Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Surgery Guide

Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery to the face remains among the most popular procedures for both men and women in the United States. Facial procedures include facelift, mini facelift, facial liposculpting, facial implants and nonsurgical facelift.

People who choose to have facial cosmetic surgery do so to reverse the effects of aging, reduce wrinkles, restore a youthful appearance, or tone sagging skin after severe weight loss.

A facelift tightens muscles and reduces tissue under the skin. Facelifts do leave scars, but an experienced and highly skilled surgeon will hide the scars along the hairline, in shadows or along natural folds of the skin. The procedure takes about three to six hours under general or local anesthesia (depending on the extent of the procedure) on an outpatient basis.

The face is a fast-healing part of the body. Patients return to work within a week to 10 days, and scarring, swelling and bruising are minimal. Despite the rapid healing, patients will be restricted on physical activities for the first couple of months after surgery.

The procedure is designed to be permanent, however, aging doesn't stop! The skin continues to lose its elasticity and battle against gravity as we age. Talk to your cosmetic surgeon about ways to maintain your youthful appearance, including avoiding the sun, drinking water, refraining from smoking and minimizing alcohol use.

Surgical Facelift Techniques

The facial cosmetic surgeon will choose a technique based on the area of the patient's face and the problems he or she presents. All surgical techniques involve incisions followed by disconnection of the skin from the underlying tissue, removal of excess skin and repositioning of skin and tissue followed by sutures.

Superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) is known as the "gold standard" among facelift techniques. It builds on traditional facelift techniques by focusing on the thin connective tissue under the skin. People who want to target the nasal and mouth folds are ideal for this technique.

Subperisteal lift goes deeper than the SMAS, and the cosmetic surgeon uses a special camera and small instruments to see under the layers of tissue. Surgeons who use this technique report that it offers a longer lasting result.

Deep-plane facelift is technique that reshapes the face, neck, brow and upper and lower eyelids-in one continuous section. Because it is most invasive, it has a longer recovery time and is used less frequently.

Mid facelift is also known as a cheek lift, if this is the only problematic area the patient and surgeon decide to target. The brow, eyes, jaw and neck are not touched.

Threadlift, or feather lift is a conservative approach that is used on patients who seek mild correction. As it implies, the technique uses a thread that is inserted through tiny incisions to lift and pull the skin tighter. Patients are fully awake during the procedure.

An endoscopic technique might be used if the cosmetic surgeon needs to view the deeper tissues using a small camera. This helps to minimize incision size if the surgeon can view it endoscopically rather than by making a large incision.

Lower facelift gives attention to the neck and jawline, or the lower third of the face. The incision is tucked behind the ears and along the chin.

Mini facelifts have become popular in recent years. These refer to cosmetic surgical procedures that target small areas of the face through minimal incisions with or without endoscopic techniques. Healing time is quick, which is why these are sometimes referred to as "weekend facelifts." The mini lift doesn't touch the eyes or forehead.

Implants can be used to refine and sculpt particular areas, such as the cheeks, jawline or chin. These are permanent implants that are designed to hold in place forever. Sometimes, implants are suggested to lift the skin, which tightens and smoothens wrinkles.

Cosmetic Facial Surgery Risks

Surgery comes with risks, including reactions to anesthesia, infection, swelling, scarring, pain and bleeding. That's why it is important to choose the right cosmetic surgeon and to follow his or her instructions before and after the procedure. In addition, facial cosmetic surgery comes with the risk of surgical imperfections.

Facelift Recovery

In the first few days after the procedure, the face is bandaged according to the type of procedure performed. The patient feels tired and uncomfortable and the face might look bruised and swollen, which can be a little shocking at first glance. In the next week or two, swelling and bruising subside and the effects of the facelift become apparent. The patient will slowly be able to return to normal activities, although heavy lifting and strenuous exercise will be restricted for six to 12 months.

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