There is going to be some expected
discomfort with having a facelift procedure. Because having a facelift
is major surgery, there are some surgery related risks involved as well.
However, most consider the risks infrequent and minor.
The blood has collected under the skin
and may have to be removed. Hematoma is the most common complication
after rhytidectomy. Hematoma risks are higher in men than in
women. Other factors that are associated with an increased risk of
hematoma include anterior platysmaplasty (neck lift), high systolic
blood pressure, aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications were not
stopped before surgery, and smoking.
motor nerve paralysis can occur after a rhytidectomy. Depending on
the extent of the facelift, injury to the facial nerve can occur up
to 1-2% of the time. The facial nerve is the nerve that provides
motion for the face. Injury to the zygomatic branch of the
facial nerve can result in temporary weakness of the lower eyelid
muscle. Should injury arises, a temporary or possibly
permanent asymmetry to the smile and facial expressions may occur.
nerves most commonly injured are:
marginal mandibular branch -
temporary weakness of the corner of the mouth
frontal branch - temporary
weakness of facial nerve responsible for raising the brow
buccal branch - temporary
weakness of the mouth area - difficulty eating -flaccid cheek
face is normally not symmetrical to
being with. There can be distinct
differences between one side of the face
versus the other. During your
consultation with your surgeon, he or
she will tell you what the chances are
for this happening with a rhytidectomy
surgery is performed on any part of the body the risk of bleeding is
there. Hypertension (high blood pressure) that is not under
good medical control may cause bleeding during or after cosmetic
surgery. Bleeding risks can start from the day of surgery to several
days after the procedure. It is important during the recovery
period that the patient does not get their blood pressure elevated
or their heart rate increased - as this can add to the risk of
possible bleeding. If bleeding does occur and it is not
stopped sometimes a wound will have to be surgically opened - and
the blood vessels contributing to the bleeding will have to be
procedure rhytidectomy (face lift) - the patient might experience
some numbness after the procedure. For the most part, this is
common and the numbness generally is only temporary. However,
sometimes numbness can be a permanent situation with this procedure.
such as blood vessels, muscles, and particularly nerves may be damaged during a
rhytidectomy. Different techniques can sometimes have higher risks than
others. Injury to these deeper structures can be temporary or permanent.
An attached earlobe
or "pixie ear" occurs when too much skin has been removed nearby. The
remaining, stretched skin pulls the earlobe area down and into the surrounding
skin. It can be corrected through minor surgery.
A wide open ear canal
appears unnatural. Cartilage in front of the ear canal partially hides the
canal from view. If a face lift places tension on the skin of this
cartilage, it will be pulled forward and widen the canal. Most people do
not notice a wide open ear canal and are not bothered by it. This
complication can be difficult to fix until the facial skin loosens up from the
face lift. Most who desire to have this fixed may need to wait for the
next face lift.
Some cheek numbness
is expected after a face lift procedure - however numbness of the ear is not.
Temporary numbness of the skin surrounding the ear can be caused by surgical
injury of the great auricular nerve. If this nerve is severed, permanent
numbness can be the result. Damage to the great auricular nerve is very
rare, occurring in less than 1 percent of patients. If the nerve is
severed or cut during surgery and is recognized - it can be repaired.
Recovery of sensation can be partial or complete with also having sharp pains in
the neck or ear.
associated with a rhytidectomy is generally for the most part
moderate to minimal, however some patients have a harder time than
others simply because everyone's own pain threshold is so different. Your surgeon will be prescribing narcotic pain medication for
several days after surgery, to make sure you are comfortable during
the initial recovery.
Your surgeon will
provide medications before surgery to prevent nausea and vomiting, and surgeons
monitor patients before, during and after surgery as precautionary measures for
serious complications. Speak to your surgeon about changing medications if you
are experiencing any allergic reaction or side effect. If you have a
reaction to any medication that has been given to you, contact your plastic
For patients that are
known to keloid or have hypertrophic scarring, it is best to ask your plastic
surgeon what type of face lift is going to be right for you. Most
surgeons believe that the best way to prevent keloids is meticulous, expert
technique. Not too much tension on the closure with clever suturing. The
mini-lift is known for producing keloid scars. Reasoning is because there
is too much tension placed on the incisions and they tend to stretch out causing
excessive scarring. Patients who are darker skin have more melatonin in
their tissue, and tend to get hypertrophic or keloid scarring much easier.
all surgeries that require general or twilight anesthesia, nausea
and vomiting can sometimes happen. Your surgeon will prescribe
a anti-enemic (anti-nausea) medication to help you alleviate this
symptom if it should occur. Also, the medication you are
prescribed to take after the procedure, the antibiotics and also the
pain medication can also contribute to nausea. Make sure you
always take your medication on a full stomach.
Men's sideburns will
migrate upward with each face lift. After two face lifts, sideburns can be
lost completely. Many women do not consider sideburns a vital facial
feature, but some do realize their importance if they are lost.
Modification in surgical technique may preserve the sideburn area. This
complication can be difficult to correct.
Bruising and swelling
normally occurs following a rhytidectomy or face lift procedure. The skin near
the incision site can appear either light or darker than the surrounding tissue.
In rare circumstances, swelling and skin discoloration or bruising can be
permanent or lasts for long periods of time following the face lift procedure.
There are many
surgeons who believe
that any face lift
procedure done with
a patient who smokes
is taking undue
chances with not
being able to heal
Most surgeons prefer
their patient to
quit smoking prior
to any elective
nicotine from the
constricts the blood
vessels not allowing
the healthy tissue
the oxygen it needs
to heal. The
smoke starves the
healing tissue of
much needed oxygen
as well. Quitting
for at least two to
four weeks before
and at least two to
four weeks after
your face lift
procedure will help
to ensure of a much
Blistering and skin
death are also seen
much more frequently
A tightly pulled
face lift is known
as the "wind-tunnel"
and results from
removing too much
also can develop
from a patient
having multiple face
the skin has been
removed, it cannot
be easily replaced.
can be difficult to
Early relapse is the
premature return of
sagging skin and
jowls, well before
the give 7 to 10
year time that a
face lift is
expected to last.
Relapse may occur
within six months.
The cause of relapse
is not really clear,
but it seems to be
more common in women
complexions and sun
Early relapse occurs
in 1 percent and can
be treated by
another face lift,
which is normally
for the most part -
Face lift (rhytidectomy)
patients are no
occur in our
seeing a change
are aware of
and can usually
work things out
on their own.
The main factors
lying in bed
many plastic surgery patients feeling the after-effects of the
surgery not only on their own body - but also their mind.
Finding a group of people to talk about your situation will help
tremendously and help the recovery period. The forum on
is here for patients to help them understand their thoughts and see
how other cosmetic surgery patients have dealt with it.
However, if the depression is worse and you feel you need some
professional guidance, be sure you contact your plastic surgeon so
he is aware of what you are going through.