The procedure | Facelift
Our face shows how we feel about the world. It expresses our sadness and our joy, our highs and our lows. It plays an essential role in our communication with others, who base their opinion on us within the first few moments, just by looking at it. As we age, it often first shows in our face. Wrinkles appear, skin sags down and volume is lost over time, making us look years older than we feel. This discrepancy makes that the operation that manages to correct that, is and always has been one of our most popular treatments.
Facelift techniques have evolved enormously over the last decades. It is a procedure in which not just the skin, but also the underlying tissue is tightened. It is this layer that really provides the strength to the face and thus the longevity of the operation. The rejuvenation effect is achieved by restoring the tissues to their original location, a move that most people know well from pulling their face up while standing in front of a mirror.
Better understanding of the anatomy underlying the aging process and the introduction of clever methods of limited incision surgery, have resulted in minimal scars and limited downtime. As each face reflects the essence of who you are, the surgeons at the Radetzky villa take great pride in providing you with the technique best suited for you.
Where will I be operated?
The operation will be performed in the fully equipped operating theatre at the Radetzky villa.
What can I expect of the operation?
As the face consists of different areas that closely interact with each other, a face lift often combines a cheek lift with other procedures, like an upper or lower eyelid blepharoplasty, lipofilling or a forehead lift. The operation will be performed under sedation and will take approximately 2 hours. Your surgeon will always see you before the operation and will talk you through the steps. Pictures will be taken for documentation. The procedure will start with prepping and draping of your face. Markings will be made on your face. Due to the sedation you will be comfortably asleep throughout the procedure. At the end of the operation you will be given a bandage to support your face.
What are the risks?
General risks like postoperative bleeding and infection only rarely occur, but could lead to a (limited) reoperation, like the removal of some sutures, when they do happen. If gone unnoticed, prolonged presence of these problems may have an impact on part of the nerve that provides movement to the muscles in the face. Restricted nerve function may therefore lead to incomplete movements of specific areas of the face. Movement should slowly reappear but may take as long as one year to fully recover. It is thus important to realise that you should not hesitate to contact your surgeon in case of doubt about the risks mentioned above.
What can I expect after the operation?
When the anaesthetic wears off you may experience some slight discomfort, which however typically disappears after the first few hours. In the first few days healing will include some swelling, combined with a tightness of the areas involved in surgery, and (variably) some bruising. Prevention of bending down or lifting heavy goods in the first few days also helps. You may find it more comfortable to sleep with an extra pillow to elevate your head in this period. Initially some asymmetry may be present which will disappear as swelling subsides and healing occurs.
What will the scars be like?
The scars are positioned in locations where they are lest conspicuous: at the transition zone between cheek and ear, under the hairs and possibly behind the ears or under the chin. The scars will be slightly red for the first few months, but eventually the colour will disappear. Typically a scar will take one year to fully mature and in the majority of cases the scars, although present, should not be visible anymore by that time.
How long before I can resume my normal life?
Most people manage to return to light activities in the first few days after surgery. At one week after surgery a follow-up appointment will be made for you at the Radetzky villa, where the sutures and your bandage will be removed. From then on it is possible to apply make-up again. At this stage the swelling and possible bruising normally is reduced to a level where superficial social activities (like going to the supermarket) can be resumed. However, it takes longer for these side effects to disappear completely. We therefore advise you to postpone any important social activity until at least three weeks after the operation. We also recommend you to refrain from doing any strenuous activities in the first 2 weeks.
What is good to know about the long term?
The cheeks will feel tight and a little uneven for a few months, even though this won’t show. The skin before the ears will be numb for the same period, but sensation will reappear over time.
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