Facelift FAQ Session with Dr. Quiroz and Dr. Fuentes
How long does the facelift procedure take?
Dr. Quiroz: On average, for a face and neck lift, the surgery takes between three and a half to four hours. It is done under local anesthetic and sedation most of the time, and rarely is under general anesthesia.
What are my limitations with facelift surgery and when can I return to my regular routine?
Dr. Quiroz: The limitations after surgery, is that you need to take it easy. Because if you do too much, you’re going to swell up also. The main restriction is, don’t drive for the first 10 days. Don’t turn your neck toward the left or right side. Don’t bend the neck, also for the first 10 days. This prevents you from excessive swelling and the excessive tension on the incisions.
Other restrictions are your diet. Your diet has to be soft. Don’t chew hard food because you may swell up more. Don’t eat too much excess of salt in your diet. And the other restriction is, be away from the sunlight and the heat for the first couple of weeks.
So for you to return to your regular activities, have in mind that if you have a little bit of bruising, you may want to wait about three weeks. If you don’t mind going out with a small bruise and a little bit swelling, it takes two weeks.
What types of facelift are there and / or which are the most common?
Dr. Quiroz: Well, “facelift” is a very general term, because you can tell patients they need just the face. Some other patients, they need the brow lift. Some others, they need the neck lift. So we refer to the facelift as the area from below the corner of the eye down to the jaw line. And then, the neck lift is from the jaw line down to the middle of your neck. And if you want to raise your brows, that’s a brow lift. So those are the differences in between the facelifts. There are other differences in regard to the way the doctor does the surgery.
Dr. Fuentes: So the other differences for the facelift are the way the doctor does the surgery. You can do only the skin, lift the skin, but the results don’t last for a long time. You can lift the muscle or the tissue under the skin, that is called SMAS, and that gives you longer lasting results and more natural looks. And you can do other ways with threads, but also the results are very short in duration. So the most long lasting procedure is the one you do with this SMAS facelift that gives support under the skin and doesn’t look unnatural. It looks better and lasts longer.
Which is the most common type of facelift that you perform, doctor?
Dr. Fuentes: Well, the most common one I do is the SMAS facelift. It does lift the tissue under the skin, so it gives you a younger contour and a three dimensional lift on the face. And it can be combined with a neck lift or it can be combined with a brow lift. But the most common is SMAS facelift.
Okay. And which is the most common age when the patient, male or female, can consider a facelift?
Dr. Fuentes: Well, the average is about the 50s. Around the 50s, most of the patients start looking at themselves and they may think that the face doesn’t look as young as before, when they start considering the face and neck lift. But there are patients who want to wait until they are 60 or patients they want to start a little bit younger, like in their 40s. And it’s okay to do it because you can get just a natural result without looking tight or pulled.
How many years younger will a person look with a facelift on average?
Dr. Fuentes: Well it depends on the patient because some patients come and they have a lot of wrinkles and a lot of sagginess. Once they do the facelift and combine it with another thing, with a chemical peel or laser, they can look, I don’t know, 20 years younger. But if you are in your fifties, I will say the average is you may look about 10 years younger after a facelift.
A common question we also hear is, “Will I look tight or pulled at the corners of my mouth after a facelift surgery?”
Dr. Fuentes: This happens when the surgeon just pulls on the skin. So the surgeon can pull in different directions on the skin, and that is when you look tight or like you’ve been under a wind tunnel, and the skin looks too stretched. So it depends on the way the doctor does it. When you do use this SMAS, the results are more natural and nobody can tell you where you had a facelift. They may say, “Well, you look more rested, you look younger, you look less tired.” But it’s very natural results.
Some people think that a facelift will help them with the lines around the neck, the eyes, and forehead. Is that true or it’s different?
Dr. Fuentes: No. If you want to remove the wrinkles around the eyes, there can be the crows feet, it is better to use Botox because you can do a facelift and it looks much better, but sometimes the results, they don’t last for a long time. So you want to keep using Botox to reduce the crows feet. Also. The lines in between your brows, that need a brow lift, or you have to use Botox too or a filler. Because the facelift won’t get rid of that. If you do a brow lift, it can be improved a lot. But with the facelift, it doesn’t.
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