Facelift Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
- Posted on: Dec 4 2014
WHAT IS A FACELIFT?
Dr. Thompson sees a considerable amount of patients regarding facial rejuvenation of the face and neck and the amount of facelift surgeries he performs each year is far above the national average. When patients visit him for their intial consultation, they often report deep frustration in the looseness of their jowls, lower face and neck. Aging is inevitable, and overtime the jawline softens into the jowls, the folds around the mouth deepen, and the neck loosens and begins to sag.
Heredity, personal habits, the pull of gravity, and sun exposure contribute to the aging of the face. Unfortunately, effects of these catalysts set in far before the inside feelings and symptoms of aging occur, which is why patients often report a deep desire to just look as young as they feel inside. Diet, exercise and healthy living keep us feeling good but it often requires surgery to restore outside features to reflect how one feels on the inside.
Many patients initially request just a “neck lift”. It’s important to know that if a surgeon were to remove just the excess neck skin, the lax skin of the face would bunch up in front of the ears and would looking highly unnatural. If a plastic surgeon tells you he can do a neck lift alone, we strongly encourage obtaining a second opinion. Furthermore, doing the neck and face together provides an opportunity to perform neck liposuction and place the obtained fat elsewhere in the face. That fat can then be used to restore volume in other areas of the face.
WHO IS AN IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR A FACELIFT?
An ideal candidate for facelift surgery, rhytidectomy, is typically in their 40′s or older, has significant jowling and neck laxity with a desire for a more comprehensive, longer laster approach to the alternatives.
It’s important that the patient is in good to excellent health and does not smoke. Individuals with good skin elasticity and strong bone structure will have the best possibility for an excellent surgical outcome.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM A COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION?
Dr. Scott Thompson, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon in Utah, has extensive experience performing facelift surgery. During your consultation, he will discuss your concerns as well as your goals and motivations for surgery. An exam and review of your current and previous health history will also take place.
He will then examine the structures of your face and neck, assess the quality of your skin tone and bone structure, and will make recommendations he feels will help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Dr. Thompson will discuss the procedure(s) he recommends and give information on where incisions will be placed, possible risks and complications, and make any non-surgical recommendations to enhance the overall surgical outcome. These options may include dermal fillers, Botox®, laser treatments, and/or professional skincare, some of which may be included in your surgical package.
Dr. Thompson will advise you to avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen products, Vitamin E and certain herbal medications before surgery, as these medications can cause increased bleeding and/or bruising. He will also insist that you discontinue smoking for at least one month prior to surgery to ensure proper healing, if applicable. More information is given at your pre-operative appointment 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Jessica, Dr. Thompson’s Patient Care Coordinator, will then provide you with all the financial details on any procedure discussed at your consultation and give financing options if applicable. She can also help facilitate the next step in the process and/or provide additional resources, such as before and after photos, articles, educational videos, etc.
HOW IS FACELIFT SURGERY PERFORMED?
During a facelift surgery, Dr. Thompson begins the incision in the area of the temple, just above and in front of the ear. The incision continues under the earlobe and follows the back of the ear and blends into the hairline. The skin is gently lifted and repositioned and the underlying muscle and connective tissue is tightened. Fat is often removed as well as excess skin. For men, the incision line often blends into the natural line of the beard. In all cases, Dr. Thompson places incisions where they’ll fall in line with natural skin creases. Fine sutures hold incisions in place. Surgery last anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on the case and is done in a surgical facility under general anesthetia. Dressings and a head wrap are applied to protect the entire area where the incisions have been made and hold things in place.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WITH RECOVERY FROM FACELIFT SURGERY?
Most patients report minimal pain but often experience a general feeling of tightness for the first 2-5 days. Medications to ease pain, prevent infection and aide in the healing process are prescribed prior to surgery. Bruising and swelling is to be expected and peaks at approximately 48 hours. It’s recommended to use ice packs during this time to reduce the effects. Dr. Thompson encourages patients to spend the first night in the facility and can visit the next morning to remove dressings, clean incisions, and remove draining tube if applicable. Directions for care of incisions are given with encouragement to keep head elevated and avoid as much activity as possible. All sutures are removed within five to 10 days following surgery. Most patients are feeling quite well after 1 week but may have signs of bruising and swelling for an additional week or two.
