WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Non-surgical approaches include injectables such as Radiesse or Juvederm. A mid-face lift is a surgical procedure which improves sagging facial skin by removing excess fat and tightening muscle. This tightens the skin of the face and reduces wrinkles, folds and fine lines. It is best suited to treating the cheeks and can last up to 10 years. A separate brow lift may be needed to tackle forehead wrinkles or droopy eyebrows. Problems with the saggy eyelids will also not be solved by a mid-facelift and separate eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) may be needed. These procedures may be done simultaneously.
WHAT DOES THE OPERATION INVOLVE?
The operation involves a general anesthetic and usually takes 2-3 hours. There are several different techniques that can be used but in general, the surgery involves a scar that runs in the hairline, down in front of the ears and continues underneath the earlobe and into the hairline behind the ears. The skin is then pulled away from the muscles of the face to be pulled tight, stitched in place and the excess skin can be trimmed away. If you decide on surgery you will be required to undergo some simple health checks and photos will be taken to show the appearance of your face before surgery.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS?
There are risks associated with a general anesthetic such as aspiration of stomach content into the lungs which can cause serious illness or death. Therefore, to help prevent this it is mandatory that you do not eat or drink anything (usually 8 hours) preceding your surgery. Other risks include DVTs, (clots in the veins of the legs) which can break off and travel to the lungs, this is known as an embolus and although very rare, can be life threatening; especially in smokers. You will be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible to reduce these risks. You may also experience temporary bruising, swelling, numbness and tenderness of skin or a tight feeling similar to having dry skin. Bleeding under the skin leads to bruising but excessive bleeding that collects under the skin is known as a hematoma. For most people the scars will fade and become virtually invisible in the hairline. Some people have a tendency to form red raised scars and these can be a problem, especially in front of the ears where they are most visible. Wounds can be slow to heal and this is particularly true if they become infected. Smoking also increases the chances of problems with the scars. Injuries to nerves that control facial muscles or feeling are usually temporary but may be permanent. However, actual permanent damage to the facial nerve is rare.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE OPERATION?
You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first 24 hours after surgery. You will have bandages around your face and head. There may also be some small tubes connected to small bottles to collect any oozing or bleeding. These are to assist you in your healing and should only be removed by your surgeon. You should expect your face to be bruised and to feel swollen and tight and this can take 2-3 weeks to subside. You may experience some discomfort which should be alleviated by the pain medications. You should avoid bending down for a few days. It is advisable to sleep with several pillows to keep your head higher than the rest of your body. You will not be able to wash your face for a few days and stitches will be removed within a week.
WHEN CAN NORMAL ACTIVITIES BE RESUMED?
You can return to work 10-14 days. Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 2 weeks. You should avoid the sun for 6 weeks and after that always apply sunscreen.
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