Here at Health Costa Rica we provide potential face lift patients with answers to the most commonly asked questions about facelifts and provide a direct line to contact a facelift surgeon in their local area and book a free consultation.
How is standard face lift surgery performed?
A rhytidectomy, or face lift, is performed in four rather easy steps, lasting anywhere between two and five hours.
- Step #1: General anesthesia. You will be given some form of general anesthesia so that you will sleep during the entire procedure and not feel any pain. This is usually administered by an IV.
- Step #2: The incision. Your surgeon will make an incision that starts in the hairline, goes down in front of the ear, around the earlobe and ends in the hairline behind the ear. This incision is made on both sides of the face.
- Step #3: The lift. After the incisions have been made, the facial skin is gently freed from the underlying fat and muscle tissue. Once the skin is freed, the excess fat and skin will be either trimmed or suctioned away. The skin will then be pulled tight and fastened behind the ears.
- Step #4: Sutures. Once the surgery is complete and your surgeon is satisfied with the result, he or she will use stitches, sutures, or glue to close the incisions. Bandages will also be applied to prevent infections and reduce swelling.
What can I expect during recovery?
As mentioned above, immediately after your surgery your head will be wrapped in bandages to help prevent infections and swelling.
These bandages must be kept clean and dry so you will be given very strict instructions on how to bathe. Additionally, you will be required to keep your head elevated.
The pain from a face lift is minimal but it does occur. Over-the-counter pain medication is usually prescribed to combat the pain, swelling, and bruising that will occur as a result of the surgery.
Most sutures can be removed within five to ten days after the surgery, at which time women can also start to wear cosmetics again. However, it will take several weeks before hair dyes or dryers can be used.
Full and complete recovery can take approximately two to three weeks, but it can take up to a full year for any remaining scars to fade.
Although many of the scars will be hidden behind the hairline, it is common for some scarring to be visible.
What are the risks associated with having a face lift?
This surgical procedure is extremely common and rather safe. Unfortunately, no surgery is completely risk free.
Some of the risks and complications associated with a face lift include numbness, swelling, permanent scarring, adverse reaction to the anesthesia, injury to the nerves that control important facial muscles, infection, and/or a hematoma, which is a collection of blood under the skin.
Fortunately, many of these problems will correct themselves over time while others may require additional surgery.
Are there any other procedures that can give me the same results without surgery?
No. Although there are different methods of performing a face lift, you must still have anesthesia and surgery to get the desired results of a face lift.
Two new methods include lasers and endoscopy. A laser face lift requires only local anesthesia and a one inch incision under the chin.
A laser is then used to finish the procedure. An endoscopy on the other hand is a type of face lift surgery in which facial structures are raised without actually cutting away flaps of your skin.
Both of these new procedures involve smaller incisions and as a result, a shorter recovery time.
How long will the results last?
Approximately 10 years. The effects may disappear sooner depending on lifestyle choices such as alcohol and tobacco use and other environmental factors. Another face lift may be necessary.
How much does a face lift cost?
On average a face lift can cost between $6,000 and $25,000. However, many factors are considered in the cost of a face lift including the cost of anesthesia, surgeon’s fees, location, follow-up visits, and building usage.
The more experienced the surgeon is, the more expensive their fees will be. In addition, if your surgeon requires you to stay in a hospital overnight, the total cost will be higher than that of a surgeon that uses an outpatient facility.
It is important to get an itemized list of what the price covers so that you don’t end up with extra expenses that you didn’t count on.
Will my insurance pay for a face lift?
No, many insurance plans will not pay for cosmetic surgery unless it is medically necessary.
Often people will find alternative options to finance their plastic surgery. Be sure to ask your surgeon if they offer any type of financing.
Who should perform a face lift?
Only a certified, licensed plastic surgeon should perform a face lift.
How do I choose a plastic surgeon?
Choosing a plastic surgeon is the single most important decision you will make throughout this entire process.
Start by asking your doctor, family and friends for referrals.
Once you have a few names, check their credentials and certifications with the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Finally, schedule an initial consultation with two or three doctors.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. The key to any successful plastic surgery procedure is a strong rapport and trust between the surgeon and the patient.