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Face Lift FAQ – Face Lift Techniques

Published on November 12, 2013 by

My Denver dermatologist tells me that I don’t need a facelift, and he can get the same result with a procedure done in his office under local anesthesia with no recovery and for a lot less money. What about that?

This brings to mind the idea that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Dr. Murphy has spent years scrutinizing each new “non-surgical” facelift that has come out. Certainly some of them have offered a degree of improvement in some patients. You as a patient must also evaluate these offerings. If you are willing to accept a lesser degree of improvement, or in some cases no improvement, then you may want to go ahead. And don’t forget some of these procedures aren’t particularly inexpensive. Many of them cost thousands of dollars and have not been proven by the test of time. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Murphy prefers to offer his patients time proven procedures, many with minimal recovery time due to refinements in technique, at reasonable costs. This has led to many happy patients who have returned for additional procedures or have referred family and friends. As a respected surgeon in the community, Dr. Murphy cannot afford to have unhappy patients because they have overpaid for a procedure that didn’t work or offered only fleeting improvement in their appearance.

Where are the incisions, and will I need to have sutures removed?

Incisions are typically hidden in the hair behind the ear and along the hairline above the ear to maintain as much sideburn as possible. Facelift incisions go around the ear and dip inside the ear in the front to help break up the suture lines Some patients require an incision beneath the chin to allow access to the neck area to tighten up the muscles in front. Stitches in front of the ear are removed after five or six days and skin clips in the scalp are removed in approximately ten days.

When will I be back out in public?

The recovery and return to activity after a facelift is determined by how you look rather than how you feel. There certainly is some discomfort over the first few days, but it is generally quite easily controlled by the prescribed pain medication. Your return to your normal activities is more determined by swelling and bruising and by your personal feelings about how you want to look as you venture forth. A lot of the swelling will be resolved within eight to ten days, which is when most patients resume more normal activities. Bruising generally resolves in three weeks but it can be fairly easily covered with make-up prior to total resolution. Many patients prefer to wait until the bruising has disappeared before attending any major social events, or if they want to look their best before being seen by their friends.

Will my friends notice I have had a facelift?

Dr. Murphy’s frequent answer to this question is, ” I hope so.” Of course the degree of change in your appearance after facial rejuvenative surgery depends on how aged your face and skin are prior to the surgery. The ultimate goal is that you look like yourself, just more youthful or rested. Patients often report to Dr. Murphy that their friends tell them that they look rested or rejuvenated.

What are the possible complications of a facelift?

Infection or bleeding rarely occur, infection being particularly rare. Numbness over the cheek and neck areas is common after a facelift and usually resolves over a period of months, although it is not uncommon to have some fairly minimal permanent numbness along the areas of the incisions. Permanent numbness of larger areas, in particular of the ears, occurs less that 1% of the time. Other nerves which can be injured during a facelift are those that go to your muscles of facial expression. Dr. Murphy has had a few patients over the years who experienced slight temporary weakness of the facial muscles to the upper lip areas that has taken a couple of weeks to resolve Smokers are at increased risk of areas of poor healing that may lead to poor quality scars after a facelift. It is not uncommon to have areas of temporary hair loss around the incisions as the hair follicles go into a resting phase, but the hair typically regrows over a period of months.

How long will my facelift last?

The length of time that patients enjoy a satisfactory improvement after a facelift depends on many factors such as the quality of their skin when we start, including the degree of sun damage or loss of elasticity. Smokers typically have the worst quality skin. Older patients will see an earlier return of laxity, while younger patients will see more long-lasting improvement. It is unusual for a patient to return less than ten years after a facelift.

Are there any differences with men having facelifts?

Definitely. At the time of facelift surgery in Denver we need to take into account a number of anatomic differences between women and men to assure the best result. Due to the vascularity of the beard, men are at slight increased risk for bleeding but they also seem to heal a bit more quickly, with less bruising and quicker resolution of swelling. Facelift incisions need to be different to avoid hairy ears. There are issues regarding shaving after facelift surgery due to mobilization and repositioning of the hair-bearing cheek skin. These issues are emphasized during Dr. Murphy’s consultations with men who desire the improvements facial plastic surgery can offer.

Thank you, Dr. Murphy, for all the excellent care and patience you have given me through two bouts of breast cancer. You have helped me survive and thrive. Thank you to all the wonderful nurses in your office, too. They are always kind, professional and knowledgeable.CB