Facelift is probably the most misunderstood procedure in cosmetic surgery. In our Caribbean cosmetic plastic surgery clinic at Trinidad Institute of Plastic Surgery we see clients desiring facial rejuvenation on an almost daily basis. A lot of time is spent during consultation to dissipate the myths and misunderstanding about facelift surgery, a pivotal procedure in facial rejuvenation. Most clients come to us with the conception that a facelift involves the entire face, from the scalp down to the neck. And they envision weeks of horrid facial swelling and bruises. These images are further fostered by what they have seen on the internet and on TV.
But this is not what a facelift is in real life. A facelift is a particularly poorly named procedure. A better name would be neck or neck-jowl lift for this is what it actually does. A facelift affects only the lower third of the face and does nothing for the upper and middle thirds of the face. It is very beneficial when it comes to making the angle between neck and chin sharper and smoothing the jowls and thus the line of the lower jaws. Both a sharp angle at the neck and a defined lower jaw line are eminent markers of youth and facial beauty and among the first succumbing to age related changes in the face.
When a facelift is performed without combining it with other procedure in the face, bruising and swelling are limited to the neck and lower jaw area. They do not extend to the rest of the face. However, when a facelift is combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures involving the eyes, nose, or mouth, the typical images that patients originally imagined a facelift to be are approached with swelling and bruising in all areas operated on.
When we perform a facelift without any concomitant procedure for facial rejuvenation in our Caribbean cosmetic plastic surgery clinic at Trinidad Institute of Plastic Surgery we advise an overnight stay after the procedure. Two small drain tubes are inserted at the end of the procedure and come out behind the ear. A bulky dressing is applied overnight. Both the drain tubes and the big dressing are removed the next morning. A light dressing in the form of a modified chin strap is applied for a week.
Recovery is really of a social nature, rather than that of a physical one. There is virtually no pain and only some mild tenderness around the ears, which subsides within a couple of days. The improved looks created by the facelift procedure become apparent after seven to ten days. While the initial bruising and swelling in the neck and over the lower jaw subsides over those seven to ten days clients usually take time off from their professional and social obligations. Early return to public appearances is sometimes helped by camouflage make up.
A facelift should not be perceived as a scary undertaking. Most clients tell us that it was a lot easier in the end than they had imagined. Many times clients will want a more complete facial rejuvenation procedure. Eyelid tightening and reshaping (blepharoplasty) is the most common plastic surgery procedure done with a facelift. This combination can be safely performed together and addresses the two most acutely perceived age related changes – descent and loosening of the neck with jowl formation and a tired and aged appearance around the eyes. If you ever asked yourself why facelift is a typical procedure undergone by male or female celebrities, actors or other personalities with considerable public exposure – well, simple answer: it works and delivers each and every time without resorting to half-hearted efforts or compromises.
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