Facelift surgery does not provide immediate gratification and you will definitely look worse before you look better. For many, withdrawing socially during recovery, compounded with limited physical exercise, can lead to short-term depression and/or anxiety. Dr. Thompson feels it’s important to prepare his patients before surgery to help negate or limit these negative feelings that can occur post operatively. All information will be addressed and discussed at your pre-operative appointment, including the 4 emotional stages of facial surgery as shown in the graphic below.
Dr. Thompson sees facelift patients frequently during the first few weeks following surgery to make sure they are healing well and to help them through. Our nurses are also just a phone call or email away. We recognize that it takes a support team to guide you through and it’s very rewarding to see the happiness a patient experiences from facelift surgery once everything has healed.
Some things Dr. Thompson recommends to help during this time are to avoid mirrors, get outdoors for some fresh air if possible, avoid negative friends and/or family, avoid internet searches on “botched plastic surgery”, and try to do things that you enjoy as long as you don’t over do it physically.
WHAT ARE TYPICAL FACELIFT RESULTS?
Expect to be extremely happy with your facelift results and the youthful appearance you will regain. Patients report getting a lot of positive feedback from others who tell them they look great but are not sure what is different. They may think you changed your hairstyle or took a rejuvenating vacation. These comments are the sign of a great procedure that is not completely obvious to those around you.
HOW MUCH DOES A FACELIFT COST?
When choosing a surgeon for facelift surgery, it’s important to remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort level with him or her should be priority. Choosing a surgeon based on the lowest cost can come with a high price should you be unhappy with your result or end up in need of a revision facelift down the road. As a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Thompson provides the experience, training, and artistry to provide you with the best results possible.
There are three components to the total cost for facelift surgery; the surgical fee, fee for facility, and fee for anesthesia. According to 2013 statistics from The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average surgical fee in the nation is $6,556. Dr. Thompson’s surgical facelift fee is typically around $5,600 but will vary depending on what is involved with your procedure. Dr. Thompson may recommend a mini lift (MACS Facelift), full facelift, or a combination of procedures best suited to help you achieve your aesthetic goals. Therefore, cost will be less for Dr. Thompson’s MACS facelift and higher if any revision or added procedures are involved.
Dr. Thompson performs facelift surgery with only a Board-Certified M.D. anesthesiologist who has completed medical school, residency, board certification and who is someone he fully trusts to care for his patients. It is incredibly important for anyone considering cosmetic surgery to not only verify the credentials of the plastic surgeon but of the anesthesiologist as well. The fee for anesthesia is based on time and does vary but typically ranges between $1,000 and $1,500.
Equally important is the accreditation of the surgical facility where the cosmetic procedure will be performed. Dr. Thompson performs facelift surgeries in a JCAHO certified surgical center, which means it has passed the highest level of federal inspection for safety. Dr. Thompson believes a fully accredited surgical center is in the best interest of the patient and has been performing facelift surgeries at Lakeview Hospital for over 10 years. Their surgical team has worked closely with Dr. Thompson on hundreds of facelift surgeries and our patients find their professional experience and care makes a big difference in the overall experience. Hospitals only allow plastic surgeons certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to perform cosmetic procedures in their operating rooms. The credentialing process the surgical center undergoes is extensive. Subsequently, the process to credential practicing surgeons is also very thorough and often takes months to complete. The surgeon has to provide proof of competency, training, and an accredited residency as well as proper board certification. Lakeview Hospital provides reasonable prices and you can expect the facility fee to range between $1,300 and $1,800 depending on how long the procedure will take.
We recommend a complimentary consultation with Dr. Thompson where you will receive a detailed quote on all fees involved as well as further information on financing opportunities. Keep in mind that the actual price for anesthesia and facility may be slightly higher or lower depending on the final length of surgery but the surgical fee will be fixed and is due one week prior to your surgical date.
