In its simplest and
first incarnation, a face lift is an operation
that lifts the facial skin off the fascia
and muscles beneath, stretches it taught
again, re-drapes it and then removes the
excess. Over time, surgical knowledge and
capabilities have developed to the point
where today various techniques and approaches
exist and very few surgeons simply lift
the facial skin.
I perform a more modern
facelift technique which corrects the deeper
facial layers as well as the skin, in order
to rejuvenate and reposition the deeper
structures which are structurally responsible
for the appearance of facial aging. My purpose
is to make you look naturally youthful again,
rather than to give you a plastic 'operated'
Commonly asked questions
about face lift surgery
a good candidate for a face lift?
This is best decided
during a consultation, but generally speaking,
the ideal candidates for face lifting are
women or men with good skin elasticity and
well-defined bone structure whose face and
neck have begun to sag.
Several factors contribute to facial aging;
but genetics; gravity and environmental
insults such as lifetime, cumulative sun
exposure and smoking are the main players.
The combined effects of these factors result
in the characteristic features of an elderly
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there any reasons why I couldn’t have
I do not operate on
smokers because the risks of horrendous
complications are significant if you smoke.
I will encourage you to stop smoking for
at least 2 months before surgery and will
expect you to agree to tests to confirm
that you have not been smoking immediately
Patients who are on certain medications
will have an increased risk of bruising
after surgery, and therefore healing problems
and complications, so it may be inadvisable
to have a facelift in these circumstances
- this is something I will assess and discuss
with you during your consultation.
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should I expect from my consultation?
Come to your consultation
prepared! Before you come, look at yourself
in the mirror and list your 3 best and 3
worst facial features. Also dig out pictures
of yourself 10 and 20 years ago.
First, I will take a full medical history
and examine you completely; then I will
focus on your face, brow and neck. I will
take standardised photographs with you making
several telling facial expressions that
will animate your face to help me assess
you. These, along with the photos you bring
with you, will help us plan and discuss
is the surgery performed?
Depending on whether
you are having a short scar or a full face
and neck lift, your incisions (and thus,
final scars) will vary in length. In both
procedures, incisions begin above the hairline
at the temples and pass down in front of
the ear. In a full face and neck lift, the
incision continues behind the earlobe to
the lower scalp.
Depending on your particular anatomy, a
small incision may also be made under the
chin to reshape the neck.
The first steps in the operation involve
separating the skin from the fat and muscle
beneath. Fat can be re-shaped in the neck
and under the chin to improve your contour.
Next the underlying muscles are tightened
which in turn firms up the overlying skin.
Finally the skin is re-draped in a tightened,
younger orientation, the excess is removed
and the incisions are stitched.
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does my operation involve?
Before surgery, you
will meet and be assessed by your anaesthetist
who will prescribe medications for your
comfort and to lessen anxiety if need be.
On the evening before, or the morning of
your operation I will review what we have
discussed and planned previously and we
will both sign your operative consent forms.
Then I will measure and draw guidance marks
for surgery on your face.
The operation is performed under General
Anaesthesia - you will be asleep - and usually
takes 3 hours or so, but may be considerably
longer if combined with operations on the
eyes or brow.
After surgery, you will awake in a recovery
area and soon afterwards you will be returned
to your room. For the first few nights after
your operation I ask you to sleep with your
head and chest propped up several pillows
to help decrease the swelling.
At the end of the operation a fine surgical
drainage tube is placed under the facial
skin on each side of your face to drain
the normal healing fluid from your wound
and then your head, face and neck is bandaged
to minimize the swelling. The drains will
be removed when the drainage is minimal
- usually the following day. Most patients
go home a day or two after surgery on simple
pain relieving medications and a short course
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about my recovery and return to normal activities?
You can expect to be
up and about a day or so after the operation,
but you should take life easy for the next
After face lift surgery the skin of your
face and neck will be both swollen, and
because sensory nerves have been damaged,
somewhat numb. This means you should take
especial care to be gentle when touching
your face or brushing your hair, because
you can hurt yourself unwittingly because
you won’t feel pain in the same way
initially. The swelling and bruising may
mean your features may be distorted and
your facial movements awkward, and at these
times it is important to remember the pale,
bruised and swollen face that looks back
at you from the mirror after your face lift
will look normal again in a few short weeks.
Most of the stitches in your facial skin
will be removed after five days. Your scalp
skin takes longer to heal, so the clips
in your hairline will be left longer before
being removed. Gradually your skin numbness
will fade and normal feeling will return
over subsequent weeks and months.
In some patients, bruising may persist for
2 - 3 weeks. It is not unusual for patients
to tire easily in the weeks after surgery,
and to feel low and a little emotional,
but this passes for those who experience
Avoid strenuous activity (sex, heavy work,
aerobic exercise) for 2 - 3 weeks following
your surgery, but gentle exercise such as
walking would be beneficial.
Generally, you can return to work after
2 - 3 weeks and so long as you can do so
with due care and attention, driving too.
The scars from your operation are positioned
so as to be hidden by your hair or in the
natural creases of your face and ears. Initially,
during the inflammatory stages of healing
they are red and visible, but ultimately
they will fade in colour. That said, new
scars benefit from friction-free massage
(using vaseline, for instance, to lubricate
the massaging process). Beginning to massage
scars two to three weeks after surgery,
will help them mature, soften and flatten
faster than if left to their own devices.
New scars should be protected from sunlight
for 2 years to avoid them pigmenting differently
from the surrounding skin and becoming a
different colour permanently. Factor 15
sun block should be applied whenever they
are exposed - even to a British winter sun.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the
hair around your scars may be thinner than
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