Facelift

There are three basic procedures which can be performed either individually or combined. The anterior mini is for patients concerned about their mid-face or cheek area. The procedure is straightforward: an anesthetic solution is injected into the area in front of the ears. This solution will numb the lower part of the face, inhibit bleeding, and gently separate the skin from the underlying tissue. Once the area is numb, small incisions are made beginning just in front of the ear and proceeding up into the hairline behind the sideburns. Incisions within the hair require no shaving. The facial plane is gently pulled to tighten the skin, and is supported with deep sutures. Excess skin is trimmed and the incisions are closed with 6 to 8 fine sutures. The procedure takes from 40 minutes to 1 ½ hours. If necessary, some patients take a mild sedative beforehand. This procedure will correct approximately 50% of the naso-labial line.

A posterior mini facelift is for people concerned about the lower face, neck and jowl area. An anesthetic solution is injected behind the ears. This solution will numb the lower part of the face and neck and inhibit bleeding in the area. Once the area is numb, small incisions are made behind the earlobes and proceed inside the hairline. The skin is elevated and gently re-draped. Several deep sutures are made in the facial plane, and excess skin is tailored. Several fine sutures close the incisions. This procedure corrects the neckline in about 80%.

The third option is the mini for the upper third of the face, which includes a Blepharoplasty (upper/lower eyelids) with a Browlift (forehead lift).

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

The mini facelift is often referred to as the "weekend" facelift because that is the approximate duration of post-operative recovery, although it could be longer depending on the individual. Immediately after the procedure an ACE bandage will be wrapped under the chin and around the top of the head. This should be worn for the first 36-48 hours. It can be removed briefly to bathe and wash your hair. It should also be worn for the ensuing 5 nights. Sleeping with the head in an elevated position will aid the recovery process.

Discomfort after the procedure may be reduced with cold compresses and pain medication. Some patients may experience temporary bruising which can be camouflaged with makeup. Makeup may be applied immediately after the procedure or a few days after the procedure. Sutures are removed after one week, and visible scars become very subtle over time.

The duration of the results varies with a patient's lifestyle, sun exposure, skin type, and heredity. Please remember that the scars will fade within 6-12 months, and only then, the final results will be seen. For most patients however, the benefits from the mini-facelift last between 5 and 7 years.

RISKS

Because these procedures are not as invasive as the traditional facelift, there is minimal risk of complications. However, as with any surgical procedure the risks of post-operative bleeding, infection of the wound, scarring, and/or nerve damage should be noted.

Arnoldo Fournier M.D., F.A.C.S. ©

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