WHAT DOES THE FACELIFT PACKAGE INCLUDE?
The total cost for facelift surgery includes all pre and post operative appointments and additional products designed to enhance your results and aide in the healing process. Arnica is given at the pre-operative appointment and is a homeopathic medication used to decrease bruising and swelling. Also included is SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum (retail $270) and a SkinMedica Lytera Brightening System ($250.00) to prepare your skin for surgery and provide facial rejuvenation. GloMinerals Corrective Kit ($21) is included to use as a safe way to camouflage bruising and incisions once all sutures have been removed. Lastly, SkinMedica’s Scar Recovery Gel ($42) is added to minimize scarring and speed up the healing process.
Dr. Thompson feels a that the overall result is greatly enhanced with the use of this regimen as it includes only the best products available for healing and facial rejuvenation on the market today.
CAN OTHER PROCEDURES BE DONE AT THE SAME TIME?
Additional surgeries are sometimes recommended to obtain the best results possible and the combination can vary depending on the patient’s needs and concerns. Facelift surgeries are typically done with fat injections, as mentioned above, to restore volume loss in the face and make use of the fat taken during the procedure. Sometimes Dr. Thompson recommends a chin implant to strengthen the jaw and neck line or an eyelid and/or browlift to rejuvenate the upper part of the face as well. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with Dr. Thompson at your initial consultation so together you can come up with the best plan possible to achieve your goals.
IS THERE A LESS INVASIVE FACELIFT OPTION?
Yes, Dr. Thompson performs his in-office MACS Facelift procedure often. The benefits include shortened recovery time, smaller incisions, no general anesthesia and lower cost. You can learn more on our MACS Facelift page.
Dr. Thompson has researched many minimally invasive facelift options, such as the Lifestyle Lift, and prefers the MACS facelift technique. This technique has been developed and refined over several decades and is performed not just by Dr. Thompson and a few other surgeons, but by hundreds of skilled and competent plastic surgeons. This means that the MACS facelift is accepted and endorsed by a huge body of plastic surgeons as an effective and safe procedure. The result of this collective experience is that the MACS facelift has been modified and improved as necessary and has proven itself as a reliable, consistent procedure with long-lasting results. Techniques that are developed and performed by only one or two surgeons by definition cannot benefit from the experience, improvements and refinements of multiple skilled plastic surgeons.
HOW LONG DOES A FACELIFT LAST?
A facelift can take 10-15 years off of a person’s appearance and feels like a fresh start in many ways. Once surgery has been performed and the SMAS layer, deep muscle, has been lifted and properly secured, it’s not necessarily going to drop back down on any certain day or number of years later. The aging process does continue after facelift surgery no matter what is done. This process is determined by many factors, including ones genetics, hormones, activity level, nutrition, skincare regimens, stress levels, etc. Those deep tissues will become weaker overtime and results are not completely permanent.
That being said, with a facelift or MACS facelift performed by Dr. Thompson, the improvement does last forever even though the aging process still continues. So years after a facelift, it may not look exactly the same is it did 2 months after surgery but you’ll much better than you would had you not undergone facelift surgery.
Also, the quality of of ones skin before surgery will have an effect on the lasting results. A heavy smoker or sun worshipper may experience signs of neck laxity sooner than someone with healthy skin would following facelift surgery. As mentioned above, sticking with a good skincare regimen with daily sunscreen use will not only enhance your overall results but maintain them as well. We see many patients following facelift surgery for skincare purchases and sometimes minor small touch-ups years later. Good habits and minimal maintenance can really keep your face looking fresh and youthful.
Overall, a facelift procedure that lifts the deeper tissues and not just the skin will provide the longest lasting results possible when performed by an experienced surgeon. Experience and training is not only important for long-lasting results but to prevent unwanted results. We have all seen people who clearly look like they had work done, obvious scars and/or ears that are no longer in their natural position.
Posted in: Facelift