Answers to questions about various types of facelifts

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  1. What is a basic facelift? The classic facelift involves elevating the face from the temporal hairline to the lower neck, not including the eyelids or forehead.
  2. What is a "mid-face" lift? The jowls and neck are not the only facial parts that sag with age. Take your finger and place it on the highest point of your cheek-bone and pull it upward and back, away from the corner of your mouth. Notice that this changes the shape of your face to that of a younger person. This elevates the central part of the face
  3. What are some additional procedures? Eyelid lifts, brow lifts, fat injections, and resurfacing with lasers or chemical peels.
  • Upper and lower eyelid lifts: Upper lid surgery is indicated when the skin overhangs the actual eyelid and sometimes even the lashes. This procedure can be done with a facelift or by itself under local anesthesia. Sutures usually come out on the fifth day. There is usually bruising and swelling, as with any plastic surgery procedure of the face.

Aging lower eyelids involve excess skin and-or fat (the bags). If the problem is excess fat causing bags, an incision can be made on the inside of the lower eyelid to remove excess fat. If there is excess skin, a skin incision is made and the excess skin is excised. Alternatively, a laser or chemical peel can also be used to tighten the skin. As an isolated procedure, eyelid surgery can be done under local anesthesia.

  • A brow and-or forehead lift is indicated when the brow sags excessively, which also makes upper eyelids sag. This can be done with a facelift and eyelid lift. There are several methods of brow lifts, and all seem to work satisfactorily and depend on the plastic surgeon's choice. The frown muscles can also be reduced with brow lifts when indicated.
  • Fat grafts (fat transfer): One of the major advances in facelift surgery has been fat grafting to re-volumize the face, making the facelift look more youthful and natural. Generally, fat is liposuctioned from the abdomen and injected into the deficient areas of the face with micro-droplets, including the hollows under the lower eyelids, and lips.
  1. What about recovery time? Recovery time is related to the combination of procedures done. If all of the mentioned procedures are done, three weeks is required before most patients are comfortable going to luncheons, parties, etc. With dark glasses and makeup, about two weeks.
  2. What kind of anesthesia is used? Usually, general anesthesia is preferred for facelifts. Eyelid and brow lifts can be done under local anesthesia.
  3. What's the level of pain with these procedures? With the swelling and bruising, it looks more painful than it is. Most patients say there is discomfort, but it is more than tolerable.

E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS is a board certified plastic surgeon with offices in Savannah and Bluffton. fingerandassociates.com

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