Facelift

Operation theory

As people grow older, the slackening of the skin in the face is made evident by the formation of lines and wrinkles at typical places. The lines vary in extent, depending on the person’s predisposition, mostly affecting the lower cheek region (hamster chops) and the neck. Before the signs of ageing in the face can be corrected, it is important to complete a precise analysis of the changes. This indicates whether primarily the skin is flabby or whether the tissue and the muscles underneath are also affected. A range of corrective operating techniques are available, the application of which must be derived from the findings of the prior analysis.

Generally an incision is made in front of the ear that is then extended behind the ear and into the hairy scalp, which leaves hardly any visible scars. The modern facelift techniques are based on tightening the layer of connective tissue located under the skin, including the face muscles. Tightening this layer (the SMAS) brings about a rejuvenation that looks natural. The excess skin on the face and neck can be removed without putting pressure on the suture. The lifting of one or more regions of the face can be supplemented by further procedures, like a blepharoplasty. A facelift is occasionally combined with an Obagi Blue Peel in order to improve the surface of the skin as well.

The goal of the lifting is to correct the changes due to ageing without modifying the facial expression. The outward appearance looks younger and brighter, and this often has a positive impact on the psyche as well – the patient feels younger and rested like after a long, relaxing holiday. These procedures are not restricted to a specific age; instead, they are geared primarily to the desired extent of the changes and the personal wishes of the patients.


OP duration

3 - 4 hours.


Anaesthetic

Local anaesthetic with sedation (half-sleep) or general anaesthetic.


Hospitalization

1 night


Post-op

Drains which can be removed after 1-2 days are normally inserted into the neck for a facelift. The dressing is removed and the hair washed on the discharge day. The stitches in front of the ear are removed after 5-7 days; the skin clips in the hairy part of the head are removed after 10 days.


Risks

Secondary bleeding, poor wound healing (mostly affecting smokers), infection, wound problems. Nerve damage occurs very rarely, and this is mostly reversible.


Recovery time

Work: 10-14 days, physical exertion/sport: 4 weeks. Avoiding exposure to strong sunlight or extreme cold: 6-8 weeks. Final result: after 6-12 months.


Outcome

The lifting is an aesthetic procedure with reconstructive character that returns the face to an earlier condition. The clock is turned back around 10 years, after which the ageing process continues, however. There is normally no problem repeating the operation after around 10 years.


before / after

Your doctor
Dr. med. Andreas Tschopp
Dr. med. Andreas Tschopp
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Prof. Dr. Dr. D. F. Kalbermatten
Prof. Dr. Dr. D. F. Kalbermatten
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