected to correct fine wrinkles around the mouth or excess skin on the eyelids. Additional methods, such as chemical peeling or eyelid lifting, may be called for. Before any facelift, consultation with your surgeon is critical. The details of the different methods will be explained and explored.
What results can be achieved?
A facelift reduces the sagging soft tissues, tightens the skin and rejuvenates your appearance by approximately 10 years. However, the natural aging process of the skin cannot be stopped completely and the wheel of time can only be turned back to a limited extent. How long the result of a lifting lasts in an individual case depends to a great extent on the quality of the skin tissue. If necessary, the procedure can be repeated after 8 to 10 years. Since your natural facial expression will be preserved, some wrinkles will also remain or will reappear over time. If all wrinkles were rigorously smoothed out, an unnatural, mask-like appearance would result. Your surgeon’s experience is vital for a good and natural result.
Type of anaesthesia and hospital stay
The procedure is usually performed on an inpatient basis. You enter the clinic on the day of the operation and have the opportunity to discuss the type of anaesthesia with the anaesthetist before the operation. The necessary preliminary examinations are carried out in advance by your general practitioner. The procedure may be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation, but general anaesthesia is usually recommended. The sedation lasts 3 to 6 hours, depending on the extent of the operation, and is usually performed as an in-patient procedure, with a hospital stay of 2 to 4 days.
How do I prepare for the surgery?
It is advisable to stop smoking 4 weeks before the surgery or at least to limit it considerably in order to reduce the risk of wound healing disorders. For 14 days before the operation, you should refrain from using painkillers such as Aspirin as these delay blood clotting.
How’s the surgery done?
The normal incision procedure for a neck/face lift runs from the temple, narrowly past the ear, around the earlobe and then ends behind the ear, with the surgeon taking special care in order that the scar is as inconspicuous as possible. It is not necessary to shave the hair before the procedure. The skin is detached from the underlying tissue along the incision and the tissue under the skin as well as the sagging mimic muscles are mobilized so that the collapsed areas can be reduced upwards, i.e. positioned in their original location. Fine sutures then fix this tissue back in its original place and the skin is finally re-closed under very slight tension with submerged, dissolvable threads and intracutaneous sutures. At the end of the surgery, a light head bandage is applied.
Many of these corrections can now be made endoscopically, particularly on the forehead, cheek and eye region. This technique offers the advantage that only short vertical incisions directly behind the hairline are necessary in order to be able to insert a video optic into the surgical area.
What happens after the surgery?
After the operation, your skin will be taut and swollen. Bruising of the cheeks and under the chin as well as a slight numbness in the entire facial area are also normal. The most severe swelling occurs 1 to 2 days after the procedure and can temporarily change the appearance of your face. The swelling will disappear within the next 2 to 3 weeks, but, depending on the extent of the procedure, the final result can only be assessed after a few weeks.
What risks should you bear in mind?
As already mentioned, nicotine consumption is an unfavourable factor which has a negative influence on wound healing and thus on scar formation and is therefore be better to be avoided. If you tend to have conspicuous bruises or persistent bleeding after minor injuries, a coagulation disorder should be ruled out before the operation.
What complications can arise?
The most unpleasant complications such as wound infections or postoperative bleeding are treated by us as a preventive measure. Should a wound infection or bruise nevertheless occur, this can lead to a temporary reopening of the suture so that the wound can recover before it is closed again.
After a large face or forehead lift, the sensation of touch in the skin area around the ears or on the forehead can be impaired for a longer period of time. Damage to the facial nerves, which very rarely occurs in expert hands, usually heals within 3 to 6 months. A permanent weakening of the facial muscles caused by nerve injuries is an extremely rare complication.
Under the strong tension of the facial skin, occasionally hair loss can occur on the temples. However, the hair grows back again during the next few months. Circulatory disorders of the skin as a result of nicotine consumption can lead to wound edge necrosis and conspicuous scars. These may need to be treated and corrected.
What aftercare is required?
The bandage and drainage are usually removed after 2 days, prior to leaving the clinic. The sutures can be removed from the fifth to the tenth day.
What needs to be considered after the surgery?
The time until complete regeneration can vary greatly depending on the individual’s predisposition and the extent of the procedure. After the surgery you should definitely rest for 5 to 7 days. During this time you should not burden your skin with creams or ointments. Your skin helps itself the best. After about 8 days you can apply light make-up again. You should also consistently avoid direct sunlight for the duration of 4 weeks. If you expose yourself to the sun in the following weeks, sun protection with a high sun protection factor is recommended. You can usually resume your sporting activities after 4 weeks.